Book Cover from Amazon
The Big Bad II, an anthology published by Falstaff Books.
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Everybody loves the bad guys, and this second edition of The Big Bad brings you more to love! A collection of best-selling fantasy and horror writers brings you twenty-four all-new tales of vampires, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the most terrifying monsters of all - humans. Crack open the pages, if you dare, and explore two dozen tales of humor and horror by some of the brightest names in the business!
Much more consistent in story quality than the first book (but slightly less daring), Mr. Hartness and Ms. Leverett seem to have their strides with their second anthology of Big Bad.
So often we see the put-upon minority, the bad guys, get trampled, locked up, even killed by good guys and government agents (unless, of course, those are the bad guys). It is a pleasure seeing them not only survive, but thrive ... I think.
Feels like Justice to Me by Edmund R. Schubert may be one of the best justifications I have ever read for someone doing something unusual. An amazing character piece! This one is a five star. It's about half-way through the anthology.
And Stuart Jaffee for his Portrait of a Psychopathic Man wins the "what was I thinking reading this anthology at midnight" award. Really I was reading this anthology at midnight - WHAT was I THINKING?
Quick rundown on some of the other 24 stories
A Family Affair - by Selah Janel - So nice to see a son take after his mother. I can see him growing up to be just like her ... she should be worried.
Old Nonna - by Gail Z Martin - A lovely twist of an ancient Russian story transferred to mountain folk everywhere.
A Day in the Life - by James R. Tuck - Some days are better than others, even for the fiends of Hell. But you know, a good working environment can help make the difference.
Overkill - by Sara Taylor Woods - Word of advice, don't make a Southern waitress from a redneck bar angry. She will bless your heart.
A Fitter Subject for Study - by Sarah Joy Adams - All in the name of science. (I can soooo see this as the first stage of a Call of Cth game. ... Little surprised the editors choose to have two letter-based shorts, but they are both horrific fun.)
Ghost and Sands - by Jay Requard - Another short about Mr. Conjer whom we met in the first Big Bad Anthology. Pleased to see him still in business.
The House on Cherry Hill by Emily Lavin Leverett - Some old houses are more than just money pits.
Phone Home - by E.D. Guy - A sci-fi! So much of the horror genre is historic or contemporary; so nice to see one proving bad guys continue to destroy humanity in the future.
I Think of Snow - by J. Matthew Saunders - This author's beautiful language perfectly capture a love interest (ummm, maybe not the right description).
and finally ...
The Cully - by D.B. Jackson - A Sephira origin story ... enough said, if you like the Thieftaker series.