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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Guest post: Top 5 Paranormal Mystery Series - Margo Bond Collins

Top Five Paranormal Mystery Series

By paranormal mystery author: Margo Bond Collins

One of the things that I love best about paranormal fiction is its crossover potential. It’s not uncommon to find paranormal novels that have elements of mystery, romance, fantasy, or even science fiction. But because of this tendency, it’s easy to find a single novel filed under a variety of categories, and the catchall category for these kinds of novels is “urban fantasy,” a term that is even now being renegotiated (as I note in my review of The Urban Fantasy Anthology published by Tachyon Press.‎). Almost all of my top five paranormal mysteries have also been called urban fantasy or paranormal romance. But they all draw from the mystery tradition in one way or another! Also, for this list I’ve chosen to highlight the first books in some of my favorite paranormal mystery series—most of these are great beginnings to excellent series!

Guilty Pleasures (Anita Blake, Book 1) by Laurell K. Hamilton
This was probably the first book I ever heard called a “paranormal mystery”—that was the term that Hamilton herself used for it. In the early novels of this series, Anita Blake, is based more on the gritty noir detective than the romance heroine. Though the series shifts toward the erotic later, the early novels are still among my favorite paranormal mysteries.

Storm Front (The Dresden Files, Book 1) by Jim Butcher
In this first book of the Dresden Files series, we meet Harry Dresden, a wizard for hire and a sort of private investigator. Harry’s detailed use of magic and his soul-in-a-skull sidekick Bob both make for great reading! I liked the SciFi channel’s short-lived series based on the books, too; I was sad when it was cancelled after only one season.

Skin Deep (Laura Blackstone, Book 1) by Mark Del Franco
So far, only two Laura Blackstone books have been released, but I’m eagerly awaiting more! I love the spy-novel element of these books as the main character works to juggle her three separate identities using magic and her wits. (Del Franco’s Connor Grey books are great, too, but I have a slight preference for female protagonists.)

Blood Engines (Marla Mason, Book 1) by T. A. Pratt
Marla Mason, a small-time magical crook turned city boss, is especially fascinating because although she’s the protagonist of the books, she’s not really a heroine—she’s far too ruthless to be one of the “good guys,” though I always want her to win! 

Trick of the Light (Trickster, Book 1) by Rob Thurman
What I love most about Rob Thurman’s books is that she is so very adept at lulling the reader into complacency, into accepting the narrator’s version of events, and then twisting the story in ways that are shocking and delightful. I first encountered this in her first Cal Leandros novel, Nightlife. That she manages to do it again and again is part of what keeps me coming back!

My own paranormal mystery is Waking Up Dead:

When Dallas resident Callie Taylor died young, she expected to go to Heaven, or maybe Hell. Instead, when she met her fate early thanks to a creep with a knife and a mommy complex, she went to Alabama. Now she's witnessed another murder, and she's not about to let this one go. She's determined to help solve it before an innocent man goes to prison. And to answer the biggest question of all: why the hell did she wake up dead in Alabama?
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Margo Bond Collins lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, several spoiled cats, and a ridiculous turtle. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. Waking Up Dead is her first published novel. Her second novel, Legally Undead, is an urban fantasy forthcoming in 2014 from World Weaver Press.


  1. I'm a huge fan of the Anita Blake series. One of my all time favorites. Thanks for the great list.

  2. I like the Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. series. And I'll definitely have to check out the Marla Mason books! TY :)

  3. Thanks for the guestpost Margo. I love the Anita Blake series, erotic and all. I do have the other four series on my shelves, waiting to be read someday. I would like to add your book as well, as it sounds very intriguing.