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Laurell K. Hamilton is a full-time writer and the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and the Merry Gentry series. She lives in a suburb of St. Louis with her family.

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Hamilton's (Incubus Dreams) anthology contains 14 short stories, including six never before published. Two feature Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter, while several others are set in the Nightseer world. In the introduction, Hamilton states that "these are ideas I was compelled to write by nothing but my sometime peculiar imagination and a desire to play. Short stories for me are like vacations." These vacations take the reader to some strange and twisted places. Standouts include "Here Be Dragons," which is about the evil of which human beings are capable and the monsters within us. "House of Wizards" explores the tension between creativity and practical skills and what is and should be of value. "Those Who Seek Forgiveness," the very first Anita Blake story, affords an interesting introduction to the character's early career as a zombie reanimator. Perhaps most appealing to Hamilton's fans will be the brief introductions she writes for each story, as they reveal much of her personality and motivations. Strongly recommended. Laurel Bliss, Princeton Univ. Lib., NJ Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

Fans will best appreciate the 14 often darkly humorous fictions in bestseller Hamilton's first story collection, which includes several unpublished tales. Stories like "Selling Houses," in which a determined real estate agent faces up to the difficulties of selling a house where a gruesome mass murder has taken place, and "Here Be Dragons," a horrific account of a psychic child whose dreams can kill, show talent but need polish. Anita Blake aficionados, though, will relish the opener, "Those Who Seek Forgiveness," with its early version of a somewhat na?ve vampire hunter. Stories set in the sword-and-sorcery world of Hamilton's first novel, Nightseer-"A Token for Celandine," "Winterkill," "The Curse-maker" and "Stealing Souls"-reveal that she has always had a talent for portraying strong female characters. Brief author introductions to each selection provide context. (Oct.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.

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