New York City’s Times Square becomes Crime Square in this anthology of 21 short stories.
“Spanning more than one hundred years—from Longacre Square’s rechristening on April 19, 1904 to the contemporary “Disney-ized” neighborhood—Crime Square is the ultimate collection of crime stories, set in the world’s ultimate destination.” Thus the book’s back cover boasts along with “guys, dolls, bullets and booze.”
Crime Square was published in 2012 by Vantage Press, Inc. Collected within are stories by Albert Ashforth, Ira Berkowitz, Michael Bracken, William E. Chambers, Matthew Clemens, Reed Farrel Coleman, Max Allan Collins, Eileen Dreyer, Parnell Hall, Robert S. Levinson, John Lutz, Christine Matthews, Martin Meyers, Warren, Murphy, Mel Odom, Brad Parks, Gary Phillips, Joseph Pittman, Kenneth Wishnia, Angela Zeman, and Robert J. Randisi. Randisi also serves as the anthology’s editor as well as providing the book’s introduction.
Randisi writes, “The writers I invited … are among the best crime writers in the business toady, many of whom have lived in New York, or spent time in Times Square. They have chosen the era they were either familiar with or which particularly interested them.” Many of the authors are Shamus or Edgar award winners, and some are frequent contributors to mystery anthologies.
The stories—though written contemporaneously—span the decades from 1912 to 2012. The 1930s and 1970s are the most well-represented time periods with three and four stories respectively. Interestingly, one of the stories set in the 1930s, The Devil’s Face, is a collaboration by authors Max Allan Collins and Matthew Clemens, which features the real life ganster, Arthur Flegenheimer (aka Dutch Schultz) and author and newspaperman, Damon Runyon, as characters . It’s also worth noting that Randisi’s Murder at the Metropole is based on the true story of NYPD officer, Lt. Charles Becker.
Anthologies such as these are a fantastic opportunity for readers to discover new authors and for writers to learn the genre. Fans of gritty and noirish crime stories—and Times Square, crossroads of the world—will particularly enjoy this collection.