Strange Brew Paperback – Jul 7 2009
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“These tales will easily keep paranormal mystery fans entertained.” ―Publishers Weekly
“This uniformly excellent anthology starts off strong and proceeds to weave in plenty of action and dark magic.... There's something here for every supernatural taste.” ―Romantic Times
“Readers will pick this one up for the popular authors and be pleasantly surprised by the tyros. Highly recommended.” ―Library Journal
About the Author
P.N. Elrod is the editor of Dark and Stormy Knights, Strange Brew, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon and My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, which won the 2006 Pearl Award for best anthology. She is the author of many novels, including the Vampire Files Series, as well as numerous short stories. In 2010, she was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy, and she is the winner of the Pioneer Achievement Award. Elrod loves meeting readers at science-fiction conventions all over the country. She has two dogs―Sasha and Megan―and an incurable addiction to chocolate. She lives somewhere on another planet, but maintains a convenient citizenship in the state of Texas for tax purposes.See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
It starts off strong with a pair of stories by urban fantasy heavyweights Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher, who typically set their stories in their popular imaginary worlds. "Seeing Eye" introduces us to embittered witch Moira Kelly, who is asked by a werewolf to help rescue his brother from the brutal pseudo-coven Samhain. Unfortunately, she has some nasty history with the evil leader Kouros, and a budding connection to her new werewolf client.
And "Last Call" has Harry Dresden discovering that a mass berserker brawl broke out at Mac's... and Mac's home-brewed beer may be at fault. The spell is a pretty intricate and delicate one, which could only be done by a major player in magic -- leading Harry and Murphy on an elaborate hunt for the person who bespelled the beer. Did someone want Mac's out of business, or is something even weirder -- and more ancient and inhuman -- going on?
Some other good stories: Rachel Caine's resurrecting witch Holly takes on a tragic personal case for the police, only to discover a horrendous scheme using zombies. Karen Chance's "war witch" trainer Lia suddenly finds herself being attacked by a sorcerous assassin with a very long-term grudge. Faith Hunter's magical mommy Molly helps out her husband with a horrendous vampire crime, and must team up with were buddy Faith Yellowrock to stop them.Read more ›
Anyway, it turns out they were in a short story by Patricia Briggs, and Harry Dresden's apprentice is safe, whew...
This collection features stories by Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris, two of my favorites. Karen Chance, Jenna MacLaine and Rachel Caine are also worth reading IMO. I haven't tried the others yet, but the book was well worth the price already as far as I'm concerned.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Briggs gives us a story of a witch, a werewolf, and the ties that bind: family & love. It may be set in the Mercy Thompson/Alpha & Omega universe, but this is the first time we've seen these characters up close. (I hope to see more of them.)
Harris also sets her story in her well-established Universe (Southern Vampire Chronicles) but using less established characters. Her story of revenge, Bacon, is made all the more delicious and satisfying if you're already familiar with the unlikely interspecies love story, Tacky, found in My Big Supernatural Wedding that precedes this one.
As far as I know, Caine's tale of love resurrected and Chance's action-packed account of espionage among the War Mage Corps are wholly original pieces. I could, of course, be wrong. Regardless, both stories were unique and hard to put down.
The rest of the authors give us stories within there respective series:
Butcher gives us a story involving Harry Dresden, tainted beer, and the Chicago Bulls. Elrod gives us a classic tale of double cross from her Jack Fleming/Vampire Files series.
Hunter's story introduces us to her new butt-kicking, vampire-slaying, heroine - Jane Yellowrock - whose very own book Skinwalker is available this month (7/09).
Kittredge gives us a story of a "glamour-ous" power play from her Nocturne City series that delivers my favorite line in the whole anthology. (I'll let you guess what it is!) And Maclaine's story left me wanting to read more of her Cin Craven series.
Whether new and original or borrowing from established settings or series, all the stories are easy to follow --- even if you are completely unfamiliar with the authors' works. Overall, this may be the best money I ever spent on an anthology. It delivers a fine sampling for anyone who is interested in reading some anecdotes in the realm of urban fantasy. Who knows, you may find some authors from whom you'd like to read more. I know I did.
This anthology contains nine paranormal short stories. The following is a brief description of each story.
1. Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs - A blind witch decides to help a man, a werewolf, find his brother who is an undercover cop and has disappeared while on a case.
2. Last Call by Jim Butcher - Harry Dresden walks into his favorite bar for a beer and a sandwich and finds chaos instead. What is wrong with the beer being brewed by the bar owner?
3. Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine - Holly is a resurrectionist witch. The last time she brought Andrew Toland back from the dead she fell in love with him. Now the police need his special help to solve another case but how can Holly stand the pain when Andrew has to die this time?
4. Vegas Odds by Karen Chance - Accalia (Lia) trains recruits at the War Mage Corps. Imagine her surprise when she realizes it is her own students who are trying to kill her.
5. Hecate's Golden Eye by P. N. Elrod - Chicago 1937 - Charles Escott and his undead colleague Jack Fleming are hired to help the rightful owner steal back her pendant. The history of the jewel says that any man who touches the Golden Eye dies. Luckily for Jack, he's already dead.
6. Bacon by Charlaine Harris - Dahlia Lynley-Chivers is a vampire who is now a widow because her werewolf husband was defeated in a challenge fight for pack position. She hires a witch to help her find out what was done to her husband to make him vulnerable and weak during the fight.
7. Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter - Spruce Pine, North Carolina, is being targeted by a band of rogue vampires. Earth witch Molly Trueblood and her friend shapeshifter Jane Yellowrock must find the vampire lair or the killings will continue.
8. Ginger by Caitlin Kittredge - Sunny Swann and her cousin Luna grew up in Nocturne City. Sunny is a witch without much confidence in her powers totally unlike her werewolf cousin. Then why would someone want to kidnap Sunny?
9. Dark Sins by Jenna Maclaine - Venice 1818 - Cin, Michael, Devlin and Justine (The Righteous-judge, jury, and executioners in the world of vampires) are in the city for pleasure, not business. When they are all four kidnapped by a wizard and his coven Cin is forced to chose between the lives of her lover and friends or dark, evil magic.
I definitely enjoyed reading this marvelous anthology. It gave me exactly what I want from a collection of short stories such as these. There are many stories which feature characters already made well known by these authors. Particular favorites of mine are the stories by Patricia Briggs, Jim Butcher, Rachel Caine, P. N. Elrod and Faith Hunter. I have not read novels by many of these authors and this anthology has given me a chance to sample their works and make the decision of whether or not to go seek out and read their full length books.
*****Aug. 31, 2009***** Two of my favorite characters in this anthology are Moira (the blind witch) and Tom (the werewolf) in the Patricia Briggs story "Seeing Eye". Those two characters play a substantial role in the new Briggs book Hunting Ground (Alpha & Omega, Book 2). It was wonderful to meet up with them again.