Urban fantasy fans are sure to enjoy this latest compilation of sixteen short stories by several leading authors of the genre. Most, like Charlaine Harris’s “Death by Dahlia” pick up threads from ongoing series so it is helpful to have some familiarity with their previous work. “The Bleeding Shadow” by Joe Lansdale is a satisfying, stand alone little horror story about a struggling blues musician who signed away more then he realized in order to become a better player. Simon Green’s “Hungry Heart” set in the Nightside of London is short tale about a witch who, in a bid for more power, gets everything she deserves. “The Adakian Eagle” is an outstanding telling of a young solder stationed in Alaska during WW II struggling to seek a balance between duty and morality while deciding whom to trust.
Although it is helpful to have some knowledge of the many series tie-ins involved with the stories, newcomers can still enjoy this collection, then go back and read more from those authors they particularly liked. As with any collection, there are a couple less-then-stellar offerings but overall, this is a strong anthology.