I know some people are not fans of the e short trend, but I am not one of them. (If I didn't have an e reader - thanks, hubs - I might not be, so I do understand.) Of course there are times when the tale is just a one off that doesn't add anything significant. There are other times, though, where the story adds a great little bit of insight into a series. Or it's just a chance to spend more time in a world that's already got you completely ensnared. This last one is the case with Elliott James's Pax Arcana shorts.
If you haven't read the series, it's a little bit like the show Grimm in that our hero - John Charming - is the last of the Charming line (yes, as in Prince Charming). He's also a former knight of the Knights Templar. Former because he's been kicked out for being a werewolf. Now he travels around encountering and fighting creatures and such from all kinds of mythologies and folklore. It's a super fun series and one that I highly, highly recommend.
In "Bulls Rush In" the murders of two boys in Verde Vista prompts John to investigate. He knows exactly who/what is behind the crime, he can smell it, but sometimes things aren't quite what they seem. When he's cornered by a cop after breaking and entering, John finds himself forced to explain everything.
These two are linked and, unfortunately for me, I read them out of order. I didn't know how "Bulls Rush In" was going to play out, but I did have an idea about how it was going to end (or how it wasn't going to end). The short did still have a few surprises in store for me, thankfully!
In "Talking Dirty" John has been attending a support group in the hopes of finding someone he can frame for murder. Yeah, he's knows it's not quite on the up and up. When he meets a woman whose husband had been forking over gifts and cash to a phone sex operator, he senses there might be something a bit supernatural about the whole thing and vows to investigate.
This particular short was really fun. There have been some great ones in this shorts series (and I hope eventually they'll be released in one volume) but this is definitely one of the best - right up there with "Surreal Estate." I won't give away the particular being he's up against here, but it is revealed early on in the tale. I will say that by the time he meets up with his foe I'd laughed out loud more than a few times. If you couldn't tell based on his ultimate goal (you know, finding someone at a support group to pin a murder on), this is a particularly sarcastic entry.
The series (so far) includes:
In Shining Armor (due out in April)
"Charmed I'm Sure"
"Don't Go Chasing Waterfalls"
"Bulls Rush In"