Monday, October 31, 2011

Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale-Christine Warren

Not Your Ordinary Faerie Tale

Christine Warren

St. Martin’s, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780312357221

Following the interspecies marriages of her BFFs, New York reporter Corinne D’Allesandro vows not her. However, her editor assigns her on a paranormal investigative tale. Her jaunt around Manhattan leads her to Queen Mab’s chief of the guards Luc Macinaw. He searches for the missing royal nephew who is causing havoc that could endanger the Faerie realm.

Luc is stunned that his destined heart mate is human. Corinne disregards her pledge to never date an Other, while her buddies tease her for joining their ranks after she proclaimed never her. They team up on his quest and in the boudoir, but love may not be enough to counter the threat to both their lives.

This engaging Other urban fantasy is a fun investigative tale though the paranormal elements seem somewhat diminished in comparison to the previous entries (see The Big Bad Wolf and Black Magic Woman). Corrine is a terrific heroine while Luc is her prefect mate even if she has to renege on her vow. Fans of the saga will relish Corinne falling in love as she was adamant that never her.

Harriet Klausner

Hearts of Smoke and Steam-Andrew P. Mayer

Hearts of Smoke and Steam

Andrew P. Mayer

PYR, Nov 22 2011, $16.00

ISBN 9781616145330

In New York, the murder by the Automation of Sir Dennis Darby has devastated the Paragons as he was their social compass (see The Falling Machine). Without the moral guidance of Sir Dennis, the group falls apart as each of their superegos supersedes their superhero team.

Sarah “the Adventuress” Stanton possesses the clockwork heart of the late killing Automaton who was her friend. She hopes to rebuild him while supervillain Lord Eschaton has other plans for the Paragons and society as a whole, but needs the clockwork heart to rebuild the Automaton. When The Children of Eschaton assault Sarah, Italian immigrant Emelio Armando rescues her. The genius inventor planned to live an invisible life with his sister in New York to avoid his troubles in the Old Country, but has fallen in love with Sarah, whose adversaries target him and his sibling to get at her.

The second The Society of Steam Steampunk Victorian fantasy is an exciting fresh tale starring a beleaguered heroine who gave up affluence in high society to join the poor Paragons of Sir Dennis. The Fortified Steam concept serves as the base for this alternative nineteenth century New York. However, Emelio’s choppy dialect may seem genuine but slows down the pace of an overall faster than the speed of steam pulp escapism thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 30, 2011

11/22/63-Stephen King


Stephen King

Scribner, Nov 8 2011, $35.00

ISBN: 9781451627282

In Lisbon Falls, Maine, Al Templeton, owner of Al’s Diner, discovers a temporal portal that enables a traveler to go back fifty-three years to September 9, 1958 at 11:58 a.m. Each time a person enters the time hole, they go to that same moment, but no matter how long they remain in the past, they return to the present having lost only two minutes while history is altered.

High school English teacher Jake Epping tests Jake’s theory, but when he returns he finds his previously healthy friend dying from lung cancer and admitting he has gone back in time trying to prevent the JFK assassination. With no family to speak of, a lonely Jake agrees to complete Al’s mission though he assumes Oswald did not work alone. Jake tests the concept by intervening in the family of a night student of his who faced a tragedy back in 1958. He soon learns history prefers to return to the original reality though he tries to prevent 11/22/63 from happening.

This is an engaging time travel thriller in which Stephen King makes a strong case that Oswald worked alone, a key element in the plot for conspiracy believer Jake to accept. The story line is action-packed with the changes in history such as cigarette smoking attitudes cleverly devised. Part of the fun is debating the possibility of the changes being reasonable as Mr. King provides an entertaining tale.

Harriet Klausner

Halo: Glasslands-Karen Traviss

Halo: Glasslands

Karen Traviss

Tor, Oct 25 2011, $15.99

ISBN: 9780765330406

By 2553, the war between the Sangheili Covenant and the Unified Earth left billions dead and planets destroyed, but the worst of the combat seems over. The Covenant stands on the brink of civil war between the purist rebels of the Servants of Abiding Truth fundamentalists and the leaders who led the race the Covenant to collapse. Unified Earth President Dr. Ruth Charet sends Office of Naval Intelligence Serin Osman accompanied by linguisitic Professor Evan Phillips to foster the internal hostilities of the enemy by dealing with the Sangheili insurrection leader the Arbiter Avu Med ‘Telcann.

OSI Admiral Parangocky dispatches a Kilo Five unit to Onyx, a planet destroyed during the hostilities. The military want to capture scientist Dr. Catherine Halsey who broke the law when she created the Spartans. She, Chief Mendez, Spartans and Spartans III survive in a Forerunner slipspace. Meanwhile the threat to humanity comes from within the Unified Earth confederacy.

