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Deception isn’t only the name of this book, or the title of one of the tales inside. It might be said that deception is also the central theme of the hundreds of short stories John M. Floyd has written and published over the past nineteen years. Many are mysteries and some represent other genres–fantasy, Western, romance, etc.–but all of them involve trickery and Hitchcockian plot reversals.
In many ways, this collection picks up where his most recent book, Clockwork, left off. Here are thirty more delicious stories of mystery and intrigue. And although Floyd has often said he loves twist endings, the surprises here aren’t limited to the final pages: they also happen throughout the stories. If his fiction has one common denominator, it’s the suspense built into each tale, that tingling feeling of uncertainty of which direction the plot is about to take.
In addition to all the standalone adventures, this collection features–as did the first three books–several lighthearted mini-mysteries starring retired schoolteacher Angela Potts and small-town sheriff Charles “Chunky” Jones. But whether the setting is the Deep South or deep space, the characters are touch-me real and the plots are clever and fast-moving. If you’re looking for pure entertainment, these stories are for you. Prepare to be deceived…
Note: The second story in Deception, “Turnabout,” was included among Other Distinguished Mystery Stories of 2011 in The Best Mystery Stories of 2012 (Mariner Books, 2012). The 2012 edition of this long-running series popularized by Otto Penzler was edited by Robert Crais.