Tuesday, November 18, 2008

"Wolfsbane and Mistletoe" edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner

Wow. I am really surprised at this Christmas collection of werewolf stories. Why? Because there's not a dud in the whole bunch. Talk about an early Christmas present! I love to peruse short story collections by authors I like, mostly because there's at least one or two writers included that I've never read before. It's a good way to try someone out without committing to an entire novel-length work. And while I usually enjoy some or most of the stories, there's usually at least one that I think is just a true stinker; sometimes I don't even finish the story, it's that bad.

This collection? This is a real winner. Not only was I happy about the offerings from my usual suspects, but I was impressed with the newbies, enough that I might try one or two of their books! Most of the authors asked to contribute have written some sort of paranormal story before; there are also those that make a good living doing nothing but the paranormal genre. I was surprised to see a few mystery authors included, but they all turned in very good work, in my opinion. As I said, I'll be looking for some of their books down the road. Can't read about vamps and weres all the time!

The length is also nice, ranging from incredibly short ("Lucy, at Christmastime" by Simon Green, at a mere four-and-a-half pages) to the longest at 40 pages ("SA" by J. A. Konrath). Oddly, there are a few stories that are all 28 pages long. Just a coincidence? Who knows, but with this sort of material, it does seem kind of eerie. There are slightly serious works and also very funny ones. Overall, a wonderful combination to tide you over this holiday season.

The stories are "all-new original werewolf tales" and the contributors are as follows: Donna Andrews, Keri Arthur (someone I don't normally enjoy, but her story was pretty good), Patricia Briggs, Dana Cameron, Karen Chance, Alan Gordon, Simon R. Green, Charlaine Harris (perhaps the story I liked the least but it was still really darn good!), Toni L. P. Kelner, J. A. Konrath, Nancy Pickard, Kat Richardson, Dana Stabenow, Rob Thurman, and Carrie Vaughn.

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