Donald Harstad Bibliography

An Apple for the Creature (2012) — Anthology 

Editor and AuthorsEdit

Editor: Charlaine Harris, Toni L.P. Kelner

Contributors: Ilona Andrews, Amber Benson, Rhys Bowen, Mike Carey, Charlaine Harris, Donald Harstad, Steve Hockensmith, Nancy Holder, Faith Hunter, Toni L.P. Kelner, Marjorie M. Liu, Jonathan Maberry, Thomas Sniegoski

Genre and Sub-GenresEdit

Urban Fantasy 


What could be scarier than the first day of school? How about a crash course in the paranormal from Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, editors of Home Improvement: Undead Edition? Your worst school nightmares—taking that math test you never studied for, finding yourself naked in school assembly, not knowing which door to enter—will pale in comparison to these thirteen original stories that take academic anxiety to whole new realms. ~ Goodreads | An Apple for the Creature

Supernatural ElementsEdit

Werewolves, various shifters, telepaths, vampires, magic users, angels, grindylow, magic users, poppets, magical bones, witch, evil witch, Pirate,, spell, conjugation, ghosts, Psychometry, Hoodoo ("conjure"), wormhole, magic user, Hungries (zombies), were-jaguar, grindylow, were-panther, Jewish myths, sentient mind-talking dog, werewolf seminar, ghostly ferry captain...

Supe Glossary:

  • Telepaths: hear people's thoughts
  • Psychometry: divine history of an object by touch


  • Death, Inc ("Callie Meet Happy")
  • PsyLED Spook School
  • Cutting Edge ("Magic Tests")
  • Seventh Star Academy ("Magic Tests")
  • Vampire Scene Investigations (VSI) ("VSI")

List of Stories Edit

Story Title Series and Order Number Author Supes Lead(s)
"Playing Possum" Sookie Stackhouse #11.2 Charlaine Harristelepaths Sookie, Hunter
"Spellcaster 2.0" none Jonathan Maberry perfect spell, magical ritual Trey LaSalle
"Academy Field Trip" none Donald Harstad vampires
"Sympathy for the Bones" none Marjorie M. Liuevil witch, Hoodoo
"Low School" none Rhys Bowen (mystery writer) suddenly wake up back in High school Amy Weinstein
"Callie Meet Happy" Calliope Reaper-Jones series #1.5 Amber Benson wormhole transport Callie, Mrs. Gunwhale
"Iphigenia in Aulis" none Mike CareyHungries (zombies) Melanie
"Golden Delicious" Jane Yellowrock #4.1 Faith Huntergrindylow, werewolf, werewolf pack, Psychometry Rick LeFleur, Brute, Pea
"Magic Tests" Kate Daniels series #5.3 Ilona Andrewsmagical jealousy Julie, Kate
"An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism" none Steve Hockensmith Jewish Myth, magical talents, Prof Andy Abrams, Professor Karen Mossler, Robert
"VIS" none Nancy HolderVampires Claire, Jackson, Peter
"The Bad Hour" Remy Chandler series #5.5 Thomas E. SniegoskiRemy, dog Marlowe, Jacqueline Kinney
"Pirate Dave and the Captain's Ghost" Pirate Dave shorts series Toni L.P. Kelner Pirate, mind-talking dog Pirate Dave

Synopsis by StoryEdit

"Playing Possum" by Charlaine Harris — Sookie Stackhouse series #11.2 ELEMENTARY SCHOOL: In this never-before-published Sookie Stackhouse story, Sookie heads for her "nephew's" kindergarten class with treats for his birthday celebration. (Hunter is actually the son of Sookie's late first cousin, Hadley, but he calls her "Aunt Sookie" because it's easier that way. Hunter is a fellow telepath like Sookie.) When the crazed boyfriend of the school secretary shows up at the school with a gun, Sookie and Hunter's teacher must use every power they have to bring down the villain.

