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Charlaine Harris and Rachel Caine enter a shadowy world of demons and angels in "Dark Witness" while Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black look at three weird sisters who face challenges beyond magic in "Sisters Before Misters." Sarah MacLean and Carrie Ryan explore the exquisite agony of eternal love in "She, Doomed Girl," and "Welded" by Tom Piccirilli andCharlaine Harris and Rachel Caine enter a shadowy world of demons and angels in "Dark Witness" while Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Holly Black look at three weird sisters who face challenges beyond magic in "Sisters Before Misters." Sarah MacLean and Carrie Ryan explore the exquisite agony of eternal love in "She, Doomed Girl," and "Welded" by Tom Piccirilli and T. M. Wright offers an unsettling vision of an evil that infects and destroys lives. Mixing the ordinary--parents, teenagers, lovers--with the extraordinary--angels, demons, serial killers--these captivating and vivid tales delve deep into the shadowy, unexplored realms of the imagination....

Title : Dark Duets: All-New Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780062240286
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 432 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Dark Duets: All-New Tales of Horror and Dark Fantasy Reviews

  • Rissa
    2019-03-30 12:57

    3.5 ⭐️

  • Regina
    2019-04-01 13:15

    Anthologies can be hit or miss for me. Often, they seem to be positioned as a way to introduce readers to series and authors. Now this is just my opinion, but too many times short stories aren’t as engaging and just don’t pull me in like a novel. The characters may not be as well introduced because they exist in a series or novel already. There are exceptions of course. For example, Alice Munro, Patricia Briggs and Jim Butcher write beautifully executed short stories. But honestly, too often there are so many authors in an anthology that I don’t care about with only one or two authors I do care about. Oh and many times, I feel forced to read the short story if it takes place between a series, because I worry that I will miss out on a crucial series development if I miss reading. What struck me about Dark Duets is that the stories can be read as standalones. But I should say upfront, I did not read all the stories. I read the stories by authors I love. The theme for each story in Dark Duets is that two or three authors team up to write a horror story collaboratively. Two out of the three I read were 5 star reads, the third below average. The beauty of the three stories I read is that no one author’s style shows through but it reads as the best of each author.Dark Witness - 5 stars by Charlaine Harris and Rachel CaineI feel like every time I read something new by Charlaine Harris I am hoping that what I used to love about her is evident in the text and there is none of what I came to strongly dislike toward the end of the Sookie series. Well BAM. I loved this story. This story is not obviously written by either Caine or Harris. I couldn’t recognize either authors’ style. It is spooky and well developed and it begins with a nightmare. There is a hint at the coming apocalypse and it is not romantic. The characters are there to allow the story to unfold, rather than the story being about the characters. This is just a darned good spooky tale.T. Rhymer – 5 stars by Gregory Frost and Jonathan MaberrySo I read this story because I love Maberry’s Rot and Ruin series. I know nothing of Gregory Frost (but now I will seek out books by him). Again, this story is really good and very well done. Maberry’s writing style was not obvious in the story, the authors blended so well together. This story takes what we usually read about elves, the fae, and hell – - and turns it on its head. T. Rhymer is a character in the story and I would love to read more of him. There is non stop action and some interesting surprises. I could not put this one down.Sisters Before Misters - 2.5 Stars by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, and Holly BlackLove the title and I love the line-up of authors that contributed to this story. Ultimately, Sisters Before Misters was just okay. I didn’t think it was funny – -I saw what the authors were trying to do but for me it just didn’t work. I think it is worth reading if you have the anthology as it is a quick read. But if you are looking to read it because it is authored by Holly Black or Cassandra Clare, then you should know it doesn’t read like one of their novels.To read more of this review or others like it check out Badass Book Reviews.

  • MissM
    2019-03-31 17:05

    THIS IS NOT FANTASY. THIS IS PURE HORROR.I was fooled into thinking because of some of the authors I recognized (Golden, Caine, Harris) that these would be of the dark fantasy/urban fantasy genre. Further fooled by talk of angels, demons and such on the back cover.But it's not. It's horror. And worse off, it's sick and twisted horror (like a B&B keeping humans in cages for decades as breeding stock or kidnapping women to mutilate them on camera while they are subject to shock collars) that was utterly disgusting. It was NOT what I thought it was going to be at all and I gave up halfway through the book because it was just disturbing and highly unpleasant.Beyond the graphic nature of the stories, they just weren't very good. I did not find any of the ones I read to have any solid depth or world creation. I know it's hard to make a complete world in a short story, but these didn't even seem to try.Total pass. Didn't even finish. Would not recommend.

