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Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy

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This follow-up to Powers of Detection showcases bestselling and award-winning names from Simon Green to Laurie King to Sharon Shinn, with original stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Claus's Australian This follow-up to Powers of Detection showcases bestselling and award-winning names from Simon Green to Laurie King to Sharon Shinn, with original stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Claus's Australian vacation and an enemy of Sam Spade's out for revenge, plus visits to the Nightside and Sookie Stackhouse's hometown, these stories will take readers around the world on a magical mystery tour. "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas "Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole "the House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn "Glamour" by Mike Doogan "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews "the Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong "Weight of the World" by John Straley "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman "the House" by Laurie R. King "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green -- a Nightside short "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow


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This follow-up to Powers of Detection showcases bestselling and award-winning names from Simon Green to Laurie King to Sharon Shinn, with original stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Claus's Australian This follow-up to Powers of Detection showcases bestselling and award-winning names from Simon Green to Laurie King to Sharon Shinn, with original stories featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms. From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Claus's Australian vacation and an enemy of Sam Spade's out for revenge, plus visits to the Nightside and Sookie Stackhouse's hometown, these stories will take readers around the world on a magical mystery tour. "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas "Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole "the House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn "Glamour" by Mike Doogan "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews "the Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong "Weight of the World" by John Straley "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman "the House" by Laurie R. King "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green -- a Nightside short "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow

30 review for Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mir

    I tried most of the stories (skipping a couple by authors I know I don't like) and found almost all of them not worth my time. The only two I finished were Shinn's (nice as a ghost story, weak as a mystery) and Green's. I'd give those both 3 stars. Minus nada for the rest, and some embarrassment over the editor including her own, so 1980s (Bards and Swords and lots of capitalization) fantasy story. The previous collection was better but not great.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Julie (jjmachshev)

    How I love a good surprise. From running upon this gem unexpectedly in the bookstore, to the stories it contains, reading it gave me a lift all around. "Unusual Suspects" is an anthology of twelve stories that blend mystery and fantasy into a delicious confection. The stories range from historical to contemporary urban fantasy, from mages to witches, and from werewolves to vampires to humans. Authors include Charlaine Harris (a new Sookie story!), Carole Nelson Douglas, Simon R. Green (a new Nig How I love a good surprise. From running upon this gem unexpectedly in the bookstore, to the stories it contains, reading it gave me a lift all around. "Unusual Suspects" is an anthology of twelve stories that blend mystery and fantasy into a delicious confection. The stories range from historical to contemporary urban fantasy, from mages to witches, and from werewolves to vampires to humans. Authors include Charlaine Harris (a new Sookie story!), Carole Nelson Douglas, Simon R. Green (a new Nightside!), Laurie R. King, Dana Stabenow, Sharon Shinn, Laura Anne Gilman, Michael A. Stackpole, Mike Doogan, Donna Andrews, Michael Armstrong, and John Straley. If you like mystery, mayhem, and magic...this is a book well worth your time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Kat

    Basic premise: mystery + magic = awesome short stories!!! This was one of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Nothing made my jaw completely drop (likewise no tears or laughing out loud), but all had quality writing, interesting plots, well-constructed characters, and in general worked well. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from the book, it's hard for me to even give a few highlights, as the stories were all (I'm serious, here) very consistently solid. Howev Basic premise: mystery + magic = awesome short stories!!! This was one of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Nothing made my jaw completely drop (likewise no tears or laughing out loud), but all had quality writing, interesting plots, well-constructed characters, and in general worked well. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from the book, it's hard for me to even give a few highlights, as the stories were all (I'm serious, here) very consistently solid. However, there are a few things I can say about most of the stories: "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris: Sookie Stackhouse solves a mystery involving the luck of the clients of various insurance agents. "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas: Interesting world, where movie characters "live" as CinSims. "Looks are Deceiving" by Michael Stackpole: A bit hard to follow, with worldbuilding that was skimmed over as this is apparently part of a series, but interesting. "The House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn: Haunted house mystery with some interesting characters. "Glamour" by Mike Doogan: Probably my favorite from the whole bunch. The first person narrator's cluelessness as to what was really going on around him was highly amusing. "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews: Another really good one. Interesting characters, part of a world I'd be interested in reading more about. "The Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong: Interesting world, story ok. "Weight of the World" by John Straley: Santa Claus and a murder mystery! "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman: Decent story, interesting world, good ending. "The House" by Laurie R. King: Kids and a haunted house, predictable ending. "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green: Night Side story with a bit of a twist. "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow: Probably the longest story in the collection and the hardest to get into due to the amount of info-dumping needed for the audience to understand the context and setting. Decent story, though, with a satisfying end.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Cindy