This is an exciting post Halo 3 science fiction thriller that grips fans of the game saga from start to finish. Although there are too many major subplots going on as Karen Traviss sets in motion the opening act of a trilogy, readers will enjoy seeing another aspect of the Spartans who were created for war, but must either die or adapt to potentially peace.

Harriet Klausner

Mecha Corps-Brett Patton

Mecha Corps

Brett Patton

Roc, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464316

The Union and The Corsair Confederacy are on the brink of war, which makes decaying earth the perfect training ground for the biomechanical-riding mecha training ground. The trainees prepare to fight against their enemy: The Corsair Confederacy Matt Lowell has lived on colony ships all his life so he welcomes the respite of training on this hellhole planet. He conceals his secret agenda for why he joined the Mecha corps as he plans to use the neural link inserted in his body which connects him to the Mecha vehicle to find and kill the Corsair Pirate who murdered his father.

Training is abruptly ended when the Corsairs attack a Union planet killing millions of civilians. Matt and his training comrades in arms are deployed to the hidden Mecha world to train on the Demons, the latest generation of Mecha. Matt recognizes the orb where the leader of the pirates is, but when they arrive with the coordinates, the unit finds the planet under Corsairs assault. Desperate, Matt devises a counter-attack that either will destroy the Union or neutralize the vicious adversary. They also decide to go after the Corsair leader in a do or die mission.

Brett Patton has written a thrill a minute military science fiction starring a fascinating hero who learns in training to be part of a cohesive unit which requires him to give up for now his personal goal. Readers also observe the politicians who use and sacrifice Black Ops agents to further their ambitions. Filled with twists and secrets that are not all revealed in this action-packed story line, fans will enjoy sparing into combat with the Mecha Corps.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Moonsinger’s Quest-Andre Norton

Moonsinger’s Quest

Andre Norton

Baen, Nov 1 2011, $12.00

ISBN: 9781451637564

“Flight to Yiktor.” In the lawless slums of the Limits, Farree the hunchback alien has no friends except for Togger the war-beast he telepathically communicates with. Lady Maelen the psychic Moonsinger asks his name and he replies Dung. She insists he is Farree who has no idea how he ended up on this lethal planet. Maelen and Free Trader Krip Vorland take Farree and Togger with them as they journey to her planet Yiktor while enemies pursue them.

“Dare to Go a-Hunting.” Farree has come a long way since Lady Maelen rescued him as his wings came out of his misshapen body. Krip has found wings like Farree’s in a marketplace. With his friends, Farree begins his journey to find any of his species.

This is a reprint of the exciting books three and four in the super Moonsinger saga which focuses more on Farree than on the stars of the first two tales (see Moon of Three Rings and Exiles of the Stars) although they play key roles. The fast-paced Flight in Yiktor feels like a transition tale that is enhanced by having the fascinating conclusion Dare to Go a-Hunting (with ties to some other Andre Norton outer space thrillers) in the same omnibus collection although that also shows a rather radical change in the hero’s personality. Still these terrific two tales are entertaining thrillers.

Harriet Klausner

Immortal Rider-Larissa Ione

Immortal Rider

Larissa Ione

Grand Central, Nov 22 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780446574471

As the world turns ugly, The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse ride once again. One brother Reseph has turned into Pestilence as his agimortus broke his seal, but another Ares was saved by his fiancée Cara Thornhart (see Eternal Rider). A third rider Limos, though she, Ares and Thanatos defeated Reseph-Pestilence for now, fears she will fall to the dark too as Satan demands she become his wife and her seal if broken frees Famine.

U.S. Army R-XR solder Arik Wagner attends the engagement party of Ares and Cara. He walks outside onto a beach to get away from super-powered a-holes, but the object of his penis follows him. Limos challenges him to fight, which leads to a kiss. His final thought was her shouting at him not to say her name. The other two horsemen explain to human Aegis leader Kynan Morgan that an angry jealous Satan has captured Arik for kissing his bride and will torture him in Hell until he says her name, which will make him one of the lost minions. Limos cuts a deal with Pestilence to save the world and Arik though her cost is her soul.

The second Lords of Deliverance romantic urban fantasy is a superb post apocalyptic thriller that grips the reader from the first apparently fatal kiss to the final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced and contains the twist of a Horsewoman as Famine. The cast is fully developed and the twisting story line is loaded with action at time fueled by betrayal. However, it is the dark world of Larissa Ione that readers will want to ride alongside of the Horsemen (and horsewoman) of the Apocalypse,

Harriet Klausner

Destined-P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast


P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 25 2011, $18.99


Seventeen years old Zoey Redbird feels safe now that she is back in the Tulsa House of Night and being with her Guardian Warrior Stark. She still reels from the Vampyre High Council condoning Neferet’s evil actions and allowing the malevolent one to return as the High Priestess at Tulsa’s House of Night. Zoey and Neferet know it is not over between them.

