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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

11. Good and Valuable Consideration [Jack Reacher vs. Joseph Finder] by Lee Child vs. Nick Heller

Lee Child’s Reacher books were the only ones I’d read any of prior to this anthology and I’d liked them, so I had been looking forward to this story. I suppose it was a little disappointing in that sense, for lacking any grand quest to resolve?

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

10. The Devil’s Bones [Cotton Malone vs. Gray Pierce] by Steve Berry vs. James Rollins

I liked that there had been allusions in the characters’ books previous to this story that they knew each other, so that it played out more like a reunion. Not so much fond of the proliferation of hyper-competent agents of US political will and the agencies that employ them, but one almost cannot get super-spies without some form of imperialist chauvinism, and I do like a good bit of super-spy action.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

8. Pit Stop [Sean Reilly vs. Glen Garber] by Raymond Khoury vs. Linwood Barclay

This one was a bit forgettable and I suppose that sums it up fairly well. With Barclay apparently not using series characters these days, and the one he last wrote being of a sort to completely avoid involvement in the scenario presented, we end up with one half of the duo who mainly brings to it the terror of potentially losing one’s rather young daughter, while Sean Reilly of the FBI handles the active parts of the story.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

7. Infernal Night [Michael Quinn vs. Repairman Jack] by Heather Graham vs. F. Paul Wilson

Like “The Laughing Buddha” this story had explicitly supernatural elements, which makes the lack of them in “Gaslighted” more puzzling. And yet I find it weird this continues to bug me, as the story works well for what it is, and it’s hardly as if I am familiar with the source material and thereby bothered by an unfaithfulness.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

5. Surfing The Panther [Paul Madriani vs. Alexandra Cooper] by Steve Martini vs. Linda Fairstein

This one mostly interested me after a confrontational start - I’ve become rather averse to arguments, so the initial back and forth put me off a little. But once the story itself got underway I was interested the ‘lawyers attempting to uncover the truth of a case’.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

4. The Laughing Buddha [Malachai Samuels vs. D.D. Warren] by M.J. Rose vs. Lisa Gardner

I think this story was inherently going to be disappointing for what I wanted out of these. Like the previous story this one was hero vs. villain, not hero teaming up with hero as the first two were. Worse - from my perspective - Samuels is a protagonist villain, ever-slippery evading the grasp of the law, so this is effectively forbidden from being a story in which D.D. Warren gets one over him.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

3. Gaslighted [Slappy the Ventriloquist Dummy vs. Aloysius Pendergast] by R. L. Stine vs. Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

I dreaded reading this because I am not a fan of horror. It is a genre I am perhaps oversensitive to, one that lingers with me for days if I am lucky. A couple of years ago, for example, I read a short story by George R. R. Martin, “The Monkey Treatment” in The Year’s Best Science Fiction: First Annual Collection. That one gave me difficulty sleeping for a few weeks after and some of the imagery still haunts me.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

2. In The Nick Of Time [John Rebus vs. Roy Grace] by Ian Rankin vs. Peter James

I want to call this a nice little morality play but I’m not sure that’s quite right. Guy’s on his deathbed, insists on making a confession of the time he got away with killing someone back in the sixties during the Mods and Rockers riots.

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Book Dragon is Reading - FaceOff, edited by David Baldacci

1. Red Eye [Patrick Kenzie vs. Harry Bosch] by Dennis Lehane vs. Michael Connelly

So far I’ve yet to read anything by Michael Connelly I did not enjoy. Admittedly that is not much - a novel, The Poet, and a short story “Father’s Day” in the collection The Blue Religion. The latter is all I have otherwise read of his main series character Harry Bosch. I’m not previously familiar with Dennis Lehane or his work but this piece worked so well I’m inclined to give him a look.

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