Like a Charm
Karin Slaughter, ed.
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Buy *Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices* online

Like a Charm: A Novel in Voices
ed. by Karin Slaughter
Harper Paperbacks
384 pages
May 2005
rated 4 of 5 possible stars

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In general, I tend to stay away from short story collections, because for some reason, I never "get" what they are trying to convey. But I thought the premise for Like a Charm was intriguing and decided to give it a try. I was definitely not disappointed.

Like a Charm begins and ends with a story by Karin Slaughter. In the first tale, "Rootbound", she relates the origins of a cursed charm bracelet which is the center of the following fifteen stories. All written by different suspense and mystery authors, the narratives discuss how the main character comes into possession of the bracelet either by finding, stealing, buying it, or by some other means. These are not mysteries in the true sense of the word. They are more about the death and destruction of lives due to the curse of the charms, with each tale focusing on a different charm.

There are some stories in the collection that stand out, particularly "The Goblin" by Lynda La Plante, about a woman who plans the perfect murder of her boss only to be discovered due to a mix-up of dogs at the veterinary clinic where they work. "Plan B" by Kelley Armstrong interestingly tells of a double-crosser who gets double-crossed. It's full of expertly written twists and turns. "The Eastlake School" by Jerrilyn Farmer is probably my favorite. The tale involves the locket charm, the most intriguing to everyone who possesses the bracelet, and the ending comes as a complete surprise.

The one good thing about short stories is that they can be consumed in small portions of time. Like a Charm is quite addictive, however, and readers will find themselves reading "just one more" until the book is completed. I discovered some new authors whose novels I will be seeking out in the future. Anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller will enjoy this well-constructed anthology.

Originally published on Curled Up With A Good Book at Melissa Parcel, 2004

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