Thursday, 26 March 2015

Book Review - Dark Detectives: An Anthology of Supernatural Mysteries

Inline image 1Edited by Stephen Jones
Published by: Titan Books

Review by Richard Williams

Dark Detectives is an anthology based around detectives dealing with the supernatural. Mostly. There are a couple of stories where there are odd things afoot but which turn out to be trickery on the part of evil-doers, much in the vein of a Scooby-Doo story.I don't have a problem with this, in fact it adds a different dimension to proceedings and helps to keep things fresh. The problem I have with this book is the same problem that plagues any anthology. By which I mean the fact that the stories are written by different authors and therefore the quality can vary dramatically. It's a rare anthology where all of the stories are stand-out impressive and this book, unfortunately, isn't one of them. Even the stories written by authors I particularly admire, such as Neil Gaiman, left me feeling as though they had not tried particularly hard but had merely dashed out something that would fit the bill.

That isn't to say that it's not worth a read and lovers of occult mysteries and weird tales will no doubt find the book far more engaging than I did (I enjoy a good detective story but can take it without the dark arts). I merely feel that the stories are either fairly simple, without any great surprises or any gripping element, or convoluted and populated with the kind of characters that require a whole book, rather than a snapshot of what they have to offer.

Throughout this book there is a seven part story that unfolds at a rate of roughly one part every other story. This running adventure could probably have been the sole purpose of this book and filled out the nearly 500 pages nicely.

With all of that said I can only conclude by saying that these stories are hit and miss but readers who have a passion for the subject matter will likely feel their money was well spent.