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“Exceptional… This is the best kind of anthology, consistently excellent and inventive.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review The latest Mystery Writers of America story collection, featuring surprising, page-turning twists on the genre from some of the top bestsellers and award winners in crime fiction It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories— “Exceptional… This is the best kind of anthology, consistently excellent and inventive.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review The latest Mystery Writers of America story collection, featuring surprising, page-turning twists on the genre from some of the top bestsellers and award winners in crime fiction It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories—a man takes a journey, or a stranger comes to town. While mystery writers have been successfully using both approaches for generations, there’s something undeniably alluring in the nature of a stranger: the uninvited guest, the unacquainted neighbor, the fish out of water. No matter how or where they appear, strangers are walking mysteries, complete unknowns in once-familiar territories who disrupt our lives with unease and wonder. In the newest collection of stories by the Mystery Writers of America, each author weaves a fresh tale surrounding the eerie feeling that comes when a stranger enters our midst, featuring stories by prolific mystery writers such as Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz and Joe Hill.


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“Exceptional… This is the best kind of anthology, consistently excellent and inventive.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review The latest Mystery Writers of America story collection, featuring surprising, page-turning twists on the genre from some of the top bestsellers and award winners in crime fiction It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories— “Exceptional… This is the best kind of anthology, consistently excellent and inventive.” -Publishers Weekly, starred review The latest Mystery Writers of America story collection, featuring surprising, page-turning twists on the genre from some of the top bestsellers and award winners in crime fiction It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories—a man takes a journey, or a stranger comes to town. While mystery writers have been successfully using both approaches for generations, there’s something undeniably alluring in the nature of a stranger: the uninvited guest, the unacquainted neighbor, the fish out of water. No matter how or where they appear, strangers are walking mysteries, complete unknowns in once-familiar territories who disrupt our lives with unease and wonder. In the newest collection of stories by the Mystery Writers of America, each author weaves a fresh tale surrounding the eerie feeling that comes when a stranger enters our midst, featuring stories by prolific mystery writers such as Michael Connelly, Dean Koontz and Joe Hill.

30 review for When a Stranger Comes to Town

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sandy

    “ All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town” And so the theme for this collection was born. I’ve always thought one of the biggest challenges for any writer is to pen a great short story. It’s just so damn hard to successfully create something that feels complete, delivers/makes a point & entertains within the confines of the format. Here we have 19 shorties built around the arrival of a stranger. Through a variety of settings & periods they “ All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town” And so the theme for this collection was born. I’ve always thought one of the biggest challenges for any writer is to pen a great short story. It’s just so damn hard to successfully create something that feels complete, delivers/makes a point & entertains within the confines of the format. Here we have 19 shorties built around the arrival of a stranger. Through a variety of settings & periods they encompass the weird, the evil, the poignant, the surreal & the downright spooky. As always, individual favourites will vary but everyone will find a new-to-them author to toss on their TBR pile. Here’s a few personal standouts. “Relative Stranger” by Amanda Witt: I liked & cared about these people immediately which made the story all the more intense. *Warning*…contains a really, really creepy character. “Avalon” by Michael Connelly: a taut & clever read from the master storyteller. “Here’s to New Friends” by Jacqueline Freimor. New author for me & I have to say….Ms. F, I like your style (and your twists). “Room for One More” by Joe R. Lansdale: another veteran writer who knows how to get under your skin in record time. Best line….”I like to poke” 😱😱😱 “Tokyo Stranger” by Tina deBellegarde: a simple, elegant story that was poignant & touching “Assignment: Sheepshead Bay” by Paul Barra: any time a story includes a dog named Ethyl, count me in. “A Six Letter Word for Neighbour” by Lisa Unger: the take-away is if your next door neighbour brings you cookies, do NOT piss them off. Lesson learned. Bring on the next one! 3.5 stars

