A collection of not-so-chilling tales of love and laughter from three of the genre’s masters of pulp.
Blurb for The Bone Orchard:
In The Bone Orchard, by Abigail Roux, Pinkerton investigator Ezra Johns and US Marshal Ambrose Shaw have a lot to learn about life—and the afterlife—in their quest to bring a vicious murderer to justice. Fortunately, they’ve got all the time in the world to figure it out.
Ambrose Shaw is after a serial killer in the old west when he gets shot and ends up haunting the spot where he died, trying to bring the killer to justice.
Ezra Johns follows Shaw to bring the killer to the gallows but then falls victim to the killer’s ghost.
In the time between the trial and his death, Ezra falls in love with Ambrose and then joins him in the afterlife, eternally fighting the ghost of the killer.
With a nice cross-over twist, we see some familiar faces as the relatives of Ezra facing danger and it’s up to Ezra and Ambrose to save them.
I loved this story. It was sweet and sentimental, funny and exciting, somewhat historical, a lot fantastical, and just a joy to read.
If you’re a fan of Abigail Roux you won’t want to miss this, nor will you if you love westerns and ghosts.
I give it a 4.5 of 5 dinging it a little only because I wanted a different ending for our boys. Was it still happy? Probably…depends on your way of thinking. ☺
Blurb for Horny
In Horny, by Anne Tenino, a group of supernatural law enforcers enlist the help of a human, Ryan Caulfield, to catch Zeus: the god voted Least Likely to Keep It in His Pants. But there’s more to Ryan than even he knows, and the satyr searching for Zeus is tempting him with far more than simple justice.
Ryan owns a bar in the middle of nowhere. One night a bunch of demigods shows up looking for Zeus. They set up a trap to catch him and stop him from selling erectile dysfunction potions. In the meantime a mysterious Oracular guides Ryan and Leander to become more than just a one-night stand and in fact shows Ryan that he may be more than just a barkeep.
Let me start by saying that in general I love Anne Tenino, have read most of her books and loved them. I started this story super psyched as a result. When I finished, I was left scratching my head.
The imagination is there. The characters are there. The plot is there. The execution… isn’t. I got confused by a lot and this is a short story.
I understood why Ryan was guarded and didn’t want to get involved with Leander, he was looking for permanence not a one-night-stand– but then when more of his history is revealed, it didn’t make sense, and his whole “too sensitive” thing never made sense.
Leander, who should have wanted that fast commitment and instant love, didn’t, and that didn’t make sense, given what we learn about his god house.
The other demigods’ characters were also a little confusing and I wasn’t sure there role in the story. They just muddied the water for me.
I think that this story would have come across better if the author had either edited it down more tightly, focusing on the main characters more, or elongated it to a full-length novel or long novella.
I give a 3.5 of 5 stars because it was funny and sweet and I really liked the idea, but it didn’t quite live up to my expectations of what this author can do.
Blurb for: In City of Monsters, by Andrea Speed
An ex-investigator turned some-kind-of-shifter (he doesn’t know, but with his luck, it’s probably nothing cool) is hired to find a missing reverse tooth fairy in the hellish dimension of Dev. But even simple things aren’t easy for a guy with more vices than virtues, and his situation gets even more complex when a hot newcomer to Dev with a taste for danger joins him on the case.
Hunter is an unknown were who meets up with a newbie unknown were (humans who are infected with magic by an animal, sent to another dimension, Dev, and live out there lives as the wereanimal they were infected by.) Neither Sakari nor Hunter know what they are, but they find out and it’s hysterical.
Hunter’s job is to find things, right now he’s finding a reverse tooth-fairy’s twin brother to pay off gambling debts to a werehippo mob boss.
This is a hysterical short story, mostly about the city itself and a teeny tiny bit about Hunter and Sakari. There is like, one sentence of romance, and the rest is just hilarious world-building and nonsense.
Though I enjoyed the unique and funny nature of this story, I wasn’t exactly sure why it was included in this anthology, unless it’s meant to be a pre-cursor to a new series or something.
I liked it for what it was and give it a 3 of 5 stars.
Overall, the anthology was pretty dang funny, there were some ridiculously sweet parts (Bone Orchard), interesting worlds (City and Horny) and very creative uses of appliances (City).
I give it a 3.5 of 5 stars and I would definitely recommend it.
Copy provided by Riptide Publishing