Harry the Book sent his zombie enforcer, Dead End Dugan, to collect some money that he's owed, but Dugan returns without the money, saying that he's fallen in love with the woman of his dreams and that he left the money with her. As Harry and his colorful friends question Dugan about this woman, the zombie paints a pretty horrific picture of her, leaving them wondering if he's telling the truth. Wanting to get his money back and see the woman for himself, Harry collects his ragtag band of minions and sets out for the shop where Dugan says he met her, and there they find a very strange creature who has a penchant for causing destruction when she's jealous.
"A Very Special Girl" is a short urban fantasy story that I assume must be part of a series since the subtitle says "A Harry the Book Story." In any case, the first-person narrator is Harry the Book who has sent out Dead End Dugan, his zombie enforcer, to collect some money he's owed. Dugan returns without the money, saying that he's found the woman of his dreams and he left the money with her. Harry and his other pals aren't sure if they believes Dugan, because the woman he describes is almost too bizarre to be true. Wanting to get the money back and to see this woman for himself, Harry and his motley crew set out for Creepy Conrad's Curiosity Shop where they find an extremely unusual creature who has a penchant for destruction whenever she becomes jealous.
Even though this appears to be part of a larger series about Harry the Book, I couldn't find any specific reference to it anywhere, so I'm not sure where this story might fall in the series. Despite this, I didn't really feel lost. It's a fun, light-hearted tale that made me smile. At least in this story, Harry doesn't seem to be a violent or vengeful person in spite of him appearing to have a gangster-type persona. Between Dugan the zombie and Big-Hearted Milton, who seems to be an eccentric wizard, Harry runs with some interesting characters. I probably would have given this story at least four stars just for the entertainment factor, except for two things. First, it's written in present tense, which doesn't bother me in first-person narration, but here even the dialogue is in present tense, which is a very odd style choice given that people don't typically talk in present tense while speaking about things that have already occurred. The other thing is that the dialogue is very lacking in contractions which gives it a strangely formal feel for this type of story. Otherwise, I found this to be an amusing tale that was a pleasant diversion. "A Very Special Girl" can be found in the anthology Blood Lite.
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