I enjoyed this anthology more than one might expect from a collection of stories about killers, but then I’ve read a couple of volumes edited by Brittiany A. Koren and Martin H. Greenberg now, and I trust the pair. (Greenberg has turned out so many anthologies that I don’t assume anything at all when I see his name.)
I had to explain to my family why I kept laughing while reading “Exactly” by Tanya Huff. I’m a long-time fan of her work, so was already familiar with sibling assassins Vree and Bannon from Fifth Quarter and No Quarter. While all of Huff’s work includes some humor, this story is particularly funny.
“Breia’s Diamond” by Cat Collins was a memorable low in the book. In addition to the inappropriate and inept use of romance clichés, it’s all too obvious early on that the mercenaries are being paid far too much for too little work by the necromancer. That isn’t foreshadowing, it’s foreshouting—or just plain stupidity on the part of the mercenaries. They are murderers for hire, nothing else, and I’ve never felt any sympathy for such. Why would I start now, simply because a story is told from their point of view?
Bradley H. Sinor’s “Money’s Worth” has the feel of something excerpted from a larger work. It’s good and I enjoyed it, but I think I would have enjoyed it far more in its proper context.
The only other story that is memorable enough to single out is “The Hundredth Kill” by John Marco. It is a lovely jewel of a story, one that stands for itself, leaving little to be said other than “read it.” I don’t believe that I’ve read any of Marco’s novels, but obviously I’ve missed out on something very good. I intend to remedy that omission shortly.