Meanwhile after fallen guardian Kalona freed him, Nyx the Goddess has not just forgiven Rephaim the Raven-Mocker; she turned him into a human so he can be with the love of his life Stevie Rae at Tulsa’s House of Night. As Neferet sets in motion a chaotic revenge plan against Redbird and the teen’s friends, she also has a new vendetta with her former ally Kalona.

This is a powerful entry as young adult fans better understand what motivates the good, the bad and the ugly. Action-packed yet character driven (by much of the key cast) Zoey quickly realizes her hope for sanctuary in order to heal especially emotionally proves false as she is quickly caught in another Neferet monstrous scheme.

Harriet Klausner

Virtual Virgin-Carole Nelson Douglas

Virtual Virgin

Carole Nelson Douglas

Pocket, Nov29 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439167793

Paranormal investigator Delilah Street saved the life of her lover Ric Montoya, but apparently he obtained some of her silver skills in the process. The former Fed Ric brought to life Maria, the silver robot from the classic sci fi movie Metropolis (see Silver Zombie). Lilah feels for her rival for Ric’s affection as Maria the CinSim robot is a virgin and will remain a virgin forever. Maria is the property of the owner of Metropolis, mysterious albino rock star Snow.

Ric and his former FBI partner Leonard Tallgrass battle the Immortality Mob, who run a zombie commodity exchange. At the same the powerful demonic drug lords see an opportunity to change Las Vegas into their image with Maria as the engine. While dodging paranormal psychopaths, Lilah and Ric must prevent the demonic take over of Sin City.

The latest Delilah Street Paranormal Investigator is an exhilarating thriller as the heroine, her lover and his partner battle the wicked in Post-Millennium Revelation Las Vegas. Although it behooves fans to read at least Silver Zombie, Virtual Virgin is a strong action-packed entry yet Carole Nelson Douglas also raises question of ethics and values.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 17, 2011

The Hollows Insider: New Fiction, Facts, Maps, Murders, and More in the World of Rachel Morgan-Kim Harrison

The Hollows Insider: New Fiction, Facts, Maps, Murders, and More in the World of Rachel Morgan

Kim Harrison

Harper Voyager, Oct 25 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780061974335

Obviously this fabulous compilation targets fans of Kim Harrison’s Hollows realm going beyond the filter of the bounty hunter Rachel Morgan. The Hollows are ruled by the Interland supernatural species while the humans struggle to survive in a realm in which we are at the bottom of the food chain. This tome provides the rules, insight into spells, descriptions of the various species and a lot more including a murder mystery. Profiles of Banshee, demon, elf, fairy, gargoyle, ghoul, leprechaun, pixy, troll living and undead vampires, were, witch and warlock sum up the Ineterlanders. Additionally there is insight and biographical information about Rachel and other recurring characters like Ivy. Throw in maps, charms, memos, journal articles and much more as Kim Harrison gives a marvelously monster tour of everything Hollow in this super guidebook.

Harriet Klausner

Under Attack-Hannah Jane

Under Attack

Hannah Jane

Kensington, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758258939

Her new boss at the Underworld Detection Agency in San Francisco wants supes only so one Executive Assistant Sophie Lawson, the human immune to the paranormal, expects to receive the pink slip shortly although she wonders if EEOC will protect her rights against firing due to ethnic origin. The thought of unemployment disturbs Sophie as she loves what she does.

Her sometimes boyfriend Alex Grace the fallen angels asks Sophie to help him obtain the Vessel of Souls before someone else obtains the relic that he believes will restore him his wings. Ophelia the fallen angel also wants the artifact. She believes the best way to win the prize is to cause issues for Sophie. As the paranormal are murdered related to the search, Sophie distrusts the fallen angel or any other supe possessing the Vessel of Souls. To her shock, Sophie finds the clues take her to her family’s history.

The second UDA urban fantasy (see Under Wraps) is a delightful amusing yet taut thriller. The heroine struggles with the fear of losing her job while on the dangerous hunt for a relic in which she does not quite understand its significance but knows that fallen angels want it so she comprehends the implication. The investigation is terrific across the streets of San Francisco while balanced by the satirical jocularity of life as a supe different from the Hollywood portrayal and no reader will look at a bathroom the same way.

Harriet Klausner

The Hunters-Theresa Meyers

The Hunters

Theresa Meyers

Zebra, Nov 1 2011, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121247

The Jackson Brothers (Winchester, Remington, and Colt) are chips off the old block as they like other family members hunt down vampires and demons. They rely on the steam gizmos created by brilliant inventor Marley Turlock.