    Mixed bag of short stories with a supernatural/paranormal cast that are tasked with solving a mystery It took me a while to get through these as I picked up, read a bit, then stopped several times before completing the entire anthology. I really prefer longer stories - novella size is okay for a series that I'm familiar with, but I like longer novels so that i can get immersed in the world. Short stories just aren't as satisfying for me. That said, here are the stories and a few words about each: " Mixed bag of short stories with a supernatural/paranormal cast that are tasked with solving a mystery It took me a while to get through these as I picked up, read a bit, then stopped several times before completing the entire anthology. I really prefer longer stories - novella size is okay for a series that I'm familiar with, but I like longer novels so that i can get immersed in the world. Short stories just aren't as satisfying for me. That said, here are the stories and a few words about each: "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short story; I think I had read this before in the Sookie short story collection. The story itself is okay. "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas - this was a clever story involving old film characters. "Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole - blah. Did not care for this one. "The House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn - I liked this one. Author moves into a house haunted by ghosts from several time periods and must solve a mystery involving some of them before any of them can move on. "Glamour" by Mike Doogan - this was okay but the dialect was hard to read/follow and I thought it detracted from the story. "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews - better and the characters were interesting, especially Gwynn. "The Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong - interesting premise that the story is built on. "Weight of the World" by John Straley - kind of a strange mystery story involving Santa and the elves relaxing in New Zealand after the Christmas rush. Meh. "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman - liked the premise but the story was a snooze. "The House" by Laurie R. King - this was creepy good. One of my favorites in the collection. "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green - I liked it although the story was a little gory. There's a great twist at the end (although I had considered it several times during the story, it was well done). "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow - the only story that is DNF. I tried to get into it for 10 or so pages and basically said to hell with it. Zzzzzzzzzzzzz

  5. 4 out of 5

    Caleb

    This is a short story anthology containing the following stories: "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas "Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole "the House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn "Glamour" by Mike Doogan "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews "the Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong "Weight of the World" by John Straley "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman "the House" by Laurie R. King "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green -- a Nightside short "A Wom This is a short story anthology containing the following stories: "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas "Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole "the House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn "Glamour" by Mike Doogan "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews "the Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong "Weight of the World" by John Straley "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman "the House" by Laurie R. King "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green -- a Nightside short "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow This particular anthology was a disappointment. None of the stories were all that great. I mostly picked it up for the Sookie Stackhouse and Nightside shorts. Neither was up to par with the authors' usual work. "Spellbound" was probably the best out of the whole set but that's not saying much... Oh well. Maybe I'll have better luck next time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    It wasn't a great anthology. The Sookie Stackhouse story by Charlaine Harris was fine, not thrilling, but I'd read it before. I really enjoyed the Deliah Street story by Carole Nelson Douglas, it was the highlight of the book. Her stories are alway charming and interesting. And Laura Anne Gilman's story was a real find, I didn't know she had a prequel to her PSI series with Bonnie investigating Zaki's murder. A couple of the other stories were cute but not thrilling. I liked John Straley's story It wasn't a great anthology. The Sookie Stackhouse story by Charlaine Harris was fine, not thrilling, but I'd read it before. I really enjoyed the Deliah Street story by Carole Nelson Douglas, it was the highlight of the book. Her stories are alway charming and interesting. And Laura Anne Gilman's story was a real find, I didn't know she had a prequel to her PSI series with Bonnie investigating Zaki's murder. A couple of the other stories were cute but not thrilling. I liked John Straley's story about Santa. And Sharon Shinn's story was ok. And Simon R. Green's Nightside story was fine, a nice switch to a different main character, but still not compelling somehow. None of the stories had much punch, I'm not sure why. And even though I like the idea of mixing in otherworld/ traditional fantasy with urban fantasy, I couldn't get into short stories where I had to absorb new worlds and figure out what was going on at the same time, it just doesn't work for me. I'm just not patient enough and not a big enough fan of short stories. So a bunch of the stories didn't work for me at all. So overall the book was just ok, good for the few stories I really wanted to read at least.

