Damnation and Dames edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar – review

Damnation and Dames (published by Ticonderoga Press) is a collection of noir style stories with supernatural themes, edited by Liz Grzyb and Amanda Pillar.

This was a very enjoyable anthology, with a lot of great stories that have been very nicely put together. All the stories stayed on theme, but there was enough variation to keep the collection interesting with some very unusual takes on the paranormal noir genre.

As is my habit with large collections I haven’t commented on every story individually (review would go for too long). There weren’t any stories I didn’t enjoy though, so where I haven’t commented it is mainly because I don’t have anything interesting to say, rather than there being a problem with the story itself.

The collection opens with  Blind Pig by Jay Caselberg, a good short story to set the scene for the rest of the book. Vampires, a private detective and a bit of old fashioned gum shoeing to solve a mystery.

I enjoyed Sound and Fury by Pete Kempshall, which included a bit of voodoo magic in a early 20th century setting. The ending was good and unexpected enough to be entertaining.

Burning, Always Burning by Alan Baxter and Felicity Dowker is a well written piece, with another unexpected ending. The prose was very evocative and the story satisfying. Mr Baxter was up for Best New Talent in the recent Ditmar awards and Ms Dowker has a new collection out called Bread and Circuses, which I’m looking forward to reading.

The Black Star Killer by Nicole Murphy is a story set in the world of the gadda, which I believe have formed the basis for some of Ms Murphy’s novels. The story was enjoyable and I suspect those that have read Ms Murphy’s other work would get something extra out of the story.

Silver Comes the Night by M.L.D. Curelas set up an interesting world. The story was good – very satisfying – and I got the sense that there had been a fair bit of background world building behind the story.

Sangue Della Notte by Donna Maree Hanson was another story that hinted at a much larger world. It was entertaining, but read almost as an introduction or prologue rather than a self contained piece.  I haven’t done enough research to see whether Ms Hanson has written more in this setting.

The Awakened Adventure of Rick Candle by Joseph L. Kellogg had a very original premise, of fictional characters accidentally brought to life, their “completeness” dictated by the quality of the writing and the amount of background given in their books. Very enjoyable story with a great ending.

Three Questions and One Troll by Chris Bauer moves more into the world of Fae, which was a bit of a change of pace from some of the other stories. I enjoyed the writing voice in this story.

Prohibition Blues by Lisa L. Hannett and Angela Slatter was another story focusing on the Fae. This was well written and felt like an anchoring story for the collection. The story had a great sense of place and invoked strong imagery. I particularly liked the way the characters were drawn in this story.

Ms Hannett was recently very successful at the Aurealis Awards for her collection Bluegrass Symphony as well as her short fiction, and that talent is evident in this story.

Also included in the collection were:

I also reviewed this book on Goodreads. View all my reviews.

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Author: mark

A writer of speculative fiction and all round good egg. Well, mostly good. OK, sometimes good.