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fran

    "All great literature is one of two stories, a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town." "The stranger could be the hero or the villain. The town could be welcoming or hostile." This latest anthology of the Mystery Writers' of America focuses on the eerie, unsettling feeling created by strangers among us. The nineteen dark short stories are a reader's delight. Here are a few of this reader's favorites. Kohinoor by Smita Harish Jain "Kohinoor was the dancer that had captured Mumbai-first a "All great literature is one of two stories, a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town." "The stranger could be the hero or the villain. The town could be welcoming or hostile." This latest anthology of the Mystery Writers' of America focuses on the eerie, unsettling feeling created by strangers among us. The nineteen dark short stories are a reader's delight. Here are a few of this reader's favorites. Kohinoor by Smita Harish Jain "Kohinoor was the dancer that had captured Mumbai-first as an enigma, then as an icon...men would spend their hard earned money on a bar dancer". The morality police decided that these "dens of wickedness" must be closed. The Dance Bar Workers' Union would fight the morality police with morality. Avalon by Michael Connelly Searcy, an LAPD detective, worked on the island of Avalon. Although he was preparing for an upcoming trial as the main witness in a murder case, his daily routine consisted of watching passengers disembark from the pier on the 7:10 each morning. A man in a green windbreaker, gun tucked into his waistband and carrying no luggage caught Searcy's eye . He couldn't be a day worker-no tools. What was the stranger's agenda? Room for One More by Joe Lansdale Jackson was a hitchhiker. "No one wanted to stop for a stranger...Especially now that it was night and the moon was thin...He wasn't a serial killer...all of his murders were for a financial reason...steal enough to live through the day". A house...fancy looking car...no noticeable security cameras. "Doll" and "Guy" were focused on the same potential target. Exit Now by Emilya Naymark Fergie, now an unemployed toy designer, lived in Old Town Beach, Maine. "Lately...the toys he built felt a lie, a promise to children the world would not keep. How did his manager's name appear on all documents including his patent for a drone." Fergie secured a job assembling rides and manning booths along the boardwalk for the summer season. Melissa Fraser, carnival owner, found a message on her cell phone demanding $20,000. Blame Fergie...he was tall, big boned and his outward appearance inspired fear. P.F.A. by Michael Koryta "Janice Jardine could be convincing or exhausting. Either way, what Janice Jardine wanted, she got". She was determined to have an adjacent lot rezoned as buildable property. Converting to a taxable parcel, Janice would pay the tax bill. Her goal, build a house for her son and his family. When new neighbors Lily and Riley Goodwin moved in next door to Janice, she greeted them with a home baked pie and paperwork. "I don't want to see you guys get off on the wrong foot in this town". A Six Letter Word for Neighbor by Lisa Unger A new neighbor, an antiquarian art restorer, moved into the house next door to Jayme. She was delighted that he could fix her great grandfather's pocket watch circa 1800's, the only momento she had of her parents. Restorer Carlton Wilson thought the watch just needed winding, cleaning and a little love. Come back tomorrow to pick it up. Cost-no charge. The next day, Carlton claimed he never met Jayme before and she never asked for a pocket watch to be fixed. "When a Stranger Comes to Town" edited by Michael Koryta is a fun filled mystery compilation. In each appearance by a stranger, lives were altered, some getting their comeuppance, others getting to shine. Read it and judge for yourself! Thank you HARLEQUIN/Hanover Square Press and Net Galley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Carolyn Walsh

    This was an above-average collection of short stories. A quotation attributed to many past authors states, "All great literature is about two stories; a man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town." This anthology of short stories is about encounters with strangers, some pleasant but many deadly. This collection contains stories by 19 talented crime writers. I was unfamiliar with the majority of names but enjoyed most of these short stories. My personal favourites were by Amanda Witt, Li This was an above-average collection of short stories. A quotation attributed to many past authors states, "All great literature is about two stories; a man goes on a journey, or a stranger comes to town." This anthology of short stories is about encounters with strangers, some pleasant but many deadly. This collection contains stories by 19 talented crime writers. I was unfamiliar with the majority of names but enjoyed most of these short stories. My personal favourites were by Amanda Witt, Lisa Unger, Michael Koryta, and Jonathan Stone, but I also admired most others. This volume is recommended to fans of crime writing (in the short story format). Thank you, NetGalley and Harlequin Press, for the advance digital copy in return for an honest review.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Melissa (LifeFullyBooked)

    I'm not generally the biggest fan of short stories, but this collection appealed to me because it includes stories by some of my favorite mystery writers. As with many anthologies, this one had some strong hits and also some misses. I really enjoyed the stories by Lisa Unger (this one was a bit longer than the most, giving me more time to connect with the characters and the narrative) and Michael Koryta. There were a few stories that started strongly and then devolved into confusion for me, and I'm not generally the biggest fan of short stories, but this collection appealed to me because it includes stories by some of my favorite mystery writers. As with many anthologies, this one had some strong hits and also some misses. I really enjoyed the stories by Lisa Unger (this one was a bit longer than the most, giving me more time to connect with the characters and the narrative) and Michael Koryta. There were a few stories that started strongly and then devolved into confusion for me, and others that had a very obvious twist included just to have a twist. Overall I'm glad I read it and fortunately, if I wasn't connecting with a story I could just move on to the next one. It is worth picking up, especially if you like mystery stories and want to fit in one or two during a bit of free time. I voluntarily reviewed a complimentary copy of this book, all opinions are my own.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Mackey

