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Matchup: The Battle of the Sexes Just Got Thrilling Edited by Lee Child

Reviewed by Allen Hott

MatchupCompletely different concept. This is a book of eleven short stories written by twenty two different authors. Each story has one male author and one female author. They discuss the story they have in mind. Then they begin working together building this new story. And each story features one of each author’s main characters. Very interesting concept on writing and done very well.

The first is Honor & …… which is a story involving Joe Pickett (C J Box character) and Lee Coburn (Sandra Brown character). They meet up in an interesting fashion in Pickett’s territory (kind of) and have to figure out who and what is going on. Together after they realize that they are both lawmen, they do a great job of getting the job done!

The second story is Footloose with Val McDermid’s Tony Hill as one character and Peter James’s Roy Grace as the other character. This one is a little more difficult to read as it is about a crime in England involving human feet that are found in various places. Lots of English titles and characters.

Next up was Faking a Murderer. This featured Temperance Brennan (Kathy Reichs’ character) teamed with Jack Reacher (Lee Child’s contribution). Reacher as usual interrupts a trip to pal up with Brennan and solve a murder as well as get Brennan out of trouble.

Diana Gabaldon (Jamie Fraser) and Steve Berry (Cotton Malone) combine to really develop a Past Prologue. Cotton Malone does in fact go back into the story and then come back to the current time without anyone except him knowing it. Strange but interesting.

Rambo on Their Minds isn’t really about Rambo but rather about several Russians who are intrigued by Rambo movies. Liz Sansborough (Gayle Lynds’s heroine) and Simon Childs (David Morrel’s hero who at the end is dubbed Rambo) are federal agents who get involved with these Russians and through tracking and trickery finally get them all into custody.

Incredibly the longest story in the book is called Short Story! Jeffrey Tolliver (Karin Slaughter’s character) and Joe Pritchard (Michael Koryta’s) team up to go after the killer of Jeffrey’s one night stand lady. But it becomes much more involved than that as hunting killers in the north Georgia mountains in a record breaking snowstorm really is a job. Another interesting one but kind of long!

Ok. Guess you have to be a believer in the idea that certain people can feel dead buried bodies when these certain people get close enough to them. Personally I have a hard time with that but Dig Here is a good story. Two authors and two main characters. Charlaine Harris with her Harper Connelly and Ty Hauck by Andrew Gross. But the real main character is a lady who “senses” dead bodies and the police and Harper and Ty work with her to solve a crime. Interesting but again I have problems with “sensory” people.

Deserves to be Dead by Lisa Jackson (Regan Pescoli) and John Sandford (Virgil Flowers) again has Virgil away from his home in Minnesota and fishing in Montana with his buddy. Strange happenings begin around the campgrounds where they are staying and then Virgil gets involved with Regan, local, and federal authorities in breaking up what turns out to be a child pornographic setup. Very good depiction of how all this goes down out in the woods with various folks doing their jobs to the fullest. Virgil and Regan are a good pair!

You will need to be into vampires and magical women to really get into Midnight Flame by Lara Adrian (Lucan Thome) and Christopher Rice (Lilliane). Thome is a vampire and he steps in to save (as if she needed it) Lilliane from two unsavory characters plus a dude in an automobile trying to film the event. Thome didn’t realize Lilliane had powers of her own, including creating flames that are very powerful. Suppose this one fits some readers but missed me.

Lisa Scottoline (Bennie Rosato) and Nelson DeMille (John Corey) have put together a great little story in Getaway. Both Bennie and John are on separate weekends at a lake early in the fall and not only do they meet up but Bennie had earlier spotted a camouflaged building with two guys loading what appeared to be weapons into it. How the two writers put together the two characters and the outcome is a very interesting tale! One of the best in the book.

The final short is Taking the Veil which has Ali Reynolds (from J A Jance) and Bravo Shaw (from Eric Van Lustbader teamed up and looking for a veil from biblical times. The problem is that it is in the mountains of Arizona and along with a very heavy snow storm there happens to be another group of bad guys hunting for the veil. Ali and Bravo appear to work well as a team so who knows?

Overall Matchup is a somewhat different concept but truthfully I really enjoyed it. Give it a try and see what you think.

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