Title: Small Kingdoms and Other Stories
Author: Charlaine Harris
Publisher: JABberwocky Literary Agency
Release Date: May 28, 2019
Pages: 178
Book Source: NetGalley

“Principal Anne DeWitt knew her past could catch up with her, but she didn’t expect it would make her late for school. Killing a man does take time though; so does disposing the body . . . if you do it right.

After three relatively quiet years at Travis High School, it seems Anne is in danger of being exposed—even the baseball coach knows more about her former life than she ever imagined. Now, she must find out who else holds her secrets and who wants her to pay for them. . .without letting it make her tardy again. Anne still has a school to run, parents to manage, and a few students who might benefit from her unique—and deadly—experience.
Collected together for the first time in Small Kingdoms and Other Stories, “Small Kingdoms,” “Sarah Smiles,” “Small Chances,” and “Small Signs” are sure to delight fans of Charlaine Harris.” Amazon

My Review:

I’ve been reading Charlaine Harris’s books since she began with the Aurora Teagarden Mysteries back in the early 90’s. I’ve read a couple in her Lily Bard series, all of the Sookie Stackhouse (aka True Blood on HBO), all of her Harper Connelly series (which I highly recommend!), and The Midnight, Texas trilogy (which is also on TV).

Somehow I completely missed the Cemetery Girl trilogy she did with Christopher Golden, and although I know about her latest, The Gunnie Rose series, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet.

So I was completely surprised when I came across this book on NetGalley. I could not remember reading or hearing about Anne DeWitt. I did some quick research, and found out the first story in this book was published in the November 2013 issue of the Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. Harris must have written the other stories over the years, either for fun or to include in magazines or anthologies. And somehow I missed them all!

Since I’ve read so many of her other books, you really shouldn’t be surprised that I enjoyed this one. Her style is similar in all of her series. Tight storylines, that are not filled with flowery descriptions, and her characters are well fleshed out, even if Harris isn’t heavy on her dialogue. The characters are brought to life by showing, instead of telling. Which is one of the things every book on how to write, will tell you to master, and Harris definitely has.

I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I really need to read more short stories and anthologies. Every time I read one I feel refreshed. It’s such a nice change up from 300 page novel after 300 page novel. Not that I don’t love long novels, I do love me some Stephen King and Joe Hill, but it’s just pleasant to have a breather every now and then.

Also, Anne’s profession of assassin, is always one I enjoy. A strong woman, who knows how to get herself out of dangerous situations, and makes some money on the side while doing it, what’s not to like.

I hope Harris continues to write stories about Anne, or even a full length novel. Either way, I would continue to read Anne’s story.

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