It’s hard to review mystery anthologies like editor Maxim Jakubowski’s Invisible Blood. I don’t want to spoil anything, so I want to be careful what I reveal. There are also so many characters and plots that it’s hard to synopsize.
Let’s start here: I enjoyed Invisible Blood. It was clear that Jakubowski has a good eye for a mystery story with a little more depth than just a whodunnit. Not that I don’t like whodunnits—I totally do. But it’s interesting to read a mystery anthology where the stories linger a bit in your memory.
This anthology has more of what some would call “literary stories,” but I’ve never liked that term. It seems to denigrate other types of writing. I went through an MFA program (that I loved) that frequently talked about stories that were literary versus genre. I remember leaning over to the classmate sitting beside me and whispering, “I like genre.” He agreed. There is something distinctly snobbish about distinguishing literary stories from genre stories. In fact, I object to the use of the word genre as well. Good writing is good writing, good books are good books. Everything is literary in my eyes, and while I understand the term to imply quality writing, I’ve read lots of genre fiction, like mysteries, that rise to the occasion.
All of this to say that this collection has solid, interesting, well-written stories, and I had a good time reading it. That is my criteria for a “literary” book.