'Dead Souls' edited by Mark S. Deniz
Dead Souls contains twenty five stories that will only ensure the darkness without enfolds you in its cold embrace. Within these pages, you will find a man so affected by the horrors he witnessed at war, he believes another is guiding his actions; a small boy with enough malevolence to shake a young girl to her very core; a tattoo artist with a hidden agenda. You will read about a future not as bright as we might have imagined or hoped; a puppet show with a damning message; a new twist on the theory of Beethoven's Immortal Beloved; Adolf Hitler in a new guise, and something terrible that approaches us in the desert. All this, plus many, many more, tales of darkness and human suffering.
'Spider's Bite' by Jennifer Estep
Bodies litter the pages of this first entry in Estep's engrossing Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series. In the corrupt Southern metropolis of Ashland, weather witches mingle with vampires, giants, and dwarves. A mysterious client hires assassin Gin Blanco, known as the Spider, to murder a whistle-blowing financial officer named Gordon Giles. Then the client attempts a double cross and brutally kills Gin's mentor. Now Gin, a stone elemental with a hard-boiled attitude, a closely guarded heart, and a penchant for throwing knives, has to join forces with one of the few honest cops in Ashland, sexy detective Donovan Caine, who hates her for killing his partner.
'Shadow Blade' by Seressia Glass
The Gilead Commission discovered Kira Solomon's gift for psychometry when she was 12 and trained her to fight Shadow Avatars. Now 25, she mostly tries to focus on her day job as a freelance antiquities expert. Her former mentor, Bernie Comstock, brings her a 4,000-year-old Egyptian blade to authenticate, and one touch tells her it belonged to an immortal Fallen from the shadow world, who's still seeking it. When a demon murders Bernie, Kira confronts the immortal, now disguised as a young man, but she can't deny that the dark blade calls to her, as does its handsome owner. Kira's personal battle against the forces of chaos will keep readers riveted.