✥ This is a short story about Sookie and the day she had promised to come to Hunter’s school with cupcakes. The day turns out be a little more exciting than expected, since the secretary’s ex-boyfriends suddenly turns up, wanting to “talk” to her and bringing all kind of hell.

"Spellcaster 2.0" by Jonathan Maberry

COLLEGE: A team of cynical university students work on a research project that seeks to discover "the perfect spell". The spell that may well be the core magical ritual from which all of our world's religions have sprung." When dissension rises within the group, the students learn the importance of faith and the power of magic.

✥ One of the biggest non-believers is on a job to collect, translate and catalog every spell, conjugation, everything that had with magic, believes and religion to do into a program. A program, to tell why man believes, to see if there is anything in common through it all.

"Academy Field Trip" by Donald Harstad

✥ LAW ENFORCEMENT ACADEMY: In one of the best stories in the book, two special agents and a deputy sheriff teach a class about solving unusual crimes to a group of experienced officers. When the instructors select one student to work on a special case involving vampires, their reasons for choosing her soon become clear.

✥ A team selected from the police force to go for a course to learn something new. Little do they know only one is interesting for the group of teachers. Picked for something special, there’s only one question: Will she believe before it’s too late?

"Sympathy for the Bones" by Marjorie M. Liu

✥ ONE-ON-ONE TRAINING: As the story begins, the lead character witnesses a death and then tells us, "Later that night, I burned the doll that killed him." In this tale of deadly poppets and magical bones, an apprentice practitioner rebels against the cruel and powerful witch who trained her. The protagonist, who is the first-person narrator, is nicely drawn, as is her mentor, the evil witch, and the tension builds throughout the story as we wait to see just how far the narrator can be pushed before she pushes back.

✥ A story about a young girl who lost everything in this world. An old lady takes her in and teach her the trade of Hoodoo. Now she’s grown up and need to make her own decision; will she follow the old lady’s ways, or find her own path in life.

"Low School" by Rhys Bowen

✥ HIGH SCHOOL: People say that high school is a hellish experience, and in this story Amy Weinstein finds that saying to be literally true. She finds herself in a school filled with bullying students and mean-to-the-bone teachers and is forced to remember a moment in her life when she made a bargain that had consequences she didn't really understand at the time.

✥ What do you do when you suddenly wake up, back in High school with NO recollection of how you got there? Amy Weinstein is in for a wild ride, trying to figure out where she is and how she got there. It’s like she’s trapped in her worst nightmare, but you should be able to wake from a dream, right?

"Callie Meet Happy" by Amber Benson — Calliope Reaper-Jones #1.5

✥ REMEDIAL WORMHOLE CALLING CLASS: Calliope (Callie) Reaper-Jones has to take a class in remedial wormhole calling because as the president of Death, Inc., she has to be able to transport herself around the planet without the help of her assistant. When the instructor forces Callie to call up a wormhole, she transports herself to a cold and snowy venue where she helps save a young woman from the clutches of a villainous magic user.

✥ Callie has taken over her father’s company Death, inc. after his death. Unfortunately, she has NO idea how to make a wormhole and she needs to figure it out fast, before anyone find out, or she will be the laughing stock of the entire company, not to mention her enemies will try and remove her from the post. So she’s stuck in Remedial Wormhole Calling class lead by the ever charming Mrs. Gunwhale.

"Iphigenia in Aulis" by Mike Carey

✥ PRISON SCHOOL: This story uses the myth of Agamemnon and his daughter to tell a story set in a horrific world in which the Hungries (zombies) have taken over the world, and the non-infected have fled to California. As one teacher exclaims when a student asks a question about New York history, "'s irrelevant. It's ancient history! The Hungries tore up the map. There's nothing east of Kansas anymore. Not a damn thing." In a prison on an army base, Melanie is one of a small group of children who, for unknown (at first) reasons, are kept in solitary cells and strapped down to wheelchairs when they are taken to their classroom. By the end, Melanie (and the reader) learn all of the heart-breaking facts. The story is open-ended.

