Book Review: Shadows in the Mist – Anthology

Shadows in the Mist CoverSynopsis:

From the misty waters of Puget Sound across the wrinkles of time to the shadow of Mt. Vesuvius, mystery and magic intertwine to create haunting tales of everlasting passion.

Murder at the Mausoleum

by Marianne Stillings

17,000 words

Out of work and desperate for a job, Stephanie Gabriel reluctantly accepts a position as Housekeeper/Girl Friday for Dr. John Mercilus at his isolated Northern California mansion. Sure, he’s wealthy, hunky, and single, but the fact he’s a Vampire has Stephanie more than a little worried. Though Mercilus promises she’ll come to no harm, there is nonetheless danger afoot. When a major snowstorm maroons them along with an odd assortment of house guests, it’s more than inconvenient – it’s murder, and the clues all point to Stephanie’s boss as the culprit.

Now she has to decide whether to trust the enigmatic “Creature of the Night” she’s falling for, or find a means of escape before she becomes the next victim.

Spellbound in Seattle

by Shannon O’Brien

17,600 words

When Rose McCarty’s boyfriend was killed, she swore off witchcraft and love. But when his tall, dark older brother washes up on her houseboat’s deck three years later—muttering about doppelgangers and incubi—Rose’s lonely, spell-free world comes crashing down. 

Dead Moon

by KL Mullens

11,000 words

During a Dead Moon Elspeth Saint has a strange encounter she can’t explain and a door previously closed becomes open; a gift is given; a promise is kept; and Elspeth who has never known what it is to be loved; learns what it is to be cherished.

Evil Bites

by Dawn Kravagna

16,500 words

Kim seeks revenge on the serial killer who viciously attacked and maimed her lovely sister. But she soon discovers that evil can bite back. 

The Eye of Lilith

by Sherri Shaw

19,500 words

Marc Blakely has been bewitched by a rare artifact rumored to drive a man insane before compelling him to commit suicide. As a member of the Speaker of the Word coven, Cindi Jones uses her magic to destroy enchanted relics and protect the innocents they infect. Can she save Marc in time, or will he succumb to the Eye of Lilith?

Origins: The Men of MER

by Kristine Cayne

28,500 words

Petty Officer Wyatt Black had no idea what he signed up for by joining the Navy’s experimental MER program. When a domestic terrorist attack almost kills Dr. Claire Montgomery, the woman of Wyatt’s dreams, he is exposed to a lethal illness that poses a horrifying threat to mankind—but only because of what the Navy has done to him. In the midst of saving Claire’s life, Wyatt is forced to face the terrifying truth of what he has become: something not quite human.

About the Rainy Day Writers:

Writing fiction is difficult and lonely and more often than not, the “normal” people in your life don’t understand the writing process and can’t fathom why you are possessed and obsessed with finding the perfect word or phrase that says exactly what you want to say right where you want to say it. Only other writers comprehend and accept that kind of torment.

To fill this need to surround herself with like-minded obsessive-compulsive self-doubting lunatics, in 2005, Marianne Stillings established what came to be known as The Rainy Day Writers.

There were only two requirements for joining the group: You must be serious about writing and getting published, and any criticisms of co-members’ work be honest, gentle, and kind.

Over the years, the membership has changed; some people moved on, others joined. The group we have now has been stable and constant since 2009. The Rainy Day Writers are a family.

Find the authors at:

Twitter: @CattleCapers

My Review:

The general rule of thumb with anthologies is that some stories will speak to the reader and some won’t – and that list will change depending on the reader’s tastes. I tend to pick up anthologies when I’m looking for new authors. They can be a wonderful introduction, and I’ve found some of my dearest favourites tightly packed into genre related anthologies.

Shadows In The Mist is a good paranormal romance anthology. Some of the story titles were a little cliché for me, but the overall presentation and talent was good. Although it did fall into the same trap as many other anthologies out there – it put the best story (in my opinion) first. This meant that every story I read after was held up against this one. Yes, I hear you cry, but all the stories should be good – but envitabily this isn’t always the case and it was quite clear to see that ‘Mystery at the Mausoleum’ easily surpassed the others in its storyline and presentation. Like I said before, there were a lot of clichés in this collection, but to be fair, this is where the romance genre can end up laying. As a reader, I kind of like to know where a story is going, I feel justified in my predictions when they come to pass. And predictability does have a certain warm and fuzzy feeling for me.

From a writer’s perspective, it could have benefited from a harsher edit. As an author myself, I’ve had editors who have been passive, and those who have been active. And by far the active ones are the gold mines. At the time, you might want to kill them (I’m not even going to put a flourish on it) yes, kill them, kill them dead. But when you step back at the end, you can see the difference to your work. It’s hard to tell who was the overall editor of this book – maybe there simply wasn’t one and each author was responsible for their own work? I must admit though, that the stories were varied and each had an interesting angle. So I cannot criticise the creativity and effort that went into each one.

The front cover is okay, although I’m not a fan of brown covers. On the marketing colour chart, it’s not very attractive. Maybe going for a red/ pink mix with a gothic twist would serve it better when it’s lined up with the thousands of other books it’s competing with in this powerfully overcrowded genre.

Overall, I’d give Shadows in the Mist 4 out 5 stars. As with all anthologies, there is something for everyone in here and definitely worth a read if you’re looking for some new authors.

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