By Bev Vincent, “Something in Store” and “Purgatory Noir”; the former about a charmed bookstore that offers its new owner pleasures – and perhaps terrors – beyond imagining, the latter about a private detective on a new case that's going to be Hell...literally.
“The One Answer That Really Matters”, by Robert Weinberg, featuring his popular occult detective Sid Taine on a quest to fulfill a convicted serial killer's last request: discover exactly which plane all of humankind really exists on...heaven, or hell?
In “Breeding Demons” and “The Buzz of a Thousand Wings”; Nate Kenyon shows a much sharper and brutal edge than usual, and his cuts are masterful. The first tale is about a struggling artist who learns – almost too late – about the horrible kinship between Creator and the created, as he struggles to reconcile his dark art with the woman he pursues; the second about a haunted cop verging upon a mind-shattering secret lurking in the city's sewers...and in his own heart.
Finally, offering perhaps his best work to date is Joseph D'Lacey with fine very fine tales. First is “The Unwrapping of Alistair Perry”, in which a speed-dating bachelor undergoes a startling gender transformation, only to discover his true self hiding beneath his new face. “Etoile's Tree” is a touching – yet melancholic – story about a young boy's courage, an old man's enduring kindness, and the inheritance of strange magic, and “Morag's Fungus” is a darkly humorous tale that reads like a contemporary spin of the Brothers Grimm, about a woman suffering from terminal disease and the salvation she finds in myth and story. Finally is “Introscopy”, a cautionary tale warning of a dangerous future in which mankind presumes to know the key to the human soul and uses it to separate the “righteous” from the “wicked”.