✥ What happens when everything is changed? What if you were something …different than the adults you see every day? If you were being locked inside a room and only could leave it strapped to a wheelchair? When you had the chance to make a difference, to make a choice – your OWN choice, what would you choose? A different story about life after the world ended and how people react to the aftermath.  

"Golden Delicious" by Faith Hunter — Jane Yellowrock series #4.1

✥ SPOOK SCHOOL: This story is part of Hunter's Skinwalker world, taking place after Raven Cursed and between the short story in Cat Tales and the novel, Death's Rival. The protagonist is Rick LeFleur, a former New Orleans detective who was bitten by a were-jaguar two months ago and is now going through training at the Psychometry Law Enforcement Division of Homeland Security (aka, PsyLED Spook School). Rick and his "partners," a permanently changed werewolf and a cuddly but deadly grindylow, must go through a tough final test before they are accepted into the PsyLED ranks. When someone attempts to sabotage Rick's chances, he and his team must work together to discover the truth. This story contains the quotation from which the book's title is taken: "Inside [the box] was a golden apple on a gold chain. 'A Golden Delicious apple,' he said, 'for the...creature.'"

✥ Rick is an ex-cop. Not by choice, but by necessity. He was bitten by a were-panther, caught by a werewolf pack and tortured. Now he will always feel the need to turn when the full moon is there. Deemed to be dangerous for regular people, he was booted from the force. Now the PsyLED wants to try him on with a few other…creatures. Not everything is all roses and honey, one of the creatures that are a part of Rick’s new team was with the werewolf pack who caught Rick.

"Magic Tests" by Ilona Andrews — Kate Daniels series #5.3

✥ MAGIC ACADEMY: This story stars Julie, Kate and Cullen's adopted daughter in the Kate Daniels series. When Kate assigns Julie to find a missing student at the Seventh Star Academy, Julie finds herself involved in a case of magical jealousy and discovers that the Academy might not be a bad place for her to finish her education, particularly when she meets the handsome guy who helps her out on her case.

✥ Kate have been trying to get Julie enrolled into a school – many times. Each and every time, she has run off or caused enough trouble to get herself kicked out. Julie doesn’t see the necessity with school. All she wants is to be at Cutting Edge, the office Kate and Andrea is running. This time it’s different. Kate hasn’t taken Julie to this school to enroll her, but to get her to help the principal at the school. A student is missing and Julie is put on the case to solve it. Soon she finds herself deep into new and different magic and maybe even in bigger trouble than expected.

"An Introduction to Jewish Myth and Mysticism" by Steve Hockensmith

✥ COLLEGE: Professor Andy Abrams is notorious for his preoccupation with his chosen field of study, Jewish myths and mysticism. When Robert, the abusive ex-husband of his colleague, Karen, comes back to town determined to get her back one way or another, Andy puts his magical talents to good use as he convinces Robert to turn right back around and leave—as quickly as possible.

Professor Abrams is teaching when a friend of his comes into class; Professor Mossler. Mossler is afraid, her ex-boyfriend/husband is back into town and given the way he treated her the last time… Abrams’ tries to comfort her by giving her the advice to follow her original plan; to leave for the weekend with er friends. And maybe, just maybe things looks different Monday morning.

"VSI" by Nancy Holder

✥ FORENSICS SCHOOL: Claire and Jackson are partner-agents in the Boston FBI field office. Claire is in the waning days of an unhappy marriage to Peter, and Jackson has the unspoken hots for his partner. When they are tapped for a special vampire task force, Claire gets some shocking family news, and the partners get jobs in a brand new FBI unit: Vampire Scene Investigations (VSI).

✥ Claire and Jackson are both FBI agents, working as partners. Both have been ordered out on a top secret hush, hush project for the feds. They’re put back on the school bench to learn about… vampires. Yup, you read right. Vampires. But not everything is as it seems and soon Claire’s world is turned upside down.

