There are any number of reasons to buy a book. It might look interesting on the shelf, it might have been recommended by someone, it might have randomly shown up in your possession, etc. That’s just the first time you read something by a particular author, because afterwards all you have to do is look for their name and they’ll lead you onward. I’ve spoken about Mercedes Lackey being a gateway author whose numerous coauthors, anthology contributions, and filk music have introduced me to so many new authors and series. How did I start reading her? My mom bought me The Black Swan years and years ago. Just because “it looked like the sort of book I’d like.” That wasn’t the first time my mom had done such a thing, and I will always be grateful that she thought to do so.
(My parents are currently wondering why I won’t read The Cursed Child. Sorry, I don’t like reading scripts. I endured it for Shakespeare, but those plays are meant to be performed and so much becomes clear when you see it. Lists of names with dialogue and the occasional reference to a scene don’t do it for me. Description, please! And also please not in iambic pentameter. Or hendecasyllabic. Or elegiac couplet. Can you tell I took Latin in highschool?)
Today I read Those Who Fight Monsters: Tales of Occult Detectives, an anthology from 2011 edited by Justin Gustainis. I sought this particular book out because it contains a Smoke and Shadows story by Tanya Huff which I had not yet read. (Let it be known that Huff is mean, cruel, and so so so wonderful. That ENDING.) I don’t think that I recognized a single additional author in the entire book which might have been good, might have been bad, but mostly just was.
The book’s theme is about people solving mysteries that involve the supernatural. They’re short stories, which means there’s not a huge amount of time for setup or characterization, but most of the stories are fairly strong despite these limitations. Several of them feature characters from existing series, though I’m only familiar with the one.
Overall, this was a much more satisfying read than the last anthology (Amazons!). That could be because it’s thirty years newer and written in a more modern style. It could be that these stories are better over all. Regardless, I’m pleased with today’s choice. And oh, Tony Foster. Like really does attract like.