  • Randolph Carter
    2019-04-08 14:19

    This book is what it is, an entertainment, nothing more. It doesn't claim to be anything else. It is the modern version of stories told around a campfire. And as an entertainment it is quite good as long as you don't expect a literary masterpiece. A fun read, there were only a couple of stinkers. The gag of course is each story is a collaboration between two authors. The stories are surprisingly good given who some of the authors are. IMHO. I wouldn't have expected good horror stories from some of them, but perhaps they were saved by the other author or the collaboration process pulled the best out of both. It would have been nice to have had a little dissertation on how each pair approached the collaboration: did one outline the plot, did they write subsequent parts individually, etc.? It isn't easy to tell.Caveat to those who consider reading this, it is long on horror and short on fantasy.

  • Christy LoveOfBooks
    2019-03-30 17:14

    Since this is an anthology, I read a story or two a day. I don't usually read anthologies, but there was such a great list of authors paired up with other great author, that I couldn't resist. Some of the stories are really short, while some are pretty long. Either way, I enjoyed them all.

  • Terry Weyna
    2019-04-01 17:53

    Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such difficult, magical, exciting stories, and Dark Duets is the result.Many of the stories in this anthology are solid, engaging works. As a general rule, I found the stories in the first half or so of the book to be better than those that came later, suggesting to me that Golden may have used a different structure than the usual one followed by editors in ordering stories. Normally an editor places the best stories at the beginning, the end and in the middle; Golden seems to have started with his strongest stories and worked to the weakest, with a few exceptions.The anthology begins with “Trip Trap” by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kevin J. Anderson. A homeless man living under a bridge encounters a homeless family living in their car in a nearby highway rest stop, starting with a little girl’s asking him, “Are you a troll?” In fact, he is — or at least, that’s how he thinks of himself; it’s not clear whether we’re in a fairy tale where trolls eat little girls or the real world where bad men do horrible things to little girls that are almost as bad. Through a sequence of encounters between the family and the homeless man, we’re never sure, in fact, whether “troll” is a metaphor or, perhaps, the reality of a mental illness afflicting the homeless man, or the story’s reality. It’s handled beautifully.“Welded” by Tom Piccirilli and T.M. Wright is very dark, telling “a familiar story” in which “Kid and girl fall in love. Homicidal maniac kidnaps and butchers girl….” The boy survives the encounter with the serial killer, who staves the boy’s head in to get to the girl. The homicidal maniac is finally caught after nine more murders. He writes to the boy, who writes back, and then begins to visit the murderer in prison. On the day the murderer is to be executed by lethal injection, the boy is there, listening to the murderer whisper exactly what he did to his victims and how they resisted. The boy suffers from migraine headaches, which he often develops on his visits to the prison, and Execution Day is no exception — at least not in that way. But the boy doesn’t just get migraines, and this day is like no other. It’s a haunting story about whether the boy actually survived or is just living — or, perhaps, has been completely transformed by evil into something that is evil itself. This black tale will stay with you for a long time.“Dark Witness” by Charlaine Harris and Rachel Caine explains those crosses you sometimes see by the side of the road, the ones you think mark the site of an automobile accident where someone’s loved one died. One morning Emma dreams about a pair of crosses and the faceless woman who is planting them as she watches from her car; a handsome man with yellow eyes sits next to her. The horror comes as much — or more — from the presence of that man as from the sight of her name, and her daughter’s, on those crosses. Emma manages to dismiss the dream when she sees two crosses on her way to work, reasoning that they must have triggered the nightmare. That night, Laurel brings friends home for dinner, one of whom is Tyler — the first time a boy has ever made an appearance. Things go well until Tyler catches her alone and asks why she gave him up. This seems like a common tale of a teenage mother who could only manage to raise one child; but that assumes that Tyler and his father are human. Things unravel quickly and horribly. The story ends a little too neatly, but it is powerful nonetheless.“Replacing Max” is a Weird story by Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie. Wesley and his eleven-year-old daughter, Angelina, squabble as they drive about why she has to be with him instead of her mother and stepfather this weekend. There’s something fishy about that, and Angelina senses it, and she pushes Wesley as hard as only an 11-going-on-40-year-old can. It’s snowing and they’re lost when they come across a bed and breakfast that seems like an ideal place to wait out the storm — both the one involving the weather and the one involving their relationship. It helps that the owners of the B&B breed Maine Coon cats; Angelina is fascinated. But things fall apart for Wesley in fairly short order, and it seems he’s likely to get what he deserves. The real question is whether he genuinely deserves what he actually gets.Gregory Frost and Jonathan Maberry get inside the head of a young woman looking for a good catch among the males in an Edinburgh club on the night before Halloween in “T. Rhymer.” That cute guy over there who’s been giving her the eye all night suddenly seems irresistible, and Stacey finds herself wandering over to him in spite of herself— indeed, in direct opposition to what she really wants to do. Something’s telling her to run, but she can’t. Those golden eyes on him have her in some sort of spell. Stacey follows him out of the club before they even say a word to one another. Fortunately for Stacey, there’s another man watching, and he’s heavily armed with the right sort of weapons for the situation. Those who have figured out the title of this tale know where things go from here, and it’s a fine updating of the old story. And it’s nice to see a woman who acts, rather than merely being acted upon.“She, Doomed Girl” by Sarah MacLean and Carrie Ryan, is about a woman headed for a Scottish island castle to which she holds the key, crossing the North Sea through a rolling fog. It’s to be a new start for her. But when she gets to her new home, she finds it comes complete with a man demanding to know what she’s doing in his house. A very good looking man, as it turns out, who knows how she came to have the deed and key to the home he calls his own. His mood varies between amusement at her circumstances to cold and demanding that she leave in the blink of an eye. But the ferry she took over was the last of the night and there is nothing else on the island, so she must stay the night. The story has all the trappings of a Gothic romance, which is precisely what this turns out to be. It’s too sappy for my taste, and strikes me as less than original, well-written though it is.Things pick up a bit again in “Hand Job” by Chelsea Cain and Lidia Yuknavitch, in which we’re once again in Weird territory. One day, the protagonist’s hand starts to speak to her — more specifically, her pinkie finger, which complains about the protagonist’s strictly domestic life. And then physically attacks her. What can she do, as the finger lops off parts of her body? She has to fight back! “Hand Job” is one of the stranger stories I’ve ever read, fulfills the promise of its double entendre title, and is a lot of fun.