Many Bloody Returns
Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner (Editors)
Ace, Feb 2009, $15.00
These thirteen new vampire tales focus on the theme of birthdays (and many happy returns). Although the theme is incredibly narrow and restrictive, the contributors provide fresh interesting tales with no losers and star some of the more famous series characters; this the collection serves as a great introduction (albeit limited) to heroes of the supernatural. The most innovative entry is "Twilight" by Kelley Armstrong in which she insists a vampire's birthday is the day they convert as that is a rebirthing. The rest of the stories make for a fun compilation; as the lively authors include superstars of the undead realm such as Jim Butcher (with Harry), P.N. Elrod (with Fleming), and Charlaine Harris (with Sookie), etc. Still singing happy birthday thirteen times even too many series favorites can become a bit long in the tooth and difficult to blow out the zillion candles for some of the recipients; this reviewer suggests leisurely enjoying the anthology over a few weeks.