Friday, February 4, 2011

Book report: Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told

If you are a fan of crime shows, Unsolved Mysteries and all things paranormal, you will love The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told.

The book, edited by Martin H. Greenberg, is a collaboration of several short stories by legendary authors including Anne Perry, Kelley Armstrong, Patricia Briggs, Simon R. Green and Carole Nelson Douglas. Each story keeps you on the edge of your seat and guessing until the very end.

The first story, one of my personal favorites, is "Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green. It tells the story of a detective named Sam Warren who lives in London. He is trying to solve a series of murders at the Nightside, a Vegas-esque town for the paranormal world. As he digs deeper into the mystery, he lays out clues that lead to a shocking conclusion. With twists, turns and a clever layout of clues, this story is a winner. You will not see the ending coming. It is perfect if you are a fan of Monk and Mary Higgins Clark mysteries.

Werewolves and vampires are the name of the game in "Star of David" by Patricia Briggs. This time, an estranged father helps his daughter clear her patient's name before his life is ruined forever. Who really attacked his foster family and is he truly a werewolf? Readers will truly feel as if they are a part of this case - and will actually want to help solve it. This is the perfect story for those who like whodunit stories about people trying to prove their innocence. Twilight fans may get a kick out of this vampires vs. werewolves storyline.

"If Vanity Doesn't Kill Me," by Michael A. Stackpole is all about talent, a word that takes on an interesting meaning as the character Malloy tries to figure out who killed the man married to his mom. This is only one of many victims of embarrassing deaths, including one in chocolate syrup (the victim sounds like Maris from Frasier). Malloy has to not only prove he had nothing to do with his stepfather's death but also try and solve the murders - none of which seem to have a motive behind them. The gripping tale is perfect for fans of Castle or Psych.

"Grave Robbed," by PN Elrod is about a woman who turns to a man named Mr. Fleming to help her sister come to terms with her husband's death, and to stop trusting a medium who claims he can get her in contact with him via seance. The tale brings out feelings of all characters involved, allowing the reader to empathize every step of the way. The author does a fabulous job of describing things in such detail you almost feel as if you are part of the story. If Lifetime were to make a paranormal movie, this would be it.

Beyond these tales, the rest of the book contains stories of a similar nature. Each author is able to approach the paranormal world in their own way while remaining fresh.

The bottom line: There is no wrong way to tell a crime story - especially when it involves the paranormal world.

-Sammi Turano