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Reviews of books in a series, with a focus on urban fantasy.
Other genres include mystery, paranormal romance, and crime thrillers.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Down These Strange Streets by Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Charlaine Harris, etc.


I'm not a fan of anthologies, and while Down These Strange Streets did have one really good story and two decent stories, I'm not sure it was worth the hardcover price. I wish I'd waited for the paperback. Granted, I only read four of the stories, but those were the four I was interested in. Here are the stories:
  • Dead By Dahlia by Charlaine Harris
  • The Bleeding Shadow by Joe R. Lansdale
  • Hungry Heart by Simon R. Green
  • Styx And Stones by Steven Saylor (a Gordianus story)
  • Pain And Suffering by S.M. Stirling
  • It's Still The Same Old Story by Carrie Vaughn
  • The Lady Is A Screamer by Conn Iggulden
  • Hellbender by Laurie R. King
  • Shadow Thieves by Glen Cook (a Garrett story)
  • No Mystery, No Miracle by Melinda Snodgrass (an Edge story)
  • The Difference Between A Puzzle And A Mystery by M.L.N. Hanover
  • The Curious Affair Of The Deodand by Lisa Tuttle
  • Lord John And The Plague Of Zombies by Diana Gabaldon
  • Beware The Snake by John Maddox Roberts (a SPQR story)
  • In Red, With Pearls by Patricia Briggs
  • The Adakian Eagle by Bradley Denton

And here is a brief review of the four stories I read:

Dead By Dahlia by Charlaine Harris
I didn't enjoy this one. Perhaps there is a different editor here than Mrs. Harris usually has, but the writing just didn't seem to be of the same quality I'm used to seeing from her. And the story was incredibly weak. I knew who had done it from almost the very beginning. It was more than the plot being weak... the story was weak. This entry gets a 5 of 10 from me.

It's Still The Same Old Story by Carrie Vaughn
A nice Rick story. Nothing earthshattering here, but it was an enjoyable read. The plot wasn't strong here, but the story was very strong. We already know Rick is a stand up guy, and this story just goes to further that knowledge. Yeah, he's a vampire and he doesn't hesitate to kill when he has to, but he's also got a heart, even if it doesn't beat anymore. He has managed to hold onto a good bit of his humanity, and that's got to be hard when you have to watch the humans in your life constantly grow old and die while you stay the same. I'll give this one an 8 of 10.

The Difference Between A Puzzle And A Mystery by M.L.N. Hanover
Set in the same universe as the Jayné Heller'/Black Sun's Daughter books, this one packs a bit more punch than the two previous books. It has a strong plot, and interesting characters, as well as a good bit of morality food-for-thought. This story gets a 9 of 10.

In Red, With Pearls by Patricia Briggs
The best story of the four, it gets a 10 of 10, easily. This story gives us a mystery from the viewpoint of Warren from the Mercy Thompson series. Warren and his boyfriend Kyle are an item in the series, and it's nice to see them outside of the main series. If you aren't familiar with the characters -- Warren is a werewolf, Kyle is a lawyer. As Warren points out, that makes them both a predator. The story also involves Elizaveta Arkadyevna, and is a fairly twisted plot by the time things come to an end. I guessed part of who-done-it, but then missed a huge part of it. A thoroughly enjoyable story.

I'm not going to give Down These Strange Streets a rating, as I didn't read the whole thing. I will say that if you are debating about whether to shell out the hardcover price, you may want to wait for the paperback. I don't believe we learned anything in these four stories that will be critical to the series that they are a part of.

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