- Paperback: 352 pages
- Publisher: Roc Trade (January 6, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451462491
- ISBN-13: 978-0451462497
- Product Dimensions: 5.9 x 0.8 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 92 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,018,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Mean Streets Paperback – January 6, 2009
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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.)
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“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
Top customer reviews
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The first story, The Warrior, was very good and I couldn't put it down. It is set fairly late in the Dresden series, and has some serious spoilers for new readers.
The second story was my first trip to the Nightside. Green's protagonist was too understated and powerful. I had to force myself to come back and finish it. It has a lot of action, but not a lot of tension (he'll be fine). I was disappointed by Mr. Green's Deathwalker series, and this story reminded me why.
The third was about a Greywalker. It was a lot slower and more cerebral than the other tales, probably indicative of that series (not sure, I've not read any of those books). Again, another story I could put down. If you're familiar with (or uninterested in) Day of the Dead mythology then it will be pretty boring. That said, I enjoyed it. I may have to pick up a volume or two of the actual series.
The last story was about Remy Chandler, angel and detective. It feels like it is fairly far along in the series. Again, I had mixed feelings about this one. It had a mystery, but I saw the solution immediately (and was correct). It had combat, but the question was if the protagonist would pull out his "big guns" not if he'd win. It was enjoyable, but not enough for me to rush out and buy the books. The protagonist simply feels too powerful and unstoppable from what I've read.
"The Warrior" by Jim Butcher
I am a fangirl of the Dresden Files series. I like it for it's snarky humor, characters that seem like people (and likeable people at that), intelligent villains that do their homework on their foes (and seem to have read the list of things evil overlords should not do), storylines that are ok about their loose ends... but I digress.
The story involves Michael Carpenter, a close friend of the wizard Harry Dresden (the narrator), a pair of holy swords and an antagonist concerned with the disposition of the aforementioned blades.
I really enjoyed the last conversation of the story, I found it extremely funny if a bit heavy handed with the info dumping. The overall pacing was good, and I enjoyed watching Harry interact with all of the people he talked to over the course of his investigation. There was a part in one of the scuffles where my credulity did get stretched some (too many times getting hit in the noggin when one already has a concussion and staying awake for it), but it didn't take away from the core of the plot and characters.
"The Difference a Day Makes" by Simon R. Green
This story (also told in first person) involves John Taylor, a PI whose magic talent is finding things and sometime denizen of the space under London known as the Nightside. He runs into a woman who wants to find out what happened to her the day before the narrative starts, since she can't recall it and her husband is missing.
I did not like this story so much. John Taylor reads rather bland to me and throughout the story I had the suspicion that I had read or watched something like it before. It seemed like a cliched hard boiled PI story except the character descriptions were a bit stranger and the setting was more oddball. I was not impressed with Liza, the dame in distress. She seemed to alternate between ninny and steady character without ever settling on a middle ground between the two. Liza also seemed to react an awful lot like the female protagonist in the book Something From the Nightside... enough so that I suspected character recycling.
I did enjoy the bit character of Dead Boy. He was somewhat amusing. Also, I want his car.
"The Third Death of the Clay Dog" by Kat Richardson
I was a little surprised to like this story. I've had consistently bad luck with female authors of urban fantasy in general. Again, it was written in first person (one might think that this is a subgenre norm) from the perspective of one Harper Blaine, an otherwise normal PI who sees dead people. She's asked to place a small clay dog statue on someone's grave in accordance with the last wishes of someone she doesn't know.
I thought that the characters were well written. Harper seemed like a decent normal character for the most part and Miguel (Mickey) reminded me of one of my siblings in some ways. This was a much slower paced story than any of the others, but the slower pace seemed to suit the story and the characters just fine. A good deal of the investigation was mundane leg work, which actually made me feel like I was reading a mystery novella rather than a fantasy novella. I felt it worked well with the characters. I may have to pick up one of Ms. Richardson's books now. :)
"Noah's Orphans" by Thomas E. Sniegoski
Written in third person, this story centers around one melancholy Remy Chandler, aka Remiel, angel and PI as he looks for the killer of Noah (the one who built the ark).
I found my credulity somewhat stretched by this story. I blame... too much divine intervention. A couple of angels running around, pretending to act like humans, I can buy that. Four of them in the same story though? Tsk, tsk. My deus ex machina alarm went off. Perhaps if I were more religious I would like this story more, but as it was, I did not find most of the characters particularly interesting. I kind of got bored of the antagonistic Sariel as well. The plot seemed overly convoluted and was not helped at all by the sudden scene changes. Pacing seemed to randomly speed up and slow down. About the only things I did like were the Chimerians and Marlowe the dog. Unfortunately, there wasn't a lot of focus on them.
'Walking in' with this book, I'd read Jim Butcher's work, but wasn't familiar with the other authors. This is probably going to be common, especially given Amazon's listing of the book with his name, and given his popularity.
The 'showpiece' is the Dresden story, clearly, but the other stories are not to be passed over. There's some solid writing there, and some interesting characters and settings. You can get particulars from the blurb, or the back of the book, the bottom line is it's not padded with things that the publisher threw together, they can stand on their own.
I know I get tired waiting the year or so between novels by my favorite authors, and finding other authors to read is the best cure for that.
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