The sulfuric smell means to Colt riding his clockwork horse, the supernatural is crossing in much greater numbers than before; which also implies a hole in the barrier between the realms. Colt knows he will have to face Lucifer’s older brother the vampiric demon lord Rathe the fallen archangel. Desperate he summons a demon to help him close the schism. Lily the succubus who wants to become human again arrives. Filled with desire and struggling to focus on the mission rather than just her body, Colt knows his soul is already lost to Lily; he is unaware her heart belongs to him.

This steampunk western romance is a fast-paced exhilarating fantasy starring two delightful star-crossed lead protagonists. Much of the fun is with Turlock’s gadgets like the freeze machine. With a wonderful climatic confrontation, readers will relish this exciting thriller while looking forward to more Jackson brothers’ tales along with further inventions by Turlock.

Harriet Klausner

Supernatural: Bobby Singer’s Guide to Hunting-David Reed

Supernatural: Bobby Singer’s Guide to Hunting

David Reed

It/HarperCollins, Sep 6 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062103376

Bobby Singer cannot believe what is happening to him as he suffers from rapid accelerating memory loss. Three days ago he was in Ashland, Wisconsin on a hunting assignment before driving to Sioux Falls. Somehow he awakes in his home confused with how he got there and struggles with things like opening his tumbler. Fearing he will lose what is left of his memory, Bobby writes down a guide to hunting so that the dwindling others like Sam and Dean will have something to help them when they are hunting. This is his legacy if he can remember to write it.

He considers calling Rufus, but he is gone. Bobby thinks back to Ashland where he recalls Sam and Dean were also hunting the Banshee that was terrorizing the Northern Wisconsin town. They don’t answer their zillion cellphones. Still Bobby remembers the banshee had with it a liquid woman who wanted his head on a platter. As they took care of the banshee using an iPhone, Bobby next found himself on his couch wondering how he got there and what happened to his memory. His Chevelle is entangled with another car and on its windshield is written Karen, the wife he loved and lost.

This is an entertaining supernatural thriller that uses an intriguing technique to tell the story line and provide insight into the realm. The key cast mirrors the personalities on a TV show though there is somewhat less camaraderie between the brothers than for instance in John Pasarella's entry Night Terror. Still fans of the show will appreciate David Reed’s unique entry as Bobby tries to learn what happened to him while at the same losing his memories as to whom he is.

Harriet Klausner

Alien Proliferation-Gini Koch

Alien Proliferation

Gini Koch

Daw, Dec 6 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780756406974

Earthling Katherine “Kitty” Kat-Martini is carrying the child of her husband Alpha Centaurion Commander Jeff Martini. Other females are also carrying the hybrid fetuses. No one truly knows what the babies will be like.

However, once baby Jamie is born, Kitty’s insides recover, but she and her spouse find their newborn is a prodigal infant with unheard of skills that has him and his peers targeted for abduction by those who want to exploit them. At the same time someone tries to assassinate the CIA Extra-Terrestrial Division Chief Reynolds and Kitty’s mom Presidential Terrorism Control Unit Angela at a time when Alpha and Airborne members vanish. Meanwhile Kitty has begun to display superpowers, which she will need once she understands what the Martini family and others face.

The fourth Kitty Katt science fiction (see Touched by an Alien, Alien Tango and Alien in the Family) is a fast-paced action-packed thriller. The cast is solid as readers will believe the two species live and mate; while the Jamie effect provides fascinating spins. Though still satirically jocular, there is a serious unexpected twist that makes Alien Proliferation a strong entry.

Harriet Klausner

Count to a Trillion-John C. Wright

Count to a Trillion

John C. Wright

Tor, Dec 20 2011, $25.99

ISBN 9780765329271

In AD 2221 in independent Texas, eleven year old Menelaus Illation Montrose listens to the elders discuss the old future that never happened. He wishes he could confront the perpetrator who caused destruction of what the old future should have been. From reading and listening, Menelaus knows The War of Religion and the War of Economics devastated the planet that now is equivalent to that of the late nineteenth century as the oil is gone and the electric grids no longer work while the Infertility Plague went pandemic. Menelaus especially distrusts political and religious leaders who make holy claims while each day his world deteriorates.

In AD 2235, Menelaus the duelist for hire has a chance to escape Texas a place he loathes. He joins a space expedition traveling to a nearby system in order to obtain antimatter from an alien relic. To increase his intelligence, Montrose undergoes an experiment, but it leaves him in a coma for years. When Montrose finally awakens he is a super genius and learns his former space mates used the antimatter to conquer Earth. As he translates the alien language on the relic, he learns of the planetary debt his comrades remitted to the aliens and fears what will happen when they collect their IOU.

