The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2022

Mariner: Houghton Harcourt. Nov. 2022. 336p. ed. by Jess Walter. ISBN 9780063264489. pap. $17.99. M
The quality of this collection will be no surprise to readers of earlier volumes. With only one true detective story in the whole batch, Gar Anthony Haywood’s “Return to Sender,” and one closest to Golden Age conventions from old pro Dennis Lehane, this year’s collection focuses more on suspense, with a welcome variety of perspectives and settings. “Detainment” is about a child detained by ICE. Two of the creepiest stories, by Tracy Clark and Jacqueline Freimor, are about serial killers, and there’s a killer clown in Tod Goldberg’s “A Career Spent Disappointing People.” David Heska Wanbli Weiden’s “Turning Heart” takes place on a Lakota reservation. Hector Acosta’s “La Chingona” and Raquel V. Reyes’s “Mata Hambre” drop in and out of Spanglish. Juliet Grames’s “The Very Last Time” revolves around time travel, and Megan Pillow’s “Long Live the Girl Detective” takes place partly inside a book. Thirty additional stories are recommended at the back of the book.
VERDICT This first-rate collection asserts that the short story is alive and flourishing still.
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