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Strange Brew by P. N. Elrod, Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs

Today's hottest urban fantasy authors come together in this delicious brew that crackles and boils over with tales of powerful witches and dark magic!

In Charlaine Harris' "Bacon," a beautiful vampire joins forces with a witch from an ancient line to find out who killed her beloved husband. In "Seeing Eye" by Patricia Briggs, a blind witch helps sexy werewolf Tom Franklin find his missing brother—and helps him in more ways than either of them ever suspected. And in Jim Butcher's "Last Call," wizard Harry Dresden takes on the darkest of dark powers—the ones who dare to mess with this favorite beer.

For anyone who's ever wondered what lies beyond the limits of reality, who's imagined the secret spaces where witches wield fearsome magic, come and drink deep. Let yourself fall under the spell of this bewitching collection of short stories!

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312383367
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 07/07/2009
Edition description: Original
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 557,054
Product dimensions: 5.52(w) x 8.26(h) x 1.05(d)

About the Author

P.N. Elrod is the editor of Dark and Stormy Knights, Strange Brew, My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon and My Big Fat Supernatural Wedding, which won the 2006 Pearl Award for best anthology. She is the author of many novels, including the Vampire Files Series, as well as numerous short stories. In 2010, she was nominated for a Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for urban fantasy, and she is the winner of the Pioneer Achievement Award. Elrod loves meeting readers at science-fiction conventions all over the country. She has two dogs—Sasha and Megan—and an incurable addiction to chocolate. She lives somewhere on another planet, but maintains a convenient citizenship in the state of Texas for tax purposes.

Read an Excerpt


Charlaine Harris

Dahlia Lynley-Chivers looked good in black; in fact, she looked great – and normally that was extremely important to her. But tonight she wasn’t thinking about herself or about the picture she made sitting alone at the elaborately laid table in the upscale restaurant. Seeleys’ tablecloths might have been designed to set her looks off; the undercloth was black like her hair, the overcloth was snowy white like her skin.

Dahlia had been dead for a very long time.

Though she was sitting motionless, her back perfectly straight, Dahlia was conscious of the passing of time. The witch was late. Under any other circumstances, she would have left Seeleys and found something more amusing to do than wait for a human: but she’d gone to considerable trouble to arrange this meeting, and she wouldn’t give up so easily.

Clifford Seeley, who’d arranged to wait tables at his dad’s restaurant this evening, put a glass of True Blood in front of Dahlia with a theatrical flourish. “Something to sip on while you wait, Madam,” he said very formally. Then he whispered, “I haven’t worked here since I was twenty. Am I doing okay?”

Dahlia didn’t exactly smile. She wasn’t in the mood. But her face looked a bit less stony as she looked up at the tall young werewolf, and she inclined her head an infinitesimal degree. She liked Clifford, had since the moment she’d met him at her friend Taffy’s wedding reception. Taffy, like Dahlia, had married into the Swiftfoot pack.

Taffy’s husband Don was the packleader. Dahlia’s husband was dead.

“Heads up,” said Clifford suddenly, and swooped off to check his other tables. Dahlia saw the headwaiter gliding toward her, a young woman stumbling along behind him. Dahlia’s attention sharpened. Since vampire senses are at least five times more acute than humans on their dullest day, this meant Dahlia might as well have been walking right next to the newcomer. The woman was plump, tousled, and breathing heavily, and she didn’t seem to know how to walk on high heels. Dahlia, who wore stilettos on every possible occasion, let her nostrils flare in contempt, though she made sure to repress any expression well before the young woman reached her chair. That took longer than it should, since Dahlia’s guest was not Ms. Fitness.

When the newcomer was seated, considerable fuss ensued until she found a place for her purse, yanked at the shoulder of her dress, tossed her head so her long red hair would hang behind her shoulders, and asked the headwaiter for some water (he replied, “I’ll send your waiter, Clifford, right over,” in a rather stiff voice).

“I’m so sorry I’m late, Mrs. Swiftfoot. I caught the wrong bus, and after that, everything seemed to go wrong,” the young woman said.

Dahlia studied her silently. Making people squirm was something Dahlia did very well. “You are the Circe, the witch?” Dahlia said finally, in her frostiest voice. But her tone was not as cutting as she could make it. Dahlia had gone to too much trouble setting up the meeting to go overboard with the hostility.

“Yes, oh, yes, I didn’t introduce myself!” The young witch giggled, tossed her head again. “I’m not the original Circe, of course. That was my – well, my many-times great grandmother. But I’m the direct descendant, yes.”

“And you are a trained witch?”

“Oh, yes, I went to school and everything.” The Circe wore glasses, and she blinked anxiously at the tiny vampire across the table. “I graduated with honors.”