"The Bad Hour "by Thomas E. Sniegoski — Remy Chandler series #5.5

✥ CANINE OBEDIENCE SCHOOL: This is a story from the Remy Chandler series. When Remy is hired by a dog trainer to identify the source of a threat, he takes his sentient, mind-talking dog, Marlowe, along as cover and back-up. During their first visit to one of the client's obedience classes, the client's life is put in jeopardy, and Remy and Marlowe must partner up to take out the villain.

✥ Remy and Marlowe is taking it easy in the office, catching up on paperwork when they’re interrupted by a knock on the door. In steps Jacqueline Kinney, dog trainer with an extraordinary problem: something is scaring her dogs, and she can’t train because they all freak out. Remy decides to go undercover with Marlowe as new attendants at a beginner course. Remy and Marlowe combined is a force to be reckoned with and both quickly realizes something is terribly wrong.

"Pirate Dave and the Captain’s Ghost" by Toni L. P. Kelner

✥ WOLFEN WISDOM SEMINAR: This story is part 2 of the Joyce and Dave adventures that began with "Pirate Dave's Haunted Amusement Park" in the anthology entitled Death's Excellent Vacation. This time around, Joyce is attending a werewolf seminar to learn the pros and cons of her relatively new shifter life style. Joyce gets way more than she signed up for when her relationship with her boyfriend, Vampire Dave, comes to the attention of a ghostly ferry captain and a human who specializes in supernatural research.

✥ Joyce has been invited to Talbot Seminar for werewolves. Joyce is different than the other weres. One: she got bitten AND she survived. Two: she’s not affiliated with a pack. Three: she lives in wonderful, glorious sin with a vampire. It makes her different, yes, but the other wolves are mostly interested in her, who she is as a person. Right until the lecture with Dr. Hogencamp. Dr. Hogencamp is a supernatural researcher who has a ghost on her “team”. A ghost who left this world in a very gruesome way: killed by a vampire.


Cover ArtistEdit

Artist: Lisa Desimini

Publishing InformationEdit

External Links Edit




Author pages for book: 

Goodreads Series pages:

Author Websites: 

Goodreads Author pages:


The Top 100 Hard-Boiled Characters of the Twentieth Century,
As Chosen by the Members of Rara-Avis,
and compliled by Joe Dante and Mark Blumenthal

In March and April of 2002, the members of Rara-Avis, the web's premier disscussion group for all things hard-boiled, decided to poll its members on the The Top 100 Hard-Boiled Characters of the Twentieth Century.

Readers were invited to submit their top twenty votes via e-mail. In announcing the winners, co-compiler Mark Blumenthal had this to say:

"Here is our selection of the 100 (actually 111, to allow for ties) best hard-boiled characters (in literature). Although there are several many of us would not consider hard-boiled, most of our ballots had a large majority of characters who made it into the top 111... Of those authors who had more than three characters in the best 111, Dashiell Hammett had six characters and Walter Mosley, George Pelecanos, Jim Thompson, Charles Willeford, and James Ellroy had four apiece. Of those characters that debuted in the 90's Easy Rawlins and Harry Bosch received the most votes."

Seems like Mark wasn't too happy with some of the results, but personally, I was very pleased to see the high regard in which some relatively obscure characters were held, for one, and the wide variety of characters who made it, in general. If hard-boiled is more about attitude than surface trappings, then I have no problem with the final list, really. Though I'm still very conscious of how availability affects the vote. Some of my beloved pulp characters and relatively forgotten P.I.s who just made it to the list could easily rank much higher, I think, if only more people had read them. And, of course, it's a little disappointing that supporting players from popular novels (bolstered in some cases by popular films) cracked the list, while protagonists from some now difficult-to-find novels and series didn't crack it at all. Like, Jo Gar didn't make it? Bummer...

Still, a pretty good list.

