2014 has been an excellent year for short story collections, and whether you have a taste for themed compilations or single author explorations of the short story form, we have a short story collection for you! Here’s our top five of the year, plus an honorable mention from 2013 that we just couldn’t leave off the list.
1. Wait For Signs by Craig Johnson
These stories give us a look at Johnson’s Sheriff Walt Longmire between his cases. Whether dealing with a questionable hitch hiker, robbery at The Red Pony bar and grill, or an owl trapped in a Porta-Potty, we learn that his down time is both eventful and often funny.
2. Trouble In The Heartland edited by Joe Clifford
Forty stories inspired by Bruce Springsteen titles. Full of midnight roads, last shots, heartache, and hard boiled love, this collection gives off the vibe of a great concept album.
3. Phone Call From Hell by Jonathan Woods
From the wonderful warped imagination of Jonathan Woods, the second installment of twisted satiric tales. From an out-of-control swingers party to a man getting a phone call from Charles Manson, Woods proves he is the mad scientist of short fiction.
4. Shots Fired by C.J. Box
All of Box’s short work collected through the years, including many stories featuring his game warden, Joe Pickett. Standout tales feature a group of immigrants dumped in Yellowstone and two old mountain men trying to put up with one another during a harsh winter.
5. Prison Noir edited by Joyce Carol Oates
These tales of incarceration from different prisons around the country, most written by current or former inmates, deliver a cold hard hit to the bones. You won’t take freedom for granted after reading these stories.
It came out last year, but I was finally able to read it in 2014 and it’s too damn good to be omitted from this list. Gray mixes crime, horror, and sci-fi in these stories where the thing a person can trust the least is his own body. Both well crafted and outrageous.
All of the books listed above are available on our shelves and via bookpeople.com. Look out for more top lists later in December!