To put it simply, Those Who Fight Monsters is an excellent roundup of monster-bashing, spell-flinging, and death-dealing characters from a wide range of series. Each of the 14 stories in this collection centers on a different “occult detective,” who have their own unique mysteries to solve–with plenty of lives (or souls) at risk should they fail. Here’s the official lineup:
Danny Hendrickson – from Laura Anne Gilman’s Cosa Nostradamus series.
Kate Connor – from Julie Kenner’s Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series.
John Taylor – from Simon R. Green’s Nightside series.
Jill Kismet – from Lilith Saintcrow’s Jill Kismet series.
Jessi Hardin – from Carrie Vaughn’s Kitty Norville series.
Quincey Morris – from Justin Gustainis’ Morris/Chastain Investigations series.
Marla Mason – from T. A. Pratt’s Marla Mason series.
Tony Foster – from Tanya Huff’s Smoke and Shadows series.
Dawn Madison – from Chris Marie Green’s Vampire Babylon series.
Pete Caldecott – from Caitlin Kittredge’s Black London series.
Tony Giodone – from C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp’s Tales of the Sazi series.
Jezebel – from Jackie Kessler’s Hell on Earth series.
Piers Knight – from C. J. Henderson’s Brooklyn Knight series.
Cassiel – from Rachel Caine’s Outcast Season series.
Intrigued yet? See any names there you recognize? I hope so, because all of these characters are well worth digging into on their own.
The stories run the gamut from action-packed to contemplative. From witty and wily to bloody and desperate. You’ll encounter the familiar cast of demons, vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and weirder monsters besides.
Whatever your tastes, you’re sure to find at least a handful of entries that will hit the bullseye of your reading pleasure, and I’d encourage giving each story a chance to see where it takes you. That’s the fun with a collection like this. You never know what you might discover. Perhaps a character or series you’ve never heard of will pique your interest and give you several month’s worth of reading material to catch up on.
If there’s anything to cast a wary eye on with this anthology, it links back to the fact that many of these characters have at least a few books already behind them. Because these stories revolve around well-established series, there’s a lot of backstory trailing along. Each character has lots of current relationships, loyalties, evolving powers, scars, nemeses, and other context that new readers might not be privy to. In some stories, this information is mostly ignored for the sake of current events. In others, its deftly inserted into the ongoing plot, and you pick up fun details along the way. In some, though, the backstory is narrated a bit heavy-handedly and weighs down the pace. It’s hardly a fatal flaw, but it is a noticeable bump in a few spots.
Still, Those Who Fight Monsters has an all-star cast, and it’d be a shame if you missed out on the fantastic supernatural sleuthing it holds. It is available through EDGE Science Fiction and Fantasy Publishing.