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by Anton Strout, Erik Scott de Bie, Jim Butcher, Jim C. Hines, Kerrie M. Hughes, Kevin J. Anderson, Kristine Kathryn Rusch, Lucy A.Snyder, Rob Thurman, Seanan McGuire, Tanya Huff
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Mean Streets, Changes, Side Jobs, Ghost Story, Dark and Stormy Knights, Truth of Valor, Murder Most Medieval: Noble Tales of Ignoble Demises, The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, Aftertaste, Hex Appeal, Welcome to the Jungle, Kicking It, Dangerous Women, Storm Front, Grave Peril, Summer Knight, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Fool Moon, The Wild Ways, Half-Off Ragnarok, Midway Relics and Dying Breeds, Games Creatures Play, The Winter Long, Cold Days, Skin Game, Blood Rites, Death Masks, Proven Guilty, White Night, Small Favor, Sparrow Hill Road, The InCryptid Prequels, Pocket Apocalypse, Black as Blood, Blocked, White as a Raven's Wing, The Ghosts of Bourbon Street, IM, "Good Girls Go to Heaven", A Red Rose Chain, An Ancient Peace, Nevermore, "Full of Briars", Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing.
Eleven short stories in an anthology about shadowed heroes.
“Cold Case” (The Dresden Files, 14.5)
“Sleepover” (InCryptid, 5.1)
“If Wishes Were” (Vicki Nelson, 6.5)
“Solus” (Simon Canderous, 0.5)
“Eye of Newt” (Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I., xx.5)
“What Dwells Within” (Jessie Shimmer, 3.5)
“Impossible Monsters” (Cal Leandros, 10.5)
Jim Butcher’s “Cold Case”
Truly is cold as it takes place in winter. In Alaska. It’s a clash of similar objectives as Molly runs into Carlos, and they agree to aid each other…despite there being a price on Molly’s head. It’s also a series of lessons that Molly must learn in her new role as the Winter Lady. And talk about horrible lessons…
Molly Carpenter is the new Maiden, the Winter Queen, the Winter Lady, for less than a week now. Charity is her scary mother who taught Molly how to track. Carlos Ramirez is a Warden, a wizard who works for the White Council. Elaine Mallory still runs the Paranet.
Mab is the Queen of Air and Darkness, a.k.a., the mistress of Arctis Tor. Maeve had been the Winter Queen before the bullet found her head. The Outer Gates is where the battle is.
The Miksuni are Cormorant shapeshifters who live in Unalaska, Alaska. Aluki is in charge…and burying her husband, Tupiak. Nauja is one of their warriors. Kunik is a warrior who died. The Elbow Room and Charlie’s are bars in Unalaska. Clint is a jerk of a seaman who has everyone terrified. Captain Fisherman is in charge of the seamen. The “Sleeper” is one of the Old Ones.
Seanan McGuire’s “Sleepover”
Turns out to be a hoot, once you get through the betrayal and kidnapping. It’s simply a look into another culture and how kids don’t see the differences. The boys, though, they’ve got some re-thinkin’ to do. Jesus. I do have to wonder about that last line of Carly’s, that she and Elsie broke up because Carly’s safety matters more to Carly than Elsie’s secrets. Sounds like Elsie is SO much better off.
Elsinore “Elsie” Harrington is half-succubus thanks to her dad, Theodore Harrington, being an incubus. Her incubus brother, Artie, is in love with Sarah Zellaby, a cuckoo, and holes up in his garage working the computers. A Lilu is a term that applies to both incubus and succubus. Antimony “Annie” Price, a.k.a., Final Girl, is one of the Chicks’ jammers and Elsie’s cousin.
Angie is the little sister who goes missing. Bogeymen live beneath the cities. Morgan is a potential new girlfriend.
The Slasher Chicks are a roller derby team with Elmira Street as the captain. Carlotta “Carly”, a.k.a., Pushy Galore, is the latest of Elsie’s ex-girlfriends; she and Fern are team members.
Tanya Huff’s “If Wishes Were”
This short story is mostly about Vicki’s worries about Mike’s injuries with a side dash at the reason for it all. It’s definitely a warning about being careful what you wish for. And that jinn does present Vicki with a too-tempting choice.
Victory “Vicki” Nelson was a homicide cop who became a private detective after she became a vampire. She lives with her former partner, Mike Celluci, who is still on the force…and she already sorrows for his coming death. Dave Graham is Mike’s current partner. Henry Fitzroy, the illegitimate son of Henry VIII and the vampire who made Vicki, makes his living as a writer of bodice rippers.
Amy Shaw is the missing tenant with a greedy soul. Kai Johnson was an innocent victim. Ian Hanomansing is a TV announcer for CBC News. Dr. Sagara is a resource who tells her about Dr. Hariri. Mama Sweet is a fixer. Eddie Ease works the dark side.
Anton Strout’s “Solus”
It’s an off-the-books job, as Simon and Christos take on a haunted castle with insane inanimate objects. It’s Simon’s abilities that suss out the truth behind the haunting, a sad, sad tale.
