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“Hell Cop” by Amara, Kimberling, and Hale

I don’t usually read anthologies (short stories are often too short in my opinion), but lookie – I read two anthologies in a row (this and The Irregulars).  Hell Cop features all of the authors I had read in The Irregulars, and it has a similar theme, in that it was about characters in a branch of government that deals with paranormal activity.  Both anthologies are dark and mysterious, with non-traditional romances and not the nicest of protagonists.  Yay!

Next of Kin by Amara is about Jay Yervant, a hell cop who can’t touch/be touched by others because his skin is aflame with hellish fire.  I loved this story, and this is a great example of where short stories are sometimes too short – I wanted more.  I wanted more of a slow burn between Jay and Brian, and I wanted Jay and Brian’s past to leak through over a longer span of time.  Jay’s social habits were of a particular interest to me.  What does a man do when he cannot be touched?  What’s his childhood like?  I imagined him possibly loving fur and leather, and maybe having a vibrating chair or some toys…

That scene in the hospital was perfect.  I’ll forever have the image of Jay holding a plastic cup of water in his hand, mouth open, and his eyes bugged out of his head, when he discovers that finally someone can touch him without being burned.

Red Sands by Kimberling was a thriller/mystery.  The main character was half demon, which was cool, and his father was an intriguing character.  I love characters that we see very little of, but who are made a large part of the story anyway.  Deepens the mystery.

Touching Sparks by Hale – another great plot and it worked well with the world.  I thought it was interesting that James Sparks was the only “normal” human in the bunch.

Not a lot of sex in this anthology, because these stories were all plot heavy, but what we did get was hot hot hot.  Hey lookie – there’s another Hell Cop!  And this one got even better reviews…

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/6581648-hell-cop-2

Must read.  Nom nom nom.