“I was under the impression that witches were taught by their predecessors,” Dahlia said. “I understood that the knowledge was passed along by word of mouth, and in the family grimoire. There’s no — Hogwarts — in your past, I presume?” The reference to Harry Potter was a real effort for Dahlia, who tracked current culture with some effort. Dahlia had ventured the mild pleasantry to put the panting young woman at ease, but Dahlia was not terribly adept at mild or pleasant.

The Circe recoiled. “No,” she snapped. “And I’ll thank you not to refer to those books again. Everyone thinks we’re cute, now, and we’ve lost a lot of the respect we used to be accorded.”

“Some would say that any publicity is good publicity,” Dahlia said, curious about this unexpected sign of temper. No one had snapped at Dahlia in, oh, five decades. She’d caught an unexpected glimpse of the darker thing that lived inside the untidy young creature sitting across the table.

“If one more person asks me where my owl is, or how to get to Gringotts, I’ll turn them into a . . .”

“Pig?” Dahlia suggested.

The Circe glared at her. “That was my ancestor’s thing, not mine,” she said.

Interesting. “Let’s start again, from the beginning,” Dahlia said.

Table of Contents


Seeing Eye by Patricia Briggs,
Last Call by Jim Butcher,
Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine,
Vegas Odds by Karen Chance,
Hecate's Golden Eye by p. N. Elrod,
Bacon by Charlaine Harris,
Signatures of the Dead by Faith Hunter,
Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge,
Dark Sins by Jenna Maclaine,

