Wednesday, May 4, 2011

CBRIII: Book#23: Death's Excellent Vacation edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner

I grabbed this anthology of stories because of the Sookie Stackhouse short story. I loves me some Sookie Stackhouse: Book Version Only. I really hate "True Blood" now. It went off the rails, jumped the shark and then pissed in the shark's mouth. I hate it. Anyway, that's why I grabbed this collection of stories about different supernaturals and their vacation tales.

The Sookie Stackhouse tale is called "Two Blondes" and has Sookie going on a short trip with Pam. Eric has requested the two visit Tunica, Mississippi to visit casinos and run a little errand. As it usually goes with a Sookie story, nothing goes as planned. However, we do get Pam and Sookie dancing together with a stripper pole, which is AWESOME.

Most of the stories are a real disappointment, I must say. I disliked "The Boys Go Fishing" by Sarah Smith intensely. A superhero, that seems uncomfortably close to Superman and hangs with other heroes named Robin and The Bat, has allowed himself to grow old after the death of his wife, Lana. Yeah. He is visited by a young woman that wants him to take some gifted kids fishing.

"One For the Money" is a Jeaniene Frost story with her character Cat from the Night Huntress series. Cat is a vampire married to another vampire named Bones. She is tasked with saving a spoiled heiress named Tammy Winslow from supernatural hit-men hired by Tammy's asshole cousin. The fighting is fun and the story was interesting, but it was too short.

"Meanwhile, Far Across the Caspian Sea..." by Daniel Stashower is a good story. A man named Jeff Clarke gets a job at LifeSpan as an editor. He meets a man named Thaddeus Palgrave who eviscerates fellow employees with is words. I can't really tell you much more without spoiling it. "The Innsmouth Nook" by A. Lee Martinez is short and fairly boring. Philip and Vance go to Clam Bay to open a bed and breakfast even though the town is overcast, free of tourists, and crappy constantly. One night some creatures invade the bed and breakfast. It isn't nearly as good or fun as that description may make it seem.

"Safe and Sound" by Jeff Abbott is a tight little story concerning Nora Dare, a former lawyer-turned television personality similar to Nancy Grace. She is obsessed with the ratings accompanying her coverage of the disappearance of college student Jason Kirk. If you didn't know from the theme of the anthology, you wouldn't suspect supernatural events in the story. You would just see a well-written statement about the state of our news in this country and the lengths that some people will go to get ratings.

I won't go into detail about too many of the remaining stories. "The Demon in the Dunes" by Chris Grabenstein is another well-executed story about a young man seeing a ghoul on the beach in 1975 New Jersey. "The Perils of Effrijim" is a funny story by Katie MacAlister that gives us a ruined vacation for demon Jim. All in all, this anthology was a disappointment with few interesting stories. Some were too short, some were too convoluted and some were too dependent on existing characters to engage me. Perhaps worth a read for someone that's already familiar with the various writers.

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