Simon Canderous is a psychometrist who is now on the straight and narrow as a new recruit. Connor Christos is a seasoned agent at the Department of Extraordinary Affairs and now Simon’s mentor. Evelyn Svenson is his previous partner.
Beverly Rodell is a real estate agent selling the Sedgwick Estate. Agatha “Hagetha” Sedgwick is the woman who died.
Kat Richardson’s “Peacock in Hell”
Finds a skilled magic-user and thief rescuing a dead artificer from Hell, during which she discovers the ways in which she was betrayed. Peacock has obviously made this trip before, and it’s still quite the adventure, as she and Redmayne plot and plan their own vengeance.
Kevin J. Anderson’s “Eye of Newt”
There’s a 1940s noirish feel to this corny story, and I can imagine Dan as a Sam Spade kind’a guy. Only, it’s set in the Unnatural Quarter, a neighborhood of monsters with your usual everyday problems. Like the mugging of that poor newt. And he comes to Dan for help in getting his eye back.
Dan “Shamble” Chambeaux is a private investigator who ended up a zombie. Sheyenne is a ghost, his girlfriend, and his office assistant at Chambeaux & Deyer Investigation. Robin Deyer is human and his lawyer partner.
Geck is a newt who was robbed. Officer Toby McGoohan is Dan’s best human friend. Frieda is the Spider Lady of the Unnatural Quarter Public Library and Vault of Secrets who terrifies everyone. Rocky and Ned, a golem and a rock monster, used to be security guards at the library. Ghoul’s Diner. Gunther, an imp, manages the Unorthodox Lab Equipment and Organ Boutique.
The Stone-Cold Monster Cook-off is truly gross with the top three contenders: Leatherneck and his Texas chain-saw chili; the Kitchen Litch with her fresh black beetles; and, the Ragin’ Cajun Mage with his dozens of secret ingredients.
Lucy A. Snyder’s “What Dwells Within”
It’s like a pale shadow of Kat Richardson’s Greywalker series. Snyder doesn’t provide much background — Jessie appears to be some sort of agent?? And when her friend Kai shows up with tales of a kidnapped girlfriend, she takes off at a run. It’s a journey that begins to introduce Jessie’s world.
Jessie Shimmer is being hunted by the Virtus Regnum. Pal is her shapeshifting ferret (he turns into a grizzly). Cooper is the boyfriend. Her “room” is courtesy of the Goad whom Jessie killed. Riviera Jordan is with the Governing Circle; Rafé and Loretta are agents. Mother Karen is a witch and a friend.
Kai is a not-too-bright guy who has helped Jessie in the past. Alice is Kai’s new girlfriend. The Virtus Regnum are tasked with protecting humans whom they hold in total contempt. A Virtus is a prime enforcer spirit.
Jim C. Hines’ “Hunter, Healer”
I will say that choosing Detroit as the setting was inspired in immediately showing me a city whose economy has been dragged down. Meanwhile, this story is a nightmare of awful choices for a woman whose life has mostly been one of horror. Hines really packs a ton of information in “Hunter, Healer”, and I sped through this, desperate to know how Julia could resolve her problem. I definitely understand why she despises her father!
Erik Scott, de Bie’s “Baggage”
This was a pip! I’m always a sucker for a strong woman character who takes no prisoners. De Bie created a whole story in this one with lots of color, lol, and so many questions! It drove me nuts with all the questions “Baggage” brought to mind. What happened that night at the reunion? Where’s Tony now? Where will V go from here?
Kristine Kathryn Rusch’s “Sales. Force.”
Oh. Wow. Rusch has created a highly emotional story that digs deep into each one of us, for haven’t we all lost a love somehow? I cried. And then I wept for Kaylee. It’s that tragedy that sends Kaylee out on an investigation into a love potion. The question is whether that love potion is a good investment. Until Kaylee figures it out.
Rob Thurman’s “Impossible Monsters”
Cal is such a monstrous kind of guy and one with a heart whose thought processes and approach to life absolutely intrigue me and that snark of his sucks me right in. For such a bad man, he sure does make me laugh. Well, that and that list his brother, Niko, puts together, lol. Niko is such a complete opposite, and he’ll pull you in as well with his love for his brother and his driving need to know.
This complete story takes you back to Cal’s high school days and memories of the bullies in his past. There is one in particular that draws Cal’s attention, and while brutal, it is so fitting. Anyone who has ever been bullied will cheer.
Caliban “Cal” Leandros is half-Auphe, one of the original monsters of the universe. Ishiah is Cal’s boss and the owner of the bar. He’s also a peri, an ex-angel.
Coach Lee Callahan was part of Cal’s past twelve years ago. Shane had been his son.
The Cover and Title
The cover is in the style used by Richardson, McGuire, and Thurman, a gritty, sombre, purpled black snow-laden pier with a black overcoated Carlos in a gray button-down and exposing the tattoos on his neck who is looking down while Molly stands behind him in a brown leather jacket and jeans, poised to throw a ball of fire. The two editors’ names are at the top in a pale orange with the title just below center in a distressed white font. The bottom info is in white with a few of the more prominent contributing authors.
The title is the inspiration behind the stories, Shadowed Souls who may be bad, but do good.