“Hollow Choices” by Robert Jackson Bennett and David Liss is as dark a story as I would expect from those two writers. As the story opens, the narrator is leaving prison at long last, but is feeling strangely unjoyful about it. The world outside feels like a foreign country, and it’s just about impossible to find a job. Almost without his willing it, he becomes fixated on a particular woman. “You got the offer and you took it,” he accuses her, and she admits it, saying she’d have been a fool not to. We don’t know for sure what they’re talking about for a while, but the experienced fantasy and horror reader will figure it out. What I find fascinating is how the old tropes play out, and the philosophical discussion of just what happiness means.Amber Benson and Jeffrey J. Mariotte put their female protagonist through the wringer in “Amuse-Bouche.” She wakes up after a night out to find herself bound, in the dark, and on the verge of complete panic. Her captor, the male protagonist, has created a narrative in his head in which the woman is an actor, and he is shooting a scene. It’s not surprising that he’s gone ‘round the bend, given his upbringing. But this isn’t the standard tale of a vulnerable woman destroyed by a rapacious man; nature also plays a role. The story doesn’t work well, with two first-person narrators in an unconvincing situation.When I came to “Branches, Curving,” and found that the writing team was Tim Lebbon and Michael Marshall Smith, I was excited: two of my favorite authors working together promised something special. Unfortunately, the story didn’t deliver. Jenni, the protagonist, has been dreaming about a particular oak tree for a long time. She thought it entirely a piece of her dream world until one day she catches a glimpse of it in a random search of the internet. We never learn why Jenni is interested in the tree, though we learn more about the tree. It seems that the authors were searching for bittersweet, but the story never quite gets there.“Renascence” by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson begins in New York in 1878, at a wake for Graziana Babilani. Rasheeda Basemore is the owner of the funeral parlor, an unusual profession for a woman in the late 19th century; but there is more to Rasheeda that at first appears. We get a hint when she appraises the corpse in the same way one might examine a servant or slave, pronouncing her condition “perfect.” Things get even clearer when she sends her assistant out to “fetch us a warm one,” and the assistant asks if he can be the one to “do the ritual.” Sure enough, Rasheeda is a resurrectionist of sorts, bringing select corpses to a sort of life and leasing them for manual labor. Rasheeda must anoint each of these slaves once a month to keep them from becoming berserkers. Things are going well until the wrong corpse is reanimated. It’s a fine, amusing story, carrying a strong flavor of Wilson’s Repairman Jack novels.The father and daughter team of Joe R. Lansdale and Kasey Lansdale authored “Blind Love,” which was clearly intended to be zany rather than scary. What else could you expect from a story that begins with a way for singles to make a connection that involves merely staring into one another’s eyes? One man mesmerizes every woman who gazes at him except for the first-person protagonist. Which leaves it up to the protagonist, of course, to rescue all the other women from his clutches. It’s a mildly funny tale.“Trapper Boy” by Holly Newstein and Rick Hautala is set in a coal mining town. John’s father thinks it’s time John started working in the mines, while his mother would like to see him go to school. John himself would like to study to become an artist, but he’s nine years old already, and it’s time for him to contribute to the family’s budget. Mr. Comstock hires John as a trapper for sixty cents a week, working 12 hours each day for six days a week. That means John sits in the dark and cold, waiting to open the mine shaft doors for the mules bringing coal to the surface. Things are looking grim for John until his mother buys him a box of colored chalks, and he uses them while on the job to draw animals on the doors by the light of his small lantern. It seems like a sentimental story until the sharp edges come through. This is one of the best stories in the book, a stand-out in the otherwise weaker second half of the book.Nate Kenyon and James A. Moore team up for “Steward of the Blood,” in which Christian inherits a substantial property known as Glen Ridge from his grandfather. His grandfather had stipulated that Christian was not to be advised of the death and inheritance until five years after his grandfather’s death. In the intervening years, the house on the estate has fallen into disrepair — in fact, it looks far more decayed than five years should have caused. A letter from his Christian’s grandfather, delivered by Talbot, the executor of his estate, contains directions and strictures on his inheritance, particularly in that it requires that he not leave Glen Ridge again. While Christian is reading the letter, a storm comes up, catching his daughter in the woods, where she is having an odd sort of orientation, a reordering of her world to better align with nature. What lurks in those woods, and how will it affect the family? The reader is not surprised by anything that happens here, for the story is not a new one, though it is well-told.Michael Koryta and Jeffrey David Greene offer “Calculating Route,” about a GPS that eventually takes its owners to abandoned land originally intended for real estate development before the market collapsed. Several fall victim to the strange machine before we find out what’s behind it. I was disappointed at such a mundane answer to the mystery.“Sisters Before Misters” by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare and Holly Black is a tale of three witches, one of whom makes off with the trio’s single eye one day when she sees a fine hunk of man. This is clearly another story that is supposed to be funny, but falls short of the mark.Allan Strand is dying of cancer in “Sins Like Scarlet” by Mark Morris and Rio Youers. He makes it through the days only with the help of liquid morphine, which he carries in a flask. He wants to make peace with his ex-wife before he dies; their marriage had not survived the murder of their only son, who was only seven years old. Allan moved to Canada following his son’s death, but now he is traveling back to England to see Holly, because he has something important to tell her. He moves through not only a fog of pain, but a miasma of self-pity that makes the reader impatient with him instead of sympathetic. It’s a fine trick to pull off, but the authors succeed in making Allan thoroughly dislikeable. Is it because the sin he has come to confess is so dark? It is a finely wrought story, making a strong conclusion to the anthology.Originally published at http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi.... Three stars rolled up to four to compensate for different grading systems.