    Living in a very small town I have found that one of the most used phrases here is "there's a stranger in town." Living in the city is so different - who would know if someone is a stranger or not? But here, everyone knows. Are they here for good for bad? That's always the question. When A Stranger Comes to Town is a compilation of short stories based on the premise of a stranger in our midst. Admittedly there were some stories that I enjoyed more than others and, surprisingly, some of those wer Living in a very small town I have found that one of the most used phrases here is "there's a stranger in town." Living in the city is so different - who would know if someone is a stranger or not? But here, everyone knows. Are they here for good for bad? That's always the question. When A Stranger Comes to Town is a compilation of short stories based on the premise of a stranger in our midst. Admittedly there were some stories that I enjoyed more than others and, surprisingly, some of those were by "new to me" authors. Of course, there also are stories by some of the best mystery writers of today: Michael Connolly, Dean Koontz and Joe Hill (shivers on the thought of Hill and his entry) but you'll find a collection of really good mysteries throughout the book. This would make a great summer read because you read each mystery at your leisure, at the beach or beside the pool, in between innings. ;) This one is a great addition to my library and one I highly recommend.

  6. 5 out of 5

    megs_bookrack

    Thank you, Hanover Square Press, for the ARC!! The fact that there is a story included from Joe Hill is reason enough to pick this up, but truly it sounds like a thrilling collection overall. Excited to dive in! Thank you, Hanover Square Press, for the ARC!! The fact that there is a story included from Joe Hill is reason enough to pick this up, but truly it sounds like a thrilling collection overall. Excited to dive in!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris C - A Midlife Wife

    Interesting collection of short stories - crime, mystery, different. Some really good, some so-so. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There’s nothing like a good creep out session. This collection of stories is a great place to start. What I like about it was that it had a big collection of different types of stories all based on the theme of a stranger. Some stories were very good and there were a few that were not my cup of tea and didn’t really fit the criteria of stranger danger in my opinion. Overall, Koryta pi Interesting collection of short stories - crime, mystery, different. Some really good, some so-so. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ There’s nothing like a good creep out session. This collection of stories is a great place to start. What I like about it was that it had a big collection of different types of stories all based on the theme of a stranger. Some stories were very good and there were a few that were not my cup of tea and didn’t really fit the criteria of stranger danger in my opinion. Overall, Koryta picked some awesome authors to contribute to this book! There are many names of authors in here I’m sure you have heard of and love to read. The length of the stories is perfect for a quickie read or sit and enjoy many at a time. Here’s a quick recap of a few of the stories that caught my attention. Just a taste to let you know who and what type of stories are in here. There are plenty of others too! Avalon by Michael Connelly – Small town sheriff and a murder for hire Here’s to New Friends by Jacqueline Freimor – Stranger on a train. But who’s the good friend Room For One More By Joe R. Lansdale – Caught in a twist of fate A Six-Letter Word For Neighbor by Lisa Unger- A creepy neighbor and a murderous affair Perfect Strangers by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs – The perfect set up Do You Remember by Lori Roy – Psychological murder mystery P.F.A. By Michael Koryta – Welcome to the neighborhood gift They sound great, right? Overall, this is a nice collection. I love the variation of stories, and of course, the theme itself puts you in the right frame of mind. All that stranger danger we’re taught kind of gives us the creeps to begin with! These authors know how to capitalize on that! * copy received for review consideration Full review - https://amidlifewife.com/when-a-stran...

  8. 5 out of 5

    Dave

    Nineteen stories by an all-star cast of mystery writers. The best of the bunch were the first two "Solomon Wept" by S .A. Cosby, "Relative Stranger" by Amanda Witt, and "Avalon" by Michael Connelly. Nineteen stories by an all-star cast of mystery writers. The best of the bunch were the first two "Solomon Wept" by S .A. Cosby, "Relative Stranger" by Amanda Witt, and "Avalon" by Michael Connelly.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ctgt

    Wasn't sure I would enjoy short crime fiction but there were some good stories here. Really enjoyed the Lisa Unger story. 6/10 Wasn't sure I would enjoy short crime fiction but there were some good stories here. Really enjoyed the Lisa Unger story. 6/10

