Saturday, December 15, 2018

Many Bloody Returns

MANY BLOODY RETURNS (2007), edited by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, is one of several anthologies from these two editors that combine supernatural creatures or motifs with a particular holiday or other quirky theme, e.g., werewolves and Christmas, death and vacations, the undead or demons and home improvement. MANY BLOODY RETURNS, subtitled "Tales of Birthdays with Bite," links vampires with birthdays, or, as the editors' preface puts it, the dead and celebrations of life. In addition to Harris and Kelner themselves, the volume showcases original stories by other distinguished vampire fiction authors such as P. N. Elrod, Jim Butcher, Tanya Huff, Kelley Armstrong, Rachel Caine, Christopher Golden, Jeanne C. Stein, et al.

Some highlights: In Harris's "Dracula Night," Sookie Stackhouse gets invited to the club Fangtasia for the annual celebration of Dracula's birthday. Elrod's vampire detective Jack Fleming helps a widow victimized by an alleged medium in "Grave-Robbed." Butcher provides an installment of the Dresden Files with "It's My Birthday, Too." Huff's "Blood Wrapped" gives us an adventure of her vampire hero, Henry Fitzroy, and his human sidekick, Tony. In "The First Day of the Rest of Your Life," Caine reveals the backstory of Eve, a major character in the Morganville Vampires series, whose eighteenth-birthday crisis leads her to the sanctuary of the Glass House. (This work was what lured me into reading those books.) With mordant humor, the narrator of Bill Crider's stand-alone tale "I Was a Teenage Vampire" recounts how his sister's outrageous wish to have a vampire at her birthday party results in the narrator's becoming one of the undead.

This anthology offers treats for long-time fans of its contributors and delightful introductions to authors whom some readers who might not be familiar with.

Margaret L. Carter

Explore love among the monsters at Carter's Crypt.

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