  • Gregory Frost
    2019-03-28 10:21

    This anthology of collaborative works between authors of dark fantasy and horror includes "T. Rhymer," a novella written by me and Jonathan Maberry. We had great fun doing it and hope to pursue Rhymer further in a few novels-to-come.

  • Bunny
    2019-04-10 18:13

    You are home, Pug.Anthologies are like neighborhood garage sales. You're not going to like everything at every house, but you can find some true gems if you're willing to look. Christopher Golden has well established that his story neighborhoods are well stocked. And I was infinitely intrigued by the idea of this anthology, there are some well established authors in here, as well as some I've never heard of. And they're all pairing up to bring you one story. Some of these combinations are truly magical. As with all garage sales, not all houses had something I wanted. But I'm beyond certain that the person coming up the drive behind me is going to love them. There's one story in here that was kind of overwrought and not interesting to me in the least, but lovers of the more fantasy side are going to dig it big time. I am of the opinion that what scares you in real life is what makes you love a horror novel. I'm scared of everything, but it's really, really hard for me to find a horror story that scares me. Movies are easy, because you have the visuals and the jump scares and the DUN DUN DUN music. I have loads of sympathy for authors of horror, because it takes so much work to really make it good. Calculating Route (by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene) scared the piss out of me. It didn't help that I listened to it while driving, with occasional GPS interruption of the narration, in dark neighborhoods. I'm afraid of the dark. I'm afraid of getting lost. And I'm afraid of using GPS to go somewhere I'm unfamiliar with, and it getting me terribly, unbelievably lost. Yeah. That story gave me a serious case of the heebie jeebies. Also, why were there two damn stories featuring noses being cut off? Why? Why would you do that to me? Why?I didn't pay much attention to the authors of the short stories when queuing up the audiobook. When I added it on GR, I spotted one in particular, and made a very careful note to listen for that story introduction. A lot of these authors I've heard of but never read. I'm interesting in reading more by a lot. The story written by Amber Benson and Jeffrey J. Mariotte was amazing and gross and disturbing. I love Amber Benson to death, both acting and her writing, so I was doubly pleased that the story she co-wrote was my favorite after Calculating Route. So gross. So disturbing. So good. A highly recommendable book. Though keep in mind that, as with all neighborhood garage sales, there are some roads you never need to drive down. Sometimes you just skip them because you know who they are, and you know their history.

