While quite a lot of this collection relies on standard horror tropes, each of the stories tends to use them well enough to keep things interesting. From the opening tale, Painted Love to Seanan McGuire’s haunting Daughter of the Midway, the Mermaid, and the Open, Lonely Sea, the promise of magic, illusion, and adventure on the midways of various traveling carnivals is conveyed vividly and with striking detail. While not all of the stories necessarily do anything to illuminate the human condition (with a few exceptions, which manage nicely to illustrate the pains of not belonging and of pretending to be something you’re not), they’re all interesting pieces of narrative and entertaining in their many, varied ways. And of course, there are a few good, solid action stories in among the more psychological horror. A few of them, including Delilah S. Dawson’s The Three Lives of Lydia and Nicole Peeler’s The Inside Man, are also effective teasers for their authors’ novels. --Regina Schroeder
About the Author
Rachel Caine is the New York Times, USA TODAY, and #1 internationally bestselling author of more than thirty novels, including the immensely popular Morganville Vampires, Weather Warden, Outcast Season, and Revivalist series. Learn more at RachelCaine.com.
Rob Thurman is the author of the Cal Leandros series, the Trickster series, and the Korsak Brothers novels, and has been a Goodreads Choice, Romantic Times Reviewers’ Choice, and an Eliot Rosewater Award nominee. Rob’s work is dark, nonstop action from beginning to end, rife with purely evil sarcasm as sharp as a switchblade—and probably nearly as illegal. Contact the author at RobThurman.net and @Rob_Thurman.