By Erik Esckilsen
Updated December 16, 1994 at 05:00 AM EST

From America’s most-wanted killer writers comes this lively, deadly concoction of contemporary pulp fiction — the genuine article. In Murder Is My Business, seventeen tales, including one each by the collection’s editors, skulk along the queasy, ulcerous underbelly of murder for hire, exploring the moral transaction that is a contract hit, as well as the myriad human flaws correctable only through another’s death: professional jealousy, political puppetry, and, of course, escape from an unhappy marriage. While the bottom feeders behind the gun barrels are a strikingly diverse lot — there is a hit woman in one, and an ex-cop-turned-Mob patsy who realizes he’s gay in another — the stories themselves hew closely to the technical conventions of the genre, right down to its delightfully insular, hard-boiled vernacular. As in Barry N. Malzberg’s , ”Improvident Excess”: ”You tell Curley you got to give him some important inside information, and then you give him the information deep inside, you know?” Gun-shy, highfalutin literary types will no doubt find this Business rather primitive, but for fans of trigger fiction it will hit the mark squarely. B+