Two of the Deadliest, edited by Elizabeth George contains 23 never before published short stories showcasing crimes motivated by one or both of two of the seven deadly sins, lust and greed. There are contributions from well known authors such as: Laura Lippman, Susan Wiggs, Marcia Muller, Carolyn Hart, Nancy Pickard, and Elizabeth George herself. In addition, five writers who have never been published before included.
Because this format is usually trying to appeal to a wide range of reading tastes, I find that compilations are bound to have hits and misses. The first few stories didn't really appeal to me, and while normally you'd want to hook the reader within the first few chapter, it didn't cause me to stop reading. The beauty of compilations is also that they lend themselves to being picked up for a story or two and for jumping around. For me, it wasn't until Gillian Linscott's Enough the Stay the Winter that I really got into the book. In general, the further into the book the more interesting I found the contributions.
Even though there were a few I wasn't as drawn into, I still felt it was a well rounded anthology with something for everyone. Over all, I really enjoyed the range it had and read several authors who were new to me. The exposure to new writer alone, makes this a must add to your reading list.
I was also pleasantly surprised by all the detail, mystery, and suspense that can be crammed into a few pages. Can You Hear Me Now? is a twisted little number about how using your cell phone can expose your hidden lives and lead to your destruction. Your Turn is about a gold digger's worst nightmare, being left by her boy toy and persecuted from the beyond the grave by the husband she's betrayed. Contemporary Insanity relates a young woman's disillusionment with a husband who married her for money, is involved in criminal activity, cheats on her, and then worse. One of my favorites was about Jack London and his downward spiral during the last years of his life.
All in all even if I didn't end up loving the story, they all got me thinking and pondering about human nature. A good read that I highly reccommend to mystery fans, especially if you're looking to find new authors to begin reading.
To browse inside of Two of the Deadliest and read the first four stories in their entirety, click here. In fact, please do me a favor. Go read the first story, Dark Chocolate. It was one of the few I really didn't get. I'd love to hear your opinion of it.