I applaud the idea behind the creation of Killer Year, and cheer even more because it's such a success. This anthology of short crime stories (St. Martin's Minotaur, 352 pp., $23.95) comes from 13 authors who published their first novels in 2007. Each is introduced by a well-known writer. A few of the famous, including Ken Bruen, also contribute stories of their own. The enterprise is a chance for us to discover new authors with the support and cachet of their more established peers.
But sentiment goes only so far, so I'm delighted to say that "Killer Year" works because of the genuine, unmistakable talent of the new kids. I don't even especially like short stories, but I enjoyed every page of this collection. And while I recognized a few of the newcomers - among them Marcus Sakey ("The Blade Itself") and Sean Chercover ("Big City, Bad Blood") - all the stories bear out the ability of a new generation. If you sometimes feel bored with the prospect of another story from an old standby, do yourself a favor and pick up this book. I promise you'll be looking for these kids' novels next.