Down These Strange Streets (Sookie Stackhouse

Down These Strange Streets

Down These Strange Streets (2011) — Anthology 

Genre and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy / Mystery

Theme Edit

Supernatural mystery

Tag-line: Urban fantasy where mystery waits at the end of every alley and things that go bump in the night have something to fear...Goodreads | Down These Strange Streets

Editor and AuthorsEdit

Editor: George R.R. Martin (Editor), Gardner R. Dozois (SciFi, Editor),

Contributors: Charlaine Harris (UF), Joe R. Lansdale (Horror, Myst-Thrill, Fict), Simon R. Green (UF), Steven Saylor (Hist-Fict, Myst), S.M. Stirling (Fantasy, UF), Carrie Vaughn (UF), Conn Iggulden (Hist-Fict), Laurie R. King (Myst-Thrill, Hist-Fict), Glen Cook (SciFi, Fantasy, UF), Melinda M. Snodgrass (UF, SciFi, Fant), M.L.N. Hanover (UF), Lisa Tuttle (SciFi, Fant, Weird-Fict, Non-Fict), Diana Gabaldon (Fant, Hist-Fict, Romance), John Maddox Roberts (SciFi-Fant, Myst), Patricia Briggs (UF), Bradley Denton (SciFi-Fant, Black-Hum)


❖ Spawned by the unholy marriage of Mother Horror and Father Noir, a bastard stepchild emerges to break all bounds. Urban Fantasy roams the mean and dirty alleys of great cities and nameless towns, where blood runs in the gutters and screams cut through the night. Here, grisly Chaos meets grim-faced Justice, as vampires, werewolves and countless eldritch Creatures share sidewalk space with hardboiled cops and private eyes.Tapping the rich vein of material opened up by Death's Excellent Vacation, Many Bloody Returns and Home Improvement: Undead Edition, George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois gather all-new cases of metropolitan mystery and supernatural magic in one thrilling volume. Walk Down These Strange Streets-if you dare-with some of the biggest names in urban fantasy. Charlaine Harris takes you to a lavish-and deadly-celebration in the Sookieverse. A werewolf P.I. investigates a zombie hit in Patricia Briggs' tale. Simon R. Green's "finder," John Taylor, must locate a valuable "heart-in-a-box." And S. M. Stirling, Carrie Vaughn and 11 more writers take you places where things that go bump in the night fear to tread. So take a walk on the wild never know where you'll end up! ~ Down These Strange Streets | Doubleday Book Club

❖ Its focus is a bit different, as Martin defines “urban fantasy” not under the larger umbrella used by anthologies like Ellen Datlow’s Naked City: Tales of Urban Fantasy but as a specific bastard-child of horror and noir. He cites characters like Harry Dresden and Anita Blake as the new Phillip Marlowe(s) of this genre, and quotes a little Raymond Chandler to define what his idea of the private detective figure should be. ~ Down These Strange Streets |

Settings Edit

Supernatural Elements Edit

vampires, witches, werewolves, zombies, demon, psychic, lemur, Deodands, loas, SalaMan, hellbender salamander, Obeah-men, Paranormal PI, demonic Old Ones, Shadowspawn (vampire), spirits of the dead Shadowspawn, not-quite zombies, supernatural creatures, exorcist who is something not quite human, snake-charming magic, Eskimo magic

  • Old Ones: demonic creatures from another dimension that possess humans in order to carry out horrible deeds
  • Shadow of Ryzna: box that holds powerful secrets — "No Mystery, No Miracle"
  • Shadowspawn: vampire


