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Streets of Shadows

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From the editors of Dark Faith, Maurice Broaddus and Jerry Gordon, comes a collection of supernatural crime noir.

You think you're safe. What a joke.

You don't think about the places you pass every day.
The side streets. The alleys.
The underbridges.
All you'd have to do is take a step to the side.

Then you'd know.

The streets are filled with shadows.

377 pages, Paperback

First published September 24, 2014

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Maurice Broaddus

126 books267 followers

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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Amy (Other Amy).
452 reviews87 followers
January 21, 2016
TL;DR version: almost all good depending on your own predilections. Standouts by Picirilli, Kloster, Snyder & Robichaud, Warrick, Rusch, Lebbon, McGuire, and Maberry. The ones by Tom, Shawl, and Sizemore didn't really work for me. The remaining stories are solid and you will love more or less depending on whether you prefer your dark fantasy to mean more fantasy, more horror, or more noir.

I wasn't really planning on reading another short story collection this year, but after I read Maurice Broaddus' story in HELP FUND MY ROBOT ARMY!!! & Other Improbable Crowdfunding Projects, I realized I already had an anthology he edited on my ereader, namely this one. Unfortunately he did not write a story for the anthology, but I am really glad I bumped it up the stack; there are some really fine stories in here, and what you find less than stellar will largely depend on your own genre preferences. Solid 4.5 star collection, and I am feeling generous as it's been a while since I read an anthology with so few bum stories in it. I have called out further reading available below, mostly where I was interested myself.

"What I Am" by Tom Picirilli, ★★★★★
The death of a robber in the Big Apple. Gorgeous. (I already had The Last Kind Words and The Walls of the Castle on my stack for this author, so I will try to get to those a little sooner.)

"A Game of Cards" by A.C. Wise, ★★★★☆
A Vegas bouncer plays sleuth after a beheading in her casino. Lots of fun. Unfortunately I don't see a series following this taste (and yes, I would very much like one), but I do see the author is publishing a collection of shorts this year, The Ultra Fabulous Glitter Squadron Saves the World Again, which I will likely try.

"Shooting Aphrodite" by Gary Kloster, ★★★★★
High end prostitution and murder with a hell of a twist. Really, just wow. I might try Firesoul.

"Santa Muerte" by Lucy A. Snyder and Daniel R. Robichaud, ★★★★★
Throw a witch who calls herself a Passion Weaver into the aftermath of a drug deal gone bad and see what happens. Loved the visceral magic system in this. Unfortunately didn't see anything in either author's book lists that looked similar.

"Morrigan's Girls" by Gerard Brennan, ★★★★☆
A madam takes on a deadbeat john, made more interesting by the fact that the madam is the Irish goddess of war and the deadbeat is a Cuchulainn. A retelling of a piece of the Ulster Cycle, feels like just a fragment. I would have liked more, but I'm not seeing any other works in this vein on the author's page.

"Such Faces We Wear, Such Masks We Hide" by Damien Angelica Walters, ★★★★☆
A kind of shapeshifter deals with the ramifications of her old organized crime ties. Nice little story by the end. (This author has an anthology in the Apex Voices series, Sing Me Your Scars, which I might take a look at.)

"The Man Who Has Been Killing Kittens" by Douglas F. Warrick, ★★★★★
A detective with a very strange case. Written in second person (and very stream of consciousness), which I know annoys some, but it bothered me not at all. Another gorgeous one. Also, has a professor of possible fish in it. So awesome. (The author also has an Apex Voices anthology, Plow the Bones, which I think I will be reading.)

"The Large Man" by Paul Tremblay, ★★★☆☆
In a dystopian society, a Problem Solver must determine who is killing the families of the Consortium. In spite of beautiful writing and a really intriguing set up of the character, I found myself not caring at all about the actual story. Also, this is pretty pure horror, and horror is not my most favorite genre. If it's yours, you might like this better than I did.

"Unfilial Child" by Laurie Tom, ★★☆☆☆
A social worker's Chinese grandmother reveals some secrets. This wasn't very compelling until the very end.

"Street Worm" by Nisi Shawl, ★★☆☆☆
A young teen makes a go at running away ... and develops a case of the shining??? The characterization of the MC is great, but the story is meh. Plus .

"Der Kommissar's In Town" by Nick Mamatas, ★★★☆☆
An Occupy protest goes very, very wrong. Very what the hell just happened kind of story. In a good way.

"The Shadow People" by Brandon Massey, ★★★☆☆
A former hitman finds out there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in his philosophy. This story aims squarely at the bizarre for the sake of the bizarre, and I wouldn't say I enjoyed it, but it is stuck in my head in kind of a good way.

"Hand Fast" by Kristine Kathryn Rusch, ★★★★★
A paranormal private eye spends Valentine's Day in the grip of a cold case. This one grabbed me from the first line and I never looked up to the end. Great story. (It appears her The Retrieval Artist: A Retrieval Artist Short Novel was nominated for the Hugo (and she went back and wrote a series leading up to it), so I think I'll read that.)

"Beware of Dog" by Kevin J. Anderson, no rating.
"A Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. Adventure": I don't do zombies, so I'm skipping this one. (There's a series if zombie P.I.'s are your thing, starting with Death Warmed Over.)

"Stay" by Anton Strout, ★★★☆☆
Entertaining concept (alchemist Mr. Fix It for hire), but cookie cutter execution (hello, Harry Dresden, nice potions). But I enjoyed the read and it has a Shar-Pei, so I bumped it up a star. Goodness knows there are worse stories you could remind me of. (In the event that this might be better in long form with a woman as the MC, it appears there is a series with the same concept and universe, starting with Alchemystic.)

