Transgressions: Vol1 by Jeffery Deaver, Ed McBain, Joyce Carol Oates Orion, HK$128 In the 1950s, Ed McBain churned out so-called novelettes for magazines and was paid about US$500 per 10,000-word piece - 'not bad pay for a struggling young writer', he said. He progressed to best-selling novels, and the successful 87th Precinct series, but he still liked to revisit the shorter form and, several years ago, corralled some of the best crime, mystery and suspense writers for a collection of novellas. The Transgressions series includes a slew of stories written by authors who took on the challenge. Of the original collection of 10, three stories are included in this volume, with one by McBain, making it a fitting tribute. McBain died of cancer last year. His police procedural concerns a series of cab-driver killings that appear to be hate crimes. The other pieces are equally strong, although Joyce Carol Oates' novella is more disturbing than Jeffery Deaver's, which revolves around the suspicious deaths of several senior citizens. Her story, The Corn Maiden: A Love Story, tells of a mentally challenged youngster kidnapped by other children for the purposes of sacrifice.