  • Unique Investigations

List of Stories Edit

Story Title Series and Order Number Author Supes Lead(s)
"The Bastard Stepchild" Stand alone George R.R. Martin (short essay) Introduction essay
"Death by Dahlia" Sookie Stackhouse #6.5 Charlaine Harris Vampires, other supes vamp Dahlia Lynly Chivers, Joaquin
"The Bleeding Shadow" Stand alone Joe R. Lansdale Demon Rick, noir PI
"Hungry Heart" Nightside Simon R. Green Witches, ghouls, creatures Holly Wylde, John Taylor
"Styx and Stones" Roma Sub Rosa, prequel Steven Saylor Lemur—the spirit of a dead woman Gordianus the Finder
"Pain and Suffering" Shadowspawn series #2.5 S.M. Stirling Shadowspawn Det. Eric Salvador, Cesar Martinez, Brézé family
"It's Still the Same Old Story" Kitty Norville series #6.5 Carrie Vaughn Vampire vamp Rick, Helen, Det. Hardin
"The Lady is a Screamer" Stand alone Conn Iggulden Spirits of the dead Jack Garner
"Hellbender" Stand alone Laurie R. King SalaMan, hellbender salamander Mike Heller: SalaMan PI
"Shadow Thieves" Garrett Files series Glen Cook Many supe creatures, Shadow of Ryzna Garrett P.I.
"No Mystery, No Miracle" Richard Oort / Edge series (UF) Melinda M. Snodgrass Demonic Old Ones Cross
"The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery" Stand alone M.L.N. Hanover Exorcist who is something not quite human, demon Det. Mason, Richard Scarrey
"The Curious Affair of the Deodand" Stand alone Lisa Tuttle Deodands, psychic Miss Lane
"Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" Lord John Grey #3.5 (Outlander Series) Diana Gabaldon Loas, Obeah-men, not-quite zombies Lord John
"Beware the Snake" SPQR series XII.V John Maddox Roberts Snake-charming magic Caecilius Metellus
"In Red, with Pearls" Mercy Thompson series 6.5 Patricia Briggs Werewolves, zombies Warren and Kyle
"The Adakian Eagle" Stand alone Bradley Denton Eskimo magic Private & a detective

Fang-tastic Fiction: Anthology: "Down These Strange Streets"

Synopsis by StoryEdit

1. "The Bastard Stepchild" - George R.R. Martin

GRM's introduction and definition of contemporary Urban Fantasy Here's the opening sentence: "There's a new kid on the shelves in bookstores these days. Most often he can be found back in the science fiction and fantasy section, walking with a certain swagger among the epic fantasies, the space operas, the sword-and-sorcery yarns and cyberpunk dystopias. Sometimes he wanders up front, to hang out with the bestsellers. They call him 'urban fantasy,' and these past few years he's been the hottest subgenre in publishing." (p. ix) —  "The new urban fantasy may be some kin to that 1980s variety, but if so, the kinship is a distant one, for the new kid is a bastard through and through. He makes his home on streets altogether meaner and dirtier than those his cousin walked, in New York and Chicago and L.A. and nameless cities where blood runs in the gutters and the screams in the night drown out the music." (p. ix)

2. "Death by Dahlia" - Charlaine Harris — Sookie Stackhouse series #6.5 (paranormal aspect: vampires and other supernaturals)

In this story, Dahlia Lynley-Chivers attends the celebration party in honor of Joaquin, the new vampire sheriff, and winds up investigating the murder of one of the human donors.

  • Story quotation: "Werewolves were always hungry, and they could drink alcohol until the cows came home—and then the Weres would eat them." (p. 3)

3. "The Bleeding Shadow" - Joe R. Lansdale (paranormal aspect: demon) 

Set in the mid-1950s South, this story edges closer to horror than UF, with its Robert-Johnson-at-the-crossroads story line and its monster-in-the-closet ending. An amateur detective does a favor for a friend and tracks down a blues guitar player who is in the grip of a soul-stealing demon.

4. "Hungry Heart" - Simon R. Green

(paranormal aspect: witches, ghouls and other creatures) This is the shortest story at slightly over 16 pages. In this typical adventure, NIGHTSIDE's hero, John Taylor, is hired by a witch to find the box in which her heart is being held by her treacherous former mentor. As usual, as soon as John begins his investigation, he learns that his client is lying and that someone else—someone dangerous—also wants the box.

