Monthly Archives: February 2013

Tom Andes, “The Hit”

BAMM-2012A guy hires a guy to kill his wife, but ends up squaring off against the guy.

(The Best American Mystery Stories 2012)

His voice was soft, and it rose to a lilting crescendo that might have been funny, under different circumstances.

Basically we don’t need genres, we just like them. And I get why we group things by genre. It’s nice to spot the highway signs telling us what kind of journey we’re on. You know all this. And you know the downsides, like when some sweet piece of chick lit gets the shaft, or when a “literary” author wanders in speculative fiction and gets marginalized. And then there are times when you can hide behind a genre.

I have basically no experience with the “mystery” genre, but I’m surprised to see this story qualifies. (And, given all the under-edited and repetitive sentences, I am doubly surprised this qualifies as an example of the genre’s “best,” but I’m a visitor here.) No, I didn’t think “The Hit” should end with an inspector sitting everybody down in the drawing room to make everybody gasp at his findings. But I was expecting there to be things hidden and then revealed in a clever manner, things an astute reader may discern for his or her self. But no. This was a crime story, interestingly told though wanting for twists, and personality. It just wasn’t my cup of mud.