If they don't watch out, editors Ripley and Jakubowski, whose Fresh Blood (1997) seemed the anthology with something to offend everybody, will find themselves getting snapped up by old ladies of both sexes. Of the 15 entries here, two (by Christine Green and R.D. Wingfield) are by authors you'd never expect to find in such rough company; two more (Lauren Henderson's Agatha Christie update and Charles Higson's Poe homage) have their roots in the distant past; at least four (Higson's car thief, Christopher Brookmyre's bank robbers, Carol Anne Davis's social worker, and editor Ripley's impotent avenger) get their ironic, and generally comic, effects from the oldest dodge in the book, the hero's incompetence. Of the other contributorsMary Scott, John Tilsley, Phil Lovesey, Ken Bruen, Iain Sinclair, John L. Williams, John Baker, and editor Jakubowskionly Tilsley, Bruen, and Sinclair go for the kitchen-sink realism of the first Fresh Blood. Given their edgy milieu, the best storiesLovesey's strangulation in reading time, Ripley's cuckolded gambler, and Green's transvestite wife-killerare in many ways the most traditional. Altogether, a stronger collection than its in-your-face predecessor.