Friday, February 29, 2008

Key to Conspiracy-Talia Gryphon

Key to Conspiracy
Talia Gryphon
Ace, May 2008, $6.99
ISBN 9780441015764

Marine Corps Special Ops psychiatrist Dr. Gillian Key is an expert in abnormal paramortal psychology as she works with supernatural patients with biting problems. However she is assigned as part of a team to provide assistance to the victims of a horrific earthquake in Russia. Though she knows she will see plenty of tragedy and her specific task is investigating rumors of child selling, Gillian looks forward to getting away from her usual paranormal clientele especially the brass.

However what should have been a natural calamity with a horrific aftermath turns into a supernatural disaster. Dracula, whom she met on a previous adventure (see KEY TO CONFLICT), is fascinated by the soldier-psychiatrist as he is more used to subservient females not combatant women. As bad or perhaps worse Jack the Ripper is using the mishap as an easy cover for his nefarious activities. Of course Gillian wonders if she has Murphy DNA as she meets a who’s who of horror superstars.

Whereas KEY TO CONFLICT is preeminently military urban fantasy, KEY TO CONSPIRACY is more horror although the heroine’s patients include vampires with biting guilt complexes, werewolves with species identity issues and military brass with 5-star superegos. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, but also contains an underlying satirical feel as Talia Gryphon lampoons the sub-genre. Readers will relish the Russian adventure as the Key to this tale is the fully developed (with a wink) lead protagonist who copes with Drac, Jack and general whackos.

Harriet Klausner

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