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This is a mix. Mostly violent. 2.5 stars rounded up for a few good ones. This started off pretty well in story lengths especially. At the 2/3rds point of the page counts, I felt the common theme was nearly totally lost within mayhem and murder. Suffice it to say few, if any, of the strangers who arrive are decent or have conscience. And that the tension is pumped up immensely and to life/death situations extremely quickly in many of these. There were a few, like Connolly's that were absurd in an This is a mix. Mostly violent. 2.5 stars rounded up for a few good ones. This started off pretty well in story lengths especially. At the 2/3rds point of the page counts, I felt the common theme was nearly totally lost within mayhem and murder. Suffice it to say few, if any, of the strangers who arrive are decent or have conscience. And that the tension is pumped up immensely and to life/death situations extremely quickly in many of these. There were a few, like Connolly's that were absurd in any reality anywhere. And some that others liked in their reviews of each story by list that made me laugh more than made me question or feel as possible. Very different reaction than what they had. But there is evidence of immense imagination toward revenge, greed, etc. for sure. I've only read two of these and this one was better than the first, Koryta's Introduction very good, in fact. At least you have a sense of what you will get. Unger's I didn't like at all. Way too long- novella more than short story. Very much like her novels, IMHO. I've only read one and she is a no go for me. The one from an unknown new author with the adopted child was atrocious. No imagination needed. UGH! Short stories, even the best, don't do it at all for me. Most of the characters in all of these seem like cartoon or comic cut outs. Couldn't a stranger coming to town be a good intent drifter like Reacher? And maybe one do gooder story other than murdering people for revenge or karma happenstance? I guess authors don't much go there when the twist is so hard and fast.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Cathy Geha

    When A Stranger Comes To Town Edited by Michael Koryta This Mystery Writers of America anthology of short stories includes eighteen authors take on the a stranger coming to town…most of the strangers written about by the authors are not ones I would like to meet myself but they are intriguing. I believe this is a book best read a story at a time rather than all in one sitting. It would make a good gift to give to a mystery lover. I have a few more stories yet to read but my favorites so far were: When A Stranger Comes To Town Edited by Michael Koryta This Mystery Writers of America anthology of short stories includes eighteen authors take on the a stranger coming to town…most of the strangers written about by the authors are not ones I would like to meet myself but they are intriguing. I believe this is a book best read a story at a time rather than all in one sitting. It would make a good gift to give to a mystery lover. I have a few more stories yet to read but my favorites so far were: Solomon Wept by S.A. Cosby ~ a story of a mother’s love and Relative Stranger by Amanda Witt: a family pulling together to stay safe. There were several others that made me think but I related best to these first two stories in the collection – perhaps because the mothers in both stories were characters I could see a bit of myself in. All in all this was an interesting ncollection of stories well worth reading. Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin – Hanover square Press for the ARC ~ This is my honest review. 4-5 Stars

  12. 4 out of 5

    Liz (Quirky Cat)

