Through a series of random events, I was able to get my hands on an advance copy of “Shades And Shadows: A paranormal Anthology”. As a fan of seasonally-appropriate fiction, this bundle of strange and scary short stories was a good way to spend an evening.
The stories range in skill level and scope, which makes the entire thing a more interesting read. The high point for me was “Cost of Custody” by R.M. Ridley, a well-paced story about an arcane detective who takes one last sob story case for the day and gets more than he bargains for. The author is very aware of the space he has in the story: a lot of writers can lose track of the limited room a short story has and end up spending too much time on extraneous details about weather and their character’s food choices. Ridley has prune the superfluous out of the story so every paragraph pushes the narrative towards a satisfying conclusion. And I’m a sucker for a polycultural magic system-why use one civilization’s magic and myth when you can throw them all together in a spellcasting stew? All in all, the ebook anthology is well worth the cost.