The Grimm Tales (An Anthology)
Author: Patricia Abbott, Absolutely*Kate, Jack Bates, Eric Beetner, Nigel Bird, Loren Eaton, Kaye George, Blu Gilliand, Seana Graham, Eirik Gumeny, R.L. Kelstrom, John Kenyon, BV Lawson, Evan Lewis, B. Nagel, Sean Patrick Reardon and Sandra Seamans.
Check out on Goodreads.
Synopsis: Grimm Tales is a collection of stories by some of the top names in online crime fiction, all based on classic fairy tales. As novelist Ken Bruen writes in his introduction, "Ever imagined what would have come down the dark pike if The Brothers Grimm were more Brothers Coen and wrote mystery?" The collection is edited by John Kenyon, editor of Grift magazine, and contains 17 stories by Patricia Abbott, Absolutely*Kate, Jack Bates, Eric Beetner, Nigel Bird, Loren Eaton, Kaye George, Blu Gilliand, Seana Graham, Eirik Gumeny, R.L. Kelstrom, John Kenyon, BV Lawson, Evan Lewis, B. Nagel, Sean Patrick Reardon and Sandra Seamans.
Brought to you by TeamNerd Reviewer Annabell Cadiz
Review: Since this is an anthology I thought the best possible way to review the book was to break it down by story and write a mini-review for each one.
Joseph and Jasmine
Author: Patricia Abbott
What It’s About: Jasmine and Joseph are two kids born to a mother who has never been able to get her life together and can’t speak a word of truth. She stops by her father’s house, who has custody of her kids since Janice is to unfit to be a mother, and tells Joseph he’s going to go get milk and some other things they need and if he can do her the favor of walking to her house and waiting on a package. Joseph, against his better judgment and one of his grandfather’s rules (Never Go to Janice’s House), goes to his mother’s house with his four-year-old sister and waits. A car drives up the house and waits. It’s full of men Joseph definitely doesn’t trust and there’s good reason for that.
Mini Review: No plot. No explanation for anything. What was the point of this story? The author wanted a connection with the fairytale of Hansel and Gretel but the only real connection was the Monopoly money Jasmine let fly in the air and Joseph joked about following home. This probably wasn’t the best story to open the book with.
You Dirty Rats (or put that in your pied pipe and smoke it)
Mini Review: Couldn’t finish reading. The constant rhyming was just too annoying to put up with continuing.
The Flying Trunk
Author: Jack Bates
Warning: I give away the entire story because off how idiotic it is.
What It’s About: Donny is moving into a new apartment and carrying up his dad’s old trunk he use to play with when he was a child, remembering how he use to hide in it, when his girlfriend Shelley shows up. She isn’t alone. She’s brought along a guy named Frank they both know from class. Donny notices Frank freely flirting with his girlfriend and Shelly decides to send him out to go get some beers for them. Shelly and Donny have a confrontation about their relationship when Shelly admits that she used to sleep with Frank. Donny gets mad and grabs her by the arm and Shelly somehow trips over the trunk and flies out the window.
Mini-Review: The ending to this story was ridiculous! A grown man hides inside a trunk because somehow his bimbo of a girlfriend falls over it and flies out the window and dies . . . Seriously??
Author: Eric Beetner
Mini-Review: Didn’t bother finishing it after the first two paragraphs. Horrible and insulting to women.
Sing a Song of Sixpence
Author: Nigel Bird
Mini-Review: Didn’t bother finishing it. Just no.
King Flounder: A Monologue
Author: Loren Eaton
Mini-Review: A monologue of a mobster who thinks really highly of himself and tells the tale of how he got one of his guys. Surprisingly, I liked it. I liked the way the character came off. But it did get boring because it just felt like he was giving details I didn’t care about.
