08 December 2010

Book Review Number 7: Blood Lite, ed by Kevin J Anderson


I borrowed this book from a friend of mine who knew it would be right up my alley.  All of the stories are a mixture of horror and comedy, and some of my favorite authors have contributed to it.  Kelley Armstrong added a nice Jaime Vegas story of a ghost that doesn't understand why you really shouldn't piss off the necromancer.  Jim Butcher gave us a look into a day "off" for Harry Dresden - which isn't really as much a day off as he was hoping for.  Charlene Harris writes about some rich environmentalists who take their beliefs a little too literally... particularly when it comes to eating green. Sherrilyn Kenyon wrote a wonderful set up for what could be a great series - an office worker becomes a demon hunter, though he's not quite sure about this change of careers.  

Most of the others were ok, but there was one that absolutely stood out for me.  "Dead Hand" by Sharyn McCrumb.  It's the story of a race crew that uses a little Cherokee Magic to try to have a chance at a decent ending for the season.  Part of why I loved this story was because it touches on my background.  Most of my life, I've been a NASCAR fan.  My dad worked as a crewman on one of the smaller ARCA-like teams in the late 80's, early to mid 90's.  I grew up in the days of the owner-operator, the days when all the tracks were in the south and each track had a spring and a fall race.  The Firecracker was held on July 4th, regardless of what day of the week it fell on.  And Mother's Day was a sacred day in the sport and no one would race.  I was a fan of Cale Yarborough and Brett Bodine and my dad was a fan of the late JD McDuffie (He even got married to my step-mom in a JD shirt.)  Sundays would find my whole family in front of the TV or, occasionally, at the track, watching the drivers turn left.  And in 1993, while I was in college, the reigning champion, one of the last and best owner operators on the track, Alan Kulwicki, died in a plane crash on April 1st.  Alan created the Polish victory lap and, being ancestrally polish myself, I had a soft spot in my heart for him.  Why is all of this important?  Because, even though I haven't been able to find any proof of it online, I know enough about NASCAR from the time frame to know that the author had to be talking about Alan as the driver that they brought back.  And that just made me squee because I love when I catch something that most people probably don't.  I immediately called my dad and told him about it.  Because he was someone that I knew would appreciate it as much as I had.

The rest of the stories run the gamut from stories that were a bit gorier than I normally care for (like the one about rock star cannibals) to some that were just silly.  I think there's a little something for everyone there, if you like a bit of humor and a bit of horror or dark fantasy.