  • Story quotation: "A bunch of female ghouls out on a hen night were getting tipsy on Mother's Ruin and complaining about the quality of the finger buffet. Ghouls just want to have fun. A pair of Neanderthals who'd put away so many smart drinks they were practically evolving before my eyes...Just another night at Strangefellows." (p. 54)

5. "Styx and Stones" - Steven Saylor — Roma Sub Rosa (Roman Blood series), prequel (paranormal aspect: a lemur who really isn't)

Set in about 92 BC, this story follows two Roman citizens, Gordianus and Antipater, as they travel to Babylon, where they hope to see the famed Hanging Gardens and the fabled walls of Babylon. When they stop at a small Babylonian inn, Gordianus has an encounter with a lemur —the spirit of a dead woman.

  • Story quotation:"On such a vast, featureless plain, you might think that you could see forever, but the ripples of heat that rose from the earth distorted the view, so that objects near and far took on an uncertain, even uncanny appearance. A distant tower turned out to be a palm tree; a pile of strangely motionless—dead?—bodies suddenly resolved into a heap of gravel, apparently put there by whoever maintained the road." (p. 72)

6. "Pain and Suffering" - S.M. Stirling — Shadowspawn series #2.5 (UF/Horror?) (paranormal aspect: Shadowspawn (vampire))

In this tautly written police procedural set in Santa Fe, Detective Eric Salvador and his partner, Cesar Martinez, must solve a strange case in which a house goes up in flames and one of the tenants disappears without a trace. As their investigation proceeds, they are visited by governmental MIB types who warn them off the case. Then, tragedy strikes Martinez, and Salvador is left to track down the mysterious Brézé family, who leave no paper trail at all and who have seemingly vanished into thin air.

Story quotation: "This time something walked out of the fire to where he lay....The shape twisted and its wrongness made him want to scream out the bloody foam in this lungs, but the eyes were flecked yellow. And the voice slithered into his ears: 'Who's been a naughty boy, then?'" (p. 100)

7. "It's Still the Same Old Story" - Carrie VaughnKitty Norville series #6.5 (paranormal aspect: vampire as leading man)

This story features Rick, the vampire leader of Denver, as he discovers the body of Helen, a woman who has been his friend for decades, and then tracks down her killer. Vaughn moves back and forth in time, beginning in the present day and then flashing back to scenes from the late 1940s when Rick first met Helen.

Story quotation: "She walked through the doorway, and every man in the place looked at her: the painted red smile, the blue skirt swishing around perfect legs. She didn't seem to notice, walked right up to the bar and pulled herself onto a stool. 'I'll have a scotch, double, on ice,' she said." (p. 128)

8. "The Lady is a Screamer" - Conn Iggulden (paranormal aspect: spirits of the dead) Jack Garner is a con man, making a meager living pretending to commune with the spirits of the dead. Then, one day, he is hired to rid a home of an annoying spirit who constantly blows into the ears of the owner of the house. Jack discovers that the spirit is tied to a lock of hair, so he takes it with him and thus begins his new career of ghostbusting. Eventually, Jack collects three spirits, who assist him in getting rid of pesky ghosts.

Story quotation: Jack's list of some of the Barnum statements that he uses to con people into believing that he can speak with their ancestors: "'You have a great need for others to like and admire you. You have a tendency to be critical of yourself. While you have some personality weaknesses, you are generally able to compensate for them. At times you have serious doubts as to whether you have made the right decision or done the right thing.' and so on. You get it? They apply to everyone." (p155) 

9. "Hellbender" - Laurie R. King (paranormal aspect: the SalaMan)

Mike Heller is a SalaMan, a genetic mutation that resulted when a graduate student blended human genes with those of the hellbender salamander. The survivors of the experiments eventually must have surgery to get rid of the remnants of their gills, tails, and other salamanderish characteristics. The government agreed to allow them to be citizens and promised not to keep track of them in any way. Now, however, it looks as if someone is definitely tracking the SalaMan. When Mike is hired by the SalaMan sister of a man who has disappeared, he learns that many of that man's SalaMan acquaintances have also vanished. The story follows Mike as he solves the case.