Henry, Gina and the Gingerbread House
Author: Kaye George
Mini-Review: This story was based off of Hansel and Gretel. The two main characters are left at a candy store by their step-mother to work off having stolen a ton of candy. The step-mother never returns and the kids kill the crazy lady who’s holding them hostage in the store by feeding her a steady diet of arsenic. I skipped a good portion of this story because I got bored. The ending was okay.
Han and Greta
Author: Blu Gilliand
Mini-Review: Another short inspired by the tale of Hansel and Gretel but unlike the others, this one was decent. There wasn’t any characterization or depth to the characters and no world building, so the short read like a really rough draft of a scene that belonged in a longer story. And it wasn’t completely brand new. It reminded me the story in Bewitching by Alex Flinn but that one was much darker.
Author: Seana Graham
Mini-Review: This is a story about a guy named Frank whose dad dies and where he leaves a house for his brother, a nice Lincoln for his other brother, Frank inherits a servant named Gato. Gato turns out to come in handy by helping Frank not only get his girl but his brothers get what they deserve after years of treating their little brother like he didn’t matter much (and I’m sure after years of treating Gato like he didn’t matter much). Gato was a pretty good story. Everything happens to fast you can’t really get into the story but the ending was fun.
Author: Eirik Gumeny
Mini-Review: Couldn’t get past the second paragraph. The rhyming with Mary Had A Little Lamb was not doing it for me.
Author: R.L. Kelstrom
Mini-Review: Another story inspired by Hansel and Gretel. Enough said.
The Master Cat
Author: John Kenyon
Mini-Review: Couldn’t get past the first page.
The Bacon Blues
Author: BV Lawson
Mini-Review: Couldn’t get past the first page.
Skyler Hobbs and the Magic Solution
Author: Evan Lewis
Mini-Review: FINALLY! Out of this mess of an anthology there was an ACTUAL good little tale! Jason Wilder and Skyler Hobbs are the modern day version of Sherlock Holmes and Watson. Less Robert Downy Jr. though and more nerdy. They are approached by a man named Arnie who believes there’s magic at his electronic store. Every time new electronic items come in for repairs, they magically get fixed and not by Arnie’s hands since he barely knows anything about technology and is close to declaring bankruptcy. Hobbs and Wilder find out the real truth behind what’s going on and the ending was sweet. There was a good amount of humor and good amount of characterization for a story so tiny. Nicely done!
Interview with the Pram Driver
Author: B. Nagel
Mini-Review: Barely a set up to a story and it ends. No plot. No real understanding of what’s happening. What was even the point of writing this??
Divided We Stand
Author: Sean Patrick Reardon
Mini-Review: This short read like a scene from within an already ongoing scene. It’s hard to wrap your head around what the hell is going on until closer to the end. The ending was good though.
Author: Sandra Seamans
Mini-Review: BEST STORY OF THE ENTIRE ANTHOLOGY! I LOVED Taking Back by Sandra Seamans. The pacing is pretty steady and the characterization is well-built for a story so small. Solider was an awesome character and it would be great to see him have his own book one day if Seamans ever feels up to the challenge.
Overall, the anthology was a hot mess of fairy tale retellings turned criminal. Most of the criminals were inept, disgusting, insulting to both genders and so cliché they were more boring and laughable than real criminals. It drove me crazy there were so many on Hansel and Gretel! There are SO MANY better fairy tales but for some reason so many of the others followed the same protocol when it came to changing up the story of Hansel and Gretel, which didn’t offer much of a change.
There is a reason I stay clear of anthologies because they’re usually bad. I became interested in the Grimm Tales because I LOVE finding a good retelling of a fairy tale and I love the darker fairy tales (and the happy ones too!), so I wanted to see how a group of authors would pull off creating fairy tale retellings that featured crimes in the modern world. But majority of the stories didn’t pan out and it would be a crime to read them (Get what I did there? *wink wink*). It sucks that Taking Back is stuck inside this anthology. My advice to author Sandra Seamans, publish it separately. Or better yet, make a full-length novel out of the character of Solider ;)
For fans who actually like to read anthologies, I recommend looking elsewhere.