  7. 5 out of 5

    harlequin {Stephanie}

    Lucky by Charlaine Harris - 1 Stars Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas - 4 Stars Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole - 3 Stars The House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn - 5 Stars Glamour by Mike Doogan - 3 Stars Spellbound by Donna Andrews - 2 Stars The Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong - 5 Stars Weight of the World by John Straley - 2 Stars Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman - 1 Stars The House by Laurie R. King - 3 Stars Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green - 5 Stars A Woman’s Work by Dana Stabenow - Lucky by Charlaine Harris - 1 Stars Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas - 4 Stars Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole - 3 Stars The House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn - 5 Stars Glamour by Mike Doogan - 3 Stars Spellbound by Donna Andrews - 2 Stars The Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong - 5 Stars Weight of the World by John Straley - 2 Stars Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman - 1 Stars The House by Laurie R. King - 3 Stars Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green - 5 Stars A Woman’s Work by Dana Stabenow - 3 Stars

  8. 4 out of 5

    Margaret

    A 3.5 star read. Rounded down to 3 stars, because I didn't feel there were enough outstanding stories to take it up to 4. Best story was the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse one. A pleasant read to while away an evening or two.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Aj

    An entertaining read of short stories that fits both the mystery and fantasy genre.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Helen Robare

    I really liked the stories in this book! I'm not a fan of short stories and this book was no different because it seemed like every story should have been longer and I was wishing novels had been made of each one singularly. I bought this book because I like Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books and I LOVE Simon R. Green's Nightside series! I also like Carole Nelson Douglas as an author. So even only these three author's stories had caught my interest, it would have been worth the price of t I really liked the stories in this book! I'm not a fan of short stories and this book was no different because it seemed like every story should have been longer and I was wishing novels had been made of each one singularly. I bought this book because I like Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse books and I LOVE Simon R. Green's Nightside series! I also like Carole Nelson Douglas as an author. So even only these three author's stories had caught my interest, it would have been worth the price of the book. As it was, almost all the stories in the book caught and held my interest. All had someone murdered but there the similarities ended for each was unique in how the murder was handled. I enjoyed this book immensely but I do wish the authors had lengthened the stories and made them into complete novels. :)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    Overall an interesting read! The House of Seven Spirits was wonderful! The House was great and yet so sad in many ways. I really enjoyed the twist ending in Appetite for Murder. The ending for A Woman's Work was fantastic!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    A disappointingly average collection of stories, given the calibre of the editor and contributing authors. All just 2 and 3 stars stories with the standouts for me being House of Seven Spirits - Sharon Shinn Glamour - Mike Doogan Spellbound - Donna Andrews

  13. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    Great selection of stories. I only DNFed one, which is pretty good for an anthology. Favorite story was Laurie R. King's "The House", of course!!!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    I sought out this anthology just for the Sharon Shinn story. It was ok.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

    A solid anthology. None of the stories stood out as especially awesome, but they were all at least ok with a few good ones tossed in there.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jessie Wheeler