Extrapolating contemporary trends, John C. Wright writes an action-packed futuristic science fiction. The story line starts slow as Mr. Wright provides the backdrop of life in the twenty-third century; however once the angry Menelaus joins the space mission, the story line soars into a fast-paced thriller. Menelaus is an interesting protagonist who goes from an acrimonious gun for hire into a save the world hero on an earth that is not looking for a hero.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Claimed-Rebecca Zanetti


Rebecca Zanetti

Kensington Brava, Nov 1 2011, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758259257

Geneticist Emma Paulsen has always protected her empath sister plant physiologist Dr. Cara Paulsen and her four years old niece child Janie. However, Emma lost that role to vampire warrior Talen Kayrs (see Fated) though she still seeks a cure to save her infected sibling and unborn nephew.

Talen’s brother Dage, King of the Realm, wants Emma as his mate. He has waited centuries for her and has no patience when she rejects his mark. To her chagrin, Emma is attracted to the ultimate chauvinist, but rejects his bossy attitude. Meanwhile the enemies of the vampires,, the Kurjans, wants her research and are willing to kill the innocent to obtain it.

Although Dage’s bullying abuse adds realism as he is not a sensual vampire but instead someone used to getting his way, readers will dislike him. Still the story line is action-packed and the sex scenes heated as Dage’s only success with Emma resides in the bedroom. Readers will enjoy the romantic urban fantasy but outside of the mark subplot, no major threads are climaxed.

Harriet Klausner

Devilishly Hot-Kathy Love

Devilishly Hot

Kathy Love

Kensington Brava, Nov 1 2011, $9.95

ISBN: 9780758265876

Annie Lou Riddle left the dirt of the rural south for a chance to make in the fashion industry in the dirty streets of Manhattan. However, to break into the highly competitive field, Annie sells her soul to the devil. She obtains a job as an assistant to the head of Hot! Magazine Finola White, the deviously damning diva. Annie Lou wants out, but to demon kind a contract is a contract.

Detective Nick Rossi investigates the magazine, a hot bed of missing employees; twenty-one have vanished with most being Annie Lou’s predecessors as a magazine assistant position proves hazardous to one’s health. Finola is attracted to Nick so she orders Annie Lou to help her. Nick is attracted to Annie Lou but makes no headway with her as she keeps passing him on to her boss. Annie Lou wants Nick, but wants her soul more than him.

Although the story line is thin, the second Hot! Magazine romantic urban fantasy (see Hot! in So I Married a Demon Slayer anthology) is an amusing triangular from hell frolic. Filled with humor, readers will enjoy this entertaining tale as hearts and souls are on the line in the world of high fashion.

Harriet Klausner

Fifth Gospel: The Odyssey of a Time Traveler in First Century Palestine-William Roskey

Fifth Gospel: The Odyssey of a Time Traveler in First Century Palestine

William Roskey

iUniverse, Aug 5 2011, $26.95

ISBN: 9781462028573

In 1958 United States Secret Service Special Agent Clarence David Jones flies 2000 miles to Nellis AFB, Nevada to meet with Captain Al “Lightfoot” O’Brien on a top secret project. Jones picked O’Brien after incredibly researching the aviator to become a passenger of the most serendipitously guarded mission since perhaps the Manhattan project. The man who reports only to President Ike explains why O’Brien is perfect even as he knows more about his chosen one than Lightfoot knows about himself.

Jones and Ike brief O’Brian on the latest in physics in which speeds faster than light enables someone to go back in time. From Oak Ridge next year, O’Brien is to go back to first century Palestine seeking the Holy Grail and making contact with Jesus of Nazareth.

Besides a strong cast and deep historical anchors in the late 1950s and in ancient Palestine, the key to this super thriller is William Roskey supports his exciting premise of Einstein meets Wells with physics formulas. Fast-paced from the moment Jones sells O’Brien on the mission, readers will want to soar back in time to first century Palestine.

Harriet Klausner

In The Bleak Midwinter-M.R. Sellars

In The Bleak Midwinter

M.R. Sellars

E.M.A. Mysteries/Oak Tree, Nov 1 2011, $16.95

ISBN: 9780979453380

On December 22, 1975, Santa sexually assaulted her at school. He threatened to kill her parents if she told them what he did. That night while her mom purchased groceries, her little sister wanted to visit Santa. Merrie Callahan never wanted see Santa ever again, but was forced to escort Elizabeth to visit him. He turned out to be her predator and Merrie vanished for thee days.

Decades later, the residents of Hulis, Missouri are living out a nightmare just as they did when Merrie was abducted. FBI Special Agent Constance Mandalay investigates. She learns that though thirty-five years passed since the rapes, Merrie believes it is December, 22, 1975 before Santa brutalized her. Sheriff Skip Carmichael explains to the Fed that every anniversary of Merrie’s trauma leads to her falling into a catatonic state for three days. On Christmas Day in the shack where Merrie was sodomized, someone chops up a man using an axe exactly like Merrie did and the body parts are in the same place when she counterattacked her abductor years ago. Constance senses the townsfolk conceals something critical from her; when the FBI Agent learns what it is, her belief system is shaken to the core in spite of her case work with Wiccan practitioner Rowan Gant.

