Reading level: Adult
Genre: Urban Fantasy/Anthology
Size: 336 pages
Publisher: Dark Horse
Release Date: June 28, 2011
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: eGalley from netgalley.com
Rating: 3/5 stars
I got an eGalley of this book through NetGalley(dot)com. This is an anthology of stories that focus on the dark, dirty, and supernatural parts of human society. Definitely a collection for adults as there is a lot of swearing, violence, and sex in these.
Highlights for me were The Dingus by Gregory Frost (I loved the dark atmosphere in this story and really enjoyed the ironic ending), Little Shit by Melanie Tem (loved how the plot was spun out and again great irony), The Last Triangle by Jeffrey Ford (excellent mystery tinged with magic, will definitely be picking up some of Ford’s books to read), and The Romance by Elizabeth Bear (loved how creative this one was and loved the haunted carousel),
The stories are mostly mysteries with a tinge of supernatural to them. All of the stories have a very dark and dirty tone to them. All of them are interesting; as with any anthology some were just outstanding and some so-so.
If you are interested in the darker grittier side of investigative urban fantasy then this is the anthology for you. You can check out brief synopsis and comments for each individual story below.
– The Dingus by Gregory Frost (5/5 stars)
Very well written story about a taxi cab driver who decides to investigate a strange mass-murder. Very dark and atmospheric. I love the ironic ending. Definitely makes me want to check out some of Frost’s books.
– The Getaway by Paul G. Tremblay (3/5 stars)
About a group of guys who rob a place and start to disappear during the getaway. It was okay. The sentences are short and kind of fractured, so it wasn’t the smoothest sounding story. There was some irony, but just a hint of supernatural.
– Mortal Bait by Richard Bowes (4/5 stars)
About a veteran detective who is hired to solve a case that ends up being more about an ongoing war between elves and fairie than anything else. Very much a hard-boiled detective story with a little urban fantasy thrown in. The writing style is pretty good and the story had some good twists but it was a little confusing; seems like a complicated world that didn’t fit in a short story well.
– Little Shit by Melanie Tem (4.5/5 stars)
About a woman with some strange attributes who uses them to catch pedophiles. This was actually a really great story; very well done and suspenseful. I enjoyed the author’s writing style and how she spun out such an ironic plot.
– Ditch Witch by Lucius Shepard (4/5 stars)
A story about a man who picks up a girl who might be a witch; then they get attacked by killer elves. Yep, it was a strange story and a bit confusing too. It was still entertaining and a good read. The writing style was easy to read.
– The Last Triangle by Jeffry Ford (5/5 stars)
A drug user finds himself fighting withdrawal on an old woman’s stoop. She finds him in the morning and takes care of him; in exchange he hunts down strange symbols for her. This was a great mystery tinged with magic. I loved the writing style and the story. I will definitely be picking up something from Ford in the future.
– The Carrion Gods in Their Heaven by Laird Barron (4/5 stars)
About a couple of young women who stumble into a fur hide that literally changes who they are. This is a dark story and is somewhat ironic. I enjoyed the writing style and the story.
– The Romance by Elizabeth Bear (5/5 stars)
Very well done story about a haunted carousel and a murder. Very creepy but also very creative and engaging. I really enjoyed this story!
– Dead Sister by Joe R. Lansdale (4/5 stars)
A detective is hired by a woman to find out what is digging up her sister’s grave every night. This story had a lot of action, some humor, and was very engaging. I enjoyed it.
– Comfortable in Her Skin by Lee Thomas (4/5 stars)
A well written and interesting, if incredibly creepy and somewhat gross, story. About a woman scorned and how she uses some icons to get revenge.
– But For Scars by Tom Piccirilli (3/5 stars)
A story about a girl who escapes from an asylum, stumbles into some guy’s house, and kills herself. The guy tries to track down the man who murdered her parents. To be honest I didn’t really understand what happened at the end of the story; it was kind of confusing.
– The Blisters on My Heart by Nate Southhard (3/5 stars)
About a guy who tries to defend his hooker girlfriend from a man who is purely evil. Okay story.
– The Absent Eye by Brian Evenson (4/5 stars)
About a child/man who looses an eye and can see creatures wrapped around everyone with his missing eye. Creepy but creative and well-written. I enjoyed it.
– The Maltese Unicorn by Caitlin R. Kiernan (4/5 stars)
Engaging story about a strange artifact made from a unicorn that allows people to feel innocence. The protagonist gets unknowlingly drawn into a plot to steal it from its rightful owner. Creative story and interesting characters; a little bit vague at points.
– Dreamer of the Day by Nick Mamatas (3/5 stars)
About a woman who visits the Dreamer of the Day to have him kill her cheating husband; only she gets more than she bargained for. I didn’t enjoy the writing style very much; there was minimal punctution which made it a bit hard to read. The story was very ironic though.
– In Paris, In the Mouth of Kronos by John Langan (3/5 stars)
Story about two ex-Army people who are hired to perform a job that looks simple. It ends up being much more dangerous than expected. It was well-written, but the story goes back and forth between the current story and a story about torturing people in Iraq and I didn’t enjoy it all that much. I did like how Greek mythology was tied into the story.