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The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told

Monday, November 14, 2011

The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told (2010) edited by Martin H. Greenberg and John Helfers

I wouldn’t say the best necessarily, but it’s not a bad selection of stories. And the fact that I got to read it for free probably helped.

“Appetite for Murder” is Simon R. Green story that does not feature John Taylor or Eddie Drood, but is set in Nightside. If you have never read a Nightside story, this would actually be a decent introduction to the place. If you enjoyed this story, I’d recommended the Nightside books. If you have read the Nightside series, one twist won’t be much of a surprise, but the other… Sam Warren has been a Detective in the Nightside for a long long time. He’s worked for the Authorities, and finds killers who manage to step out of line even in a place where murder is cheap and easy and all but expected on every corner.

Patricia Briggs‘ story, “Star of David” is set in the same world as her Mercy Thompson series, but as with Simon R Green’s story, does not feature the main characters from that series, and again, works as a very good introduction to her world. Stella helps place kids in foster homes, and when it’s reported that one boy she’s placed has attacked his foster parents, she thinks something is wrong, and turns to someone she said she wouldn’t call, to help he resolve the problem.

“Grave-Robbed” is one of P.N. Elrod‘s Jack Fleming story, but like other Fleming stories, does not require a knowledge of previous books, and (as with the previous two stories) is a good introduction to that world. A (very) young woman comes looking for Escott, but gets Jack. Because she needs immediate help, she decides to accept Jack’s assistance. Her sister has fallen prey to a medium who is taking her for everything she’s got, and it looks like he wants to marry the wealthy window. Jack’s client wants this scum exposed before her sister ends up even worse off.

I’ve read several other of Mike Resnick’s Harry the Book stories, and was disappointed that I couldn’t find any others. Apparently Harry only lives in short stories, like “Occupational Hazard.” Harry is a bookie, and when one of his client puts in a hex that goes over Harry’s hex protection, Harry is in deep trouble.

I love Nina Kirki Hoffman‘s stories, so stumbling across on is always a pleasure. Terry is a witch, and although she practices some black magic, she still lives with her mother (although she is forbidden to practice in the house). She sells spells and makes plenty of money, but just doesn’t want live alone, and aside from her magic practice, she gets along fine with her mother. As with all her stories, I love the various twists.

“Doppelgangster” is similar to (but not the same as) Laura Resnick‘s book Doppelgangster, and I think I prefer the story without Esther (the main character in the book).

Max Allen Collins’ story, “The Night of their Lives” was one that surprised me into liking it. It’s set during a great Depression, and a cop goes undercover into a shantytown to see if he can find out who has killed 11 of the down-down-on-their luck. I really liked this story, for a variety of reasons.

Norman Partridge’s “Road Dogs” was an odd story, but one that I enjoyed once I got into it. Glen Barlow comes into town when he learns that his sister has died. Glen believe that her boyfriend is behind the murder, and there is no convincing him otherwise.

Kelly Armstrong‘s story “Staked” has the same characters as her story “Bitten” but like most of the other stories in this anthology, is accessible without having read any other of her stories. It’s not a bad story, but it wasn’t my favorite.

Kristine Kathryn Rusch‘s story “Corpse Vision” was one of the darker stories. Joe is slowly drinking himself to death in Paris, while working for a newspaper instead of writing his novel like he wanted to. This story takes awhile to get going, but it is quite good once I got into it. I suppose the problem with anthologies is that when a story has a very different tone from from the one before it, it takes a bit to settle down and figure what’s going on.

I only actively disliked one story, “Ninja Rats on Harleys” which was just a whole bunch of WTF and was the one story in the collection that felt like a chapter out of an existing book rather than a whole and complete story.

There were a couple other stories in the collection, but I didn’t love or hate them, so all in all, this was a pretty strong collection.
Rating: 8/10

Published by Skyhorse Publishing

Categories: Anthology, Fantasy, Mystery, Supernatural     Comments (0)    



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