Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dead Roses for a Blue Lady, by Nancy A. Collins

(pb; 2003: horror anthology. Sixth book in the Sonja Blue series.)


From the back cover:

"Even the undead fear the Blue Woman.

"Collected for the first time in a trade edition, Dead Roses for a Blue Lady includes the complete Sonja Blue short fiction, with four hard-to-find stories and four others exclusive to this collection. 'Knifepoint' reveals the origin of Sonja's trademark silver switchblade and hints at the nature of her uniquely human and monstrous nature. In 'Tender Tigers' and 'The Nonesuch Horror' Sonja encounters two very different families in which human and monster coexist, and learns the price such cohabitation can impose. 'Person(s) Unknown' gives a glimpse of the pieces Sonja leaves behind."


Overall review:

Good, entertaining read that adds new wrinkles to and furthers the storylines of previous Sonja Blue works. The last story ("Hell Comes Sundown") has nothing to do with Sonja.

Like the rest of the series, this is worth owning.


Stories:

1.) "Knifepoint": Erich Ghilardi, an "occult expert would later go on to tutor Sonja [Blue] in the fine art of vampire slaying," embarks on a dangerous journey to steal a supernatural blade.


2.) "Cold Turkey": Sonja meets an impulsive young man (Judd), who attracts the attention of a demon snitch (Malfeis).

This story appeared as Chapter 3 in Paint It Black (the third Sonja Blue book), and later, as a "Prologue" in Darkest Heart (the fifth Sonja Blue book).


3.) "Tender Tigers": Sonja tries to rescue a human family from an ogre who's taken over their family.

This story also appeared in another horror anthology - Shivers, edited by Richard Chizmar.


4.) "Vampire King of the Goth Chicks": Sonja tracks down a wanna-be vampire (Lord Rhymer) who holds a trio of Goth kids in thrall.


5.) "Variations on a Theme": This story echoes the feel and mythological elements of The Crow, with its melancholic take on revenge.


6.) "Some Velvet Morning": An ancient, atypical vampire - a strigoi, who has renamed herself "the Contessa"- tries to elude the "Blue Monster" (Sonja) who maimed her, years before.


7.) "The Nonesuch Horror": In an old Western town, a melting pot of humans and monsters - vampires, coyotero, an ogre and vargr - are shaken out of their quiet lives when a murderous, ghoul-making vampire on the lam invades their remote haven, followed by Sonja Blue (who's hunting the aforementioned vampire, Vasek).

This story reunites Sonja with the now-grown up siblings, Cissy (a human) and Cully (an ogre), who also appear in the story "Tender Tigers". ("The Nonesuch Horror" takes place ten year later.)


8.) "Person(s) Unknown": The police interview an eyewitness to one of Sonja's vampire fights in an alley.


9.) "Hell Comes Sundown": Sam Hell, an ex-Texas Ranger and vampire, and his companion, a squaw named Pretty Face, track a pestiferous conquistador bloodsucker (Sangre), who's traveling town to town and decimating them with his undead army.

(This story was also published in Collins's single-author anthology Dead Man's Hand.)

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