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Death's Excellent Vacation
by A. Lee Martinez, Charlaine Harris, Chris Grabenstein, Christopher Golden, Daniel Stashower, Jeaniene Frost, Jeff Abbot, Katie MacAlister, L.A. Banks, Lilith Saintcrow, Sarah Smith, Sharan Newman, Toni L.P. Kelner
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Hunter’s Prayer, Redemption Alley, Flesh Circus, Heaven's Spite, The Demon's Librarian, Dead Man Rising, Steelflower, The Devil’s Right Hand, Saint City Sinners, To Hell and Back, Halfway to the Grave, First Drop of Crimson, Must Love Hellhounds, One Foot in the Grave, At Grave's End, Jeaniene Frost, Destined for an Early Grave, Unbound, This Side of the Grave, Chicks Kick Butt, Bite, Dark and Stormy Knights, One Grave at a Time, Angel Town, Storm Watcher, The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, Aftertaste, Fire Watcher, Once Burned, An Apple for the Creature, Cloud Watcher, Mindhealer, Eternal Kiss of Darkness, Twice Tempted, The Iron Wyrm Affair, The Red Plague Affair, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Games Creatures Play, The Beautiful Ashes, Dark Watcher, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, Bound by Flames, To Hell and Back.
An interesting anthology of thirteen short stories revolving around a theme of paranormals going on a “normal” vacation. I don’t think I’ll ever complain about one of my own vacations again…
“Two Blondes” (Sookie Stackhouse, 10.5)
“One for the Money” (Night Huntress, 4.5)
“Perils of Effrijim” (Aisling Grey, 4.5 and Dragon Septs, 4.5)
“Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park” (Pirate Dave)
Charlaine Harris‘ “Two Blondes” takes place after Victor Madden has taken over in Louisiana and Eric and Sookie are “married”. I was unimpressed with this story; it’s a short bit of nothing. Pam and Sookie take a vacation into Mississippi to visit some casinos but actually it’s an assignment from Victor…and not necessarily one that he hopes either of them comes back from. The best part is probably the scene where Sookie and Pam have to audition as strippers but even that is fairly lackadaisical …
Sarah Smith‘s “Boys Go Fishing” is rather confusing albeit a bittersweet tale of an out-of-work superhero who has lived too long and who is desperately missing his wife.
Jeaniene Frost‘s “One for the Money” is an interesting dip of the toe into a vacation that gets interrupted for Cat and Bones when Dave asks them to protect a spoiled heiress from being killed.
Daniel Stashower‘s “Meanwhile, Across the Caspian Sea…” is definitely an original — and appeals to me on an historical level. The New Guy is determined to do his job, dagnabit, and that includes ferreting out every fact and attributing it to a printed resource. None of that relying upon someone’s word…
A. Lee Martiniez‘s “Innsmouth Nook” is just too gross for words! Ick!!! Although it really was the ideal solution both then and now for the two young men starting out with their new bed-and-breakfast…
Jeff Abbott‘s “Safe and Sound” is one where you root for the “bad guy” although it sure seems as though Molly is heading in Nora’s direction at the end. I must confess I did think this story was in poor taste as it leeched off the disappearance of Natalee Holloway in Aruba.
L. A. Banks‘ “Seeing is Believing” was excellent as is only to be expected from an author of her quality. In a few short pages, Banks has created an atmosphere and characters I want to know more. Jessica Atwater is frustrated that Sheriff Moore won’t take her seriously even though he knows her mama thought Jess was a better psychic than her. And Raphael…I do like that sound of this boy! He is so supportive of his sister…and p*u*s*h*y as all get out. I do wish that Banks had given us some of the action Grand was involved in though. It was just too simplistic there at the end.
Katie MacAlister‘s “Perils of Effrijim” sounds more like it’s about an efrit or a jinn than a demon and it is a really cute story about a demon who prefers to be a dog with a mad passion for a sexy corgi living in Paris. Unfortunately, Jim runs afoul of a nasty apprentice Guardian which tips him into an exiled Titania’s path and totally screws up his romantic vacation.
Christopher Golden‘s “Thin Walls” is a guys’ wet dream come true…with a nasty twist so be careful what you dive into, guys!
Lilith Saintcrow‘s “Heart is Always Right” is another twist this time with a gargoyle and the sacredness of his mission versus the love of his life.
Chris Grabenstein‘s “Demon in the Dunes” comes with a really twisty social message…it’s too bad it took him too long to figure it out!
Sharan Newman‘s “Home From America” also ends in a nasty twist. Not quite the old home week for which Patrick was hoping. I blame the parents…
Toni L. P. Kelner‘s “Pirate Dave’s Haunted Amusement Park” is a short, cute love story between an undecided werewolf inundated with cookie, fruit, and flower bouquets and an amusement park haunted by a ….hmmm…pirate?? vampire?? human??