Story quotation: "I'm a big fan of libraries: information, comfort, and safety, all in one place. And over the years, library associations have fought hard for privacy rights, which makes them more secure from snoops than any cyber cafe. This library even had a coffee bar attached to it...." (p. 186)

10. "Shadow Thieves" - Glen Cook — Garrett Files series (paranormal aspect: many supernatural creatures)

This is a complicated fantasy world (more traditional fantasy than urban fantasy) filled with a wide (and wild) variety of creatures. In this story, Garrett and his friends must solve the case of the Shadow of Ryzna, a mysterious box that holds powerful secrets that many strange and dangerous beings want to capture.

Story quotation: A description of Garrett's partner, who is known as the Dead Man: "My partner is a quarter ton of defunct nonhuman permanently established in a custom-built oak chair. First thing you notice, after his sheer bulk, is his resemblance to a baby mammoth with a midget trunk only a quarter of the length you might expect. Most visitors don't look close. They're petrified by the fact the he can read minds." (p. 207)

11. "No Mystery, No Miracle" - Melinda M. Snodgrass — Richard Oort / Edge series (paranormal aspect: demonic Old Ones) 

Cross is an investigator for Unique Investigations, and his job is to search out and eliminate dark forces known as Old Ones—demonic creatures from another dimension that possess humans in order to carry out horrible deeds. Set in the Depression-era Midwest, this story finds Cross in Buford, Oklahoma, where a strange hobo symbol leads him to a mission filled with dark shadows and remnants of the presence of an Old One. Written in the manner of a noir detective story, the story follows Cross as he tracks down the Old One at the 1932 Democratic presidential convention in Chicago, where Cross proves himself to be much more than an ordinary man.

Story quotation: A bit of Cross's history: " the distant past, Eolas, as Conoscenza had then been called, had found Cross, created by human compassion and weakened by human cruelty, and Eolas/Conoscenza had offered Cross a bargain. Cross would help against the alien creatures, and, in exchange, Eolas/Conoscenza would help Cross die. They just never seemed to get around to the dying part." (p. 230)

12. "The Difference Between a Puzzle and a Mystery" - M.L.N. Hanover (paranormal aspect: and exorcist who is something else—something not quite human, demmon)

In this supernatural police procedural, Detective Mason works with an exorcist named Scarrey to solve the murder of a young woman when the prime suspect claims to be possessed by a demon. With its twist at the end, this is an entertaining story.

Story quotation: "Puzzles have solutions," Scarrey said....The lock opens. The wine bottle comes free....Mysteries aren't like that. With them, there's an element of judgment. Guesswork. Not just to reach the solution, but within the solution itself." (p. 271)

13. "The Curious Affair of the Deodand" - Lisa Tuttle (paranormal aspect: magical deodands)

Set in nineteenth century London, the heroine, Miss Lane, takes a Watson-like job as an assistant to a young Sherlock Holmesian amateur detective who has just become a professional. Their first case together involves a young woman who has lost one fiancé to unsolved murder and is afraid that she will soon lose a second. The key to the case is the concept of a deodand, an object that becomes forfeit to God when it causes a person's death.

Story quotation: Here is the scene when Miss Lane, who is a sensitive psychic, first enters the girl's home, where she lives with her strange and hostile guardian: "...what I felt in that hallway was as bad as any haunted house. But it is difficult to describe to someone who has never experienced such things. If I were describing a smell, I could compare it to a tannery, a slaughterhouse, or a sewer. Only someone with no sense of smell could bear to live there." (p. 290)

14. "Lord John and the Plague of Zombies" - Diana Gabaldon — Lord John Grey series #3.5 (paranormal aspect: loas, Obeah-men, and not-quite zombies)

This is the longest story, at 66 pages. Lord John Grey is a lieutenant colonel in the British army during the Colonial Period. He has been sent to Jamaica in response to the governor's plea for assistance with a series of uprisings by the Maroon people, descendents of escaped slaves who live in the mountains. Complicating Grey's task is the rumor that zombies are afoot and that the governor may be in danger. As it turns out, this story is probably the furthest from being urban fantasy that it could possibly be, owing to the fact that much of it takes place in the jungle and that there is very little real magic involved. It is, nevertheless, a suspense-filled story with dry humor and quirky characters...and snakes.

