Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Guest Review: The Awareness
"The Awareness" by Terrie Farley Moran. in Crimes By Midnight: Mysteries from the Dark Side. Edited by Charlaine Harris. 2010.
When I started this blog I invited you readers to send me reviews of favorite stories. I now have my first bite. Leigh Lundin is an author of excellent short stories and my brother blogger at Criminal Brief. By coincidence he sent me a review on the same subject I chose this week: a story from a book on occult crime. Different story, different book, as it happens. What a coicncidence! Ooh, spooky!
"The Awareness" by Terri Farley Moran.
Reviewed by by Leigh Lundin
I received a surprise gift, Crimes by Moonlight, the latest MWA anthology edited by Charlaine Harris. This volume is unusual in that each story combines traditional mystery with the paranormal.
I flipped through its contents looking for authors I might know. The first name that leaped out at me was Terrie Farley Moran.
That's right, my tease-mate over at Women of Mystery, plunked in the middle of the book. I turned there first.
Another surprise: Terrie isn't so much an author as an artist. She doesn't write– she paints with words. She sketches and shades and sometimes sculpts. Characters emerge in bas-relief. Single sentences become miniature portraits and landscapes.
Terrie's story, "The Awareness", is unusual in another regard. Rather than recycle vampires and werewolves, she cast a banshee as her heroine. The female fairies of the hills, the keening bean-sídhe, sing at the death of those of their clan. Terrie's immortal, living in New York City, realizes the object of her lament was murdered. She sets about to solve– and avenge– the murder.
"The Awareness" is a satisfying story, not the least because of Terrie's artistry and attention to mythological detail. Terrie's selection is all the more impressive because she was up against 240 or so tough competitors.
This is where I need to make full disclosure: I not only submitted a story to the anthology, but I critiqued four others that were so good, I was surprised they didn't make it. The selection committee made difficult decisions and I didn't envy them.
I next took up Mark Allan Collins and Mickey Spillane's story, "Grave Matters", an unusual Mike Hammer Frankensteinisch horror story. Following on my list is Toni Kelner's "Taking the Long View", after which I'll read the stories from the beginning.
Crimes by Moonlight is a hit and I can assure fretting readers of traditional mysteries (like me) that Crimes by Moonlight does not fall back on deus ex machina. Realism and ratiocination trump the psychic aspects.
Get the book: The first three stories I devoured are all winners. Like me, you'll enjoy Terrie Farley Moran's 'The Awareness'.
You Heard It Here First!