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Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives (2011) edited by Justin Gustainis

those-who-hunt-monstersAs the title says, this is a collection of supernatural mysteries.

“Little Better than a Beast: A Marla Mason Story” by T. A. Pratt
“Dusted: A Cosa Nostradamus Story” by Laura Anne Gilman
“The Demon You Know… A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom Story” by Julie Kenner
“The Spirit of the Thing: A Nightside Story” by Simon R. Green
“Holding the Line: A Jill Kismet Story” by Lilith Saintcrow
“Defining Shadows: A Detective Jessi Hardin Story” by Carrie Vaughn
“Deal Breaker: A Quincey Morris Story” by Justin Gustainis
“See Me: A Smoke and Shadows Story” by Tanya Huff
“Soul Stains: A Vampire Babylon Story” by Chris Marie Green
“Under the Hill and Far Away: A Black London Story” by Caitlin Kittredge
“An Ace in the Hole: A Sazi Story” by C. T. Adams & Cathy Clamp
“Hell Bound: A Hell on Earth Story” by Jackie Kessler
“Impossible Love: A Piers Knight Story” by C. J. Henderson
“Running Wild: An Outcast Season Story” by Rachel Caine

This was, as sometimes happens, a mix of stories I liked and didn’t like, though there wasn’t any particular story I thought was terrible. Just stories that were more or less to my personal taste. There were also several stories I had previously read.

“Little Better than a Beast: A Marla Mason Story” by T. A. Pratt is one I had not read, but I enjoy Marla Mason stories, so this was a fun one. Marla is warned only at the last minute that a monster is heading for her town–a monster from the past, as well as the first chief sorcerer of Felport (as we as an explanation as to how Felport got its name. I really liked how Marla dealt with the problems here.

“Dusted: A Cosa Nostradamus Story” by Laura Anne Gilman. Daniel is a retired cop and private investigator who deals with… special cases. Cases that involve things that Nulls don’t see or know about. It wasn’t a bad story, but it didn’t do anything for me, either. Which happened previously with Laura Anne Gilman stories.

“The Demon You Know… A Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom Story” by Julie Kenner. I’ve seen the Demon-Hunting Soccer mom stories before, and they didn’t pique my interest. With a pretty low bar to clear, I have to say I enjoyed the story. I’m still not sure I’d want to read a book, but I did like the story, and thought it was very well done.

“The Spirit of the Thing: A Nightside Story” by Simon R. Green. I’m a huge fan of the Nightside and John Bloody Taylor, and this was a Nightside story I had not read before, so of course I enjoyed it. As with most Nightside stories, you don’t need to have read a Nightside book to read one of the short stories.

“Holding the Line: A Jill Kismet Story” by Lilith Saintcrow. I am unfamiliar with Jill Kismet’s world, and I can’t say I understand it much better following this story. There was a fair amount I didn’t understand, which got in the way of my enjoyment of the story.

“Defining Shadows: A Detective Jessi Hardin Story” by Carrie Vaughn. I had JUST read this one in the anthology Weird Detectives. It’s a very unusual vampire story.

“Deal Breaker: A Quincey Morris Story” by Justin Gustainis. This story was also in Weird Detectives, about a deal with the devil.

“See Me: A Smoke and Shadows Story” by Tanya Huff. This was also in Weird Detectives.

“Soul Stains: A Vampire Babylon Story” by Chris Marie Green. This was another story I had trouble with, being unfamiliar with the universe in which the story was set. It’s a vampire story, but the vampire mythos is never quite clear to me.

“Under the Hill and Far Away: A Black London Story” by Caitlin Kittredge. This is the second story I’ve read set in this world, and I liked this one better than the first, but it was nowhere near to my favorite story.

“An Ace in the Hole: A Sazi Story” by C. T. Adams & Cathy Clamp. This was another unfamiliar world, but I didn’t have any problems diving into the story. And there were some fascinating world building bits here.

There were three emotion scents in the room right now — determination, which smells similar to a heated cast iron pan; and anger, which reminds me of hot peppers roasting. The final scent was frustration; which is a weird mix of scents, including boiling water, black pepper and other stuff.

In other books with weres, they talk about heightened sense of scent, but this is the first time I remember those scents being described in such a way. I quite liked it.

“Hell Bound: A Hell on Earth Story” by Jackie Kessler. This was a story about a succubus, and wasn’t my thing at all.

“Impossible Love: A Piers Knight Story” by C. J. Henderson. This was a very interesting story, and one I can’t say I felt entirely comfortable with. For some reason, the idea that Down’s Syndrome could be caused by demonic possession bothered me. I’ll have to think more about why that is.

“Running Wild: An Outcast Season Story” by Rachel Caine. I’ve read Rachel Caine’s Weather Warden books, and although they weren’t bad, they also weren’t my thing. I believe this story falls into the same category.

All an all, an interesting anthology, and would I can easily recommend–especially if it’s still only $3.
Rating: 7/10

Published by EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing

 
 




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