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A Strange Brew of paranormal mystery, suspense, and action

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Strange Brew
P.N. Elrod

Although I often find myself reading stories spanning multiple volumes, I find myself picking up an occasional anthology to check out new authors’ (authors whose novels/stories I haven’t read before) writing styles. To be fully honest I more often pick them up to get those short stories that tie into other series I am reading. P.N. Elrod in this collection pulls together 9 tales of dark magic and the paranormal. These stand alone stories are easy to read and wickedly entertaining.

In this anthology I found it impossible to pick a favorite story. With the appropriately titled Bacon from Charlaine Harris, Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs, and Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter all clamoring for bragging rights. However, I must say that Last Call by Jim Butcher (the main reason I had picked up this anthology) proved to be by far my least favorite, with a poor story arc and even worse writing. All in all this is a great collection of stories from authors whose works I read, have heard of, or will be on the look out for in the future.

Seeing Eye By: Patricia Briggs

Patricia Briggs manages to instill the reader within a dense world full of its own history in her tale about the blind witch Wendy Moria Keller and the werewolf Tom Franklin. This brief but volatile tale immerses the reader in a gritty noir mystery of what happened to Tom’s brother. While at the same time providing characters and their world depth and history without distracting the reader from the underlying story, or slowing the pace. Although set in the world of her Alpha & Omega series this story stands by itself and is wholly enjoyable by all readers.

Last Call By: Jim Butcher

In Last Call, Jim Butcher spins a short mystery containing Harry Dresden from his series The Dresden Files. Those new to the series will find that there are brief references to events in the main story arc but may find they don’t enhance the current mystery of what happened to Mac, his bar, and his beer. However if you are a fan of the series the further details on Mac and the scene with Murphy will be most enjoyable.

Death Warmed Over By: Rachel Caine

Death Warmed Over is a tale about resurrection witch Holly Cadwell and her resurrection of Andrew Tolland as per request of the Police Department. The plot unfolds with mystery, murder, and surprising twists and turns. Rachel deftly defines her characters their past and the ties that binds each of us together. This dark world will leave you hauntingly enthralled and wanting more.

Vegas Odds By: Karen Chance

Vegas Odds is an action packed thrill ride that starts off with an assassination attempt of the main character Accalia(Lia) de Croissets. This straight forward action packed thriller quickly develops into an in-depth suspenseful mystery. Karen Chance spins a dark tale of a mage trying to survive in a world in the middle of a war between mages.

Hecate’s Golden Eye By: P.N. Elrod

Hectate’s Golden Eye is a story for those that love traditional vampires and old fashion heist stories. Charles Escott and his partner Jack Fleming (vampire and main character) are Private Investigators that are on the trail to recover an heirloom necklace. This noir mystery goes from back alleys to upscale mansions complete with con men and paranormal magic.

Bacon By: Charlaine Harris

This aptly named story of revenge mixes greek mythology with modern werewolves and vampires. Vampire Dahlia is out for blood in punishing those who were responsible for the death of her werewolf husband. This sexy thriller draws you in and won’t let you go till you read the final satisfying sentence of this well written tale.

Signatures of the Dead By: Faith Hunter

In a small appalacian town rogue vampires are on the loose. The local law enforcement have no choice but to ask earth witch Molly Meagan Everhart Trueblood to read what transpired at the McCarley house. Molly’s reading of the deaths of the McCarley family leads her and her bounty hunting friend Jane Yellowrock on the trail of a family of cold blooded vampires.

Ginger: A Nocturne City Story By: Caitlin Kittredge

Caitlin Kittredge tells the tale of werewolf detective Luna Wilder’s witch cousin Sunny Swan. In this short thriller we see how doing the right thing can get you into more trouble then you can imagine, and that in everyone is the will to get done what needs doing. Who knew that the small task of supporting her cousin by visiting the trial she is testifying in will lead her into the dark depths of Nocturne’s City underworld.

Dark Sins By: Jenna Maclaine

Recently turned vampire, witch Cin Craven may be the strongest witch in existence if she knew how to use her magic. This small fact allows for the imprisonment of Cin and her companions The Righteous a group of vampires that act as judge, jury, and executioner of their own kind. This simple tale while enjoyable to those that haven’t read the Cin Craven series leaves a lot to be desired with its lack of depth that fans would already be immersed in.

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