The International Thriller Writers “FaceOff”


Kangaroo Skin Boot

I spent much of today driving between Spring and the little town I grew up in but left for good way back in 1972. It’s a round-trip of about four and one-half hours that I hardly every make anymore, but my brother-in-law operates a little shoe shop down there that I depend on to keep my boots in good repair so I still need to make the drive at least once a year. And since my two favorite pairs of boots (a pair of the softest kangaroo-skin ropers imaginable and a pair of Mexican-style leather cowboy boots) were ready for pick-up, this was the day to hit the road.

I really don’t mind the drive, although the fog was especially thick this morning just before daybreak, because I always make sure to have an audible book or two with me to help kill the time. One of the ones I brought along today, FaceOff, was produced as a fundraiser by the International Thriller Writers group in 2014, and is based on a rather brilliant premise: compile eleven short stories, each one co-written by a pair of the group’s more prominent members. The icing on this cake is that each writer agreed to feature his own most “beloved character” in a head-to-head meeting with the other writer’s most beloved character.

51ibw2l6nul-_sx326_bo1204203200_There is, for example, a story co-written by Dennis Lehane and Michael Connelly in which the Patrick Kensie and Harry Bosch characters work together to solve simultaneously a cold case and a current child-kidnapping case. Another story, this one co-written by Ian Rankin and Peter James, features Scottish detective John Rebus and Jame’s Brighton detective Roy Grace (along with each of the men’s sidekicks) working together to verify a man’s supposed death-bed confession.

I listened to the first two discs today – encompassing three stories – and enjoyed each of the stories. It is particular fun to watch two fictional detectives I’m already familiar with work together to solve a crime, so the Lehane/Connelly story is my favorite so far. Other FaceOff collaborations include:

R.L. Stine / Lincoln Child                              M.J. Rose / D.D. Warren

Steve Martini / Linda Fairstein                   Jeffery Deaver / John Sandford

Heather Graham / F. Paul Wilson              Steve Berry / James Rollins

Raymond Khoury /Linwood Barclay          Lee Child / Joseph Finder

John Lescroart / T. Jefferson Parker

I plan to feature the book’s Dennis Lehane / Michael Connelly story in my Short Story Saturday feature this weekend, so be looking for that post in a couple of days.

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