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Mean Streets Paperback – January 6, 2009
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"Children of Blood and Bone"
Tomi Adeyemi conjures a stunning world of dark magic and danger in her West African-inspired fantasy debut. Learn more
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From Publishers Weekly
Readers will be delighted with this collection of original novellas tied to popular crime/fantasy series. The standout is Sniegoskis Noahs Orphans, in which angel PI Remy Chandler must solve the murder of the biblical Arks builder, whose battered corpse is found on an abandoned oil rig. Sniegoski manages to make a far-fetched setup both plausible and moving. Butchers The Warrior hints at a mysterious ongoing war, while wizard detective Harry Dresden solves a case with typical dry wit. Green employs darker humor in The Difference a Day Makes, in which PI John Taylor assists a woman who wandered into the dark world hidden within London, while Richardsons The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog neatly merges noir conventions with a fantastical plot. All solid and suspenseful, these stories are sure to please. (Jan.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“Readers will be delighted with this collection of original novellas tied to popular crime/fantasy series...All solid and suspenseful, these stories are sure to please.”—Publishers Weekly
“Entertaining excitement...Four great stories you won't want to miss, as they seem to fill in some of the gaps between novels and give you a peek into the character's lives you like to read about.”—SFRevu
“These four new novellas by top urban noir authors will entertain while showing the seedier, darker side of town and human nature...Imaginative yet humanizing storylines with familiar characters make this collection a treat and a great introduction for readers new to the genre.”—Monsters and Critics
“Each tale is well written, feeling complete even in the novella format, and complement one another as the writers rose to the occasion of expectations from their fan base. An obvious must for readers of any of the four paranormal sagas, newcomers will appreciate the introductions to these literary legends as they investigate the otherworldly Mean Streets.”—Alternative Worlds
“This is a good collection for urban fantasy and noir lovers, combining mystery and magic in thrilling storylines.”—News and Sentinel
“Four of today's most talented urban fantasy authors combine their magic to deliver an outstanding collection. Walking in these characters' shoes is enlightening, frightening, and not for the faint of heart!”—RT Book Reviews
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Top customer reviews
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Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden story was good. Harry's friend Michael Carpenter, former Knight of the Sword, is being threatened and it's up to Harry to figure out who it is and and stop them - if he can manage to without getting killed himself. The story was well-paced, and can be enjoyed by people not familiar already with the Dresden series. Butcher took care to give enough background information so that new readers wouldn't be lost; but familiar readers won't be bored by repetition. Butcher does a good job, in that while his hero is a powerful wizard, he's far from indestructible, and often gets out of jams by the skin of his teeth. This was the best story of the anthology in my opinion, but then I already admitted to being prejudiced on this count.
Kat Richardson's Greywalker/Harper Blaine story was interesting. I'd never read any of her work before so was totally unfamiliar with the character; but like Butcher enough background information was provided that I could follow the story line easily enough. Basically, Harper is hired to do a simple job in Mexico - one that turns out to be, of course, more complicated that it's first thought to be. Richardson's heroine has the ability to see and communicate with ghosts, and she uses this ability to solve the puzzle of this short story. This is NOT an action-packed tale though - so if you're expecting a lot of intense scenes of peril for our heroine, you'll be disappointed. Overall, the story was good enough that I'll be looking into more of this series.
And then we come to Sniegoski. I'm slightly familiar with his work - mostly through the ABC Family miniseries based on the Fallen stories. Sniegoski has the potential to offend many, many people that are of the deeply religious convictions who aren't open to alternate thoughts on this subject. Remy Chandler - formerly the angel Remiel of the highest order of Angel, the Seraphim - has spent millenia living as human, as much as he can - loving and losing as he marches through time; and now working as a private detective. He's asked to look into the death of Noah (yes, Noah of the Ark) and to find the killer, or killers. The story was interesting, and I think the author did a good job portraying Chandler's fight to live as human while fighting his angelic reality. There is a good plot twist in the story, and like Richardson's story, it was good enough that I'll be looking into this series as well.
Finally, we come to Simon R. Green's Nightside story of John Taylor, private detective. Taylor is hired by a woman who has lost the last 24 hours of her memory, and she wants it found - what happened to her during those missing 24 hours. I admit, I was looking forward to this story most of all - I really enjoy finding a new (to me) series that I can then sit down and devour novel after novel - and Green has written a lot of Nightside novels already. But, I had a real hard time getting into this story for one basic reason. There was little or no tension in the story. We start out with Taylor enlisting his friend Dead Boy - who is like his name implies, dead. And as a zombie he's incredibly strong, pretty much immune to pain, and like Taylor has a rep of not being a person to mess with. Then we get introduced to Dead Boy's car - yes, his car - that is from the future, armed and armored to the teeth, and yep - you guessed it - also has a rep of not being something to mess with. Getting the idea? Basically Taylor and his buddy are so overpowered, that there are in little danger. The one time Dead Boy is overwhelmed, Taylor then pulls out his abilities which seem to be a little precognition and the ability to see all that is hidden and basically just walks amongst the foe disabling them. Every time our hero's party is threatened, our hero just pulls out his trump card and flattens them. You never really get any feeling that they are in any real danger. There is one screen during the 'car chase' that is just badly written in which Taylor is threatened by one thing which then seems to be forgotten about when he decides to take action. Trying to avoid much in the way of spoilers, so I don't want to be more exact than that.
So, in synopsis, one great story, two good ones, and one klunker. Which is too bad as the klunker is the story I was most hoping to enjoy. Granted, it's a short story, and Green can't do a lot of character development in that venue; but then again, both Richardson and Sniegoski managed it well.
I found each of the 4 stories in MEAN STREETS to be interesting and unusual.
In The Warrior by Jim Butcher, my old pal Harry Dresden discovers his old friend and retired Knight of the Cross, Michael Carpenter, is in danger. Harry risks great peril to protect Michael and his family.
In What a Difference a Day Makes by Simon Green, John Taylor finds an amnesiac wandering the streets of the Nightside, a very dark and mysterious place, and must face the worst horrors of all to help her remember.
In The Third Death of the Little Clay Dog by Kat Richardson, Harper Blaine must travel to Old Mexico for the celebration of the Day of the Dead to place a little clay statue of a dog on a specific grave. But both the living and the dead want to stop her.
In Noah's Orphans by Thomas Sniegoski, Remy Chandler is investigating the murder of Noah. It seems that until very recently, Noah (yes, THE Noah) was alive, well, and living in the 21st century.
I really enjoyed each and every story in this collection. While I, of course, loved the Butcher, I would very much like to read more Sniegoski and Richardson. I found their characters and stories to be very enjoyable and entertaining. I did like the Green story as well, but it was my least favorite.
Overall, I found this to be an extremely engaging collection, and I was introduced to some new authors and their characters. MEAN STREETS is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for lovers of dark, urban fantasy.
Most recent customer reviews
• The Warrior, by Jim Butcher
This story takes place after "Proven Guilty" as Michael Carpenter recovers from the wounds that inspire him to...Read more