    I only wanted to read the Charlaine Harris one. It was okay; not spectacular.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Meredith

    Fun collection of stories.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tanya Ruybal

    I definitely didn't love this book. Since of the stories were good, some terrible, and none great.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca

    Read in A Touch of Dead

  20. 4 out of 5

    Susanna

    Only read the Story Lucky

  21. 5 out of 5

    Moraima

    "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jillian

    I only read Lucky by Charlaine Harris.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mireille

    I read anthologies to pass the time between books in series that I read & to find new authors in genres I like. I got this one specifically for the Sookie Stackhouse story. Overall, this anthology gets 3 stars. Below is a list of the stories within & what I thought of them specifically. 1. Lucky – Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse story – 28 pgs – 3 stars Fun & cute short story that even someone who hasn’t read the series can enjoy. For someone like myself who’s trying to pass the time between I read anthologies to pass the time between books in series that I read & to find new authors in genres I like. I got this one specifically for the Sookie Stackhouse story. Overall, this anthology gets 3 stars. Below is a list of the stories within & what I thought of them specifically. 1. Lucky – Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse story – 28 pgs – 3 stars Fun & cute short story that even someone who hasn’t read the series can enjoy. For someone like myself who’s trying to pass the time between books… still a little too short. Kind of like trying to have a snack to quench my hunger before dinner that is just a few bites to short of contentment. 2. Bogieman – Carole Nelson Douglas – Delilah Street, PI story – 25pgs – 3 stars “Who would want to kill Sam Spade?” Interesting story, but I have to admit that I was a little lost because I haven’t read the series & do not know the characters to understand the interplay between them. I might try reading the series though. 3. Looks Are Deceiving – Michael A. Stackpole – unknown if part of a series or not – 29pgs – 1 star Stopped ¼ the way through. Uninteresting & confusing… the intro to the anthology mentioned laughs (what were they reading?) & I have absolutely no connection with any of the characters… why waste any more time reading this? 4. The House of Seven Spirits – Sharon Shinn – stand alone; no series – 25pgs – 4 stars Fun & interesting ghost story that kept me engaged with the characters & the ending was not obvious in the “who-done-it” department. 5. Glamour – Mike Doogan – stand alone; no series – 19pgs – 3 stars Funny lark, but would have liked a little more “meat” to the story (i.e. too short). 6. Spellbound – Donna Andrews – stand alone; no series – 33pgs – 3 stars Interesting, funny who-done-it set in a magical boarding school. I was disappointed to find there is no series for these characters. The intro insinuates that there is a series, but I’ve come to find out that she’s merely written other short stories in this setting in other anthologies. If I am mistaken, PLEASE let me know… I’d read more from this world. 7. The Duh Vice – Michael Armstrong – stand alone; no series – 11pgs – 3 stars Interesting “green” premise… worth the quick read. 8. Weight of the World – John Straley - stand alone; no series – 10pgs – 2 stars Santa story; Okay read. This anthology is titled “unusual suspects” & this one’s suspect is totally obvious… the butler did it is less obvious, it is soooo obvious. 9. Illumination – Laura Anne Gilman – series soon coming – 29pgs – 3 stars Cave dragons, absentee fathers, & magic teens oh-my. Interesting read… will try reading the series when it comes out. 10. The House – Laurie R. King - stand alone; no series – 23pgs – 4 stars Great ghost story. One of the best stories in this anthology. Don’t miss. 11. Appetite for Murder – Simon R. Green – Nightside story – 19pgs – 3 stars Okay read but a little obvious (possibly due to how short it is). Interesting enough characters that I might try the series. 12. A Woman’s Work – Dana Stabenow – Seer & Sword story – 38pgs – 3 stars Good read if you can get past the weird names for most everyone & everything. I’m unsure if there is a series of books in this world or just other short stories in other anthologies, but I’d read more.

