Reviewed By: Catherine Thompson - RAM
“The gentler sex? Don’t make me laugh. And stay on your guard, lest they win your heart, because they’d like to have it. Perhaps with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” So writes anthologist Otto Penzler at the end of the introduction to Dangerous Women. This collection of short stories by such giants of the genre as Elmore Leonard, Ian Rankin, and Michael Connelly focuses on the femme fatale in all her forms.
You’re not likely to find the classic noir version, that dame in seeming distress, in these pages, however. In Nelson Demille’s contribution, “Rendezvous,” she takes the form of a Vietnamese sniper, methodically picking off the members of an American reconnaissance team. Irish writer John Connolly reaches into the primal depths for a demonic presence in “Mr. Gray’s Folly.” From Anne Perry comes “Sneaker Wave,” which pits three sisters against each other through the ambitions of one man.
I always enjoy Penzler’s anthologies. The founder of Mysterious Press, he always seems to know exactly who to call upon for a particular theme. I have to admit, I’d never have thought of Anne Perry writing on this theme. All the stories I read were top notch, as well, and I was delighted to sample work by authors I hadn’t yet had a chance to read. Sometimes the boundaries are stretched to their limits; I wouldn’t really classify “Mr. Gray’s Folly” as a mystery, but it’s an interesting take on the apocryphal tale of Lillith. Overall, Penzler has done a good job once again.
Catherine Thompson - RAM
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