  • Fantasy Literature
    2019-04-17 15:09

    Christopher Golden explains in his introduction to Dark Duets that writing is a solitary occupation right up until that moment an alchemical reaction takes place and a bolt of inspiration simultaneously strikes two writers who are friends. Golden has found that the results of collaboration are often fascinating and sometimes magical, as when Stephen King and Peter Straub teamed up to write The Talisman. Writing is an intimate, very personal process, Golden says, and finding someone to share it with is difficult but exciting. Golden therefore undertook to create a book full of such ... Read More: http://www.fantasyliterature.com/revi...

  • Amirah A Bakar
    2019-04-08 10:22

    I guess I was focusing more on the DARK FANTASY part, rather than the HORROR part. Some of the horror-ish stories were more gore than others, which I was not prepared for. I do enjoyed some of them, especially Dark Witness and Steward of the Blood. Rating by story:Trip Trap ⭐⭐⭐Welded ⭐⭐⭐Dark Witness ⭐⭐⭐⭐Replacing Max ⭐⭐T. Rhymer ⭐⭐⭐⭐She, Doomed Girl ⭐⭐⭐Hand Job ⭐⭐Hollow Choice ⭐⭐⭐Amuse-Bauche ⭐⭐Branches, Curving ⭐⭐⭐Renascence ⭐⭐⭐⭐Blind Love ⭐⭐⭐Trapper Boy ⭐⭐⭐Steward of the Blood ⭐⭐⭐⭐Calculating Route ⭐⭐⭐Sisters Before Misters ⭐⭐⭐Sins Like Scarlet ⭐⭐⭐Actual Rating: 3 stars.

  • Kate McDougall Sackler
    2019-04-07 13:18

    This took me so long to read partly because I lost it for about three months. Not really what I was expecting, as I was expecting stories with two distinct voices. Instead everyone worked well together and produced seemingly individual stories. As with every book of short stories, some were great, some were good, and some were meh.

  • Sherily
    2019-04-07 10:09

    Pretty good short horror stories.Some of them were way out there. Crazy imaginations. OMG moments and even some LOL moments.Great reads. Fast paced horror stories and dark fantasy.If you like the horror genre then you will like most of these short stories. Some of them were not to my taste but not too bad either. I made sure to read them all completely. Even when I thought I didn't like it from the beginning, sometimes the story would turn out to surprise me.Incredible imaginations.

  • Richard
    2019-03-20 12:00

    This is a very good collection of creepiness.

  • Cecilia Rodriguez
    2019-04-03 15:00

    An anthology of seventeen horror, thriller and dark fantasystories which are collaborations between at least two authors.

  • Sheila Melo
    2019-04-16 18:13

    A Good Collection With Some Great StoriesDARK DUETS is a collection of short stories written by pairs (or in one case a trio) of authors who had never written together before. I've never read most of these authors so I don't know how these stories compare with these authors usual fare. My overall rating for the book is a 4.TRIP TRAP (Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson): The story of Skari who lives under a bridge as a troll and the needy family that he encounters. Rating: 3, just an adequate story depending upon a surprise ending that I wasn't really surprised by.WELDED (Tom Piccirilli & T. M. Wright): The story of a survivor of a serial killer. This story was creepy and compelling and the language was beautiful. Rating: 5DARK WITNESS (Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine): Story of a woman haunted by a nightmare in her past. I really enjoyed this one. Super creepy and I was compelled to read it quickly. Rating: 4.5REPLACING MAX (Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie): What happens when a father and daughter check into a hotel where a couple breed cats. This was a weird story. I was not particularly interested in it once the secret was revealed. Rating: 3T. RHYMER (Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry): A woman's encounter with creatures determined to doom her to hell. This one played as a semi-romance with the question of whether or not anything is real. I enjoyed it overall, but its straightforward narrative made it a little less interesting than some of the other stories. Rating: 3.5.SHE, DOOMED GIRL (Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan): A woman comes to a castle in Scotland to get away from her past, but finds it. What a beautiful story. It is lyrical and romantic. This is my favorite from the collection. Rating: 5.HAND JOB (Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch): A woman's hand begins talking to her. Rating: 4. The story is very short and I give it this rating based on the originality of the premise.HOLLOW CHOICES (Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss): Variation on the making a deal with the devil. Rating: 4. I enjoyed this one. It has some very interesting musings on the questions of choice and free will.AMUSE-BOUCHE (Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Marionette): Woman is kidnapped. This is the story of the relationship between her and her kidnapper. Rating: 3.5. This one just grossed me out. It seemed to be more about shock value. I wasn't really surprised by the ending.BRANCHES, CURVING (Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith): A lyrical encounter with an old oak tree. Rating: 3. The story is too short for me to feel that it is fully developed.RENASCENCE (Rhodi Hawk & F. Paul Wilson): A man comes back from the dead to avenge his own murder. Rating 4. This was an interesting story. It is one of the longest in the book and plays also as a mystery.BLIND LOVE (Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale): The dangers of speed dating. Rating: 3.5. An strange examination of the dangers of modern dating. I thought the story went in a direction I did not expect.TRAPPER BOY (Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala): Story of a nine year old boy who is forced to work in the mines by his father. Rating: 5. This is another one of my favorites in the collection. The story is tight and deals with poverty and abuse and the power of creation along with the paranormal aspects.STEWARD OF THE BLOOD (Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore): The secret of the trees in the wood. Rating: 3. This one just didn't grab me. It did not seem as well developed as a story as some of the others. I didn't find the story or the characters compelling. CALCULATING ROUTE (Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene): The dangers of used GPS units. Rating: 4. I really liked this one until the end. I felt that the ending was too abrupt and didn't lead to any resolution of the conflict.SISTERS BEFORE MISTERS (Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare & Holly Black): The story of three witches. Rating: 3.5. I really liked this one until the end which I thought was rushed.SINS LIKE SCARLET (Mark Morris & Rio Youers): The story of a man with terminal cancer and his attempts to deal with the past. Rating: 5. This was was poignant and I was completely surprised by the secret that was revealed.

