by Patrick Thomas
Review by Sam Tomaino
Dark Quest, LLC Paperback ISBN/ITEM#: 9780979690143
Date: 20 March 2009 List Price $12.95 Amazon US / Amazon UK / Show Official Info /
Patrick Thomas has published a number of entertaining anthologies and Mystic Investigators is another one in that line. As the title indicates, it features a number of heroes who battle the unknown.
After an amusing introduction which sets things up, the book begins with "Bragging Eyes" and features Hunt, a Boggart, a bounty hunter and a high school teacher in Arcane County, Mississippi. The world of Hunt is very different from ours and Thomas gives us some tantalizing hints at it. When a shape-shifting "member of the goblin family" called a "brag" attacks his school, Hunt goes onto action!
In "Attack of the Trouser Snake", Terrorbelle is a employee of an outfit called Nemesis which battles all kinds of monsters. Part-ogre and part-pixie makes for an unusual appearance but she is well-liked in her neighborhood. When asked to investigate some mysterious deaths in a hotel, she offers herself as bait..
"A Stitch in Time" takes place in a world in which the dead have begin returning. Many are law-abiding but some aren't. When they aren't, that's where our narrator comes in, a federal agent and a soul collector. He is acting on a report against a "Nearly Dead" named Judy Nein, who was a community crime fighter until she was murdered. Is she up to no good now?
"Spawn of Lightning" takes place in a Nazi Germany in a world a little different from ours. Our hero is an old German war hero, Adam Frankenstein. He finds out that the Nazis are replicating the experiments that brought him to life and decides to investigate.
The protagonists of "Night Cries" are a couple of high school kids, a goth girl named Jeannie John, and her boyfriend, Kent Spenser. She's big into conspiracy theories and wants to investigate the old Mothman idea. Late at night, they see something and are off on a great adventure.
Tara is the "Working Girl" in the next story. She meets up with a particularly nasty guy and we find out just what she is working at.
"Tesque, Tesque" takes place in a world where people have been exposed to a mutagen retrovirus and have undergone horrible changes. Our hero is a human detective named Borroughs in the body of a seven hundred pound gorilla. He works out of Fugtown, where people who have been exposed and are mutated live. A woman with purple arms asks him to find her children, kidnapped by her ex-husband and we are off on a wild ride in a world very different from ours.
"Put Your Demon on My Shoulder" starts off with Cindy, a woman bedeviled by a demon named Gaz, perched on her shoulder. No one else can see or hear Gaz and she winds up in an insane asylum. There she meets Lunay who's one of the most delightfully strange ladies I've ever encountered in fiction. You never know what she's going to say next and that makes this story an utter delight!
The next story features Agent Karver of the Department of Mystic Affairs and his partner, Mandi Cobb. They are after a bank robber named Mervin Ketzel. Ketzel has used a spell he learned from the internet to take his heart out and hide it somewhere. That's way he can't be killed. It's an old trick, but effective. They catch Ketzel quickly, but now they have to find his heart and that proves more challenging.
"Barbarian Summer" takes place in Philadelphia, one in which the criminal element is terrorized by a swordsman named Mog, after a special treasure. What it turns out to be makes for a nice little story.
The last story, "Dysenchanted" really goes to Hell. It actually takes place there and the hero of this one is a "almost forgotten god" named Negral, who works as a detective. A demon succubus named Bambi asks him to find something very precious of hers that's been stolen – her virginity. How this can happen and the characters the detective encounters makes for another good story.
Every story in Mystic Investigators is a good read and they do vary. You will enjoy this volume as much as I do and I strongly suggest you pick it up. You can also check out the author at www.patthomas.net.