The new anthology from EDGE – Those Who Fight Monsters, edited by Justin Gustainis – should be on the “to read” list of anyone who calls themselves a paranormal/urban fantasy fan… and here’s why:
As Gustainis states in the anthology’s introduction, supernatural sleuths have been around for more than a century: J. Sheridan Le Fanu’s Martin Hessilius (1872), Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes (A Study in Scarlet was originally published in 1887), Stoker’s Dr. Van Helsing from Dracula (1897), Algernon Blackwood’s John Silence stories (1900s), etc.
“More than twenty-five years have passed since Venkman and the boys first strapped on their gear, but the essential question remains unchanged. Even in the 21st century, whenever demons walk the earth, werewolves prowl the countryside, or vampires ride the night winds in search of innocents’ blood…
Who you gonna call?
In the pages that follow, courtesy of some of today’s best writers of urban fantasy, you will find fourteen delightful, disturbing, and downright creepy answers to that question.”
• “A gaudy silver necklace with a pentacle dangling point-side down hung around his fleshy neck. He looked like he’d tried going Goth when he’d hit 35 and didn’t quite make it.”
• “Infernal magic: way better than an underwire bra.”
• “Blood and ichor flew. Curses rang out. I buffed my nails.”
• ”…practitioners of the dark arts taste like chicken.”
And there are still so many more noteworthy stories in this book – a stellar Vampire Babylon story from Chris Marie Green, a story from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows saga, a mystery featuring Denver homicide detective Jessi Hardin from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville novels, and an Outcast Season story from Rachel Caine starring former Djinn Cassiel.
Not only is Those Who fight Monsters a wonderful paranormal fantasy sampler, it’s a stellar example of how far this genre has expanded and evolved. I highly recommend this anthology to longtime paranormal fantasy fans as well as those new to the genre: what a fantastic way to be introduced to not one but 14 uber-popular series!
Paul Goat Allen has been a full-time book reviewer specializing in genre fiction for almost the last two decades and has written more than 6,000 reviews for companies like Publishers Weekly, The Chicago Tribune, and BarnesandNoble.com. In his free time, he reads.