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The Best Paranormal Crime Stories Ever Told

Ellery Queen, but with a supernatural twist? Nice. I can get into that. And that is sort of what this book is.

The first few offerings had me worried. They are what you might describe as “kitchen sink” stories. Why write a story about vampires when you can include werewolves as well? And wizards and psychics and fairies and… you get the idea. Think shades of Sookie Stackhouse here or—dare I say it?—Twilight. If it’s your cuppa, you’ll enjoy those tales. They are competently written, but I don’t care for the style.

Thankfully, there is a wider variety here than the first few stories would suggest. “The Judgement,” by Anne Perry, is a nifty crime story set in the context of a Middle Ages witch trial. Very enjoyable, if a little bit heavy-handed with the moral at the end. Carol Nelson Douglas’s “Special Surprise Guest Appearance By…” is a tale of a rivalry between Las Vegas illusionists. As you can guess, there is more that stage magic going on here. “She’s Not There,” by Steve Perry, tells the story of a supernaturally gifted thief. Max Allen Collins’s “The Night of Their Lives” is a Depression Era whodunit that features an undercover police detective on the trail of a wealthy heiress who runs a soup kitchen that she uses for her own devices. The twist at the end of this story was very well done.

Were these stories The Best Ever Told? That title alone sets the bar pretty high. I’d say about a third of these stories were very well done, a third were just okay, and a third fell short of the mark for me.

Not the best ever, but not bad by any means.

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