Ten Year Stretch, edited by Martin Edwards and Adrian Muller, is an impressive anthology marking ten years of CrimeFest—a crime festival in the United Kingdom—and featuring 20 original stories by an international cadre of mystery writers. The tales range from hardboiled to traditional—Simon Brett’s “The Last Locked Room” is a satisfying study of life imitating art with an unsolvable crime at its center—to procedural to thriller.
“Shorty and the Briefcase” by Lee Child is a tricky (in all the right ways) story featuring a detective named Shorty, who is shot in the first paragraph and solves the case of the year, from his hospital bed, by the last paragraph. James Sallis’ “Freezer Burn” is my favorite story in the anthology. Its simple construction leaves the details to the reader’s imagination when “Daddy,” freshly unfrozen from his cryogenic dreams, wakes up believing himself to be a hit man rather than the vacuum salesman he was. There are also tales from Jeffery Deaver, Mick Herron, John Harvey, and Ian Rankin.