I got this one to listen to on drives more than thirty minutes. You can basically hear one short story each way. It is a mixed bag, both in quality and presentation. It should be noted that the audible version of this book only includes seventeen stories, the first half of the book. The rest of the book’s nineteen tales are missing. Maybe the second half is also available as a book on tape. Maybe I’ll check.
The stories have been gathered by author Jeffrey Deaver (The Bone Collector). Many of the stories were previously published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine. A lot of the stories have that twist ending reminiscent of The Twilight Zone, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and similar anthology shows. Deaver includes one of his own short stories, “The Weekender,” which also happens to be one of the best ones. Other highlights include “Missing: Page Thirteen” by Anna Katharine Green and “The Gentleman in the Lake,” by Robert Barnard. The absolute highlight of the collection is “Quitters Inc.” by Stephen King, which rounds out the collection.
What is especially difficult is the inability to search through the collection as you’re listening to find a story or skip a story. You can fast forward, but it is a very clunky presentation. The readers of each story were mostly good. Some of the more detective noir-ish readings were a bit much, maybe, but that could have been the stories, too. I found the classic American detective stories to be the most dated. The Erle Stanley Gardner was especially tough going.
It took a lot of hunting online, as there is no complete list of authors and stories with the book on tape, but here is the complete list of the contents:
“Gentleman in the Lake” Robert Barnard
“Life in Our Time” Robert Bloch
“Batman’s Helpers” Lawrence Block
“Girl Who Married a Monster” Anthony Boucher
“Wench is Dead” Fredric Brown
“Cigarette Girl” James M. Cain
“Matter of Principal” Max Allan Collins
“The Weekender” Jeffery Deaver
“Reasons Unknown” Stanley Ellin
“Killing Bernstein” Harlan Ellison
“Leg Man” Erle Stanley Gardner
“One of Those Days, One of Those Nights” Ed Gorman
“Missing: Page Thirteen” Anna Katharine Green
“Voir Dire” Jeremaih Healy
“Chee’s Witch” Tony Hillerman
“Interpol: The Case of the Modern Medusa” Edward D. Hoch
“Quitters, Inc.” Stephen King