Blood, Magic & a Concubine: Three Dark Urban Fantasy Tales is the first collection that I've read from Jason M. Tucker, so it was an interesting reading experience for me. I immediately liked his writing style, because he writes fluently about different things and difficult situations.
In my opinion Jason M. Tucker has a good imagination and he writes good dark fantasy (all three tales in this collection are dark urban fantasy stories). He adds thrilling horror elements to his fantasy stories (these horror elements add a nice flavour to the stories).
Here's information about the stories:
Blood, Magic & a Concubine:
- The events take place in Underbelly where all kinds of creatures live (Underbelly is approximately a mile below the ground). Topsiders live about the ground, but some of them are Fringers, who are aware the other reality which can be found under their feet.
- The main character, Johnny Stone (a wizard) tells a story about Manny the Goon (a reptilian) and Manny's love for a woman called Sin. Stone fixes problems for all kinds of clients, so Manny asks for Johnny Stone's help. Although Stone is a wizard, he's almost like a detective from noir stories, because he helps people and creatures for money.
- The other characters, Puck (a horny satyr) and Thor (a Nordic god), are also interesting characters.
- This story is fascinating and it contains fighting and magical mayhem, so fans of gritty urban fantasy will love it.
The Naughty List:
- Janie Myers and her mother are mistreated by Lyle. Lyle uses his fists on Janie and she's afraid of him and she wants her mother to be safe from him. Fortunately Janie believes in Santa Claus, so she asks for Santa's help. Santa Claus decides to help Janie and the elves, Rudd and Mince, help him.
- Jason M. Tucker's vision of Santa Claus is totally different from the clean Disney visions that several people are used to reading about. His Santa Claus makes sure that the naughty people are punished properly for their behaviour.
- The author writes movingly about Jane's suffering (she's a little girl who wants a friend for her Care Bear, which she got as a Christmas present a year ago, and wants somebody to help her mother).
- This story is a perfect Christmasy dark fantasy tale and it will appeal to fans of dark fantasy. I'm sure that horror fans will also be fascinated by Jason M. Tucker's vision of Santa Claus.
Under the Skin:
- Randall Kagan wakes up and finds himself surrounded by intestines and a bloody body of a woman. Although he has been in similar situations before, he doesn't remember anything about what has happened. He feels that things are moving inside of him and want to come out.
- Randall killed earlier a woman named Doli (Navajo). Randall and his sister, Rachel, drive to the desert to look for Ahiga, Doli's grandfather, who is a medicine man, because Randall wants to find out what's going on.
- I liked this story, because it combined dark fantasy and horror elements in an interesting way.
- This story is a fascinating tale about dark magic, so it'll be of interest to dark fantasy and horror fans.
I liked this collection very much and I can recommend it to other fans of dark fantasy and horror literature (these stories are perfect entertainment for lovers of macabre fantasy fiction). Jason M. Tucker is one of the best new dark fantasy and horror authors at this moment and these stories prove that he's a versatile writer with a vivid imagination. After reading this collection I can say that he's a talented author, who deserves more recognition.