Tl;Dr This is one of the best bits of “new” werewolf fiction on the market at the moment. If you are looking for a fresh take on were creatures then buy this anthology.
Review: This may seem like an odd criticism, but the first story by Stephen R. Lickman may be too good. It may just be bias because it was the first I read, and because it involves the Anansi on the first page, but it set the bar so high that few of the other stories met it. Leading with the best story in the anthology is just an interesting editing choice. With that said, this story is superlative. It sets the tone for the entire anthology perfectly and really get the reader into the wild west setting.
With that said there is a bit of assumed knowledge with this story. One does need to know what a Corax and an Anansi is to be able to understand the story (and others in this work.) For me that is perfect, but it may not work for every reader. This story in particular features rites and the Wyrm in a way that really respects fans of White Wolf and Onyx Path.
The next standout for me was Dusk Rider. And, for almost the opposite reasons of The Leadville Mind Heist. While I do have a love for the breed in this story, they are revealed in the end, in a great subversion of expectations. I can’t talk much about this story without spoiling it, but, suffice it to say that there is a great economy of storytelling that made Dusk Rider stand out as quite great.
Finally, Bill Bodden does not disappoint with Cat and Crow. This should not be surprising if you know his work with Achtung! Cthulhu and Vengeance of the Shunned, but the way he sets the characters in this story really draws in the reader. Again without giving anything away he let me know what the breed was well before the actual reveal through masterful storytelling. A lot of cat and crow is the “show don’t tell” school of writing that is so rewarding when done correctly.
Without giving too much away, Cat and Crow stood out as, far and away having the best developed characters. Mina is such a strong opening character and left quite and impression, and the villain of the piece is a fantastic foil as well.
I wish I could take the time to highlight each story in this anthology, but these were the three I remember the most after reading. Again, it is a great book with 10 fantastic stories.
[5 of 5 Stars!]