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Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy (Paranormal Scene Investigations #0.5 (Illumination))

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  2,011 Ratings  ·  110 Reviews
From video game characters seeking civil rights and a cave dragon loan shark pondering an investment, to Santa Clause's Australian vacation and an enemy of Sam Spade's seeking revenge-plus visits to the Nightside and Sookie Stackhouse's hometown--Unusual Suspects invokes a dozen imaginative tales featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantas ...more
Paperback, 307 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Ace (first published January 1st 2008)
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Julie (jjmachshev)
Dec 22, 2008 Julie (jjmachshev) rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008-reads
How I love a good surprise. From running upon this gem unexpectedly in the bookstore, to the stories it contains, reading it gave me a lift all around. "Unusual Suspects" is an anthology of twelve stories that blend mystery and fantasy into a delicious confection. The stories range from historical to contemporary urban fantasy, from mages to witches, and from werewolves to vampires to humans. Authors include Charlaine Harris (a new Sookie story!), Carole Nelson Douglas, Simon R. Green (a new Nig ...more
Feb 19, 2010 Kat rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Basic premise: mystery + magic = awesome short stories!!!

This was one of the best collections of short stories I've read in a long time. Nothing made my jaw completely drop (likewise no tears or laughing out loud), but all had quality writing, interesting plots, well-constructed characters, and in general worked well. I would be hard pressed to pick a favorite from the book, it's hard for me to even give a few highlights, as the stories were all (I'm serious, here) very consistently solid. Howev
Mixed bag of short stories with a supernatural/paranormal cast that are tasked with solving a mystery
It took me a while to get through these as I picked up, read a bit, then stopped several times before completing the entire anthology. I really prefer longer stories - novella size is okay for a series that I'm familiar with, but I like longer novels so that i can get immersed in the world. Short stories just aren't as satisfying for me.

That said, here are the stories and a few words about each:

This is a short story anthology containing the following stories:

"Lucky" by Charlaine Harris -- a Sookie Stackhouse short
"Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas
"Looks are Deceiving" by Micheal A. Stackpole
"the House of Seven Spirits" by Sharon Shinn
"Glamour" by Mike Doogan
"Spellbound" by Donna Andrews
"the Duh Vice" by Michael Armstrong
"Weight of the World" by John Straley
"Illumination" by Laura Anne Gilman
"the House" by Laurie R. King
"Appetite for Murder" by Simon R. Green -- a Nightside short
"A Wom
It wasn't a great anthology. The Sookie Stackhouse story by Charlaine Harris was fine, not thrilling, but I'd read it before. I really enjoyed the Deliah Street story by Carole Nelson Douglas, it was the highlight of the book. Her stories are alway charming and interesting. And Laura Anne Gilman's story was a real find, I didn't know she had a prequel to her PSI series with Bonnie investigating Zaki's murder. A couple of the other stories were cute but not thrilling. I liked John Straley's story ...more
harlequin {Stephanie}
Lucky by Charlaine Harris - 1 Stars
Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas - 4 Stars
Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole - 3 Stars
The House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn - 5 Stars
Glamour by Mike Doogan - 3 Stars
Spellbound by Donna Andrews - 2 Stars
The Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong - 5 Stars
Weight of the World by John Straley - 2 Stars
Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman - 1 Stars
The House by Laurie R. King - 3 Stars
Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green - 5 Stars
A Woman’s Work by Dana Stabenow -
A 3.5 star read. Rounded down to 3 stars, because I didn't feel there were enough outstanding stories to take it up to 4.

Best story was the Charlaine Harris Sookie Stackhouse one.

A pleasant read to while away an evening or two.
Jun 29, 2015 Aj rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An entertaining read of short stories that fits both the mystery and fantasy genre.
Alba Molinas
Jul 29, 2016 Alba Molinas rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Este libro debería haberse llamado las aventuras de Amelia y Sookie jajajaja que dos
Overall an interesting read!
The House of Seven Spirits was wonderful!
The House was great and yet so sad in many ways.
I really enjoyed the twist ending in Appetite for Murder.
The ending for A Woman's Work was fantastic!
Mar 12, 2017 Melanie marked it as to-read-anthologies  ·  review of another edition
Charlaine Harris- "Lucky" (Sookie Stackhouse)
I read anthologies to pass the time between books in series that I read & to find new authors in genres I like. I got this one specifically for the Sookie Stackhouse story. Overall, this anthology gets 3 stars. Below is a list of the stories within & what I thought of them specifically.

