Level Best Books publishes an annual anthology of Crime Stories set in New England each November, as well as various other anthologies throughout the year. Well-regarded by readers and reviewers, stories published by Level Best have won the Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, Derringer and Robert L. Fish (Award for Best First Short Story presented at the Edgar® banquet) Awards and have been recognized as “Distinguished Mystery Stories,” by the editors of the Best American Mystery Stories series. Level Best also publishes the winning story from the Al Blanchard contest every year.
Founded by Skye Alexander, Kate Flora and Susan Oleksiw, Level Best’s goal is to publish the highest quality short fiction produced by crime writers either from or with stories set in the six New England states. From the beginning, the anthology has contained tales from established as well as previously unpublished authors. The original co-editors produced three volumes: Undertow, 2003, Riptide, 2004 and Windchill, 2005. Ruth McCarty replaced Skye Alexander and Level Best’s tradition of quality continued with Seasmoke, 2006, Stillwaters, 2007, Deadfall, 2008 and Quarry, 2009.
In 2010, four new editors took on the anthology: Mark Ammons, Kat Fast, Barbara Ross and Leslie Wheeler. Their first volume, Thin Ice was released in November, 2010, then Dead Calm in 2011, Blood Moon in 2012, Stone Cold in 2013, Rogue Wave in 2014 and Red Dawn in 2015.
In 2016, a new team of editors took over the anthology: Kimberly Gray, Verena Rose, Harriette Sackler, and Shawn Reilly Simmons. The 2016 anthology is entitled Windward.
The editorial team currently consists of Verena Rose, Harriette Sackler, and Shawn Reilly Simmons, and the 2017 anthology is entitled Snowbound.