464p. S. & S. Jun. 2017. Tr $27. ISBN 9781501141591.
After the success of the International Thriller Writers' first short story anthology, FaceOff, the organization continues the series. Twenty-two best-selling authors are grouped into 11 male/female pairings, with each team crafting a work that stars both writers' well-known protagonists. Some of the combinations are more effective than others, such as a tale in which Child's Jack Reacher helps vindicate Kathy Reichs's Temperance Brennan in "Faking a Murderer." But some are a stretch. In "Past Prologue," Steve Berry's Cotton Malone falls through the stones of Diana Gabaldon's Outlanderworld to meet Jamie Fraser 10 years after the Scottish rebellion. Child introduces each piece with a description of the team's writing process. The authors have varying levels of experience with the short story format, and some had never collaborated with another writer before. The familiar characters will entice thriller fans, who may also meet new characters and authors.
VERDICT Purchase where adult series thrillers are popular—this is a remarkably strong and exciting collection.

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