  • Tara Knoblauch
    2019-04-16 12:11

    Very Dark tales. if you like such a thing than this book is for you.

  • Jacqueline Lee
    2019-03-29 14:10

    My favorites were: Welded, by Tom Piccirilli and T.M. Wright. Renascence, by Rhodi Hawk and F. Paul Wilson.

  • LitReactor
    2019-04-13 12:53

    I don’t know which dark imp whispered into the ear of Christopher Golden, Dark Duets’ editor, and suggested the concept behind this anthology, but I’m glad he listened to that evil murmur. Because the idea he came up with is gloriously, compellingly twisted: ask authors specialized in the telling of dark tales to contribute a story. But instead of dancing alone, in the dark at midnight, they will perform a pas de deux. Each story in the collection is the result of a collaboration between two and in one case three authors. As Golden himself says in the foreword, it was a mad experiment. But did it work?Resoundingly, yes. And not just because of the stories themselves, because at least half the amusement in reading this anthology comes from deciphering the mechanics of the process. Who came up with the plot? Who wrote which bit? How were differences in style and approach resolved? (I’m guessing by moonlight with silver bullets, or by lottery with the loser being stoned to death by their fellow writers). And when you start picking that apart, the interest only deepens. In some of the examples on offer the writers seem to have gone for the basic but anarchic tag team approach (you write a section, then I write a section) which results in plot twists as fun and abruptly dislocating as a ride on Disney’s Tower of Terror. In others, like the three hander "Sisters Before Misters" from Sara Rees Brennan, Cassanda Clare and Holly Black, the writers appear to have taken a character each. The results: mesmerizing chaos culminating in a theatre performance directed by squirrels with a woodsman-turned-rabbit in the starring role. But those are only the examples where the joins are visible. In others – like the funny, weird and horrible "Hand Job" from Chelsea Cain and Lidia Yuknavitch – the prose is seamless, leaving me wondering which alchemy allowed two creative talents to merge so completely (Gene therapy? Cold fusion? Coffee?).And the other half of the entertainment does come from the stories themselves, which are, like their creators, wonderfully diverse and packed with gleeful mischief. There isn’t a theme, or a consistent style. You never know what’s around the next corner – cannibalism, aliens, Satan’s GPS system – you get to the stage where you hardly dare look. Some worked better for me than others, but all of them worked. Some worked spectacularly well – "Welded" from Tom Piccirilli and TM Wright gets my personal award for Most Disturbing.So even if you aren’t a hardcore horror fan, or shrink from anthologies as probably being about little known cultures, pick up Dark Duets and take a look. There will likely be some strange song in there to please you.--Review by Cath MurphyCheck out more from this review at LitReactor (http://litreactor.com/reviews/booksho...)!