The Top 100
(Actually, 111, allowing for ties... )

  • 1. Philip Marlowe (from the series by Raymond Chandler)
  • 2. Sam Spade (from the novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 3. The Continental Op (from the series by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 4. Lew Archer (from the series by Ross Macdonald)
  • 5. Matt Scudder (from the series by Lawrence Block)
  • 5.Parker (from the series by Richard Stark)
  • 7. Travis McGee (from the series by John D. MacDonald)
  • 8. Easy Rawlins (from the series by Walter Mosley)
  • 9. Harry aka Hieronymus Bosch (from the series by Michael Connelly)
  • 10. Hoke Moseley (from the series by Charles Willeford)
  • 11. Lou Ford (from the novels The Killer Inside Me and Wild Town by Jim Thompson)
  • 12. Mike Hammer(from the series by Mickey Spillane)
  • 13. Matt Helm (from the series by Donald Hamilton)
  • 14. Dave Robicheaux(from the series by James Lee Burke)
  • 14. Nick Stefanos (from the series by George Pelecanos)
  • 14. Grave Digger Jones and Coffin Ed Johnson(from the series by Chester Himes)
  • 14. C.W. Sughrue (from the series by James Crumley)
  • 14. Hap Collins & Leonard Pine(from the series by Joe R. Lansdale)
  • 14. Nameless (from the series by Bill Pronzini)
  • 14. John Rebus (from the series by Ian Rankin)
  • 14. Mouse(from the Easy Rawlins series by Walter Mosley)
  • 22. Spenser (from the series by Robert B. Parker)
  • 23. Eddie Coyle (from the novel The Friends of Eddie Coyle by George V. Higgins)
  • 24. Brigid O'Shaughnessy (from the novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 25. V.I. Warshawski (from the series by Sara Paretsky)
  • 26. Dudley Smith (from the novels by James Ellroy)
  • 26. Paul Pine (from the series by Howard Browne)
  • 26. Dimitri Karras (from the series by George Pelecanos)
  • 26. Arkady Renko(from the series by Martin Cruz Smith)
  • 30. Hanson (from the novels by Kent Anderson)
  • 30. Burke (from the series by Andrew Vachss)
  • 30. Ned Beaumont(from the novel The Glass Key by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 30. Artie Wu & Quincy Durant (from the series by Ross Thomas)
  • 30. Tom Ripley (from the series by Patricia Highsmith)
  • 30. Hawk (from the Spenser series by Robert B. Parker)
  • 36. Amos Walker(from the series by Loren D. Estleman)
  • 36. Kinsey Millhone (from the series by Sue Grafton)
  • 36. Steve Carella (from the 87th Precinct series by Ed McBain)
  • 36. George Smiley (from the series by John Le Carre)
  • 36. James Bond (from the series by Ian Fleming)
  • 41. Jack Reacher (from the series by Lee Child)
  • 41. Earl Drake(from The Operation series by Dan J. Marlowe)
  • 41. Bill Crane (from the series by Jonathan Latimer)
  • 41. Keller (from the Hit Man series by Lawrence Block)
  • 41. Frank Chambers (from the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain)
  • 41. Frederick J. Frenger Jr. (from the novel Miami Blues by Charles Willeford)
  • 41. Dan Kearney (from the DKA series by Joe Gores)
  • 41. Hannibal Lecter (from the series by Thomas Harris)
  • 41. Batman (from the comics/novels series by various authors)
  • 41. Chili Palmer (from the novels Get Shorty and Be Cool by Elmore Leonard)
  • 51. Martin Beck (from the series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo)
  • 51. Lucas Davenport (from the series by John Sandford)
  • 51. Doc McCoy(from the novel The Getaway by Jim Thompson)
  • 51. Peter Bondurant(from the trilogy by James Ellroy)
  • 51. Harry Lime(from the novel The Third Man by Graham Greene)
  • 51. Buzz Meeks (from the novelThe Big Nowhere by James Ellroy)
  • 51. Dan Turner(from the series by Robert Leslie Bellem)
  • 51. Milo Milodragovitch (from the series by James Crumley)
