Sunday, August 19, 2007

Powers of Detection, edited by Dana Stabenow

Powers of Detection: Stories of Mystery and Fantasy, edited by Dana Stabenow

Similar to Murder by Magic, this anthology blends the mystery and fantasy genres in twelve short stories. Interestingly, Stabenow in the introduction says that she only put together Powers of Detection because her (excellent) story Justice is a Two-Edged Sword was rejected for Murder by Magic for being too long. I think Stabenow’s collection is more even quality-wise than Edghill’s, but both are quite enjoyable.

Fairy Dust by Charlaine Harris was my favorite, a story set in rural Louisiana where a couple of fairies ask a mind reader to solve a murder at a strip club. (I also agree with the editor that the opening line is fantastic: “I hate it when fairies come into the bar.”) The Price by Anne Bishop is also very strong; I’d be interested in reading a novel focused on the antagonist and the odd world in which she lives. Lovely by John Straley was the most unique with the protagonist being a raven, although Simon R. Green’s The Nightside, Needless to Say is a close second where the hero is a zombie. The weakest story in my opinion is Mike Doogan’s The Death of Clickclickwhistle although the curses and exclamations of the characters are fantastic: everyone uses famous villains to cuss! “Why in the name of Jeffrey Dahmer do you talk like that?” “Adolf Hitler!” “Vlad the Impaler!” “Ah, Saddam Hussein.” And of course, “George W. Bush!” Great stuff!

First Sentence (From the introduction):
This anthology is all Laura Anne Gilman’s fault.

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