This is a review of two stories in The Crimson Pact: Volume One. While I am the publisher of the book, I’m also a reader. I also do not have a story in the text, and I’ve worked to keep all of these reviews as impartial as possible; I hope you agree.
If you wish to check out The Crimson Pact, stop by its website at https://thecrimsonpact.com. While it’s only currently available in digital formats, if you have a computer, you can read this book. Not only is there a PDF version at the website, but you can read it on a free desktop reader from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.
Hidden Collection by Sarah Kanning
This story hits a lot of good notes for me. A college student working at a library suddenly stumbles upon something unexpected in the stacks…
It’s urban fantasy, and written in the light way so many such stories are, but doesn’t hesitate to go dark at a moment’s notice. It might just make you look at libraries in a different way…
Inquest by Barbara Webb
Two priests – we learn they are Templars – are traveling home when a seemingly-abandoned town makes them suspicious. Their investigation turns up something they never expected – with horrible consequences.
This is a moodier, darker story than Hidden Collection. While there’s demons, they aren’t the only bad guys running around. They might not even be the worst. The characters really come to life in this story – I can so easily see this being part of a much bigger world and story.
These two stories come right after each other in The Crimson Pact: Volume One, and really beg to be reviewed together. They’re about the same length, and both hint at bigger worlds and bigger stories than what we actually see on the page. But what fascinates me is the stark difference in tone between the two. That kind of variation, living literally (ha!) side by side in a book, drives home how important diversity is in an anthology.
An entire anthology of either style of story would become trying after too long – especially with anthologies the size of the books in this series. Mixing up the pacing and tone between stories keeps the reader fresh, and allows us to experience the highs and lows with the characters a little more intensely.