J.D. Robb turns in another stellar story featuring Eve and Roarke. Ritual in Death opens with Eve and her delicious man at this really swanky party when a naked disoriented man covered in blood carrying a knife stumbles in. The blood trail leads straight to Suite 606 with a smear of blood transforming it to Suite 666. What they find inside is a nightmare with a magical undertone. Eve and the gang are the best, bar none. This story individually gets a 4.5.
Love Endures by Mary Blayney is a sweet, well written historical that opens with young mother Summer answering a knock at her door in the dead of night to discover her husband’s best friend Lord Stephen Bradley. He brings news that her husband Reggie was set upon by thieves leaving a gaming hall. Reggie’s neck was broken in the altercation and he now haunts his bedroom. His daughter, Kitty knows he is there from the start. Apparently he has to make up for his life of lies and misdeeds before he can enter heaven. One of those lies he has to make up for is the ones he told Summer and Stephen. I love these kinds of storylines. My only quibble with this one is that the Suite 606 reference that ties all the stories together seemed to be a little forced and out of place in this story. Overall, I would give this story a 3.5.
Cold Case by Ruth Ryan Langan was an interesting time travel story with a big city cop Sam Hunter going to the wilds of Vermont to stay in a hotel to put his partner’s death in perspective. He booked Suite 606 but when he arrived it had been given to someone else. He remembered another inn outside of town and he sets out for it in a bad storm. He proceeds only to have an accident swerving to avoid what looked like a woman running across the road. He staggers through the storm to a farmhouse where he is given shelter by a lovely young woman, her younger sister, and her incredibly grouchy suspicious stepfather. This was a unique time travel with a little mystery thrown in. This story gets a 3.
Wayward Wizard by Mary Kay McComas was a great end to this anthology. Through all the other stories there would be the appearance of a youth, a woman, and a good looking man. This story explains these appearances. Ms McComas makes quite an emotional impact in this short story. We meet Marie Barnett as she is trying to heal the rift between her and her son Hugh. She screwed up big time and is trying to rebuild their relationship and his trust. They have come to the museum during her visitation with him when a freak encounter with one of the exhibits makes Hugh disappear. Marie immediately repeats his actions so she can follow him. She appears in a medieval looking room where her son is conversing with Nestor the Wizard. He then helps them get back to the future. I came away from this story with that happy squee feeling when you have read something really touching. This story gets a 4.
I always approach anthologies with a bit of trepidation because I usually pick it up for one author and the others I have trouble getting into much less finishing. This was a solid selection that I enjoyed. I would highly recommend it.
FEATURING A NEW EVE DALLAS NOVELLA.
J.D. Robb plunges Lieutenant Eve Dallas into the violent aftermath of a ritualistic murder.
Mary Blayney, investigates a deception that has kept two lovers apart for years.
Ruth Ryan Langan brings a lost man out of a storm to face a breathtaking twist of fate.
And Mary Kay McComas follows a mother, her son, and a wizard lost through the threads of time.