Best American Mystery And Suspense 2023 by Lisa Unger and Steph Cha
This year’s edition of The Best American Mystery and Suspense, curated by guest editor Lisa Unger, holds a unique power. Unger describes it as a form of magic that can swiftly transport readers into captivating worlds, capturing the essence of character, time, place, and narrative with immediate impact.
The stories featured in this anthology revolve around individuals living on society’s fringes, yearning for more than life has bestowed upon them. We encounter a haunted veteran who turns to a life of crime and finds himself on the run. We follow an injured fighter turned bouncer seeking vengeance for his lost love. And we witness an assassin on his final assignment, grappling with existential questions, breaking all the rules to comprehend his ultimate target.
Each tale presents a thrilling and enlightening experience, leaving readers on the edge of their seats, holding their breath, while simultaneously leaving them pondering the motivations behind the dark and dangerous acts committed by individuals. As Unger puts it, these stories will captivate you, compelling you to flip the pages and contemplate the intricacies of human behavior.
The Best American Mystery and Suspense 2023 features a lineup of exceptional authors, including Ashley Ruth M. Bernier, William Boyle, S. A. Cosby, Jacqueline Freimor, James A. Hearn, Ladee Hubbard, A. J. Jacono, Adam Meyer, Silvia Moreno-Garcia, Walter Mosley, Leigh Newman, Joyce Carol Oates, Margaret Randall, Annie Reed, Anthony Neil Smith, Faye Snowden, Jervey Tervalon, Joseph S. Walker, Thaai Walker, and Jess Walter.
Best American Mystery & Suspense: Behind the Scenes with Lisa Unger and Steph Cha
And we are live! Welcome mystery and thriller fans!
I’m your host Sarah Dello and I am so excited tonight to welcome two extraordinary authors and the editor and guest editor of the Best American Mystery and Suspense 2023 series, Lisa anger and Steph Chaw, to the show tonight. Welcome, ladies!
IES to Mystery and Thriller mavens, tell us about this book.
Thank you for having us on, Sarah. It’s so great to see you. Thank you for inviting me to be part of this amazing iconic collection and for making it so easy by doing literally everything and all the heavy lifting. But so, you tell you talk about it, Steph, because you are the goddess of the Best American Mystery and Suspense.
Yeah, well thank you to both of you. So, you know, I’ve been doing this for three years now. I’m the series editor which means I’m the one who goes through the piles of submissions and goes out and finds anthologies and all those stories that nobody bothers submitting to me for whatever reason. I call through those and I pick about 50 of my personal favorites and then I send them to my guest editor. You know, picking the guest editor is like one of the harder parts of the job because the people who have edited this series are really busy. I was really honored that Lisa agreed to edit. She had a story in the first anthology that I edited and it was just so good and it was a pleasure to work with Lisa. We got to meet once in person at a bar and it was really fun and it was fun we could have stayed a lot longer than we did.
Oh my gosh, well I am so excited to hear how you both worked together on this and to get the inside scoop and to talk about some of these crazy stories. We’re talking about a murderer and kidnapper who delivers a baby. I mean, there we are talking about stories that take place in different parts of the world. We have so much to talk about. I can’t wait to get into every delicious detail. But first, I just want to welcome everyone who’s watching with us live because we are broadcasting to six different destinations across Facebook and YouTube. So, hey mystery and thriller loving friends, no matter where you’re watching from, this is the right place, this is the right time. It is Mystery Monday because Mondays can be murder. We’re gonna make them a little less painful for you. So, we are kicking off with these two killer authors tonight. And if you’ve been here before, you know the drill, just get those questions going in the comments. And if you’re new, welcome friends. We are so happy to have you.
So I’m going to jump right into the comments. So joining us from Facebook, we have Wendy AKA catch a clue. Hey, Wendy, so great to see you. We have Randy joining us from YouTube, he says hi all. Tori is saying welcome, joining us from YouTube, look at that cute little kitty. Hi, Tori, great to have you here tonight. Renee joining us from Facebook saying hi. Hi Sarah, Lisa, and Steph from Southeast Florida. Hi Renee, welcome to the conversation. We’re so excited to have you. So let’s kick off with the basics. Steph, you are the editor of the series, you call the Internet the archives. You are an archaeologist just digging for treasures of short stories. Why do you love short stories? Why do you like them? Tell us everything.
Oh my gosh, we have a little guest editor. I was like, oh, she gonna put him on camera of course. Sorry, it’s a little chaotic here right now. He was just about to attack the keyboard. So the shoot, sorry, that was some live action from a kid who did not help me pick these stories. So yes, I have an email address, email@example.com, where I collect submissions. I have a lot of submissions, but I do have editors who know to submit stories to me. I do read them all and pick my favorites. I send about 50 stories to my guest editor, who in this case is Lisa. And yeah, that’s kind of how I go about it.
Steph, when you have that moment of, oh my God, I have to send this to the guest editor right now, what is it that makes a story pop for you like that?
You know, it’s a little bit, you know it when you see it. It’s not always the same thing. All these stories have some element that gave it a lot of pop. It has a lot to do with the prose. I look for great voice and story development. Stories that give you that satisfaction. I do love those stories that feel complete and not just a snippet. Anything that has a sticky quality where I’m just going to think about this for a while.
Lisa, what grabs you when Steph sends you those 50 stories? What takes the grabs you?
Well, it’s interesting because I also judge a literary award for kids in my area. And when I do that, I don’t want to know anything about the author. I just want that reader joy on the page. As a reader, you spend all your time reading. So when you get that experience of reader joy, where you just start reading and it is immediately gripping and beautiful, that’s a big piece of it for me. Also, the stories that take you to wild places, that have a lot of character, place, and suspense, those stories elevate the collection.
So I just want to remind you that the book drops tomorrow. You’re not going to want to miss this one. Get your hands on this book. Yay! Thank you so much for being here. Thank you, Steph. Thank you, Lisa. Thank you, Renee and Diane for being here. Thank you all for spending your mystery Monday with us. Have a great night!