    When a Stranger Comes to Town is a collection of mystery and thriller short stories and was edited by Michael Koryta. Though I imagine it's the promise of another Joe Hill short story that will have caught many reader's attention (as well as all of the other amazing authors in this anthology). This anthology includes a variety of short stories, including Solomon Wept by S.A. Cosby, Relative Stranger by Amanda Witt, Seat 2C by Alafair Burke, Kohinoor by Smitha Harish Jain, Avalon by Michael Conne When a Stranger Comes to Town is a collection of mystery and thriller short stories and was edited by Michael Koryta. Though I imagine it's the promise of another Joe Hill short story that will have caught many reader's attention (as well as all of the other amazing authors in this anthology). This anthology includes a variety of short stories, including Solomon Wept by S.A. Cosby, Relative Stranger by Amanda Witt, Seat 2C by Alafair Burke, Kohinoor by Smitha Harish Jain, Avalon by Michael Connelly, Here's to New Friends by Jacqueline Freimor, Room for One More by Joe R. Lansdale, Now by Emilya Naymark, A Six-Letter Word for Neighbor by Lisa Unger. Howard's Heart by Bryon Quertermous, Perfect Strangers by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs, Do You Remember by Lori Roy, Assignment: Sheepshead Bay by Paul A. Barra, P.F.A. By Michael Koryta, Genius by Elaine Togneri, Russkies by Jonathan Stone, A Different Kind of Healing by Steve Hamilton, Tokyo Stranger by Tina de Bellegarde, and Last Fare by Joe Hill. "There are nineteen dark treats ahead for you, and my job is to shut up and get out of your way so you can get on to the main event." Solomon Wept by S.A. Cosby Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Solomon Wept was a decent read and a pretty solid start to this anthology, all things considered. It read as more of a classic mystery than anything else, which isn't a bad thing by any means. "That's what happened when you were a pimp and one of your girls stabbed a date who was the son of a Richmond city councilman." Relative Stranger by Amanda Witt Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ If you're looking to get creeped out, then you should probably read Relative Stranger (and if creepy strangers freak you out, you should probably just stay clear). It's an intense read, with characters that really came to life despite such a short time on the page. "Glory's heart gave a startled thud; her cheeks flushed hot." Seat 2C by Alafair Burke Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ This was an interesting read! Maybe it's just the reader in me, but I kind of loved the premise of it all—a widow who travels to the same place at the same time every year. Only to get targeted by...someone. I won't spoil it. "I swore I'd never give up my beloved hardbacks." Kohinoor by Smitha Harish Jain Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Mystery meets morality in Kohinoor, as police war against the darker parts of the world, all while raising questions about lines in the sand. "I stood outside the prison's massive iron gates, waiting for the warden to arrive." Avalon by Michael Connelly Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Avalon read so perfectly like a mystery novel that I was surprised when it ended so quickly. That's how you know a story has sunk its claws into you! I wouldn't have mind seeing more of this tale, though what was here was complete and interesting. "Watching the strangers was an exercise. It kept his skills sharp." Here's to New Friends by Jacqueline Freimor Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Coming back around to that creepy stranger concept but with a few different twists this time around. I really liked Freimor's writing style and will probably check out more of her work in the future. "I'm an observer, as both my profession and my avocation have trained me to be." Room for One more by Joe R. Lansdale Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ This story is the perfect example of why you do not stop and pick up hitchhikers, no matter how desperate they may seem. Need I say more? "If they stopped, he was going to rob them." Now by Emilya Naymark Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ I really enjoyed the setup for Now, as it took the time to set the tone before throwing us into the mystery of the world/plot. It gave us plenty of time to appreciate the character and their nuances. "His GPS lady had an Irish accent and reminded him of his aunt Maura, who also loved issuing directions." A Six-Letter Word for Neighbor by Lisa Unger Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ This is an odd yet compelling read and is probably not the best one to read if you're already feeling inclined not to trust new neighbors. I love Lisa Unger's writing and am adding her to the list of authors to check out after this. "Great. New neighbors. They left the dog." Howard's Heart by Bryon Quertermous Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Howard's Heart was another interesting addition to this anthology, though if I'm brutally honest, it's largely forgettable. I remember liking it, but I didn't remember anything about it after the fact. "Howard told me three things before he died." Perfect Strangers by Tilia Klebenov Jacobs Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Looking for a robber story? Check out Perfect Strangers. It's got robbery, planning, the works, which made for a fun and thrilling read. "I am not good at armed robbery, but when Dougal told me about the new cannabis dispensaries, I figured third time was the charm." Do You Remember by Lori Roy Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ I'm conflicted about Do You Remember. On the one hand, I really did enjoy the writing. On the other hand, this was another short that I had to look up and double-check before sitting down to write about it. "I wonder if it brings you job to know she's dead." Assignment: Sheepshead Bay by Paul A. Barra Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Assignment: Sheepshead is arguably the story with the most intriguing name out of the entire collection. It was a thrilling read and gets bonus points for including an adorable dog named Ethyl (I'm a sucker for dogs in mysteries, so sue me). "She was Fletcher's home, facilitating his peripatetic life as an assassin for hire." P.F.A. By Michael Koryta Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ I feel like the pull quote for this short will do a better job than I could of explaining the dark and intriguing nature of it. "Janice was swell at putting on a smiling mask when her heart was a cold black fist and her mind a whirlpool of red tides." Genius by Elaine Togneri Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ I loved the premise of this one, a man trying to kill a genius? It was oddly funny, come to think of it. I'm not sure if that was intentional, but it certainly was the end result. "How smart do you have to be to kill a genius? I'm about to find out." Russkies by Jonathan Stone Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Russkies felt like the most traditional thriller of the bunch, which can be considered either a good thing or a bad thing, depending on how you look at it. "Well...why don't you tell me first how you happened to be there in the bomb shelter?" A Different Kind of Healing by Steve Hamilton Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ I really liked the different perspectives and takes for A Different Kind of Healing. It isn't every day you see a mystery from the other side of the hospital room (er, an emergency room, in this case, I guess). "By the time the stretcher bangs through the doors, the attending physician and three nurses, including Charlotte, are already gowned and masked." Tokyo Stranger by Tina deBellegarde Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ If you're looking for a short that has you on the edge of your seat while you try and put the pieces of the puzzle together, it's got to be Tokyo Stranger. There's an air of mystery surrounding this one, no pun intended. “Konbanwa, Saksaki-san.” “Konbanwa, Yuki-chan.” Last Fare by Joe Hill Rating: ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ ⋆ Last but not least, we have the Last Fare by Joe Hill. I enjoyed the narrative and the writing for this one, though I do still have a question here and there. I'm okay with some lingering questions from a mystery, though; it gives me something to ponder once I'm done. "I hope you're on your way somewhere safe," he said, "I hope there's someone to take care of you." Thanks to Hanover Square Press and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own. Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks

  13. 4 out of 5

    Bookish

    This was a very satisfying anthology. 19 stories are quite a lot to get through, and some of them required a moment in between to catch my breath. It was really fun watching these different writers play with that single prompt. Watching them build tension, gain trust and ultimately pack a punch of a story in limited words. My scoring out of five is below for each story. I elaborated on a few of my favorites: Solomon Wept - S A Cosby: 4 A good starting off. If the rest of the stories carry this m This was a very satisfying anthology. 19 stories are quite a lot to get through, and some of them required a moment in between to catch my breath. It was really fun watching these different writers play with that single prompt. Watching them build tension, gain trust and ultimately pack a punch of a story in limited words. My scoring out of five is below for each story. I elaborated on a few of my favorites: Solomon Wept - S A Cosby: 4 A good starting off. If the rest of the stories carry this much bravado, this will be a great time. This story was kinda heartbreaking. What this mom has done for her kid. Relative Stranger - Amanda Witt: 5 So incredibly good. Takes the threatening stranger making hostages of a quiet country home trope and spins it on its head. Superb! Seat 2C - Alafair Burke 3 the beginning and middle felt disjointed to me so I kept trying to find their seams as the story moved on. Kohinoor - Smita Harish Jain 3.5 Avalon - Michael Connelly 3.5 Here’s to New Friends - Jacqueline Freimor 4 but eww, so unsettling Room for One More - Joe R Landsdale 3.5 Exit Now - Emilya Naymark 4 A Six Letter Word For Neighbor - Lisa Unger 5 the underlying unsettling feeling kept growing and growing as this story. So much quiet mystery built in the story and storyteller. Upon completion, even more is explained. Howard’s Heart - Bryon Quertermous 3.5 Perfect Strangers - Tilia Klebenov Jacobs 4.5 oh, this was so fun! Do You Remember - Lori Roy 4 Assignment: Sheepshead Bay - Paul A Barra 3.5 P. F. A. - Michael Kortya 4.5 Genius - Elaine Togneri 3.5 Russkies - Johnathan Stone 4 so unsettling A Different Kind of Healing - Steve Hamilton 4.5 Tokyo Stranger - Tina deBellegarde 3.5 Last Fare - Joe Hill 5 delightfully strange and touching. Went directly to my heart.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Elaine

    Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of When a Stranger Comes to Town. I'm not a fan of short story collections because they're like a box of chocolates; I only like a few of them. But, lately, all of the short story collections NetGalley has approved me for has been really good, well written satisfying stories with decent twists. With the theme being When a Stranger Comes to Town, this collection of stories penned by notable authors in the thriller genre was better than I expected. I enjoyed m Thank you to NetGalley for an ARC of When a Stranger Comes to Town. I'm not a fan of short story collections because they're like a box of chocolates; I only like a few of them. But, lately, all of the short story collections NetGalley has approved me for has been really good, well written satisfying stories with decent twists. With the theme being When a Stranger Comes to Town, this collection of stories penned by notable authors in the thriller genre was better than I expected. I enjoyed most of the stories, especially Last Fare by Joe Hill (I'm biased because I love stories with a supernatural element), Avalon by Michael Connelly, and Here's to New Friends by Jacqueline Freimor, to name a few. There were an equal number of male and female authors, and most of the stories leaves the reader with a vague sense of foreboding or a task that has not yet been completed, which I liked. A stranger fills you not with a sense of warmth, but unease and trepidation. These stories introduce both likable and unlikable characters, some who do not have your best interests in mind, and yet others who surprise you with their kindness and empathy. I recommend this to anyone looking for a good collection of short stories to read from a variety of talented writers.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Amy Bearinger

    Short stories are not typically my thing. I’m a Koryta fan + the genre is a favorite so I was excited to get my hands on this. Thought it provided a good selection, fast paced. It was also extremely frustrating because so many of these entries had such great potential to be longer stories! Before returning to the library I’m certainly noting which ones stood out and will check out the authors (thinking especially Amanda Witt).

  16. 5 out of 5

    Carol

    I am not usually a short story person, but this collection caught my eye at the library. There were a few stories that I didn't care for as much as the others but overall, I really enjoyed this. I am not usually a short story person, but this collection caught my eye at the library. There were a few stories that I didn't care for as much as the others but overall, I really enjoyed this.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda (un)Conventional Bookworms

    *I received a free copy of When a Stranger comes to Town. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.* Usually, I'm not a fan of short stories and anthologies, but When a Stranger Comes to Town was really good! All the stories a thrillers, and the one thing they had in common was a stranger arriving somewhere. And I have to say some of these stories were absolutely chilling! Well done, with the world building set from the start, and I was definitely a happy rea *I received a free copy of When a Stranger comes to Town. This has in no way influenced my voluntary review which is honest and unbiased.* Usually, I'm not a fan of short stories and anthologies, but When a Stranger Comes to Town was really good! All the stories a thrillers, and the one thing they had in common was a stranger arriving somewhere. And I have to say some of these stories were absolutely chilling! Well done, with the world building set from the start, and I was definitely a happy reader.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Jacob Dzik