1. Lucky – Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse story – 28 pgs – 3 stars Fun & cute short story that even someone who hasn’t read the series can enjoy. For someone like myself who’s trying to pass the
CJ - It's only a Paper Moon
Review on a story by story basis. More at my blog: There's Nothing Wrong with Anything

Lucky- Charlaine Harris

It's a story set in the world of Sookie and it seems to take place right before the most recent book. Anyhoo, there is an absence of Eric which sort of made me go "aw man" but there is a Bill appearance. This is not a Sookie romance nor strictly a Sookie Vampire story, it explores Sookie's powers and it teams her up with Amelia.

It's a decent story, nothing amazing, nothing that pops up
(Tori-Smexybooks) smexys_sidekick
Original review at

Unusual Suspects is a 12 story anthology composed of some of today's best known authors. All of the stories deal with the same theme-solving a mystery based on a supernatural theme.

Lucky by Charlaine Harris gives us a glimpse into the life of Sookie Stackhouse and her witchy roommate Amelia Broadway. When Sookie's insurance agent Greg Aubert suspects someone is trying to ruin him, he wants Sookie to use her "gift" to find the culprit. An
Cyn Armistead
Another uneven anthology. I still have it in my hands, so I'll try to hit each story briefly.

"Lucky" by Charlaine Harris - Sookie is much easier to take in short form. I can't help it, the woman grates on me (in the TV show even worse than in the books). The other characters keep me reading.

"Bogieman" by Carole Nelson Douglas - Delilah Street does more than grate on my nerves in long form. She's more palatable in short form, too, but there are reminders of why I don't intend to read more in that
May 27, 2016 Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Powers of Detection”, an anthology featuring stories of crimes committed in fantasy worlds and/or by the characters that inhabit such universes, proved to be so popular that editor Dana Stabenow undertook a sequel. “Unusual Suspects: Stories of Mystery & Fantasy” gathers 12 authors (including Ms. Stabenow) to tell tales of supernatural crimes.

The cover proudly shouts about “A New Sookie Stackhouse Story” by Charlaine Harris. The tale, “Lucky”, leads off the anthology. The tale neither exci
Unusual Suspects is a collection of short stories edited by Dana Stabenow, “a dozen imaginative tales featuring otherworldly investigators trailing uncanny criminals across fantastical realms governed by the laws of magic”.

Stories read in random order, as part of the 2014 Deal Me In! Short Story Reading Challenge (

The House of the Seven Spirits - by Sharon Shinn
A delightful tale of a young woman who moves into a house offered at an affordable rent becaus
Jan 09, 2013 Serena rated it really liked it
Shelves: anthology, fantasy
3.8 stars

Sookie Stackhouse 07.1 Lucky by Charlaine Harris ****
Delilah Street 02.5 Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas ****
Looks are Deceiving by Michael Stackpole ****
the House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn ****
Glamour by Mike Doogan ****
Spellbound by Donna Andrews ****
the Duh Vice by Michael Armstrong ***
Weight of the World by John Straley ****
Paranormal Scene Investigations 00 Illumination by Laura Anne Gilman ****
the House by Laurie R King ***
Nightside] Appetite for Murder by Simon R. Green
Meghan Helms
Some good and some bad. Not my favorite anthology but also not my least favorite.

I had previously read Lucky by Charlaine Harris twice, out of A Touch of Dead. It may be one of my least favorite installments in the Sookieverse. It seems like a story created just to kill time. 2/5

Bogieman by Carole Neilson Ellis struck me as boring. I put this book down for a few weeks because this story bored me so much and help no interesting elements for me. 1/5

Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole held
Nov 19, 2012 Mo rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Lucky by Charlaine Harris

Sookie & her friend help an insurance agent solve a mystery involving his witchy ways. Just a basic story without any twists or intrigue.

Bogieman by Carole Nelson Douglas

Intriguing concept of CinSims (actors in character from famous movie roles imposed on a 'human canvas') roaming certain Vegas venues, but the way it was written made it a bit confusing & the ending was mediocre.

Looks Are Deceiving by Michael A. Stackpole

Couldn't get past the first couple pages
Aug 19, 2009 Wendy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This anthology includes twelve stories from well-known authors such as Charlaine Harris and Simon R. Green, two of my favorite authors. I have never read anything by the others - Carole Nelson Douglas, Laurie R. King, Michael A. Stackpole, Sharon Shinn, Mike Doogan, Donna Andrews, Michael Armstrong, John Straley, Anne Gilman, and lastly, Dana Stabenow. Charlaine's story, Lucky, features the heroine of her popular series, Sookie Stackhouse which coupled with her housemate do some detective work f ...more
Apr 14, 2009 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthologies
I enjoyed this collection of short stories. Here are my notes on the stories included in the book:

Lucky-Charlaine Harris
Sookie and a girlfriend help a local realtor figure out who has been breaking into his office, and a whole lot more. Not my favorite Sookie story, but I’ll take what I can get!

