Friday, July 29, 2011

"Die, Lover, Die!" by the authors of the Top Suspense Group

The twelve Top Suspense authors came together to write a novelette. When I first read about this I thought it sounded like one of those "two many cooks spoil the broth" scenarios. I mean, how the heck can twelve people effectively write what amounts to something just outside the classification of a short story?

In actuality, Die, Lover, Die! is a bit of an experiment by the writers to see if they could create a cohesive thriller with each author writing two hundred and fifty words at a time, like a relay with each author passing off the story to the next. The twelve contributing authors were: Max Alan Collins, Bill Crider, Stephen Gallagher, Lee Goldberg, Joel Goldman, Ed Gorman, Libby Fischer Hellmann, Vicki Hendricks, Naomi Hirahara, Paul Levine, Harry Shannon, Dave Zeltserman. As a result, they managed to create an action-packed tale, even though the story's twists feel a bit like speed bumps.

The story begins with a beautiful woman, Lauren Blaine, speeding down a lonesome road with a quiet mystery man riding shotgun--and a carload of gunmen in pursuit. From that point on, it becomes clear the authors play a bit of one-upmanship by swerving both Lauren and the reader with an onslaught of plot twists. If the story itself feels a bit blocky, it is made palatable by an enjoyable femme fatale in Lauren Blaine and the slew of over-the-top characters with whom she crosses paths. It's an exciting story, but the constant gear-shifting gives it a bit of an incongruous feel. And when you reach the end of the story, and you look back at the beginning, you can't help but wonder: how the hell did she wind up there?

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