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Charlaine Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse novels) and Toni L.P. Kelner (the Laura Fleming mysteries) have gathered together another 11 writers with serious vamp credentials to provide a baker's dozen tales.
Meet Sookie Stackhouse, who, as the only non-vampire at a 'Dracula's birthday ball' soon finds that's she's the one on the menu, and Harry Dresden, who drops by a role-playing game to find himself dealing with deadly party crashers.
In P.N. Elrod's 'Grave-Robbed', which mixes pathos and comedy, vampire PI Jack Fleming busts a phony medium mid-seance. Tanya Huff's 'Blood Wrapped' has Henry Fitzroy searching for the ideal gift for a vampire's 40th mixing with his pursuit of a human kidnapper. And Christopher Golden takes birthdays to heart in his poignant coming-of-age story 'The Mournful Cry of Owls'.
I jumped at the chance to review this as I LOVE Charlaine Harris (funnily more for her Auroa Teagarden Mysteries than Sookie Stackhouse) and thankfully I was not disappointed. This is a great collection of vampire stories, some more traditional vamps, some with a different spin on the age old tale. There was also a good mix of the funny ("Grave-Robbed") to the more serious and vengeful ("Vampire Hours").
The one downside to short stories is that I sometimes feel that they have ended too quickly, I would have loved to have seen more in "Vampire Hours" for example but it was also nice to get a taste of other Vampire series to read. Many will already know Sookie Stackhouse (just make sure you don't even THINK of the TV series when you read it otherwise you'll be disappointed!) but I'm now also keen to read more of the Vampire Files featuring PI Jack Fleming.
The only thing for me that lowered the rating I've given is that some of the stories mixed in other supernatural elements. I'm personally not a big fan of witches and wizards stories so there were a few in there that I ordinarily wouldn't read.
Being a cheapskate I'm always going to whine about the price, I do feel it's headed a little to the high side for what I prefer to pay. Overall however I doubt vampire fans will be disappointed, most certainly worth a read.
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