Many Bloody Returns
, . . Ace, $24.95 (355pp) ISBN 978-0-441-01522-1
This patchwork anthology of 13 new vampire stories proves that heavyweight contributors can give some substance to a relatively slight theme. Harris (the Sookie Stackhouse novels), Kelner (the Laura Fleming mysteries) and 11 other writers with serious vamp credentials craft stories around the concept of birthdays for bloodsuckers. Most of the tales only blow out candles in passing, as with P.N. Elrod's “Grave-Robbed,” which mixes pathos and comedy as vampire PI Jack Fleming busts a phony medium mid-séance, and Tanya Huff's “Blood Wrapped,” in which Henry Fitzroy's search for the ideal gift for a vampire's 40th mixes with his pursuit of a human kidnapper. Christopher Golden takes birthdays to heart in his poignant coming-of-age story, “The Mournful Cry of Owls,” while Kelley Armstrong proposes in “Twilight” that a vampire's real birthday is the date of transformation from mortal to immortal. Fans of the many series vampires on parade here will be undeterred by the variable quality of their adventures.
Reviewed on: 06/25/2007