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Book Reviews
'Agents of Treachery'
By: Otto Penzler (Editor)
(Paperback / 448 pages / Vintage / ISBN: 978-0307477514 / $15.95)

Description: Astonishingly, as mystery maestro Penzler points out in his cogent introduction, there has never been, until now, a collection of original stories devoted to spy fiction. Penzler has assembled 14 of the biggest names in the thriller genre—such as Lee Child, Joseph Finder, Stephen Hunter, Gayle Lynds, and David Morrell—who all rise to the challenge of writing a short story set in the complex world of international espionage.

Verdict: For my money, the art of spy fiction (in short form) has too long not been spoken about. I guess, well, aside from the obvious ones - practical and theoretical, for those of you out there willing to sit patiently and learn! - the question would be how easy is it to compile such a (usually) complex, indepth storyline into the format of a short story?

Taking that thought further, even editor Otto Penzler himself points out in his introduction to his latest release, 'Agents Of Treachery,' that there has never been, until now, a collection of original stories devoted to the genre.

Ergo, 'Agents Of Treachery' is an original anthology of short spy fiction by contemporary masters of the genre written at Penzler's request! My goodness, this man has some sway, does he not. And so, I hear you asking, what is the true benefit of short spy stories over the ones that drag on, but reveal oh so much more, and go oh so much deeper?

Well, only someone with a measured attention span can truly answer that for you, my friend. For now, just know that everyone should be happy here with this new collection. For, although most are short, a fair few, like the tales by Lee Child and Joseph Finder, are actually longer! Indeed, a couple are rather longer than expected, if truth be told. And yet, short or long, each is worth your time taken to sit down with it.

Two such, shall we say, lighter-on-the-mind tales include every day stories that we can all relate to ... the suburbs! 'Neighbors,' by Joseph Finder, is one, and 'Hedged In,' by Stella Rimington is the other. Neither is hunkered down in too much intricate plot development, and you might even get to figure out where the endings are headed before the final pages are turned, but they are light-hearted fun for all.

Just some of the authors involved in this wonderful collection include: James Grady, author of 'Six Days of the Condor' (made into the film 'Three Days of the Condor,' with Robert Redford) who relates the story of an Arab FBI agent working undercover in Washington, D.C. Sami.

Stephen Hunter, the New York Times bestselling author and Pulitzer Prize winner, thrills us with a tale about a WWII brigade.

And, amongst other, John Weisman, who co-wrote 'Rogue Warrior,' an insider's account of Navy SEALS, tells the edge-of-the-seat tale of CIA and Army Rangers in Iraq.

Alone, this collection wouldn't have been half as enthralling, but together this dream team of espionage fiction; culled together by some of America's most original thriller writers, make the two words Instant Classic spring to mind.

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