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This compilation of 20 stories, all that take place in hot weather, is as mixed a bag as you are likely to find this year. Deaver's own "Ninety-eight Point Six," which opens the collection, is indicative of the whole anthology: compelling, quick-moving and packing a trick ending common to such short stories. The same kind of structure is used to a lesser effect in Sinclair Browning's "Neighborhood Watch," whose surprise ending will be obvious to most readers.

Most subgenres, from private investigators to closed-door mysteries, are represented, and some stories, like G. Miki Hayden's "War Crimes," don't really fit into the genre at all. Others, notably Jeremiah Healy's "Slow Blink," cry out to be expanded to novel length.

Readers will find what they're looking for in this anthology, but they'll probably also find some stories not to their taste, which is not unusual when compiling stories from so diverse a group of authors. (Feb., 400 pp., $23.95)

Reviewed by: 
Jeffrey Cohen