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Strange Brew 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 74 reviews.
Melhay More than 1 year ago
~Seeing Eye After reading this story of Moira Keller, a good witch in Seattle who gets a late night visit from a man - or werewolf - in need of help against Them -- I cannot believe I have not read any stories by Patricia. Tom is looking for his kidnapped "gifted" brother, Jon. Everything Tom told Moira rang true with her as it matched her dreams. Moira believes Jon was kidnapped as a sacrifice on Halloween for Kouro Samhain and his coven. I really enjoyed the unexpected turns and events of the story. This story has made purchasing the anthology worth it. And this was only the first story. ~Death Warmed Over Holly Anne Caldwell, a witch who's the best at what she does - resurrection, hates doing ressurections on a work night, as they take all night and no sleep doesn't help the day job. But Sam asks her to do one on Thursday, it's Monday. A long-term resurrection for the Police Department can't be a good thing, and on such short notice. Will she take it? The person she is to resurrect has a long strong history himself, and a short history with Holly too. I really enjoyed this short story. I loved the way the characters where developed in this short story and connected with each other and find I want to read more of the short time Holly and Andrew spent together before. I am definitely going to have to get a few more of her books after reading this short story. Great read! ~Signatures of the Dead A whole family is butchered and Brax wants to get the killers. Brax needs to know for sure if its vampires, if they are okay, and where they sleep to get justice. Molly is a unique Earth Witch and could help. But could it hurt her? Being a short of thirty-three pages, I felt the suspense and couldn't wait to get to the end to see where they story went. As the story went the plot thickened for me. I really felt pulled in to this world with these characters. The characters abilities and limits amazed me. I really liked the way witches were broke down and made a bigger type of character with new rules (for me) along with limits. This short story introduced me to a character I really liked the idea of, Jane Yellow rock - from Skinwalker. ~Dark Sins Cin a witch turned vampire three years ago by Michael, unusually retained her witch powers - yet she doesn't have control of them and has premonitions. Cin and Michael are on a holiday in Venice with their friends Devlin and Justine when they are attacked by a dark Wizard and his witches. When Cin wakes up she is on a stone floor surrounded by a ward and her friends are laying on alters. Why are they wanted in this town? This story starts off with action of both sexual and physical battle. I enjoyed how the action kept moving through this story. This short story also had a start, climax, and an end to the story. There was a creation of a god and plans for the future with these characters. I look forward to other stories here in this world, whether in anthologies or full books. I am going to have to find this series of Cin Craven now.
kitkat3ny More than 1 year ago
All in all I really enjoyed this urban fantasy anthology; it was a lot of fun. I gave this a 4-star rating because there were only a couple duds out of all the nine authors who contributed; and that in itself is really surprising to have so many good novellas in one anthology. Faith Hunter "Signatures of the Dead" Now this novella was spectacular! This was definitely my favorite out of all nine authors. We are introduced to Jane Yellowrock, the heroine in Faith Hunter's new series. This novella however, focuses on Molly Trueblood, an earth witch. Molly assist her friends, Jane and a detective in locating rogue vampires who are currently on a vicious killing spree. The story was exciting, mysterious and smoothly done. The whole story felt complete even though it was only 31 pages long. 5+/5 Caitlin Kittredge "Ginger" This one comes in at a close second. This novella takes place in Caitlin's Nocturne City world. The story focuses on Sunny who helps Luna in infiltrating a blood magic coven. The story was interesting, moved fluidly and was full of action and intrigue. 5/5 Rachel Caine "Death Warmed Over" I stop reading Rachel's Weather Warden series last year because it started to seem completely unbelievable and coincidental. This story however, was flawless! Holly, a Necromancer, is asked by the police to resurrect a tenacious Zombie War hero to assist them in a current case. This story really surprised me. It was dark, interesting, humorous and smooth. 5/5 Karen Chance "Vegas Odds" Lia a mage teacher and her werewolf boyfriend Cyrus are attached in her home by a few of her rogue students, hellbent on killing her. This story was invigorating, exciting and fast paced. 5/5 Patricia Briggs "Seeing Eye" Moira, a powerful witch aids a werewolf in the search for his brother. The story was interesting but the transitions weren't smooth and flowing; instead it felt choppy and hurried. Regardless of the rushed impression, I liked Moira. She's a blind witch with a lot of courage and a steel spine. She chose to walk into a lion's den in complete darkness, for a complete stranger. 4/5 Jim Butcher "Last Call" Harry Dresden gets more than he bargained for when he goes on a beer run. This was my least favorite. Now I loved the show The Dresden files from the Scifi network and was pissed off when it got canceled. Surprisingly though, this story just didn't hook me. I found it boring and tedious. 1/5 This anthology was a surprisingly fast read and I highly recommend it. Most of the stories had a nice spooky and comfy feel to them. Like when you snuggle up and crack open a good book on a cold and snowy night, and more importantly, with a day off from work the next
randime More than 1 year ago
I always find this collaboration of writers keep me interested. The stories are offbeat, sometimes commical, usually thrilling and definitely original.
Shallan More than 1 year ago
If you haven't read anything of each of the authors who provide a short story, "Strange Brew" will help you by giving you a taste of how they write and of the characters of their books. I have all the books of the series for Butcher (Harry Dresdan), Harris (Sookie Stackhouse), and Briggs (Mercy Thompson and the Omega Series). Read this then take the time to find out more of what these authors write. They are worth the time.
katydidit More than 1 year ago
I am a Jim Butcher and Charlaine Harris fan already and I enjoyed the chance to read some other current SF/F writers without committing to a whole novel. I enjoyed the stories in this book and will probably end up checking out some of the authors' novels, which was, I am sure, the intent of this compilation. This is also good if you enjoy some reading before bedtime, but you're too busy to get engrossed in a long novel. I picked this up during my busy season and it was great to have something entertaining to read before bed and I didn't have to worry about staying up too late because I "just couldn't put it down".
AGDee More than 1 year ago
the book is done by several diffrent authors. thus you will have a nice variety to stories. there is a little of everything for everyone. the action, romance,humour,suspenes,saddness, and horror. i fully enjoyed the book personally. Introduced me to new authours and stories to look into futher for future reading. however, this is not a book i would recommend for younger teens or children. over all i gave it high marks.
Jonathan_Mowbray More than 1 year ago
