Formats available: ebook
Genres: fantasy, horror
Published by Draven/Grey/Jones/Kennedy/Sterling on October 4th 2016
Purchasing Info: Author's Website, Publisher's Website, Amazon
A collection of tales sharp and pointed.
IVORIES by Aria M. Jones - Eleanor resents the afternoons sacrificed to piano lessons and a disagreeable teacher who gloats over her failures and humiliations. Today, it’s Mrs. Lundemann’s turn for a sacrifice of a very different nature…
NIGHT TIDE by Grace Draven - Something hunts the surf at night, luring villagers to their deaths with a lullaby of sorrow and the torture of nightmares. Blessed with the gift of water-sight, Zigana Imre senses the presence of an ancient predator possessing a taste for human flesh sweetened by grief. With the help of a child of earth, she will battle a spawn of the sea to protect a loved one and save a man who will one day save a world.
THE NOISE OF FUR by Jeffe Kennedy - The first time, it came at night…
In the forest, a Thing prowls, picking off members of young Raven’s tribe. If they flee their home, they face starvation. If only Raven can answer the question of what kind of fur makes that noise.
VENETRIX by Antioch Grey - A merchant and a poet come to the City, seeking justice for the murder of a relative, and if justice cannot be found, they will have revenge. They collude with vampires, negotiate with mermaids, share ale and meat pies with gargoyles and navigate the prisons, waterways and court system of a city ruled by a Master possessing long life and even longer teeth.
The City will make you a fortune, or it will kill you, but it will always change you.
THE VAMPIRES OF MULBERRY STREET by Aria M. Jones - Living the simple life in small town Indiana, Mrs. H has everything she could possibly ever want: a cozy house, peace and quiet, and a garden that is the envy of Mulberry Street. But when sinister outsiders disrupt the tranquility of her neighborhood, it might be time for her to come out of retirement and take up tools more deadly than pruning shears and a trowel.
VOICE OF THE KNIFE by Mel Sterling - Biologist Charles Napier doesn’t mind getting lost in a Florida swamp—it’s part of a scientist’s job. Logic and training will get him out safely. Except lurking in this swamp, there’s a monster Napier’s science can’t explain...a lonely, exquisite, desperate monster.
Foreword by Ilona Andrews
I should have saved this one for Halloween. Some of the stories in this collection are absolutely raise the hair on the back of your neck scary. And the rest are fairly creepy. Think of this one as horror for people who don’t really like horror.
My favorite story in this collection, hands down, is Venetrix by Antioch Grey. It’s the one story in the collection that feels most like paranormal or alt-history-type fantasy, and is the least, well, creepy. Instead we have an alternate Venice where everyone is wearing a mask, even if they are not, and creatures who are varying shades of not-quite-human mingle with the more usual denizens of the city – the humans AND the vampires. The crux of this story centers on one group of the otherworldly, the mermaids who live in the canals and the harbor and trade with the humans. And they are more than willing to avenge the death of someone who was actually willing to talk with them and hear what they had to say. This world, with it’s hidden dangers and it’s ultra-communicative masks, is a place I would love to visit in a longer work. And the ending was spectacular in its devious cleverness.
The Venice in this story reminded me a lot of the Venice in Jon Courtenay Grimwood’s The Fallen Blade. Which was awesome.
I also really liked Grace Draven’s Night Tide, which is another story about the creatures of the sea. And also reads like fantasy as much as it does horror. There’s a creature living out beyond the waves of this fishing village, and it is luring the villagers to their deaths. Zigana Imre and her marvelous horse Gitta battle both the creature and the darkness of their own hearts. At the end of the story, Zigana has triumphed over the monster with the help of the one man she should never be near – her sister’s husband. The ending is open – evil is vanquished, but Zigana will have a battle ahead to rein in her own desires.
The trawling horses in this story are absolutely awesome.
Ivories by Aria M. Jones is a fun little story that borders on horror. At the same time, it has a definite appeal to anyone who has ever endured unwanted lessons, particularly music lessons, at the hand of a sadistic teacher. This is one where the just desserts definitely taste sweet, but in the mouth of something that is best not identified completely.
I found both The Noise of Fur by Jeffe Kennedy and The Vampires of Mulberry Street by Aria M. Jones to be interesting but not quite as arresting as Venetrix or Night Tide. However, the heroine of Mulberry Street reminds me of a Granny Weatherwax in a way that brought a smile of memory to this reader. She’s just that kind of sharp-edged old lady, for all of Weatherwax’s definitions of old and sharp.
Voice of the Knife by Mel Sterling absolutely chilled me to the bone. It’s not a story I’ll forget for a long time. And that scares me.
Escape Rating A-: Like all collections, my reaction to this one is a bit mixed. I preferred the stories that bordered on fantasy, like Venetrix, Night Tide and The Noise of Fur to the outright horror of Voice of the Knife. That I found Voice of the Knife to be utterly chilling tells me that it is a good story, but just not my cuppa. And I needed a warm cuppa after that one to chase the chill from bones.
All in all, Teeth Long and Sharp is a chilling, thrilling choice for your Halloween reading pleasure.