  • 51. Lew Griffin(from the series by James Sallis)
  • 51. Mario Balzic(from the series by K.C. Constantine)
  • 61. Charlie Resnick (from the series by John Harvey)
  • 61. Jack Carter (from the series by Ted Lewis)
  • 61. Clete Purcell (from the Dave Robicheauxseries by James Lee Burke)
  • 61. Max Latin (from the short stories by Norbert Davis)
  • 61. Lloyd Hopkins(from the series by James Ellroy)
  • 61. Joe Friday (from the Dragnet series by various authors)
  • 61. Shell Scott(from the series by Richard S. Prather)
  • 61. Nate Heller(from the series by Max Allan Collins)
  • 61. Nick Corey (from the novel Pop. 1280 by Jim Thompson)
  • 61. Nick and Nora Charles (from the novel The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 71. Marcus Clay(from the series by George Pelecanos)
  • 71. Socrates Fortlow (from the series by Walter Mosley)
  • 71. Richard Bone (from the novel Cutter and Bone by Newton Thornburg)
  • 71. Detective Sergeant Department of Unexplained Deaths(from the Factory series by Derek Raymond)
  • 71. Elvis Cole (from the series by Robert Crais)
  • 71. Walter Huff(from the novel Double Indemnity by James M Cain)
  • 71. James Figueras(from the novel The Burnt Orange Heresy by Charles Willeford)
  • 71. Casper Gutman (from the novel The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett)
  • 71. Mike Shayne(from the series by Brett Halliday)
  • 71. Frank Clemons (from the trilogy by Thomas Cook)
  • 71. Sharon McCone (from the series by Marcia Muller)
  • 71. Race Williams/Three Gun Mack(from the series by Carroll John Daly)
  • 71. John Shaft(from the series by Ernest Tidyman)
  • 71. David Brandstetter (from the series by Joseph Hansen)
  • 71. Jack Liffey (from the series by John Shannon)
  • 71. Perry Mason (from the series by Erle Stanley Gardner)
  • 87. Bernie Gunther(from the Berlin Trilogy by Philip Kerr)
  • 87. Joe Gall (from the series by Philip Atlee)
  • 87. Jonathan Hemlock (from the from the novels The Eiger Sanction and The Loo Sanctionby Trevanian)
  • 87. Kells (from the novel Fast One by Paul Cain)
  • 87. Joe Pike (from the Elvis Cole series by Robert Crais)
  • 87. Fast Eddie Felson(from the novels The Hustler and The Color of Money by Walter Tevis)
  • 87. Bob Lee Swagger (from the series by Steven Hunter)
  • 87. Cora Papadakis (from the novel The Postman Always Rings Twice by James M. Cain)
  • 87. Roy Dillon (from the novelThe Grifters by Jim Thompson)
  • 87. Eva Wylie (from the from the series by Liza Cody)
  • 87. Ed and Am Hunter (from the series by Fredric Brown)
  • 87. Skink a.k.a. The Governor (from the a recurring character in the novels by Carl Hiassen)
  • 87. Derek Strange (from the series by George Pelecanos)
  • 87. Lionel Essrog (from the novel Motherless Brooklyn by Jonathan Lethem)
  • 87. Charlie Arglist (from the novel The Ice Harvest by Scott Phillips)
  • 87. Richard Hudson (from the novel The Woman Chaser by Charles Willeford)
  • 87. Ernest Stickney (from the novels Stick andSwag by Elmore Leonard)
  • 87. John Marshall Tanner (from the series by Stephen Greenleaf)
  • 87. Doc Ford (from the series by Randy Wayne White)
  • 87. Jay Gatsby (from the novel The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald)
  • 87. Dick Tracy (from the newspaper strip by Chester Gould)
  • 87. Mick Ballou (from the Matt Scudder series by Lawrence Block)
  • 87. Quiller (from the series by Adam Hall)
  • 87. Deputy Detective Carl Houseman (from the series by Donald Harstad)
  • 87. Maigret(from the series by Georges Simenon)

The 21 runner-ups
(Joe Gar almost made it):

Thanks to Joe Dante and Mark Blumenthaland, as always, William Denton, who manages the Rara-Avis list.

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