M.R. Sellars has written an exhilarating supernatural mystery that will have readers wondering what is going on in Hulis, and when we figure that out, the author twists the entertaining police procedural into a new direction. Constance has been a recurring support character in the RGI whodunits (see Blood Moon), but proves she can run the show as a pragmatic independent investigator who prefers denial of the supernatural though the supporting evidence in this case and her work with Gant forces her to accept an inconvenient truth.

Harriet Klausner

Acquainted With The Night-Piper Maitland

Acquainted With The Night

Piper Maitland

Berkley, Nov 29 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9780425243633

After the fire made her a young orphan, Caroline Clifford grew up with her Uncle Nigel, a noted archeologist who took her on digs where she learned to curse in seven languages. She became a Ph.D. candidate in medieval history but dropped out to take a position as a London tour guide.

Caroline receives a call from British Embassy representative Sir Geoffrey McKitterick informing her that someone murdered Nigel at the Perperikon dig site in Bulgaria. Geoffrey made arrangements for Caroline to fly to Sofa and then train to Kardzhali near the murder scene. At Heathrow she meets biochemist Dr. Jude Barrett who also is flying to Bulgaria and shows her letters proving he corresponded with Nigel. In Kardzhali, he explains his mission is to rid the world of vampires, which she scoffs as insane. When she looks at Nigel’s possessions, she notices enigmatic anagrams on her uncle's passport. While Wilkerson Pharmaceutical hunts Caroline, she interprets Nigel’s cryptic clues and with Jude travels to Meteora, Greece. There she begins to learn the truth about an artifact she owns, an ancient arcane text and a prophecy of a war between the dark and the light with her as the catalyst.

This is an exciting action-packed Brownian fantasy with several twists that keep the reader obsessed with a need to know what next. Caroline is a courageous beleaguered individual who has several rivals converge on her; as each knows her value while the audience (and the heroine) slowly learns why they want her. Fast-paced, Acquainted With The Night is a super action-packed tale as Caroline finds out the world as she has known it is an illusion but that facade is on the verge of cataclysmic crumbling.

Harrier Klausner

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Mastiff-Tamora Pierce


Tamora Pierce

Random House, Oct 25 2011, $18.99

ISBN: 9780375814709

Holburn the Dog was killed when he foolishly attacked a nest of slave guards. His mother blames his death on her son’s betrothal to a fellow Dog Beka Cooper; while her peers, her partner, her superior and the rest of his family knows Holburn acted in a suicidal way with his assault. Instead of mourning her loss, Beka feels free and guilty for feeling free.

King Roger the “randy one” and his second wife Queen Jessamine need a special top Secret Hunt with a team having the best scent hound. Thus Beka and her partner Matt Tunstall accompanied by her animal friends (Pounce the supernatural cat and Achoo the scent hound), his lover Sabine the lady knight and Farmer Cape the Kennel mage begin a search and rescue Hunt for the kidnapped heir to the throne of Tortall

The third Beka Cooper young adult fantasy police procedural (see Bloodhound and Terrier) is a terrific thriller due to the lead protagonist. Her peers recognize her strengths as she believes in doing what is right though that is often difficult to gauge. The story line opens with the stunning realistic funeral of her fiancé and never slows down as the heroine and her retinue Hunt clues for the abducted heir in what is a superb kidnapping investigative tale.

Harriet Klausner

1Q84-Haruki Murakami; translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel


Haruki Murakami; translated by Jay Rubin and Philip Gabriel

Knopf, Oct 28 2011, $30.50

ISBN: 9780307593313

Thirty years old Aomame caught the cab in Kuta heading inbound towards Tokyo. However, an accident shuts down the expressway. The cabby suggests Aomame whose name means green peas to try something different. Bored the passenger agrees; she leaves the taxi stuck on the elevated highway traffic jam to walk down stairs into a rabbit hole.

Thirty tears old Tengo the bored math teacher is the ghostwriter for teenage girl Fuka-Eri's bestseller Air Chrysalis. He too disappears.

Aomame realizes she is not in her Tokyo as the cops are uniformed and supplied with different guns; she calls her new land 1Q84. Though she wonders how to go home, an animated Aomame becomes involved in criminal activity. Meanwhile Tengo obsesses on a quest to find his childhood friend Aomame before the rules that she apparently is shattering in this Tokyo turns into pandemic chaos while the Sakigake cult hunt for this infamous female.

This is an omnibus translation of a powerful epic trilogy as Haruki Murakami explores the degrees of connection and separation between people within an Alice-Orwellian Tokyo. The story line is fascinating as the plot purposely meanders as it mirrors relationships. Still readers will enjoy Tengo’s quest to save Aomame from her becoming the trend setter on her 1Q84 world.

