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Otto Penzler

The Best American Mystery Stories 2013

Otto Penzler The Best American Mystery Stories 2013
$10.68 New
$2.97 Pre-owned
Out of stock, but available. Should ship in 2-3 days

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Series:

Best American

Excerpt from book:

TOM BARLOW
   Smothered and Covered
      from Needle

The young girl walked into the Waffle House, alone, at 3 a.m. on a Thursday morning. We all looked up from our coffee and cigarettes, waffles, sausage and hash browns. She stood on her tiptoes to take a seat on a counter stool, picked up a menu and held it close to her face, like one of the 6 a.m. retirees without his bifocals.
   Sandy, the night shift waitress, looked at me and raised her eyebrows. I knew the look; she gave it to me four or five times a week. It meant, Do you think I should call the cops?
   I considered the idea. The girl looked no more than twelve, black, slim, but composed. Her hair was platted so tight I wondered if they tugged at her eyebrows. Her perfume, spicy with a hint of sandalwood, cut through the onion and batter odors of the diner. She wore clean, well-fitted jeans, a pink fuzzy sweater over a lime green top, and new-looking Nikes. Gold chain, oversized plastic watch. Not enough clothes for February.
   She displayed no fear or uncertainty, which struck me as odd. Twelve-year-olds are always uncertain around adults.
   I turned to look outside. The day manager had finally replaced the broken lights in the lot, so our cars were brightly lit. There were none I didn’t recognize, and I would recognize a new one. I’d been running into the same people at the same hour of the night for almost three years, and had come to know them by their cars, the sound of their nasal congestion, and their bathing habits. We rarely spoke.
   “What you doing here this time of morning?” Sandy asked the girl.
   “I’m here for the atmosphere,” the girl said, keeping her nose in the menu. The sarcasm in her voice sounded bitter as a fifty-year-old’s.
   Sandy looked at me again. This time she was asking me if it would be okay if she dumped a pot of hot coffee on the girl’s head. Sandy’s skin got pretty thin by 3 a.m.
   I shook my head. “The lady’s just trying to be friendly,” I said to the girl. “No need to be rude.”
   The other regulars stared at their plates and cups, but I could tell their ears were locked in, the same way they had been a couple of weeks before when the place was held up.
   “Mind your own business, old man.” The girl pronounced it bidness.
   Sandy laughed. She knew the “old man” would piss me off. “I like that, Tim. From now on I’m calling you ‘old man.’”
   “You suppose you could take my order?” the girl said to her. Not a hint of a smile to soften her words.
   “What’cha want, honey?” Sandy said. “Lucky Charms? Count Chocula?”
   “Two waffles, hash browns smothered and covered, coffee with cream, bacon, crisp.” She folded the menu and stuck it back in the chrome holder next to the napkins.
   Sandy didn’t write it down. “You got money, honey?”
   The girl shook her head in disgust, reached two fingers into her back pocket, pulled out a Visa card, and flashed it toward Sandy like she was trying to blind her with a hand mirror.
   Sandy rolled her eyes toward me but turned to the grill. Otilio had gone outside for a cigarette ten minutes ago, but this time of night, it often took him forty-five minutes. His girl, who worked at the Wal-Mart next door, took her break about then as well, and they liked to pooch up in his old Chevy
Foreword • ix
Introduction • xiii
TOM BARLOW
   Smothered and Covered • 1
MICHAEL CONNELLY
   A Fine Mist of Blood • 14
O’NEIL DE NOUX
   Misprision of Felony • 29
EILEEN DREYER
   The Sailor in the Picture • 46
DAVID EDGERLEY GATES
   The Devil to Pay • 61
CLARK HOWARD
   The Street Ends at the Cemetery • 91
ANDRE KOCSIS
   Crossing • 126
KEVIN LEAHY
   Remora, IL • 158
NICK MAMATAS
   Thy Shiny Car in the Night • 172
EMILY ST. JOHN MANDEL
   Drifter • 180
DENNIS MCFADDEN
   The Ring of Kerry • 194
MICAH NATHAN
   Quarry • 211
JOYCE CAROL OATES
   So Near Any Time Always • 225
NANCY PICKARD
   Light Bulb • 263
BILL PRONZINI
   Gunpowder Alley • 277
PATRICIA SMITH
   When They Are Done with Us • 300
RANDALL SILVIS
   The Indian • 316
BEN STROUD
   The Don’s Cinnamon • 366
HANNAH TINTI
   Bullet Number Two • 381
MAURINE DALLAS WATKINS
   Bound • 392
Contributors’ Notes • 406
Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2012 • 418


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