  24. 4 out of 5

    CJ - It's only a Paper Moon

    Review on a story by story basis. More at my blog: There's Nothing Wrong with Anything Lucky- Charlaine Harris It's a story set in the world of Sookie and it seems to take place right before the most recent book. Anyhoo, there is an absence of Eric which sort of made me go "aw man" but there is a Bill appearance. This is not a Sookie romance nor strictly a Sookie Vampire story, it explores Sookie's powers and it teams her up with Amelia. It's a decent story, nothing amazing, nothing that pops up Review on a story by story basis. More at my blog: There's Nothing Wrong with Anything Lucky- Charlaine Harris It's a story set in the world of Sookie and it seems to take place right before the most recent book. Anyhoo, there is an absence of Eric which sort of made me go "aw man" but there is a Bill appearance. This is not a Sookie romance nor strictly a Sookie Vampire story, it explores Sookie's powers and it teams her up with Amelia. It's a decent story, nothing amazing, nothing that pops up and grabs you but a decent read for those of us who are Sookie fans. If you aren't a Sookie fan, well, this is going to be a boring read and you may in fact skip over it. In keeping with the vein of Mystery and Fantasy- I give this story -- 3 magic bullets Bogieman - Carole Nelson Douglas Ok, this one had promise but I confess it confessed the heck out of me after the first paragraph. I nearly skipped it. And up until two minutes ago had no idea it was from a larger book (that coincidentally I keep looking at in the bookstore and shaking my head, thinking I'll hate it. So from the pov of someone who has not read the books: It's about Delilah Street, a former reporter who is now a Paranormal Investigator in Las Vegas. Her specialty is her connection with silver and the ability to glean (and maybe manipulate??) things with silver in them. Vegas in 2013 is crawling with CinSims - Cinematic Simulations that are an amalgamation of both an actor and the character. In this case, Sam Spade as played by Humphrey Bogart has been murdered. The question becomes can you really kill a simulated human who is really nothing more than a dead person who has been reanimated? Ok, so again, this has a promising premise - something like the movie Blade Runner with a combination of Jenna Black's Morgan Kinsley with the balls of Simon R. Green's John Taylor. However, things just go downhill from the second page. World Building is a very difficult thing to do it can be even more difficult when you only have 20 pages to do it. Backstories are confusing and it isn't much helped by Delilah's first person POV which have her living in the present with no exposition whatsoever (or no clear exposition) on her relationship with the Police Chief, Cocaine/Christophe/Snow and how she can do what she does. I'm going to give this three magic bullets just because I liked the idea of where this story was going. Maybe in a larger format it would make more sense?

  25. 5 out of 5

    Tori

    Original review at http://www.smexybooks.com/2010/12/rev... Unusual Suspects is a 12 story anthology composed of some of today's best known authors. All of the stories deal with the same theme-solving a mystery based on a supernatural theme. Lucky by Charlaine Harris gives us a glimpse into the life of Sookie Stackhouse and her witchy roommate Amelia Broadway. When Sookie's insurance agent Greg Aubert suspects someone is trying to ruin him, he wants Sookie to use her "gift" to find the culprit. An Original review at http://www.smexybooks.com/2010/12/rev... Unusual Suspects is a 12 story anthology composed of some of today's best known authors. All of the stories deal with the same theme-solving a mystery based on a supernatural theme. Lucky by Charlaine Harris gives us a glimpse into the life of Sookie Stackhouse and her witchy roommate Amelia Broadway. When Sookie's insurance agent Greg Aubert suspects someone is trying to ruin him, he wants Sookie to use her "gift" to find the culprit. An okay story, I couldn't help but get a deja vu feeling when reading. I swear I've read something similar or the premise was discussed in one of her Sookie Stackhouse full length novels. The mystery is easily solved and a side story is introduced that doesn't quite fit. I give this a C- Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas has PI Delilah Street investigating the murder of Sam Spade. I have never read Douglas's Delilah Street series but I may after this. Plenty of tension and intrigue in this futuristic murder mystery. Smooth pacing and engaging storyline held my attention until the end. I give this a B- Glamour by Mike Doogan shows us that the price of magic can be high. An humorous story with a faint fairy tale vibe centers around a rustic village who is experiencing some strange things. When a mysterious man shows up offering to help the town, we find out that magic used has a price that must be paid. The conversational writing, using the villager's accents, makes for uncomfortable reading. I give this a C. Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green takes us back into Nightshade and hot on the trail of a serial killer. When famed detective Sam Warren comes across yet another vicious murder, he and Ms. Fate band together to solve the crime and catch the killer. A wicked who done it, Mr. Green, leads us down a devious road twisted with misdirection and regret to a shocking conclusion. I give this a B Unusual Suspects was all on all an okay read. With any anthology you are going to get good and bad. We are given some tantalizing little snippet stories involving current favorite characters and introductions to some new ones. I liked that each story completes itself with a viable ending-no cliffhangers or unresolved issues to plague you after your done. From haunted houses to serial killers, you are given a little bit of everything in here. I’m sure mystery and fantasy fans a like will find a story or two that will appeal and perhaps a new author to enjoy. Overall Rating: C+

