Rating: 5 out of 5
Tanya Huff’s Blood Shot: Stories from the Blood ‘Verse (Blood Series) is an anthology of short stories from her “Blood ‘Verse.” It involves characters from both the main vampire novels and a spin-off series centered on a wizard. I know I read a couple of the Blood stories ages ago, but I don’t really remember details, and I’ve never read the Smoke stories. So I can tell you with some certainty that yes, you can read these stories on their own. While I’m sure I missed some references, I never felt like I didn’t understand what was going on.
The first few stories are about Vicky Nelson, vampiric PI, and her lover, Detective Mike Celluci. In one story, Mike gets kidnapped and used against Vicki. In another, a mysterious singer brings the Hunger in Vicki to the fore. Then Mike ends up in the hospital when someone’s wish given to a Jinn goes awry. A rather different tale involves four teenagers who open a portal to another world from inside a mausoleum.
The rest of the stories are about Tony–one of a very few practicing wizards, and also the second assistant director on a vampire television show. Together with Henry, the vampire who turned Vicki, he has to rescue a missing girl. Next Tony’s tutoring a young woman in the art of being a wizard, and ends up helping out when she encounters something strange in her school. (I love the relationship between Brianna, the would-be wizard, and her sister Ashley, who are only sometimes at each other’s throats.) Finally there’s something going on at the set of the vampire/detective show that Tony and his partner Lee work on. A dead elderly man was found in the alley next to a hooker, and she develops an interest in Lee. I totally didn’t expect where this one went.
The characters and relationships are wonderful. I particularly liked hearing some of Vicki’s thoughts as she handles the fact that Mike is getting older and she isn’t–especially when she realizes she might have a way to prolong his life. Brianna and Ashley were the highlight of the book; they feud as sisters do, but they’re united in a couple of key ways. And Brianna has a bright future ahead of her!
All in all this is a delightful anthology, and it makes me want to go back and read all of the Blood and Smoke books.