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Nancy A. Collins
Gauntlet Press, 232 pages

Nancy A. Collins
Nancy A. Collins is the author of Walking Wolf, Wild Blood, and Tempter, plus the series Sunglasses After Dark, In The Blood, and Paint it Black, featuring punk vampire Sonja Blue. Her short fiction has appeared in such anthologies as The Year's Best Fantasy & Horror, Best New Horror and The Definitive Best of the Horror Show. Collins has edited several horror anthologies, and is the founder of the International Horror Guild.

ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: Angels on Fire

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Lisa DuMond

If you read Tempter when it was first published in 1991, read it again -- for the first time. I think you'll find this edition a whole new ball game. Gone are the distracting and superfluous vampire subplots (just because it's set in New Orleans doesn't mean it has to be oozing with blood-suckers) and the attention is back on the dark voudou dealings that made it a collector's item.

At the heart of this dark tale is ex-celebrity Alex Rossiter. Since Rossiter's career as a rock star fizzled out he's been determined to overcome his one-hit wonder status and make it big again. This time he's decided to start his comeback in the Crescent City -- probably not the ideal place for a musician who's made a fondness for drugs and alcohol into a lifestyle. But, it does make Rossiter the ideal target for an impatient demon searching for someone with some serious weaknesses, someone who's looking for an easy road to the top.

Before this is over, Rossiter will drag most of the New Orleans voudou community, his few friends, and every female who crosses his path down with him. His amateur attempts just may be enough to end the world as we know it. If the demon Il-Qui-Tente has his way, that's exactly what will happen. And he wants it to happen in the worst way; the only way it could happen.

Nancy Collins has such a talent with capturing the flaws and subtle defects in her characters. Take Charlie, a beautiful woman with a brain, but so little common sense. Jere, a good man who could have what he wants, if only he would trust his instincts and take action. Even Rossiter, for all his glaring faults, has some endearing qualities -- at least, in the beginning. And, most intriguing of all, Mad Aggie, a crazy street person who seems to be in the right place every time and carries secrets within secrets. Together, they make up a cast you don't want to take your eyes off of, or turn your back on.

As always, the city itself makes for a compelling character and backdrop. Through flashbacks and fugue states readers get the full story of a tangle of torments, love and hate, dark magic and good intentions, that stretches all the way from the Civil War to the present. Slavery, abuse, fear, and crushed hopes combine to present a history of one family and the people who are swept up into their miserable lives.

So, read Tempter or read it again. You'll find it's classic Nancy Collins; another testament to her mastery of dark fantasy. If you haven't read her work before (and I hear some people haven't...) you'll find out how she earned her legion of devotees. With this twisted tale in the mists of the Big Easy she'll make a fan out of you.

Copyright © 2001 Lisa DuMond

In between reviews, articles, and interviews, Lisa DuMond writes science fiction and humour. DARKERS, her latest novel, was published in August 2000 by Hard Shell Word Factory. She has also written for BOOKPAGE and PUBLISHERS WEEKLY. Her articles and short stories are all over the map. You can check out Lisa and her work at her website hikeeba!.

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