  • StephanieG
    2019-04-15 10:06

    Dark Duets is an anthology edited by Christopher Golden. It takes a lot of well-known authors and pairs them together. It is filled with horror or dark stories. I’ve read many authors in this collection before and felt excited to pick this book up, only it took me a long time to make it through. A few of these stories I was impressed or compelled by and those are the ones I want to focus on.This first story Trip Trap by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson didn’t do a great job of setting the tone for the rest of the collection. I expected to enjoy it, but found it deeply lacking while the first one to grab me was Welded by Tom Piccirilli & T.M. Wright, the second story in the collection. It was spooky in tone, and stands out because of the interesting prose it is told in. The horror of the story is so damaging to the main character and the way the prose is mashed together makes for an uncomfortable but great read. The reader grows close to the main character as he slides into total mental break down.Some of them were lacking in some fundamental way but came off taking horror to a brutal extreme that I doubt I’ll ever forget. This is true in the story Replacing Max by Stuart MacBride & Allen Guthrie. A father and daughter go to a B&B. While there the daughter to discover her father has hidden bodies in his trunk. This is unveiled, but never outright told to the reader although the reader is in the father’s head. Hiding info from the reader while being in the main characters mind usually doesn’t work for me, and this didn’t at all, but it’s a side note to the sick and twisted things the B&B owners do. I was uncomfortable reading the story to the end, which seems to be what it wanted. While not my favorite, it stood out.The anthology does give readers a taste of some Gothic Horror in She, Doomed Girl by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan. Two lovers are cursed, but it’s more of an event than an actual story. I wished it had stood out more. The same can also be said about Branches, Curving by Tim Lebbon & Mark Marshall.I also really enjoyed Trapper Boy by Holly Newstein and Rick Hautala. This was, the more I think of it, a shiny gem amongst the stories here. It’s about a boy whose father forces him to work in the mines. He can draw, and ends up solving his problems with his drawings. It has a dark and haunting atmosphere and an interesting window in time to look through.I was disappointed with most of the stories by authors I enjoy. Not because they were bad, but because they didn’t stand out. Dark Duets has a total of seventeen stories in all. It took me a long time to get through them. I found it hard to sit down and read through one in a single sitting, with the exception of some of the stories I mentioned above. Out of all the outlets for short stories, this isn’t one that holds up for me.- Beth

  • All Things Urban Fantasy
    2019-04-08 10:57

    Review courtesy of All Things Urban Fantasy With many anthologies it tends to be hit or miss depending on which short story I am reading in it. DARK DUETS has an excellent idea with authors pairing up to write some seriously dark urban fantasy tales. This anthology is mostly mediocre with stories that ranged from pretty good to unreadable. My top favorites included TRIP TRAP which was a cute story about a troll living under a bridge which has an cool idea for why this troll and any troll in stories lives under bridges. It wasn’t that dark compared to the rest of the stories which made it a nice introduction into the general dark theme of this anthology. DARK WITNESS, T. RHYMER, and SHE, DOOMED GIRL were the types of stories I expected in this anthology with their dark, haunting tone and compelling plots. T. RHYMER was especially enjoyable with a really interesting elf mythology. I would love to read a full length novel version of this story. Unfortunately there were some stories that weren’t just not good but over the top gross and at times offensive. REPLACING MAX was absolutely disgusting and creepy. Eventually I ended up skimming through it to get to the end. Unfortunately there were a few in this anthology that like REPLACING MAX I either didn’t get due to the writing style or couldn’t finish due to the grossness.

  • Kit
    2019-03-25 15:17

    Well... ?.?? stars...Trip Trap by Sherrilyn Kenyon & Kevin J. Anderson * * *A warrior is cursed to guard gates under bridges. The brimming evil behind the gates twist him into a troll, but he struggles to hold onto a tiny bit of decency.Welded by Tom Piccirilli & T. M. Wright * Very bizarre story about a serial killer's victim becoming the man who almost killed him.Dark Witness by Charlaine Harris & Rachel Caine * * TReplacing Max by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie * * TT. Rhymer by Gregory Frost & Jonathan Maberry * * TShe, Doomed Girl by Sarah MacLean & Carrie Ryan * * THand Job by Chelsea Cain & Lidia Yuknavitch * * THollow Choices by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss * * TAmuse-Bouche by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J Mariotte * * TBranches, Curving by Tim Lebbon & Michael Marshall Smith * * TRenascence by Rhodi Hawk & F. Paul Wilson * * TBlind Love by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale * * TTrapper Boy by Holly Newstein & Rick Hautala * * TSteward of the Blood by Nate Kenyon & James A. Moore * * TCalculating Route by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene * * TSisters Before Misters by Sarah Rees Brennan, Cassandra Clare, & Holly Black * * TSins Like Scarlet by Mark Morris & Rio Youers * * T

  • Hazel
    2019-04-14 09:58

    An enjoyable collection! Personal favourites were: Replacing Max by Stuart MacBride & Allan Guthrie - by far the most disturbing of the bunch, almost to the point where it seems silly. Definitely memorable. Hollow Choices by Robert Jackson Bennett & David Liss - an interesting take on the business of selling souls Amuse-Bouche by Amber Benson & Jeffrey J. Mariotte - another of the more...unsettling ones. Alternating POV with a truly twisted villain Blind Love by Kasey Lansdale & Joe R. Lansdale - I really enjoyed this concept but the protagonist's characterization was off putting at times. It was completely unnecessary for her to say she was shallow or noticed shoes on times of distress. Calculating Route by Michael Koryta & Jeffrey David Greene - really loved how characters we were following died mid story. The ending/reasoning wasn't where I wanted the story to go but hey. Sins Like Scarlet by Mark Morris & Rio Youers - I figured out the "twist" a little early on, but this still felt like the perfect story to wrap up the collection.

