Book Review! “Teeth, Long & Sharp”

“Teeth, Long and Sharp” is an anthology with short stories from Grace Draven, Antioch Grey, Aria M. Jones, Jeffe Kennedy, and Mel Sterling. I received it as an advanced reading copy but that no way influences my review (there’s my disclaimer).

The Blurb

A collection of tales sharp and pointed.

IVORIES by Aria M. Jones – Eleanor resents the afternoons sacrificed to piano lessons and a disagreeable teacher who gloats over her failures and humiliations. Today, it’s Mrs. Lundemann’s turn for a sacrifice of a very different nature…

NIGHT TIDE by Grace Draven – Something hunts the surf at night, luring villagers to their deaths with a lullaby of sorrow and the torture of nightmares. Blessed with the gift of water-sight, Zigana Imre senses the presence of an ancient predator possessing a taste for human flesh sweetened by grief. With the help of a child of earth, she will battle a spawn of the sea to protect a loved one and save a man who will one day save a world.

THE NOISE OF FUR by Jeffe Kennedy – The first time, it came at night…

In the forest, a Thing prowls, picking off members of young Raven’s tribe. If they flee their home, they face starvation. If only Raven can answer the question of what kind of fur makes that noise.

VENETRIX by Antioch Grey – A merchant and a poet come to the City, seeking justice for the murder of a relative, and if justice cannot be found, they will have revenge. They collude with vampires, negotiate with mermaids, share ale and meat pies with gargoyles and navigate the prisons, waterways and court system of a city ruled by a Master possessing long life and even longer teeth.

The City will make you a fortune, or it will kill you, but it will always change you.

THE VAMPIRES OF MULBERRY STREET by Aria M. Jones – Living the simple life in small town Indiana, Mrs. H has everything she could possibly ever want: a cozy house, peace and quiet, and a garden that is the envy of Mulberry Street. But when sinister outsiders disrupt the tranquility of her neighborhood, it might be time for her to come out of retirement and take up tools more deadly than pruning shears and a trowel.

VOICE OF THE KNIFE by Mel Sterling – Biologist Charles Napier doesn’t mind getting lost in a Florida swamp—it’s part of a scientist’s job. Logic and training will get him out safely. Except lurking in this swamp, there’s a monster Napier’s science can’t explain…a lonely, exquisite, desperate monster.

The Cover

The pic is a link!

The pic is a link!

 

The Review

This was such a great collection of stories. Each grabbed me (with the teeth, obviously) in a different way.

Mel Sterling’s story was the one that gave me the legitimate goose-fleshy creeps, though. I read it late at night, alone in the dark, with the wind brushing branches (I hope) against my windows. By the time I was done, I was jumping out of my skin at every noise and the only reason that every light in the house wasn’t on was because I wasn’t sure I wanted to put my feet on the floor and traverse the long, dark path to the light switch.

My note made during this story include:

“If an old geezer ever tells me that a river is haunted, it’s going to be really hard for me to disbelieve it at this point; Mel Sterling has ruined me for swamps and canoe trips and possibly shellfish.”

Antioch Grey’s “Venetrix” was such a fun read. I love the carnivorous mermaids (I’d just seen a cartoon the other day saying that mermaids were too often depicted as topless beauties and not enough as “luring men to their death and crunching their bones.” This story definitely took care of that (although they are topless).

There was a good balance of world building (something that can be hard in a short story), suspense, and humor.

It was typical of the City that you should both skulk around and be seen ding it so that people knew you were skulking but not why.

and

The mermaid smirked, and Maris resolved never to swim in mermaid infested waters.

“The Vampires of Mulberry Street” by Aria M. Jones was a great read. I enjoyed the building of the main character – learning her history along with her present – and finding out why the sweet, old lady knew so much about the sleeping habits of her new neighbors.

My grandmother always said the quickest way to a man’s heart is between the third and fourth rib. She never said what came after, though.

Another important point – bread and butter pickles really are the best, aren’t they? Mrs. H was not wrong about that.

 

The other three are just as delightful as the three mentioned. Jeffe Kennedy’s left me gasping at the end, Aria M. Jones’s ending surprised me enough that I had to read the entire thing again because I thought I’d gone wrong somewhere, and Grace Draven has, once again, found something to give me nightmares and keep my heart in my throat for pages.

 

The Verdict

You cannot go wrong with this book. Every story has something pointed to offer and the way these authors weave their craft makes that offering delightful. I’m grateful especially for the chance to discover new authors as I’d not previous read anything by Aria M. Jones or Antioch Grey.

 

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