Story quotation: Grey first hears the word "zombie":"Tell me what the Obeah-man said," Grey said, leaning forward, intent. "I promise you, I will tell no on."  Rodrigo gulped, but nodded. He bent his head, looking at the table as though he might find the right words written in the grain of the wood. "Zombie," he muttered, almost inaudibly. "The zombie come for him. For the governor."  Grey had no notion what a zombie might be, but the word was spoken in such a tone as to make a chill flicker over his skin, sudden as distant lightening." (pp. 320-321) 

15. "Beware the Snake" - John Maddox Roberts —SPQR series #XII.V (paranormal aspect: snake-charming magic)

Set in Ancient Rome, the story follows the adventures of the aristocratic Decius Caecilius, a senator during the reign of Caius Julius Caesar. Caesar has promised a priest that Decius will find the missing Serpent of Angitia, a swamp adder that is sacred to the Marsi people. The plot unwinds as Decius interrogates the priest and then heads off first to the snake market and then to a Marsian shrine. Once again—not much magic and no supernatural beings, except for some snake charming done by the priest.

Story quotation: priest grabs a poisonous snake: "Then he moved his right hand gradually toward the snake's head until it was behind the flaring base of the wedge-shaped skull. Julia gasped when he grasped the thing by the neck. At least I'm pretty sure it was Julia. I don't think it was me." (p. 384)

16. "In Red, with Pearls" - Patricia BriggsMercy Thompson series 6.5. (paranormal aspect: werewolves and zombies)

This story stars Mercy's friend, the werewolf Warren Smith, who is now a private investigator for the law office of his partner in life, Kyle Brooks. One evening, a zombie (dressed as the title indicates) arrives at the office and tries to kill Kyle. The plot follows Warren as he saves Kyle's life and then tracks down the perpetrator of the crime. It's a fast-moving, suspense-filled story, even if we can figure out some of the mystery before Warren does.

Story quotation: Warren as he tries to get some help before the zombie does her thing: "Would you do me a favor?" I asked tossing him my cell phone. "Call Elizabeta—her number is under w." Under witch; he'd figure it out, he was a smart man. "Tell her we have an incident, a her kinda incident, we'd like some help with...." "Your kind of thing"? Kyle asked obliquely. Something supernatural, he meant. (p. 390)

17. "The Adakian Eagle" - Bradley Denton (paranormal aspect: a bit of Eskimo magic)

Set in 1940s Alaska—Adak in the Aleutian Islands, to be exact—this story follows two army non-coms as they try to solve the mystery of two murders: an eagle and a sailor. The private telling the story is a veteran of the battle of Attu but is now an unwilling assistant to the arrogant and incompetent colonel who is second in command at the base. After the private discovers the eagle's mutilated body on a mountainside, the colonel tells him to take an older soldier, a corporal nicknamed Pop, up to the murder scene and try to figure out what happened. The plot follows the two as they investigate a crime that is much more complex than they realize. Light on the magical element.

Story quotation: Here's the private's first look at Pop as he defeats an opponent in a ping-pong game: "He was wearing fatigues buttoned all the way up, but there wasn't a drop of perspiration on his face. He was white-haired, brown-mustached, tall, and skinny as a stick, and he didn't look athletic. In fact, he looked a little pale and sickly. but he swatted the ball with cool, dismissive flicks of his wrist, and it shot across the table like a bullet." (p. 421)

~ SourceFang-tastic Fiction: Anthology: "Down These Strange Streets"

Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Larry Rostant ~ Source: ISFdb

Publishing InformationEdit

  • Publisher: Ace Books
  • Book data: Hardcover, 479 pages, Pub: Oct 4, 2011—ISBN: 0441020747

Cover Blurb Edit

In this collection of urban fantasy stories, editors George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois explore the places where mystery waits at the end of every alley and where the things that go bump in the night have something to fear. ~ Google

External Links Edit


Author Pages for Book:

Series pages ~ Goodreads

Author Websites:

Goodreads Author pages


Noir Fiction:



See AlsoEdit

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