    This is the best short story collection I have read this year. There were only a couple of stories I couldn’t get into, the authors I love all had great ones, and it was a nice surprise to discover new authors who really had great stories in here. Definitely recommend checking out.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rajiv

    [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “When a Stranger Comes to Town” was such a treat to read. I enjoyed reading this anthology of mystery and thrillers. The book contains an eclectic selection of stories that kept me entertained. This book has a wide variety of stories, from assassins to U.F.O.s. Moreover, the tone of each level is different from one another. You have tales like “Assignment: Sheepshead Bay,” “Avalon,” and “Exit Now” that fills with adventure. T [Blog]::[Youtube]::[Twitter]::[Instagram]::[Pinterest]::[Bloglovin] “When a Stranger Comes to Town” was such a treat to read. I enjoyed reading this anthology of mystery and thrillers. The book contains an eclectic selection of stories that kept me entertained. This book has a wide variety of stories, from assassins to U.F.O.s. Moreover, the tone of each level is different from one another. You have tales like “Assignment: Sheepshead Bay,” “Avalon,” and “Exit Now” that fills with adventure. Then, there were stories like “Kohinoor,” which I appreciated for its brutal depiction of Indian exotic club dancers. Similarly, even “Tokyo Stranger” moved my heart as it came across as an emotional tale. However, while I enjoyed all the stories, the below topped my list and made the book memorable. A Six-Letter Word for Neighbor: I loved the slow burn mystery and Jay as the main character. The author wrote it in a thrilling, cozy mystery fashion glued to the pages (particularly when they get in the basement). Here’s to New Friends: Probably one of my favorites! A simple tale with just three people on a train. But, I was at the edge of my seat throughout, and the ending shocked me! A Different Kind of Healing/Solomon Wept: I loved both these stories for their tale of revenge and justice, and it reminded me of “Kill Bill.” P.F.A.: Janice made this story memorable and had me laughing. I loved her snarky attitude towards the new neighbors, and it had a delightfully twisted ending too. The remaining stories were also fun, like “Seat 2C” and “Room for one more,” but felt short and light compared to the others. Nevertheless, this is a beautiful selection of novellas which I highly recommend if you are a fan of mysteries and thrillers!

  20. 5 out of 5

    Leslie M.

    Anthology collections are always hit and miss. I love the novellas, as they're easy to fit into a busy day for a quick read. I really enjoyed some of the stories in this one, as they were well crafted and felt complete, even though they're short stories. Sadly, that wasn't the case with all the stories in this book. Some felt a bit incomplete. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review. Anthology collections are always hit and miss. I love the novellas, as they're easy to fit into a busy day for a quick read. I really enjoyed some of the stories in this one, as they were well crafted and felt complete, even though they're short stories. Sadly, that wasn't the case with all the stories in this book. Some felt a bit incomplete. Disclaimer: I received a complimentary copy, but I wasn't required to leave a positive review.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Baratta

    You should really get this book.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Paige Turner

    Delightful!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Patty Ann

    I love this book! I've found so many great, new authors! I love this book! I've found so many great, new authors!

  24. 5 out of 5

    Kristi Clemow

    Such a fun book. I really enjoyed all the different authors and stories.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nerdy Chic

    A fantastic compilation of books build on the premise "It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories—a man takes a journey, or a stranger comes to town." Nineteen short stories that had me devouring this compilation fairly quickly and now has me even more wary of all strangers in my vicinity, thank you very much for making me even more paranoid. I especially loved Amanda Witt and Lisa Unger's tales and will be adding these authors to my must read books. A fantastic compilation of books build on the premise "It’s been said that all great literature boils down to one of two stories—a man takes a journey, or a stranger comes to town." Nineteen short stories that had me devouring this compilation fairly quickly and now has me even more wary of all strangers in my vicinity, thank you very much for making me even more paranoid. I especially loved Amanda Witt and Lisa Unger's tales and will be adding these authors to my must read books.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Carol Wheeler

    *Goodreads win* As long as I can remember I never liked short stories but this collection caught my interest, so I entered the giveaway. I still am not a fan of short stories but some these were good. I read them all whether I liked them or not. My favorite was Relative Stranger by Amanda Witt.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Joe Hills story was my favorite. Gave a taste of, "All things Follow the Beam", which thrilled a Dark Tower junkie like me. Totally worth the read. Joe Hills story was my favorite. Gave a taste of, "All things Follow the Beam", which thrilled a Dark Tower junkie like me. Totally worth the read.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joey Vichio