  26. 5 out of 5

    Cyn Armistead

    Another uneven anthology. I still have it in my hands, so I'll try to hit each story briefly. "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris - Sookie is much easier to take in short form. I can't help it, the woman grates on me (in the TV show even worse than in the books). The other characters keep me reading. "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas - Delilah Street does more than grate on my nerves in long form. She's more palatable in short form, too, but there are reminders of why I don't intend to read more in that Another uneven anthology. I still have it in my hands, so I'll try to hit each story briefly. "Lucky" by Charlaine Harris - Sookie is much easier to take in short form. I can't help it, the woman grates on me (in the TV show even worse than in the books). The other characters keep me reading. "Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas - Delilah Street does more than grate on my nerves in long form. She's more palatable in short form, too, but there are reminders of why I don't intend to read more in that series. "Looks are Deceiving" by Michael A. Stackpole - If I've read any of Stackpole's work before, it's been in anthologies, and I don't remember it. I did wonder if this short story is set in a universe he uses in longer works, though. It wasn't bad at all. "The House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn - I loved this story! And how often do you say that about a haunted house tale? I must track down and read some of Shinn's novels. Any suggestions? "Glamour" by Mike Doogan - The Peasantry Anti-Defamation League might be after Doogan if he isn't careful (at least, representatives of the male peasantry). The story was cute, and it did make me laugh. "Spellbound" by Donna Andrews - This is another author whose books are going on my (groaning) to-read shelf. The story hit a few clichés, but was fun enough to get away with them. "The Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong - Ugh. A little too preachy, and way too much anti-fat prejudice. "Weight of the World" by John Straley - Where does Santa Claus go in the off-season? That's the biggest question answered in this piece. The "mystery" was "solved" nearly as soon as it was discovered. "Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman - Bonnie's back story! I think a bit of this story is used in the first chapter of Gilman's first PUPI novel, but I'll know more when I get my hands on it. It's a must-read for fans of the Cosa Nostradamus universe, though. "The House" by Laurie R. King - could we maybe call a hiatus on the abused-kid stories? Maybe I'm hypersensitive, but I'm tired of them. "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green - another dark Nightside story. I don't think I'll ever need to read more in that universe. "A Woman's Work" by Dana Stabenow - I'm an unabashed Stabenow fangirl. Despite that, I wasn't sure how she'd do in a fantasy setting. She proved herself, certainly. I can only hope that we'll see longer fantasy works from her in print at some juncture.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    “Powers of Detection”, an anthology featuring stories of crimes committed in fantasy worlds and/or by the characters that inhabit such universes, proved to be so popular that editor Dana Stabenow undertook a sequel. “Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy” gathers 12 authors (including Ms. Stabenow) to tell tales of supernatural crimes. The cover proudly shouts about “A New Sookie Stackhouse Story” by Charlaine Harris. The tale, “Lucky”, leads off the anthology. The tale neither excited “Powers of Detection”, an anthology featuring stories of crimes committed in fantasy worlds and/or by the characters that inhabit such universes, proved to be so popular that editor Dana Stabenow undertook a sequel. “Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy” gathers 12 authors (including Ms. Stabenow) to tell tales of supernatural crimes. The cover proudly shouts about “A New Sookie Stackhouse Story” by Charlaine Harris. The tale, “Lucky”, leads off the anthology. The tale neither excited me nor turned me off – however, it was my first exposure to the famed protagonist “Sookie Stackhouse”. I suspect that readers who have previously spent time with her and her world will enjoy the tale more than I did, as 26 pages is not nearly enough space to learn to love an entire literary universe. The next tale, “Bogieman”, by Carole Nelson Douglas (known for her documentation of the adventures of cat detective Midnight Louie) was more my speed – my lack of knowledge of this brand new universe put me on equal ground with all other readers, and the thought of Humphrey Bogart’s Sam Spade wandering Las Vegas (along with other famed replicants of famous stars of the past) was quite enjoyable. I’m not going to go over every story in the book – although I could probably go on and on praising most of them – but in the interest of space, let’s jump to the fact that the anthology goes out with a bang. Simon R. Green’s “Appetite for Murder” (the title is a bit too generic for this story, in my opinion) looks at a mystical underside of London, where anything goes – until it goes too far. The story’s climax takes a couple of plot devices and flips them on their ears; it was my favorite tale in the collection. Ms. Stabenow’s “A Woman’s Work” looks at the concept of justice in a fantasy universe as two women – the Seer and the Sword – are brought in to judge (jury, and execute) a murder in a misogynistic society. Unlike most anthologies, there were no weak stories propped up by stronger ones – the WORST in this collection was “pretty darned good”. Fans of either fantasy or murder-mystery genres will probably enjoy this collection. Fans of both will love it. RATING: 4 ½ stars, rounded up to 5 stars where half stars are not permitted. (And I have never rated an anthology at 5 stars up until this point.)