"God Needs Not the Future" by Jason Sizemore, ★☆☆☆☆
If you're going to bring AI and religion to the table in the same short story, you better bring it big. This story tries to do too much with too little. Too much in that it doesn't flesh out what religion actually looks like in this pre-apocalyptic world, then too little in that it throws in some Bible gesturing and relies on the reader to fill in the rest. Facile, is the word I'm going with here. (And, in light of that, the gore is annoying, but I actually was eating breakfast at the time.) Also, an author can get away with not really telling what's going on with the MC's background in a short story, but not if it's intimately linked to the punch of the story this way. (Re)read Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? instead. It actually manages to do everything this story fails at.

"Relics" by Tim Lebbon, ★★★★★
A woman's world falls apart and reforms in the wake of an old loss. The story doesn't actually happen in this tale; it is more the pause between stories and the focus is completely on her reaction and transformation. Also, the writing is gorgeous. (A bump here and there, I will admit, but overall I loved this, in spite of the mixing of fantasy critters that in my own personal quirky system of 'rules' do not belong together.) Unfortunately, his most recent stand alone book is Coldbrook, which appears to be zombies. It looks like Echo City is a love-it-or-hate-it kind of thing and I may try that.

"Cold Fear" by Lucien Soulban, ★★★★☆
A recently murdered detective goes right on solving the crime. The noir detective tale is not my genre, although I love to see the tropes taken out and played with. But there is some awesome world building going on here and I enjoyed this very much. (Didn't see a book in the author's list to match, though.)

"In Vino Veritas" by Tim Waggoner and Michael West, ★★★☆☆
An interested party arranges a conference with Elliot Ness and Al Capone to register his annoyance with Prohibition, naturally. Somehow this ends up being a very pedestrian tale in spite of the fun concepts. (Admittedly, it is suffering a little bit from following immediately in the collection after "Cold Fear" as the similar style doesn't differentiate it much from the previous story.)

"Best Served Cold" by Seanan McGuire, ★★★★★ A private investigator takes a case to keep the balance between the fae and us. Full disclosure, I bought this anthology for this story. If I were rating it strictly against McGuire's body of work, it would be a four star read, but against the other stories in this volume, I have to give it a five. She is the only author who has ever made me care about the fae. She is playing here with concepts she plays out to greater length (read that better) in the October Daye series (begins with Rosemary and Rue) and the Indexing series, but it was a fun read and it is always interesting to see her take on a theme from a different angle.

"Toby's Closet" by Jonathan Maberry, ★★★★★ A different private investigator deals with a monster in the closet. And ends this collection on a great "hell yeah" moment. I was thinking there was a series from the tag ("A Sam Hunter Story") but there isn't, just another short story from Tales from the Fire Zone and apparently a novella in Limbus, Inc.. I am disappointed, but I'll read what's available.
Profile Image for Casey.
115 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2019
I bought this through a Kickstarter themed Humble Bundle a few years back. I enjoy anthologies because they give me a taste of many new authors and I usually find one or two new authors to check out. This book's theme was urban noir dark fantasy, and I generally like the tone of those types of stories. Unfortunately though, the stories in this collection kind of ran together to me, with a few standouts. I really enjoyed Paul Tremblay's story "The Large Man," which is not surprising to me because I had previously read one of his novels and knew I liked his work. I also enjoyed "Stay" by Anton Strout because the modern alchemy system was really interesting, and "Relics" by Tim Lebbon. Overall, an enjoyable read.
Profile Image for Marie.
Author 57 books86 followers
October 11, 2019
An excellently cohesive anthology... all the stories are about something supernatural in a city with a dark tone and hints of noir elements. Usually with a god. Elliot Ness meets Dionysus. A junkie shoots up Aphrodite's blood. (That was actually my favorite of the stories.) A PI investigates the runaway boyfriend of The Winter Queen. (In Vancouver! Convenient because I read it in my hotel in Vancouver!)

The quality of the stories was more variable than the theme. Maybe that's just me. There were a few that felt incomplete, like they were the starts of novellas that had been cut out to submit. That's an occupation hazard in writing a mystery type short story... you need room for misdirections and twists.

Profile Image for Melissa Bennett.
754 reviews9 followers
February 23, 2018
This was like a lot of short story compilations that I've read. You have your mix of some really great stories, some were okay and then some were not great at all. For most part it was a decent compilation. There were editing errors as well. Nothing horrible. Mostly words stuck together when there should've been a space and the Table of Contents page numbers do not match with the actual story pages.
Profile Image for Angela.
856 reviews10 followers
February 5, 2017
Some very good stories here. Worth picking up if you like both short stories and urban fantasy. These collections are usually good for making me interested in at least one new author.
Profile Image for Frances.
495 reviews26 followers
January 1, 2020
This was a fantastic collection; I'm usually a bit hesitant and picky about urban fantasy, but this collection swept me away. Creepy, funny, and fantastic range.
Profile Image for James Murphy.
785 reviews1 follower
February 1, 2015
An amazing anthology! This blend of noir with urban fantasy provides some enjoyable reading. My favorites in this collection are "Cold Fear" by Lucien Soulban (dead P. I. is still on the case); "In Vino Veritas" by Tim Waggoner and Michael West (nice riff on "The Untouchables"); and "Toby's Closet" by Jonathan Maberry (P. I. helps out a single mother and her child). An anthology that is definitely worth your time and money.
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