I have read several of the short story collections edited by P.N. Elrod, and as with the others I thoroughly enjoyed this collection. The variety of stories from a number of different authors exposed me to writers that I haven't read before and resulted in my starting to read several other series.
I_grok More than 1 year ago
A fun quick read. A few of the stories are even touching.
Soberguy More than 1 year ago
For fans of the wizard, werewolf and night beastie gang, this is a great read. Butcher's Dresden stories are always a great mix of humor, magic and Sam Spade type detective story. All of these writers are at the top of their game for the genre. No eternal classics here but a lot of great fun reading. Highly recommended.
tigerlilly_liz More than 1 year ago
~ 4 Strange Brew Stars ~ These short stories have mix of magic, vampires, werewolves, witches and more. I picked this book up just to read Patria Briggs story Seeing Eye, but found myself reading the rest of these quick interesting short story's. I am now going to be checking out several of these authors and who knows I might find my next great read! My Review On Each Short Story  Seeing Eye by Patria Briggs - 5 Stars - Magic - Werewolves - Witches A very nice quick read in Patricia Briggs Mercy Thompson & Alpha and Omega series world. Wendy a witch & Tom a werewolf. Wendy does not let her disability affect her, strong women. Tom is very dedicated to protecting his family and what is his. I enjoyed both characters. I like how strong Wendy is and how Tom did not coddle her. I hope we get to see these two again.  Last Call by Jim Butcher - 4 Stars - Magic - Wizard - Crime A nice enjoyable quick read in Jim Butcher The Dresden Files series. Harry is a wizard investigator. He goes out for a drink, ends up investigating what happened at the bar, and learning that the mythical gods want to come back and remind humans who is in charge. This picked my interest and I plan to check out this series. I enjoyed the crime/investigation aspect along with magic added into the world.  Death Warmed Over by Rachel Caine - 5 Stars - Witches - Raising the Dead I’m not big on resurrection or zombie type books, but this short story was interesting. Holly, licensed seventh-generation witch, with a specialty for raising the dead. Resection witches are ending up dead & Holly has to bring back someone whom she clearly cares about to figure out what is happening. This was an emotional read, I felt for Holly and her situation. The ending I did not see coming, so it was a surprise and I’m curious to know if this is a series or might become one.  Vegas Odds by Karen Chance - 5 Stars - Magic - Werewolves - Half-breeds I liked how this one started off with lots of action and it does not stop. Loa is half-were/half-magic user. I felt connected to Loa and could feel her dilemma. She feels like she is not good enough for the Corps and not Were enough for her Were lover. Lia's students for some reason are trying to kill her. Why? You will have to read to find out.  Hecate's Golden Eye by P.N. Elrod - 4 Stars - Vampires - History - Curses We are taking into the 1937 where Charles and Jack are detectives/retrieval of items. A neckless has been stollen and they have been hired to get it back. This neckless has a curse on it, which is quit interesting to read about. Jack and Charles work well together and the story is fun to read.  Bacon by Charlaine Harris - 3 Stars - Vampires - Werewolves - Witches This was an ok read. We have an interesting concept of vampires who marry werewolves. Dahlia, a vampire and widower was married to a werewolf who was murdered. She wants revenge and has enlisted her vampire friend and one of the pack werwolves to help find those involved in taking out her husband. She concocts a very interesting pay back.  Signature Of The Dead By Faith Hunter - 4 Stars - Witches - Magic - Sorcerers - Skin walkers This short story is a prequel in the Jane Yellowrock series. Jane Yellowrock is a skin-walker and only Molly her friend, an earth witch knows about Jane and her special abilities. It was nice seeing what Molly can do. They end up taking out a nest of rouge vampires in this story. We get magic, action and an in-site into the series. I’m curious to check out the series even more now then I was before.  Ginger: A Nocturne City Story by Caitlin Kittredge - 3.5 Stars - Witch - Magic - Werewolves This was interesting with its Magical conspiracy storyline. Lina is Rhoda’s sister and somehow she became a werewolf plus she’s a detective. Rhoda Swann, is sister to Lina, a witch who is not very competent in her ablates, ends up going undercover to stop some black magic users. I enjoyed this story and I believe it is part of the Nocturne City series.  Dark Sins by Jenna MacLaine  - 5 Stars - Vampires - Witches - History I really enjoyed this story. It’s part of the Cin Craven series and I am most decently going to be checking this out. I enjoyed the aspect of the world, war goddess Morgan, vampires, witches, and dark forces all at work. One witch turned vampire must learn how to harness her powers too one day save millions.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
An excellent collection of stories by the best of modern fantasy novelists.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
From beginning to end, each story was filled with well-crafted characters, dialogue that carried the plot along and situations familiar yet still entertaining. Good editors can take good writers and make them wonderful, as is very evident here. There are lots of twists and excitement. Also, over 250 pages of delightfully written stories.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So-so... Only Patricia Briggs is worth of reading...
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BuchDragon More than 1 year ago
The only reason this is getting a 4 instead of a 5 is the fact that I felt cheated. The only reason I bought this book was to read Patricia Briggs' "Seeing Eye" and it was worth it but I just felt she could have included a little more of how Tom and Moira's relationship advanced to where we know it ends up and I wouldv'e loved to see The Emerald City Pack's reaction when Tom introduces Moira. She could've at least in my opinion not ended it were she did. I know this is just a short story to go along with the main story of Alpha and Omega series but I still felt cheated, just a little. As for the rest of the book the other stories in the anthology were pretty good.
LOVESTOREADDM More than 1 year ago
All great writers. I was wishing each story was longer!
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TibetTaylor More than 1 year ago
I have started picking up Anthologies containing works from my favorite authors to learn about the side stories to their major novels and series. In Patricia Briggs "Seeing Eye" we learn how a Witch and a Werewolf are introduced and just how a White Witch has the power of a without the evil taint of a black wicked witch, both characters introduced to us in "Hunting Grounds" as already married. In "Signatures of the Dead", Faith Hunter, I am introduced to a "new" character Jane Yellowstone. A character I discover has novels written around; cool a new author. I have not read any of Charlane Harris Sookie Stackhouse novels but I have seen them around, after reading some of Ms. Haris short stories featuring Sookie, I may add them to my list. In short, I look at Anthologies as pieces of the story the author writes that are sides to the full story or background information for characters used in the novels giving us insight to the author; and as a way to learn of new authors or introduction to someone I have not considered before.
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