Title: The Inn of the Seven Blessings
Author: Matthew Hughes
This is the first story that was just okay. On the one hand, the story itself is fine – a thief comes across the belongings of a man who has been taken hostage by a strange breed of ‘half-men.’ In his belongings is a puzzle box, and within is a figuring which promises him blessings. What he has to do to earn those blessings makes for an enjoyable enough tale, but I just didn’t care for the main character. He’s the type that didn’t rape the one female character because the thought of working with the other male to be able to do so didn’t appeal to him. Charming. After that little bit, it just kind of lost me.
Title: Bent Twig
Author: Joe R. Lansdale
This is a good, old-fashion kind of pulpy detective novel set in small town Texas. Lansdale sends his established character Hap to find his girlfriend’s daughter, who has a long history of drug problems and the kind of trouble that comes with it. Although this isn’t my genre, I did rather enjoy Hap and when he meets up with his partner Leonard, there’s a real natural chemsitry there and it almost lends a bit of a ‘good cop/bad cop’ vibe to whole affair, though Hap isn’t all that good himself. The mystery is set up quickly, tightly written and sadly, almost entirely believable. A great little story.