The collection opens with the first two Baker Johnson Tales, The Giving of Things Cold & Cursed and Servant of the Red Quill (both of which I reviewed here). These are both fantastic stories, dark pieces of period fiction that hearken back to a time when the science of parapsychology was reaching its heights, and the genre of detective fiction was entering its golden age. The Dark Alp was a story I previously missed, but I loved its twist on the tale of a nightmare demon that chooses to feed upon the wrong man.
A Weird Tale is where West begins connecting his universes, picking up the story introduced at the end of Night Things: Undead and Kicking (which I reviewed here). The appearance of H.P. Lovecraft as a character is handled exceptionally well, and the passing of his nightmares to Baker Johnson seems almost natural, with the confrontation that follows providing a definitive commentary on Lovecraft's mythos. With A Fiend's Errand he realizes that giddy collision he teased in the intro, bringing Baker Johnson and Johnny Stücke (who fans know as Frankenstein's monster) together, connected by the vampire slaying kopis kept Johnson's infamous Black Room. This was the highlight of the collection for me in more ways than one, adding something to both characters, while also expanding upon their overall stories.
If you've yet to experience Terry M. West, then Baker (Demons and other Night Things) is definitely the place to start. It lays the groundwork, establishes the mythology, and introduces the characters through whom West works his magic. If you're already a fan, then the final two stories are worth the price of admission alone, working as they do to bring the universes together in an entirely satisfying manner.
Published September 30th 2016 by Pleasant Storm Entertainment, Inc.
Disclaimer: I received a complimentary ARC of this title from the publisher in exchange for review consideration. This does not in any way affect the honesty or sincerity of my review.