Hostages- by Anne Perry

I take delight in the short story. They are just the right length for a long hot bath, or one sitting on a lazy morning when you push every other demand on your life out of your mind. Over forty pages you can be introduced to the most brilliant writer- who, chances are, you’ve never heard of before.

Or at least I’d never heard of Anne Perry before coming across this story in a compilation by Ed McBain called Transgressions. Bookended between pieces by Donald Westlake (Grifters) and Joyce Carol Oates was this new crime fiction writer, prolific yet unknown to me (and with a very dark background which I’ll leave you to investigate).

The novella takes place in Ireland which earns it the first star on my scoring system. Interesting locations matter. The author pulls off intrigue and tension- which is to be expected. It is the genre. But what is impressive, the coup de grace is the transformation of the characters in the story. The meek become strong, and the powerful are cut short. That’s not an easy trick.

Hats off to Anne Perry.