    The majority of these stories were actually very well crafted. There were only a couple that I found myself skimming through. Every single story lives up to the title’s name, tying together the theme of a stranger’s intent when we first meet them. Most of them were short and sweet, but packed a terrifying punch. That’s how I like my anthologies.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Jill Elizabeth

    This was a great concept for a short story collection, and there are a number of very big names featured in its pages... A number of the stories were pretty graphic/gritty (with a surprising number featuring prostitutes, given the topic), but on the whole I enjoyed the anthology. There were a handful of twists and turns that I didn't see coming - and even when I did see them, I mostly didn't mind because the writing was quite well done in nearly all the stories included herein. I particularly en This was a great concept for a short story collection, and there are a number of very big names featured in its pages... A number of the stories were pretty graphic/gritty (with a surprising number featuring prostitutes, given the topic), but on the whole I enjoyed the anthology. There were a handful of twists and turns that I didn't see coming - and even when I did see them, I mostly didn't mind because the writing was quite well done in nearly all the stories included herein. I particularly enjoyed the Lisa Unger - which was no surprise. I hadn't read Alafair Burke before, although have seen her titles many times, but her "Seat 2C" was excellent and made me want to search her out... Ditto Amanda Witt with "Relative Stranger." For new authors, "Here's to New Friends" by Jacqueline Freimor was a great find, and I'll be keeping my eye out for more from her. I was surprised that the Michael Connelly and Joe Hill stories were not among my favorites (they are two authors I typically enjoy) but I found the tales a bit more loosely structured than their usual fare... Thanks to NetGalley for my obligation-free review copy.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    Themed anthologies of any genre can be a hit-or-miss affair for any number of reasons. Happily, this is never the case with those commissioned by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Each editor selecting the stories brings their A game to the task, and each contributing author does as well, whether they be world-famous or in the process of building an audience. Even with MWA’s stellar reputation, WHEN A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN is special. Michael Koryta, the editor of this volume, notes in his intro Themed anthologies of any genre can be a hit-or-miss affair for any number of reasons. Happily, this is never the case with those commissioned by Mystery Writers of America (MWA). Each editor selecting the stories brings their A game to the task, and each contributing author does as well, whether they be world-famous or in the process of building an audience. Even with MWA’s stellar reputation, WHEN A STRANGER COMES TO TOWN is special. Michael Koryta, the editor of this volume, notes in his introduction that all great literature comes from one of two points of origin: either a character starts on a journey, or a stranger comes to town. Koryta takes the latter point of departure, and the result is 19 original and highly rewarding tales. Let’s begin with two familiar names whose stories have an element in common other than the book’s overarching theme. “Seat 2C” by Alafair Burke begins within the somewhat pedestrian confines of a storage facility but travels far beyond it and back again as a woman of mature age becomes an amateur detective out of necessity. Michael Connelly introduces a new character in “Avalon,” in which a law enforcement officer on Santa Catalina Island believes himself to be the target of a visiting assassin and gets a surprise. Each of these stories could be “grown” into a much larger work if the authors so desire and their characters cooperate. Paul A. Barra’s “Assignment: Sheepshead Bay” also falls into this category. The story is superb, but Percy Fletcher, a hitman who himself becomes a target, could launch an anthology of his own. There are a couple of twists at the end, and you might see one of them coming. Renowned writer Joe R. Lansdale is also included here with “Room for One More,” which features an opportunistic, hitchhiking thief who is not above killing when necessary. If you have a penchant for picking up road travelers, you will end that practice after reading this story. “Solomon Wept” by S. A. Cosby opens the collection and is just as impressive as BLACKTOP WASTELAND, his debut novel. It takes readers into the deep end of human depravity while ending the tale on a haunting note of redemption and sacrifice. Koryta, who is best known for his longer fiction in unusual settings, contributes “P.F.A.,” which is a bit of a departure for him. Here he presents a battle of wills --- and more --- when the head of a neighborhood association meets her match as she takes on a new neighbor over a land grab attempt with unexpected results. My favorite story (and it was hard to pick just one) comes at the end: Joe Hill’s “Last Fare,” which is set in New Mexico on the night of the 1960 Presidential election. A woman is in a cab reluctantly headed to an alcohol rehabilitation clinic on the back end of the state. The driver gives her an unexpected sightseeing tour that will be impossible for anyone to forget. I will be amazed if it isn’t at least shortlisted across multiple genres for “Best Short Story.” It is worth the price of admission all by itself. You get all of this and more in one volume, with no reading speed bumps, from the first page to the last. Each author provides a twist or two not only in the plot, but also in what constitutes a “stranger.” Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

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