Blue Religion, The

New Stories about Cops, Criminals, and the Chase

Fiction - Mystery - General
384 Pages
Reviewed on 03/11/2009
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

Fans of crime fiction will enjoy The Blue Religion, edited by renowned mystery writer Michael Connelly. The Blue Religion brings readers closer to the life of the men and women that put their life on the line daily. The nineteen short stories, written by the masters of crime fiction, will keep readers on the edge of their seat. As with all anthologies, some of the stories out shine other; however the majority are excellent reading. If you enjoy crime stories, you will not want to miss The Blue Religion.

The stories in this book look at a wide variety of police experiences. The authors show differing aspects of the officers’s life. From the past to the present, Hawaii to Idaho this book covers it all. The men in blue place their lives on the line for citizens every day. Some cross the line.

These are forceful, awe-inspiring, and completely haunting tales, from some of the finest authors to ever pen a mystery.

Patti McCoy Jacob

An anthology is not an easy book to review, specifically because it contains such a variety of styles and talent. Some of the stories may be phenomenal, whereas others are tedious at best. In which case, should the book be recommended for the few stories that stand out, or ignored altogether because of those that fall short?

Fortunately, THE BLUE RELIGION does not present this dilemma. This anthology of ninteen short stories portrays the various lives and experiences of police officers, and except for a mediocre tale or two, THE BLUE RELIGION is filled with superb pieces of crime fiction. It runs the gamut, covering time periods from the Civil War to present day, with a wide variety of storylines. These stories not only describe various situations on the job, but also the toll this line of work can take on the personal lives of these officers. Some of the topics include bigotry, sexual harassment, Alzheimer's, child abuse, and, of course, murder. There are even some amusing stories of tables being turned due to inflated egos or underestimating one's opponent.

THE BLUE RELIGION is presented by Mystery Writers of America, the premier organization for crime writers, and was edited by bestselling and award-winning author Michael Connelly. The nineteen featured writers include T. Jefferson Parker, John Harvey, James O. Born, Paula L. Woods, Jon L. Breen, John Buentello, Jack Fredrickson, Leslie Glass, Persia Walker, Edward D. Hoch, Laurie R. King, Polly Nelson, Diane Hansen-Young, Peter Robinson, Greg Rucka, Bev Vincent, Paul Guyot, Alafair Burke and, of course, Michael Connelly. Very well-written stories, the most outstanding of which are: A CERTAIN RECOLLECTION by John Buentello, A CHANGE IN HIS HEART by Jack Fredrickson, CONTACT AND COVER by Greg Rucka, RULE NUMBER ONE by Bev Vincent, WINNING by Alafair Burke, FATHER'S DAY by editor Michael Connelly, and an especially strong story WHAT A WONDERFUL WORLD by screenwriter Paul Guyot.

Ted Feit

Presented under the auspices of the Mystery Writers of America, this novel contains 19 intriguing short stories, with a common theme: cops. There are police procedurals and mysteries, but more important, the stories reflect on the live of cops--as persons, on their jobs, how they perform their duties, their sense of right and wrong, and, of course, as Michael Connelly says in a short introduction, "How are we to weigh the burden of the badge if we do not carry the badge?"

The stories range from T. Jefferson Parker's story about a retired cop and how he handles a juvenile delinquent, to Alafair Burke's take on a policewoman and how her husband reacts to a gruesome event while she's on the job, to Mr. Connelly's telling of how Harry Bosch conducts an investigation into the death of a baby.

Each of the stories is well-written and absorbing. Each, of course, stands on its own. And each is worth reading. All told, the volume makes for fascinating reading. Recommended.