I've been trying to figure out the best way to break into Joyce Carol Oates - that is, what would be the best novel, what would be the best writing, what would be the best experience to determine if I would enjoy what she has to offer. When I came across this collection of stories, I figured it represented as good an approach as any. And so after reading, I can strongly say that I am, well, I am still searching. That is, the collection was good. All well written with some images that have stuck with me. For Example, the story "Strip Poker" was uncomfortable and one I didn't necessarily enjoy, but the images and the power of the story still sit with me. Similarly, the story "Smother" - more enjoyable - and concepts and images that still, vaguely, haunt. (I have given no synopses to these stories. By the nature of the collection ["tales of mystery and suspense], these are stories that a synopsis will either spoil or do absolutely no justice.) On the one hand, these were stories that were interesting enough for me to want to explore more of Oates' work. But not blindingly impacting me to the point where I am begging more. But that all comes off much more downbeat than this collection deserves. It is good. As I've indicated there are images and concepts and writing that, when I look through the collection, come back to me with fullness. It is a collection worth reading. I just wonder if I expected more (such a long search to try and determine what to read) and that build up led to this minor let down. And, to be honest, I feel I am going to have to come back to this collection again - reread because I think there is much more here than I have given credit for.