  28. 4 out of 5

    Serena

    3.8 stars Sookie Stackhouse 07.1 Lucky by Charlaine Harris **** Delilah Street 02.5 Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas **** Looks are Deceiving by Michael Stackpole **** the House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn **** Glamour by Mike Doogan **** Spellbound by Donna Andrews **** the Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong *** Weight of the World by John Straley **** Paranormal Scene Investigations 00 Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman **** the House by Laurie R King *** Nightside] Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green 3.8 stars Sookie Stackhouse 07.1 Lucky by Charlaine Harris **** Delilah Street 02.5 Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas **** Looks are Deceiving by Michael Stackpole **** the House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn **** Glamour by Mike Doogan **** Spellbound by Donna Andrews **** the Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong *** Weight of the World by John Straley **** Paranormal Scene Investigations 00 Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman **** the House by Laurie R King *** Nightside] Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green **** A Woman's Work by Dana Stabenow *** My Rating System: * couldn't finish, ** wouldn't recommend, *** would recommend, **** would read again, ***** have read again

  29. 4 out of 5

    Avid Series Reader

    Unusual Suspects is a collection of short stories edited by Dana Stabenow, “a dozen imaginative tales featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms governed by the laws of magic”. Stories read in random order, as part of the 2014 Deal Me In! Short Story Reading Challenge (bibliophilica.wordpress.com/deal-me-i...). The House of the Seven Spirits - by Sharon Shinn A delightful tale of a young woman who moves into a house offered at an affordable rent becaus Unusual Suspects is a collection of short stories edited by Dana Stabenow, “a dozen imaginative tales featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms governed by the laws of magic”. Stories read in random order, as part of the 2014 Deal Me In! Short Story Reading Challenge (bibliophilica.wordpress.com/deal-me-i...). The House of the Seven Spirits - by Sharon Shinn A delightful tale of a young woman who moves into a house offered at an affordable rent because it is haunted. Unlike previous tenants, she is not scared off by the ghosts. She befriends the ghosts, sets up entertainment for them, and eventually solves a murder mystery to bring them closure. It’s a happy story. I enjoyed it and recommend it. A Woman’s Work - by Dana Stabenow A fantasy tale of deception, magic and courage. “Sword” (Crowfoot) and “Seer” (Sharryn) are sent to the kingdom of Kalliope to preside at the local court and administer justice. Since they are women, they are most unwelcome! They’re confronted by a mob upon arrival, and ambushed after heading down the trail to the castle on horseback. Due to Sword’s magical powers they survive the attack. Once at the castle they learn they will soon try a case of deceit and murder. In court they ferret out the truth and administer justice, then set about changing the country’s culture. Bogieman – by Carole Nelson Douglas Bogieman is a highly imaginative tale set in Las Vegas, featuring a PI – paranormal investigator, that is. Delilah Street, PI is called upon by an albino casino