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Thursday, August 19, 2010

114) Death's Excellent Vacation by Charlaine Harris & Others

Blurb -

New York Times bestselling authors Charlaine Harris, Katie MacAlister, Jeaniene Frost-plus Lilith Saintcrow, Jeff Abbott, and more-send postcards from the edge of the paranormal world to fans who devoured Wolfsbane and Mistletoe and Many Bloody Returns.

With an all-new Sookie Stackhouse story and twelve other original tales, editors Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner bring together a stellar collection of tour guides who offer vacations that are frightening, funny, and touching for the fanged, the furry, the demonic, and the grotesque. Learn why it really can be an endless summer-for immortals.

Review -

I am not a huge fan of anthologies (as some of you already know) but the previous selections edited by Charlaine Harris & Toni L.P. Kelner have been well put together with some really good short stories. So when I saw Death's Excellent Vacation on Amazon it immediately got added to my pre-order wishlist and I was very excited about a new Sookie story!

As with Wolfsbane and Mistletoe and Many Bloody Returns, Sookie fans are rewarded with a short story about our favourite barmaid. This time around the story involves a trip with our favourite female vamp, Pam. 'Two Blondes' is the first story and by far the best in the book. Sure there are other stories in the book that shine but Sookie will always win. Especially with Pam along for the trip. It is worth buying this book for this story alone.

Up next was an author I haven't come across before, which seemed to be a 'thing' in this collection. Sarah Smith's offering called The Boys Go Fishing was not my favourite in this book and even though her books sounded interesting I wasn't feeling the same after finishing this short story.

Jeaniene Frost was a part of this collection and one of the big names that appears on the cover. Of course there is nothing to moan about here. As always Jeaniene wrote a great story with her famous characters Cat and Bones taking the lead. 'One for the Money' is definitely the second reason for buying this book. Fans are rewarded once again.

The second author that meant nothing to me was Daniel Stashower with his story called 'Meanwhile, Far Across The Caspian Sea'. Another miss and not so short. This was followed by another unknown called A. Lee Martinez with 'The Innsmouth Nook'. This wasn't a bad story and actually would have made a nice novel. It is a shame it was squashed down into this anthology.

The fourth unknown author came next (yes I am keeping count 2 big names to 4 unknowns) and that in the form of Jeff Abbot and his story 'Safe and Sound'. This was surprisingly good. A little long-winded but in the end quite a nice read. This is one of the unknown authors that I actually may look up.

Next came a name we all know! Thankfully! L.A. Banks didn't get her name on the cover but she did add a very fascinating story. Well done to her for taking the book back into something readable!

Then the next author needed no introduction. Katie McAllister treats us with a story from Jim's perspective and gives us a little snippet of Aisling and Drake life. How I enjoyed 'The Perils of Effrijm' and Katie's witty style! Oh how I mourned it being over! I hope Aisling will be back someday. I really do miss her!

So where are we? 4 big names to 4 unknowns. So now comes a 'I kind of know him'. Christopher Golden is an author I have heard of but for the life of me I am not sure where. That aside he writes a bloody good story! I liked this one a lot and was a bit annoyed when it was over. I wanted to know what happened next. 'The Walls' was a nice sexy but spooky story that could be extended on.

Lilith Saintcrow was next up and if you don't know who she is then you must have been sleeping under a rock for the last few years. Lilith really manages to make an impression with her books and this short story was no exception. For a second I was surprised that she wrote a gargoyle story but I was quickly elated because there are definitely not enough gargoyle stories in the paranormal genre. Nicely done!

The next two stories were more unknown authors. That makes it 6 to 6 and 1 I kind of know. However these two unknowns really made up for the previous unknowns. 'The Demon in the Dunes' by Chris Grabenstein (Chris Gravestone? Really?) wasn't so much paranormal but very scary and 'Home From America' by Sharan Newman was worth its weight in gold. Quick nice reads.

Last up was Toni L. P. Kelner. Another author that I don't really know except for the previous anthologies she has edited with Charlaine Harris. So that makes it 6 to 6 and 2 I kind of know authors in this collection. The last story wasn't too bad. Pirates, vampires and weres mashed together in a story that could also do with being expanded on.

So all in all this isn't a bad anthology but it wasn't great either. Compared to the previous two put together in this series this wasn't the best. However there are quite a few rewards in there for fans and also a couple of nice little stories to spook you before bed. However if you want to wait for the cheaper version then do so. There isn't anything in here that won't keep except maybe the Sookie and Cat stories. However you can read them in the bookstore ;)


Ladytink_534 said...

I love the anthologies that Charlaine Harris contributes to.

Anonymous said...

I keep going back and forth on if I want to buy this. I'll probably just see if I can find it at the library because all I really want is the short by Jeaniene Frost.

Stephanie G
Paranormal Haven

Vickie said...

This is on the WWBL, I'll get it when it comes out in TPB or MPB.