SELECT * FROM uv_BookReviewRollup WHERE recordnum = 1488 Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg Book Review |

Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg cover image

Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg
Genre: Fantasy Anthology
Publisher: DAW
Published: 2009
Review Posted: 6/22/2013
Reviewer Rating:
Reader Rating: Not Rated

Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg

Book Review by Joshua Palmatier

Have you read this book?

Web Ginn House by Phaedra Weldon: A good story with an interesting voice for the main character, who uses her ability to travel outside her body to earn a living. This new case presents her with some . . . unexpected problems. I liked the setup for the character and her career, but the case itself felt a little unwieldy. There were too many things going on and in the end they didn't get connected as well as I would have liked.

The Hex Is In by Mike Resnick: Here, a bookie has to investigate who might have dropped a piano on a football player to screw up the spread. We meet a lot of interesting characters in here, all with a tongue-in-cheek mobster feel to it all. A fun story.

If Vanity Doesn?t Kill Me by Michael A. Stackpole: This time, the main character is actually an ex-detective charged with bribery a while back. He's asked to look into a case because of his inherent talent, and the possible connection to his mother. The way that talents work in this world is interesting and relevant to the story and character. I missed the clue to who the killer was though.

Witness to the Fall by Jay Lake: An interesting and very atmospheric story about a "witch" who uses the wind for prophecy. She's called to help unravel what happened about a death in the local village. I liked the style of this story, very literary (and I don't usually like literary style), but the atmosphere was great. A little more clarity would have been nice about some of the nuances of the crime and the characters involved, but definitely a good story.

The Best Defense by Kristine Kathryn Rusch: Here, the main character is a lawyer who is forced to take on a client that, for all practical purposes, obviously committed the crime. He manages to use his rather non-magical powers to defend his client . . . but it turns out that that's only the beginning. I can't say much more without spoiling the story, but this one has a rather nice twist at the end.

Call of the Second Wolf by Steven Mohan, Jr.: This story has a main character who's Russian . . . and that comes across in the style of the writing. The author gives the character's inner voice the appropriate accent, which took some getting used to while reading. However, once you get into the flow, the subsequent Russian mafia story is so far my favorite story in the anthology. I loved the twist and plot line of the story. Well thought out, and a lot happens in the course of such a short piece.

The Old Girlfriend of Doom by Dean Wesley Smith: A tongue-in-cheek story with a main character that could be a superhero with superpowers . . . or not. It's never exactly clear. But whatever he's got, he's trying to save an old girlfriend who's in trouble with some Silicon Suckers who want her breasts. Like I said, tongue-in-cheek.

Second Sight by Ilsa J. Bick: This story had quite a bit going on in it. The main character is a detective who has some special abilities that he hasn't embraced yet. The plot is complicated and there a lot to sort out. So while the magical content of the story--the magic coming from a pre-Hindu culture that I haven't seen used in anything else--was interesting and intriguing, I found that I had a hard time following what was going on and keeping track of the multiple characters. I felt this story would have been much better as a much longer piece, either a novella or a novel. I wanted more time spent on nearly all of its aspects, so that I could absorb the material.

The True Secret of Magic, Only $1.98, Write Box 47, Portland, ORE by Joe Edwards: I really liked this short story. It was calm and quiet and only had two characters of importance (although the overall idea behind the story had huge stakes for everyone, not just these two). The main character was a woman with her own special abilities, and she was interesting and drew me in. The other character was a cop, and he didn't quite have the same dimension as the woman. But a good story.

The Sweet Smell of Cherries by Devon Monk: A very well-written story about a young girl who can "Hound" out magic, meaning she can sense magic and the signature of who used it. She uses this ability to find things--people, lost dogs, etc. Here, she thinks she's being hired to Hound out a lost dog, but instead they want her to find a lost girl. The prose is smooth and the story solid.

Eye Opening by Jason Schmetzer: An interesting story about a thief with a kind of second sight which allows him to "see" through wood, glass, metal, etc. Very helpful in his profession, since he can see the tumblers on a safe lock, for example. He ends up getting mixed up in something much bigger, however, and learns that his Sight is more than it seems. A fun little story.

Faith's Curse by Randall Bills: This story plays on the idea that magic comes from the belief, that a magician is more powerful if more people believe he's actually a magician. The main character has garnered a ton of power, but in the process has perhaps abused those that were faithful to him. The plot surrounds his search for another magician and begins with a body that could only have been murdered using powerful magic. I found the story hard to get into, mostly because I didn't like the main character. He wasn't a likeable character, which was kind of the point by the end, but I still found it difficult to care for him.

The Wish of a Wish by Robert T. Jeschonek: The main character here is attempting to save a genie from her current rather cruel master, but his attempts are foiled by the laws that bind a genie and by the mindset a genie would have based on their upbringing--the idea that they were created solely to serve their master. It had an interesting premise and a good ending, along with a slight tongue-in-cheek approach that helped mitigate some of the cruelty and darker elements of the story.

RPG Reunion by Peter Orullian: This was an interesting story simply because of the RPG elements and the fact that how this particular RPG game ended 20 years before is probably how every RPG group ends--a fight over something stupid that happened during an adventure. Here, the "victim" in that fight learns some true magic and comes back for revenge. Some good jabs at the D&D gaming world, while it's still obvious that there's a certain sense of nostalgia and love of the whole RPG experience as well.

Treasure by Leslie Claire Walker: A story dealing with fairy magic and the consequences of making a deal with the fairy, even when the person who breaks that pact isn't yourself, although you suffer the consequences. I liked the writing of this piece in particular, as well as the main character. Definitely one of my favorites in this anthology.

She's Not There by Steve Perry: In this story, we have a main character who can make herself appear as anyone she wishes, although she has to touch someone first before the glamor works. It also doesn't disguise her voice. She uses this ability to steal minor things from rich folk, but just enough to get by. The story involves what happens when one of her small thefts goes wrong and what she?s driven to do in order to survive . . . and what she's willing to risk. A good story to finish off the anthology.

Overall, a good anthology. Some interesting stories in here, and interesting takes on magical crimes. Definitely an anthology I'd recommend.
Click here to buy Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg on Amazon

Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg on Amazon

Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg cover pic
Comment on Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg
Your Name:
Type (case sensitive) here:

Comments on Crime Spells, edited by Martin H. Greenberg
There are no comments on this book.