  • Laura Ruetz
    2019-04-10 17:22

    I am a huge fan of anthologies because it's like a literary grab-bag, you never know what you are going to get. Some are good, some might be bad and I expect that. However, in Dark Duets, there were no stories that I just didn't like. Every one of the stories brought me to someplace dark, to someplace mysterious, where sometimes the darkness wins and other times, they lose. There are stories of every type on here, stories that raise the hair on the back of your neck and make you look twice at the darkest corner of the hallways, stories that are subtle yet effective and stories where the real evil is not in the form of monsters, but mankind.Each story has a decidedly different voice, but they are all wonderful. For anybody who loves dark fantasy and horror, this is a must read for you.

  • Lynn
    2019-04-02 14:05

    Dark Duets is an anthology of horror and dark fantasy stories with horror getting the most attention. I'm not really a short story fan, but anthologies like this spark an interest as it gives me exposure to some authors I haven't read yet. I didn't read all the stories, they had to capture my interest quickly. I like my horror spooky with psychological twists, gore is not my thing.My favourites from the book:Dark Witness by Charlaine Harris and Rachel CaineT. Rymer by Gregory Frost and Jonathan MaberrySins like Scarlet by Mark Morris and Rio YouersAnd a special acknowledgement to Replacing Max by Stuart MacBride and Allan Guthrie. Very twisty and demented, this would make a perfect short film for a horrorfest.

  • Petrina
    2019-03-21 10:16

    A very mixed bag which made for a very uneven reading experience. Best not to read the book as a whole, but just a story at a time with gaps in-between. Some were extremely disturbing in the relentless oppression by (and victory of) "evil" or the dark side or whatever fits your personal mythology. It's like living in a rainy day that never ends----you long for just a glimpse of the sun, even if you don't like it. The stories in the last half of the book were a little more entertaining especially a longer one called Renascence which has an interesting construct for exploring gender, power, the concept of life after death and how human beings use each other. I hadn't heard of those 2 authors but will now seek out more of their material.

  • Minna
    2019-04-05 10:01

    Hmm, I guess my final outtake is UGH. A couple of the stories were moderately okay but the rest... Depressing, horrible and just plain gross. I read this for Carrie Ryan's and Holly Black/Sarah Rees Brennan's stories. Neither was outstanding although Carrie Ryan's was preferable I guess. The Trapper Boy and Blind Love stories were alright. Almost ALL of the rest were ... Well, they sure weren't to my taste. I thought this was horror/fantasy. It wasn't. As many other reviewers have pointed out, it was pretty much straight up horror, and depressing or even gross at that. I'm counting this book toward the 2015 popsugar reading challenge under the category of "short stories."

  • Melissa
    2019-03-20 11:01

    While one or two of these short stories were worth the read...most of them were either predictably dull or disturbing beyond the point of being enjoyable. Definitely a case of the bad outweighing the good. I don't think I will ever be able to scrub "Replacing Max" (ie. the human-breeder story) out of my brain and that's a damn shame. I can handle and even enjoy morbidity, horror, and gore if it is well written and serves a purpose. Unfortunately, many of these stories sacrificed quality for shock-factor. I guess this collection might appeal to some people, but I am definitely not one of them. Two stars for the few stories that did a good job of being haunting, but not crude.

  • K
    2019-04-12 16:02

    I must admit, the main reason, and perhaps only reason, I read this book was for the stories written by Harris and Caine in the misguided notion that they would b short stories from the sookie stackhouse universe or the morganville vampires. Unfortunately, this was not the case. While I admit it was clever to have two different authors collaborate/partner to write one story, I just couldn't get into the stories; therefore my two star rating. Being honest, this is also not a genre I typically read, so that may have a lot to do w/ it. As for recommending it, I will leave that up to other readers....

  • Amy
    2019-03-28 11:54

    I really like the short story format, but this collection was a complete failure. I have enjoyed many of the works of these authors, but apparently, when you put them together, it turns into high school writing camp. I don't care how cool or creative the setting is, if your heroine can only yell, "F -- you!" When fighting off dark faeries, I have to ask, "Did you get paid to write that dialogue?" Not impressed.I don't have a lot of time to read. I wish I had a good book detector that would beep when I got to the right one so I could leave books like this on the shelf and not waste my time.

  • Jennifer
    2019-03-23 13:00

    I picked this up to read the duets featuring Chelsea Cain and Charlaine Harris. The first was really cool and creepy, the latter suffered from the duet and didn't feel like a strong, clear narrative voice. I read a few other stories, but nothing drew me so much that I wanted to finish it. I always hope when I read an anthology to find a new author from whom I want to read more, but that didn't happen in this case. Of course, since I didn't read it in it's entirety I know I didn't give the book a fair shake.