Book Review: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner’s Games Creatures Play

Posted November 29, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner’s Games Creatures Play

Games Creatures Play


Brandon Sanderson, Brendan DuBois, Caitlin Kittredge, Charlaine Harris, Dana Cameron, Ellen Kushner, Jan Burke, Joe R. Lansdale, Laura Lippman, Mercedes Lackey, Scott Sigler, Seanan McGuire, Toni L.P. Kelner, William Kent Krueger

It is part of the , Harper Connelly #xx.5, , SERRAted Edge #xx.5, series and is a fantasy, horror, paranormal fantasy, urban fantasy that was published by Ace Books on November 6, 2014 and has 368 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Mistborn: The Final Empire, The Well of Ascension, The Hero of Ages, Towers of Midnight, A Memory of Light, Dangerous Women, The Alloy of Law, Shadows of Self, The Bands of Mourning, Murder Most Medieval: Noble Tales of Ignoble Demises, Corsets & Clockwork, Street Magic, Demon Bound, Bone Gods, Night Life, Huntress, The Iron Thorn, "The Curse of Four", The Nightmare Garden, The Wild Side: Urban Fantasy with an Erotic Edge, Devil's Business, Soul Trade, Mirrored Shard, Dark Days, Black and White, Night's Edge, Death's Excellent Vacation, Must Love Hellhounds, Bite, Home Improvement: Undead Edition, An Apple for the Creature, After Dead: What Came Next in the World of Sookie Stackhouse, Indigo, Night Shift, Sleep Like a Baby, Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Dead Reckoning, Conspiracies, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, Harvest Moon, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Burdens of the Dead, Bastion, Victories, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest, Tempest: All-New Tales of Valdemar, A Scandal in Battersea, Indexing, The Mad Scientist’s Guide to World Domination, Half-Off Ragnarok, Midway Relics and Dying Breeds, The Winter Long, 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, "Full of Briars", Reflections, Once Broken Faith, "Dreams and Slumbers", Shadowed Souls, Chaos Choreography, Magic For Nothing, Every Heart a Doorway, Down Among the Sticks and Bones, The Brightest Fell, "Of Things Unknown"

An anthology of 15 short stories revolving around the theme of games — and there’s some mighty fine stretching in here! There are also some mighty fine authors who are new to me in here as well. That TBR of my looks to be fallin’ over…aiyeeee…


“Bell, Book, and Candlepin” (Allaway Kith #2)
“Jammed” (Incryptid #2.3)
“False Knight on the Road” (SERRAted Edge #xx.5)
“In the Blue Hereafter” (Sookie Stackhouse #13.xx and Harper Connelly #xx.5)

The Stories

Charlaine Harris‘ “In the Blue Hereafter” finds a confused Manfredo Bernardo set a task by his dead psychic grandmother to go to Bon Temps for a softball game. She never has told him outright what he’s expected to accomplish, so it’s a game of guess as Manfred tries to figure it out. A game that’s helped when he meets the enigmatic Sookie Stackhouse.

William Kent Krueger‘s “Hide and Seek” was nasty…just nasty as he leads you up the garden path with subtle hints about the truth behind the game of hide-and-seek. It’s a truth you don’t want to acknowledge with an ending that will horrify you.

Krueger left me in a bit of a limbo with that comment Cameron makes that’s almost as horrifying as the buyers at the end.

Jan Burke‘s “Stepping into the Dead Zone” is a tale about military kids and bullies and the rules of fitting into a new school. It’s practical advice mixed up with a confusing tale of changelings and children who go missing.

Joe R. Lansdale‘s “Dead on the Bones” is a sad Southern tale of betrayal and using the dead for amusement.

Caitlin Kittredge‘s “The Devil Went Down to Boston” makes me think of Dennis Lehane with his working class neighborhoods and tough-talkin’ characters. She starts with making me hate one character and then leaves me wondering if I should before she progresses on to the real baddie. For a short story, Kittredge packs a punch with an entire story. It’s got the feel of a start for a series, one I want to read, even if Kittredge does have a backward way of writing. I do feel as though there’s a loose thread in here what with Doyle’s hope and Ellie’s avoidance. And I do have to wonder what’s keeping Ellie in Boston.

Brendan DuBois‘ “On the Playing Fields of Blood” is a grim bargain the town of New Salem has made with a group of Native Americans. It’s a horror story of vengeance and should make you run any time you see a mist rise up and stretch its fingers out for you.

Dana Cameron‘s “The God’s Games” was an unexpected trip back in history to the Greek Olympics with a different take on werewolves, oracles, and gods. Cameron has some interesting limitations on her characters in this and a very contemporary feel for the action in this. I felt as though the events were real.

Scott Sigler‘s “The Case of the Haunted Safeway” will crack you up with its trashy family and its downhome philosophy as it confronts unexpected bigotry in this ghostly exorcism. I have got to put Sigler on my TBR! And hope he turns the Hunterson family into a series.

Ellen Kushner‘s “Prise de Fer” was most unexpected with this bout of fencing in a private school in France. I enjoyed all but the end, which was most unsatisfactory. Nothing was resolved. The entire short was nothing but a blip in Isabelle Blumberg’s life. I do, however, want to read more Kushner.

Brandon Sanderson‘s “Dreamer” will take you by the throat and make your heart hammer as the tension mounts and your fear almost takes over. It’s the ending that will kill ya. It made me so mad, I wanted to leap in and strangle someone. Sanderson was brilliant in this.

Mercedes Lackey‘s “False Knight on the Road” was a pip. A spine-chilling tale of temptation and back road racing as Billy Ray Johnson finally figures out what he’s done and the trouble he’s in. That ending was a pip and left me both relieved…and annoyed, although not at Lackey, lol.

Seanan McGuire‘s “Jammed” got my hopes raised as I finally got to read about the nasty, vicious Antimony Price. She’s not as bad as Verity or Alex made her out to be, although I did crack up at Antimony’s comment about roller derby jammin’ calming her down! This short is more about Antimony and her teammates working together to take down a supernatural murderer.

Adam-Troy Castro‘s “Hide and Shriek” is definitely the weirdest story. It’s the extremely bored Elder Gods with the most gawdawful names, habits, and appearances, and the extremes to which they’ll go that Castro delivers in a deadpan, offhand manner. The best of this story was the quirky professor at the end and his extremely practical responses to the pneumatic women’s attempts to entice him.

Laura Lippman‘s “Ice” is a sad tale of sibling abuse, lies, and drowning on Martin Luther King Day. It’s a folk tale that has made the rounds for years, and Mickey is about to discover how true it is.

Toni L.P. Kelner‘s “Bell, Book, and Candlepin” is another that I’m hoping is part of a series — or will be *hope, hope, hope??* It features a still-learning witch in college with her dead-end job that provides her own calm…hmmm, reminds me of Antimony and her roller derby…with a wall of sound. A fun read that’s reminded me that I’ve enjoyed past Kelner short stories, and it’s about time I started in on her full-length novels, dagnabbit!

The Cover and Title

The cover smacks you over the head with its bright greens in the sky, lightning zapping out to tap that dart tip the skeleton hand is holding in a battle between a hairy-clawed paw wielding a lacrosse stick versus a tentacle wrapped around a baseball bat, all sprouting up from a red and black checkerboard encasing the earth. The title is in a bright yellow between the arms above and a pair of dice below. Do ye fancy your luck in these games?

The title is a good one, for these are the Games Creatures Play — and I ain’t excludin’ the human creatures!