Bogieman-Carole Nelson Douglas
Classic film characters brought to life in a strange world. I just couldn’t get into this one.

Looks Are Deceiving-Michael A. Stackpole
Sci-fi story I couldn’t get into because
I've never liked short stories, as a class. (This might be why I've never tried writing them.) There are certainly exceptions; several writers are always exceptions to the rule, and other stories have come out of the blue and surprised me. I found several authors through Marion Zimmer Bradley's Sword and Sorceress series, for example. But on the whole short story collections are not my favorite creatures, usually picked up to fill in a gap or for something to read quickly. (Also, in this case, t ...more
Connie Easlick
I had a good time reading these. Here is a sentence or two about each story.

Sookie's story in this is "Lucky" and is about her insurance salesperson. It was kind of cool.
The Nightside story in this was kind of weird as usual and had a wow ending. It was called Appetite for Murder.
Woman's Work, by Dana Stabenow, was very nice indeed!!
I did not like Bogieman, but it was a good try and others may like it, so don't go by me for it.
Looks are Deceiving, by Michael Stackpole, was very cool! I think thi
Jan 28, 2011 Alan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Another find from the discount bin. Dana Stabenow surprises me both as an editor and a writer with this collection. I was a little underwhelmed by the Kate Shugak Alaska mystery novel of her that I read. While the emphasis was essentially stated as being supernatural detective stories, the selection was wider than that. The Duh Vice really is science fiction, and well executed with a small political statement. There are touches of magic and science fiction is Carole Nelson Douglas' Bogieman set ...more
Kathy * Bookworm Nation
The House of Seven Spirits by Sharon Shinn

This was a fun short story. Erica has rented a haunted house for the summer while she goes through a nasty divorce, living with seven ghost’s sounds a lot more inviting then dealing with her soon-to-be ex. As she settles in she realizes that not everything is as it seems and soon discovers a mystery that needs to be solved in order to release the seven ghosts from their eternal prison. I really enjoyed this story, although it was mainly about murdered g
Jan 25, 2009 Susan marked it as currently-reading-anthcoll  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: anthology, 2015, bc-sc
Lucky (collected in A Touch of Dead) by Charlaine Harris RE-read 7/9/2015
Bogieman • [Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator] • novelette by Carole Nelson Douglas
Looks Are Deceiving • novelette by Michael A. Stackpole
The House of Seven Spirits • novelette by Sharon Shinn
Glamour • shortstory by Mike Doogan
Spellbound • novelette by Donna Andrews
The Duh Vice • shortstory by Michael Armstrong
Weight of the World • shortstory by John Straley
Illumination • [Paranormal Scene Investigations] • novelette
Elizabeth (Miss Eliza)
To be fair, I've only read the Charlaine Harris story, so the rating may change if I ever get around to finishing the book. After the incident with One Word Answer becoming integral to the plot of Definitely Dead I'm careful not to skip Sookie stories in anthologies. Let's put it this way, this story isn't integral or even that interesting, seeing as it centers on the peripheral character of Sookie's insurance agent. Sure it's mildly funny, but it doesn't really fill the void left waiting for De ...more
I finished Unusual Suspects today. It's a compendium of short stories that is the karmic sequel to Powers of Detection (which I've also read). It was pretty good, though nothing it in caused me to say Oh Wow I have to find that author now! or any other declarations of lust. I enjoyed Sharon Shinn and Laura Anne Gilman.(I haven't bought anything of Shinn's, and I've only dabbled in Gilman.) Many of the stories were plainly predictable, which was a bit painful for me. I may need to focus on story ...more
Jun 09, 2010 Jesse rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this collection. We encounter everything from werewolves, superheroes, and Santa Claus to traditional fantasy worlds. Some were very light and fun while others had a very dark tone. It was a well varied collection but at times seemed a little all over the map. Opening with Sookie Stackhouse and ending with Stabenow's complex fantasy story wasn't the easiest jump to make.

I think my favorites were The House of the Seven Spirits, Spellbound, Illumination, The House, and Appetite fo
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Dana Stabenow was born in Anchorage and raised on 75-foot fish tender in the Gulf of Alaska. She knew there was a warmer, drier job out there somewhere.
More about Dana Stabenow...

Other Books in the Series

Paranormal Scene Investigations (4 books)
  • Hard Magic (Paranormal Scene Investigations #1)
  • Pack of Lies (Paranormal Scene Investigations #2)
  • Tricks of the Trade (Paranormal Scene Investigations, #3)
  • Dragon Justice (Paranormal Scene Investigations #4)

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