Fantasy Mystery Comics Non-Fiction Fiction

Mean Streets

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Mean Streets (2009) Jim Butcher, Simon R. Green, Kat Richardson, Thomas E. Sniegoski

OK. I admit it. I’m an Amazon junkie. I often search for my favorite artists and look at coming releases to see if anyone I love has something new coming out. Which is how I stumbled upon Mean Streets. I believe it is possible I looked at the authors involved an actually squealed. But can you blame me? Kat Richardson, Simon R. Green, and Jim Butcher. All in one book? Have I died and gone to supernatural fantasy reader heaven?

And what makes pre-ordering even better, is that I get the joy of ordering the book, and then some point months later the book magically appears on my doorstep after I’ve forgotten about it.

How could you ask for anything more?

The first novella is “The Warrior” by Jim Butcher. Harry is worried that there is a threat to Michael, but in trying to Michael and his family, may only have put them in greater danger.

First, I’m delighted to see Michael again. Now that he no longer carries Amoracchius, there’s not a lot Michael can do to help Harry (or get him into trouble, and I’m not sure that a story where Harry and Michael go out to lunch would be very compelling. So I was glad to have Michael back for another story.

And to make it better, it was a good story. Michael gets to be all calm and accepting about his own fate, while Harry still doesn’t quite believe in the world as Michael sees it. But what I liked best was to see Harry working as a team with Michael and Molly.

I think both “The Warrior” and Jim Butcher’s last novella “Backup” are excellent additions to the the Dresden series, and I have to admit I think I almost prefer Jim Butcher in the shorter tighter format of a novella. We’ll test that when the next Dresden book comes out in paperback.

The second story was Simon R. Green’s “The Difference a Day Makes,” which starred the ever appalling John Taylor.

A woman wanders into Strangefellows looking for John Taylor. She’s lost in Nightside, with no memory of how she got there, what she’s doing there, and what she had done for the past 24 hours.

As this is Nightside, the answer is of course “nothing good.”

This time John is assisted by Dead Boy, and Dead Boy’s wonderful car of the future. After all this time, it’s hard to believe that Dead Boy is still held together. It’s got to be more than staples, tape, and wood putty holding him together at this point.

What continues to astound me about Nightside is that after all this time and all these books, he can still come up with things that make me squirm. John keeps telling Liza how terrible things are going to get, and as a reader I’m all, “Yeah, we’ve heard that before. What could be worse than the Lamentations?” Well, worse not necessarily. But he still comes up with some really horrific things.

I’m very glad I don’t live in his imagination.

Kat Richardson’s story “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” was third, and one I was very much looking forward to. I am really enjoying her Greywalker series and am waiting impatiently for the third Harper Blaine book to come out in paperback, so this was a lovely treat.

Harper is given a case that seemingly requires only that she take a clay artifact back to Mexico and lay it on a specific grave on the Day of the Dead. But with Harper’s talents, we know–as does she–that nothing is that easy.

Although I enjoyed the third story, I found the story somewhat confusing in the middle. We were given a bunch of information and not much in the way of an explanation. Although the explanation did come later, there were multiple passages I had to re-read so I could figure out what was going on.

This didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the story, but it made this for me a weaker story than it could have been. However, I really liked the resolution of the story, so things evened out in the end.

Also, I love how stories in an anthology can have longer more complex titles. I mean, “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” is really an awesome title that would work far less well as a book title.

The final story was Thomas E. Sniegoski’s story “Noah’s Orphans.” I have to admit that after finishing “The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog” I put the anthology down. I mean, I’d never even heard of Thomas Sniegoski, and here he is closing of an anthology of some of my favorite authors.

But despite myself I glanced at the first couple sentences. “OK,” I thought. “I’ll read a page or two. But I know nothing about this Remy character, and it looks like he’s got previous stories, so this doesn’t bode well…”

Next thing I know I’m finishing the story.

Remy Chandler–angel and private detective–is grieving over the death of his wife. He finds himself not just dreaming he sees his wife, but finds himself drawn into a case against his will, to find who has murdered Noah.

Yes, that’s Noah of the Ark.

The story was complex, yet not confusing, despite the fact I was meeting these characters for the first time. But I have this feeling as if I’ve read about Remy in another anthology, but can for the life of me figure out what anthology that was.

So this was an excellent anthology, and I believe it would be a good introduction to any of these authors or characters.
Rating: 9/10

Categories: 9/10, Anthology, Fantasy, Mystery, Paper, Supernatural     Comments (0)    

No comments

Leave a Comment

XHTML: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

RSS feed Comments

%d bloggers like this: