We gave it a B
Like the 70-minute movie or the ”super-size” sitcom, the novella is that rare awkward animal that can easily feel more like a compromise than a work of organically created fiction. It’s a hurdle most of the contributors to this collection of 10 new mystery, suspense, and crime pieces never quite conquer, though not for want of trying. Among the highlights in Transgressions, Joyce Carol Oates tears into a blistering account of mean girl kidnappers; Walter Mosley debuts a promisingly eccentric new hero in ”Archibald Lawless, Anarchist at Large”; and EW’s own Stephen King tackles 9/11 survivor guilt with bracing poignancy in a mere 27 pages. Conspicuously, the piece that best employs the form, ”Merely Hate” — a thrilling NYC police procedural about a serial killer offing Muslim cabbies — is by anthology editor Ed McBain. It’s as if he concocted the project just to get it published.