12 March 2009

Mean Streets

I just finished reading Mean Streets. Being a huge fan of Jim Butcher, Kat Richardson, and Simon Green, I was happy to find this collection of stories on the library shelves.

The Butcher story is a Harry Dresden one. A succinct little vignette that lets a bit of light into both Harry and the character of Michael Carpenter, the Knight of the Sword who was injured in the last Dresden novel. The story seems quite straightforward at first, but takes some interesting philosophical turns. I give it 5 stars.

I am a fan of the Green Nightside tales, always have been--much like Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere, The Nightside invokes a titillating combination of desire and disgust. The John Taylor story here, however, is not as well crafted as those I have come to expect from Green. Recently Green has been developing another series, with a protagonist named Eddie Drood, one that is all wisecracks and special effects. This Taylor story reads more like that one. Not my taste at all. The things I liked about the tales from the Nightside are those inexplicable, unexpected moments--Taylor's Sam Spade / film noir attitude, and his personal relationship with demons, or Merlin living in the basement of a bar, or the Walker character who reminds me so much of John Steed in the Avengers. Unfortunately this ending is not only predicitable, it also left me wanting to say "so what?" I give it 3 stars at best. (C'mon, Simon, you can do better. Remember Drinking Midnight Wine?)

Fortunately Richardson's story, which fits well into her Greywalker series, is a delightful romp through Hispanic culture while presenting a mystery with an unusual surprise twist at the end. Masterfully building suspense Richardson kept me guessing until almost the end, and I will say no more. Greywalker fans should read this for themselves. 5 Stars!

The last author was one was one with whose work I am unfamiliar, Thomas Sniegoski. Writing about another series character Remy Chandler, an angel living on Earth. The story reads like a bit of detective noir crossed with Christian mythos and fantasy. It, too, has an interesting twist at the end. In fact it nicely parallels the Butcher and Richardson stories in many ways. And now I need to find his other books. 4 stars.

So over all a book worth reading. Three out of four ain't bad.

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