owner to investigate the apparent murder of a CinSym (Cinematic Simulacrum, a reanimation of a Silver Screen character in a human body). Delilah is also a “silver medium”. Fans of Humphrey Bogart may enjoy the many references to classic films. Lucky - by Charlaine Harris A short story set in post-Katrina Louisiana featuring Sookie Stackhouse, telepath, and Amelia Broadway, witch. Sookie's friend Greg Aubert is an insurance agent with the best record in the state - maybe due to the spells he casts. He's worried that someone has been in his office going through his files at night. He asks Sookie and Amelia to use their paranormal talents to investigate.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Meghan Helms

    Some good and some bad. Not my favorite anthology but also not my least favorite. I had previously read Lucky by Charlaine Harris twice, out of A Touch of Dead. It may be one of my least favorite installments in the Sookieverse. It seems like a story created just to kill time. 2/5 Bogieman by Carole Neilson Ellis struck me as boring. I put this book down for a few weeks because this story bored me so much and help no interesting elements for me. 1/5 Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole held Some good and some bad. Not my favorite anthology but also not my least favorite. I had previously read Lucky by Charlaine Harris twice, out of A Touch of Dead. It may be one of my least favorite installments in the Sookieverse. It seems like a story created just to kill time. 2/5 Bogieman by Carole Neilson Ellis struck me as boring. I put this book down for a few weeks because this story bored me so much and help no interesting elements for me. 1/5 Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole held me. I liked the backstory and wished the story itself was longer and more in depth. 3/5 The House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn was arguably the best story in the anthology. I loved the twist on a more classic premise. The MC is the exact kind of female protagonist we need around a lot more often. 5/5 Glamour by Mike Doogan had me drifting off. I had trouble getting involved in the story with so little background knowledge of the world. 1/5 Spellbound by Donna Andrews is another favorite of mine from this anthology. It was a terribly interesting world with very curious relationships between the characters. 5/5 The Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong had an interesting plot line. It was borderline too science fiction for my taste. 2/5 Weight of The World by John Straley was dull. I found the characters lack luster and the whole Santa clause business didn't do much for me. 1/5 Illumination by Laurie Anne Gilman was an interesting world. I would love to read more on this MC. 4/5 The House by Laurie R. King was another favorite. A plot line that keeps you guessing. A genuinely well written and creepy story. 5/5 Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green read a lot like an old detective novel with a new twist. I'm not a big appreciator of Sherlock Holmes and the like so this did not do it for me. 2/5 A Woman's Work by Dana Stabenow was decent. I am very interested in this world but it was very hard to understand being just thrown into the mix with no background on how that world works. Great message, gratifying ending. 3/5 All in all this anthology gets 3/5. Worth the first read, but maybe not a second.

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