brett j. talley
Have you been laid off, downsized, or undersized? If you have, you might want to think twice, and then again, before accepting a job offer from Limbus, Inc. If, on the other hand, you’re into reading shared-world stories with a dark twist, you need to run, that’s right, run to the nearest computer and order a copy of Limbus, Inc.: Book 1, an anthology edited by Anne C. Petty of JournalStone, and containing cutting-edge tales by four award-winning authors.
Limbus, Inc. is a mysterious employment agency that offers specific jobs to specific people, but there is often a deadly catch in the fine print. The book opens with an prologue written by Brett J. Talley, with passages inserted throughout, and then ends with Talley’s epilogue. In between these two macabre bookend offerings is a series of tales, though written by different authors, including editor Petty, come across as if they’d been either written by the same person, or a team working in close collaboration.
Each story, though, is self-contained, and masterfully done; from the prologue, when Matthew Sellers, a bookstore owner down on his luck, is given a strange and tattered manuscript by an unkempt stranger, to Benjamin Kane’s ‘Slaughter Man,’ Dean Fulsome, or the PI in Jonathan Maberry’s ‘Strip Search.’
Limbus, Inc. has something for just about every flavor of reader. Time travel and a space ship inhabited by a voracious, flesh-eating alien princess, arcane sacrificial cults, and ageless gamins who work as company recruiters. Every candidate for employment by Limbus is a loser, but every story is a winner. Tight dialogue, fully-formed characters, and settings described in a way that makes it easy to suspend disbelief.
Brew a pot of coffee, or mix your favorite brew; slip your feet into your most comfortable slippers; sit back and prepare to be transported to a realm where reality has taken an extended holiday. But, before you start reading, you might want to check the locks on all the doors and windows, and turn on a few extra lights.
Five stars to everyone involved in this precedent-setting work.