Top critical review
A little bit of info.
Reviewed in the United States on June 16, 2012
I bought this book for Charlaine Harris's story but decided to read them all and try to write something about each one. These stories are all so short it's hard to give a synopsis without giving away too much or ruining the ending. I tried to be as careful as I could not to ruin the "punch line", because of this in most of the stories I couldn't even tell you what kind of supernatural is even in them. All the stories have something paranormal in it. (vamp, shifter, ghost,...) Unfortunately I think the stories are just too short to truly give you a taste of a new author. I personally prefer anths that have 3 or 4 stories in them instead.
(Stories are listed in the books order)
1) Dahlia Underground - Charlaine Harris - vamp - Story should be read RIGHT after Harris's Southern Vampire Bk7 "All together Dead". Dahlia Lynley-Chivers wakes up buried in the pyramid rubble (see/read A.T.D.) This story contain the local vamp's reaction/retaliation to the explotion. It may be short but it's a nice little addition to the Sookie series plus I like Dahlia and want to read more of her. At this point this is the third short with her in it plus she make a cameo appearance in A.T.D. (also in Tacky, Bacon) This story should be an epilog at the end of A.T.D.
2) Hixton - William Kent Krueger - Reporter D'Angelo tracks down an old retired cop to hear the true story about 5 missing boys and gets more than he expected - this one is a type of remake of a common children's story, can't tell you which one or I ruin the ending. - not to my "taste" (you'll get my joke after you read it)
3) Small Change - Margaret Maron - shifter - Laurel (13yr old) set out in an unusual way to catch the thief of her dad's antique store - kind of cute little story I would be interested in giving one of her longer stories a try
4) The Trespassers - Brendan Dubois - Police Chief Hoyt Graham is called in the middle of the night to a local famous house to find 1 half of a 2 man TV ghost hunting team dead - not great but worth a little time if you get this book.
5) Madeeda - Harley Jane Kozak - Jane England, a pregnant mother and her twin son's get messages from a purple and green witch - this one is very weird and hard to describe.
6) House of Horrors - S.W. Hubbard - The Harrigan family spend the day at the Jersey Shore bonding with their new adopted 9yr. old daughter and a teen boy goes missing in the House of Horrors. - didn't care for this one at all
7) Sift, Almost Invisible, Through - Jeffrey Somers - a man gives a series of photos of himself taken over a year's time all featuring the same mystery man in the background to PI Philip K. Marks. Who or what is this man?
8) The Bedroom Door - Elaine Viets - Leila is warned by her "cursed" grandmother that her business partner will die in 3 days.
9) The Conqueror Worm - Barbara D'Amato - Neal Hofstra received e-mails from an old friend ... a dead friend
10) In Memory of the Sibylline - Lou Kemp - The events aboard a ship in the 1800's and its mysterious guest- an interesting story, might be worth a look at others by this author, maybe.
11) The Bloodflower - Martin Meyers - how having the right/wrong apartment can change 1 women's life forever- didn't care for this story.
12) The Awareness - Terrie Farley Moran - a banshee investigates the murder of one of her charges - has some interesting possibilities for a book or series here.
13) Tadesville - Jack Fredrickson - the life of a banjo player on the road, it never pays to be greedy - I'll take a pass on this one
14) Limbo - Steve Brewer - Mercer wakes up dead on an otopsy table and sets off to find his killer
15) The Insider - Mike Wiecek - Detective Clark is asked to investigate a ghost giving stock tips. Is it legal or insider trading?
16) Swing Shift - Dana Cameron - Jake Steuben is called in by his FBI friend to go undercover to find the source of a governmental leak to the Nazis. - a little interesting, shows some promise for a series/book.
17) Riding High - Carolyn Hart - Bailey Ruth Raeburn a ghost/emissary from Heaven kills time after completing her mission.
18) Grave Matter - Max Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane - Mike Hammer a WW2 vet gets news an old war buddy is dead, he goes to investigate since no one else will, not even the police.
19) Death of a Vampire - Parnell Hall - goth college student hires P.I. Stanley Hastings to first find out if her boyfriend really is a vampire, then find him after he goes missing - not to bad of a story
20) Taking the Long View - Toni L.P. Kelner - vampire couple Mark and Stella go to a vampire birthday party were another vamp ends up dead. Who is the killer? - cute, has possibilities for more.
As I have NOT read anything by most of these authors and they are sooo short I can't really comment much. (Think a chapter length per story.) Several of them I suspect are like Harris's story and part of a series that would make the short better/fill in the blanks. I had to struggle to get myself to finish this book because I didn't like the majority of it. I still wish they had cut out most of them and giving us longer shorts so we could get a better idea if it is worth checking out any of the other authors or not. Even the stories I think hold promise I don't know if I well ever bother to look for more or not with such a small taste. I've read enough books that had the idea for a great story but no ability to complete it.
All in all I would only recommend this book to someone that is getting it because one of the stories are part of a series they already have and only if you "really" want to read the short. I would not recommend it to a new reader. If you are looking at this book as an anthology to find a new author try a different one with fewer stories. If you want it for Harris's story like I did and have the patience wait and see if she comes out with another book like "A Touch of Dead" that groups her shorts into one book. I didn't have the patience myself. :( But my guess is she will.