Harriet Klausner

The Dark at the End-F. Paul Wilson

The Dark at the End

F. Paul Wilson

Tor, Oct 11 2011, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765322838

In Long Island Otherness avatar Rasalom has set in motion a diabolical scheme to force the Change. The avatar knows that if the planet’s Lady dies one more time, she cannot return as she has twice before, which will enable the Otherness to invade an unprotected earth. He also prepares the second coming of Dawn Pickering’s dead baby to mentor as the face of the Change.

Jack wants to destroy his enemy, but is bound by the vow he made to his teacher Glaeken. However, his mentor is dying and Jack will not only replace him, but will go after his evil enemy. Former Rasalom lieutenant Ernst Drexler allies with his long term nemesis Jack as he knows what the Change will mean to his well being. Meanwhile as the time nears, Jack knows he must kill Rasalom and save the Dawn baby or die trying.

The final Repairman Jack urban fantasy is a great ending to a powerful long running series. The story line brings closure to all the major threads in a dynamic finish. With the cosmic apocalyptic war between the Ally and the Otherness on battlefield earth, ironically and brilliantly, the climax is human.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 14, 2011

The Three Gifts: A Story About Three Angels and the Baby Jesus-Kathie Lee Gifford and Michael Storrings (Illustrator)

The Three Gifts: A Story About Three Angels and the Baby Jesus

Kathie Lee Gifford and Michael Storrings (Illustrator)

St. Martin’s, Oct 25 2011 , $16.00

ISBN: 9781250000941

God summoned three angels to go sing a song rejoicing the birth of his son. The Lord also directs his angels to deliver a trumpet, a star and a special surprise. The heavenly messengers find the newborn Son with his mom in a manger in Bethlehem where shepherds already gathered to worship the child.

Enhanced by charming illustrations that pay homage to the collaborators’ beautiful Angel Block ornaments, this delightful preschool Christian poem is a wonderful look at the birth of the Baby Jesus. Readers of all ages will be aglow with the heavenly message while wondering what the third gift is. Kathie Lee Gifford also shines not just for an appreciative tale, but for her inspiring deed to donate “her proceeds to Childhelp non-profit organization dedicated to helping victims of child abuse and neglect.”

Harriet Klausner

Borderlands: The Fallen-John Shirley

Borderlands: The Fallen

John Shirley

Gallery/Pocket, Nov 22 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9781439198476

Engineer Zac Finn takes shortcuts on his projects so he can move onto the next one. He, his wife Marla and their son Cal are on board the Homeworld Bound docked at the Study Station. While his family waits on the ship for him, Zac uses DropCraft to head to an ET crash site in the Borderlands to loot alien artifacts. However, his vessel fails and he crash lands on hostile Pandora while thinking his mission was sabotaged as he transmits back to his astonished family his coordinates so they can mount a rescue. Only the pair is forced to abandon ship in one person lifeboats as the security drones have gone rogue.

Zac fears for his family are superseded when skags come for him. He is recued by people who want to roast him on an open fire. Berl and Bizzy rescue him from being dinner. At the same time slavers seem to have captured Marla and Cal tricks skags and spiderants to fight one another. The Finn family gets their second critical break when Cal runs into Roland the mercenary.

This superb science fiction tale is one of the best tie-ins to a videogame as John Shirley captures the essence of the Borderlands through the fresh futile survival efforts of the separated Finn trio. Rapid rotating between the three action-packed subplots, the solid cast makes for a dark thriller as Roland and his two compatriots try to form a Finn family reunion.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Real Werewives of Vampire County-Alexandra Ivy, Angie Fox, Jess Haines and Tami Dane

The Real Werewives of Vampire County

Alexandra Ivy, Angie Fox, Jess Haines and Tami Dane

Kensington, Oct 25 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758261588

“Where Darkness Lives” by Alexandra Ivy. Sophia the werewolf is highly regarded by her species as a rare female who has given birth not just once, but incredibly to four purebreds. However, someone has a different opinion and wants her dead. Alpha bodyguard Luc is hired to keep Sophia safe even as their passion ignites.

“Murder On Mysteria Lane” by Angie Fox. Like many mortals, the supernatural in-crowd wants to live in Malibu especially in Eternal Life Estates where the hottest fad is for a vampire to marry a were. When someone murders a werewife, the Vampire Counsel tries to prevent a species war. They assign vampire detective Lucian Mead with help from werewolf Heather McPhee, their best detective, to investigate.

“Werewolves In Chic Clothing” by Tami Dane. Christine Price and Jonathan Stewart meet on line and fall in love. She moves to Maryland to be with her beloved. However, she finds her new home strange and she becomes concerned over that Jonathan's late first wife; ruled a suicide but seems more like a homicide.

“What's Yours Is Mine” by Jess Haines. In Still Waters, New Jersey, women of the affluent community welcome Tiffany Winters to join their most exclusive membership, the Diamondfangs pack. However, they may be rushing to judgment as none question that Tiffany fits too perfectly with them.

These are four well written entertaining romantic suspense urban fantasies with different somewhat keeping the plots fresh. Additionally Alexandra Ivy’s entry is part of her Guardians of Eternity series.

Harriet Klausner

The Space Merchants-Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

The Space Merchants

Frederik Pohl and C.M. Kornbluth

St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 6 2011, $14.99

ISBN 9781250000156

International corporations run the world as they own the governments. CEOs rule society with their advertising gurus the keys by not just twisting the truth but selling lies persuading the downtrodden that “God has created the world and that, therefore, the world must be perfect” (Voltaire). These experts live lifestyles of wasteful abundance while the commoners lack fuel, water and food; and share one room dumps.

Fowler Shocken Associates executive Mitchell Courtenay is assigned spinning Venus the planet from hell as an idyll place to live. Though he knows this will anger his beloved ethical Kathy, he looks forward to the folk tale he will sell. However, someone steals Mitchell’s social security identifier by tattooing additional numbers onto his arm that makes him a laborer with a large debt. He knows he has no hope of returning to his affluence lifestyle as the government bureaucracy demands bribes and a corporate buddy sold his downward spiraling spin. His only chance for salvation resides with those ridiculed by the brainwashed commoners, the Consie opposition.

Frederik Pohl states in the Preface to this powerful timely satire that he revised aspects of the plot to eliminate “minor scientific or logical errors”. Although mostly undetectable except for names, some of the changes lead to disconnect with predominate acceptable social mores of the early 1950s. Still this remains a classic dystopian thriller that condemns a world driven by corporate spin masters as the authors mock Madison Ave. for the corporate takeover of government. The Space Merchants revision retains its keen lampooning of a world falling in disarray while people on need are sold on “What A Wonderful World” (by George David Weiss and George Douglas).

Harriet Klausner

Carnelians-Catharine Asaro


Catharine Asaro

Baen, Oct 12 2011, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451637489

Eubian Concord Emperor Jaibriol III and his heir chief advisor Corbal discuss implementation of the peace treaty ending hostilities with the Skolian Imperialate. The emperor knows the Aristo oppose the treaty and he expects assassination attempts on his life and those in his inner circle like his consort Tarquine Iquar the Finance Minister.

Skoalian Imperialate Imperator Kelricson Garlin Valdoria kya Skolia approves the treaty also. He like his cousin Jaibriol supports implementation though he knows assassins from his side will try to kill him.

Tarquine’s ambitious nephew Eubian General Barthol Iquar learns of the song "Carnelians Finale" that rips his side for torture by earth bound musician Del-Kurj Arden Valdoria kya Skolia. The general sees the lyrics contain a perfect propaganda tool to heat the rage of Aristos opposed to the pact with their enemy. He sets in motion a scheme to eliminate the emperor, his aunt and the heir leaving him ruling the empire and ready to stealthy reignite the war.

Fans of the Saga of the Skolian Empire (see Diamond Star) will appreciate the latest science fiction thriller as peace proves fragile with insidious individuals using a diabolical misinformation campaign for personal goals. The cast is fully developed as the leaders of the enemy nations know the treaty could lead to their assassinations (think of Sadat after the Camp David Accords). Although newcomers will be lost in space, Catherine Asaro provides a complex thriller in which a song enflames the hot heads of three civilizations.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A Vampire for Christmas-Laurie London, Caridad Pineiro, Michele Hauf and Alexis Morgan

A Vampire for Christmas

Laurie London, Caridad Pineiro, Michele Hauf and Alexis Morgan

Harlequin HQN, Oct 18 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776443

Enchanted by Blood by Laurie London. One year ago, Trace the vampire guardian and Charlotte the human fell in love. He left her erasing her memory of vampires. When his father a council member died Trace expected to inherit his seat but the others on the board stall his appointment. Trace rescues Charlotte from an assault and hires her to decorate his mansion, which feels like déjà vu to her. Trace must decide between his soulmate and the board.

Monsters Don't Do Christmas by Michele Hauf. Olivia intercedes during a brawl between Daniel the vampire and werewolves. The human kisses him and promises another tomorrow night. He learns she is a star singer and she learns he is helping a mother of two stop turning into a vampire.

When Herald Angels Sing by Caridad Pineiro. The devil demands Captain Pedro bring him the soul of Damien the vampire who has never killed anyone. However, Damien’s beloved Angelina the angel sent to save him has died twice because of him. Pedro plans to use Angelina to force Damien to lose his soul by killing him.

All I Want for Christmas by Alexis Morgan. Undercover cop Eagan the vampire searches for a serial killer drinking the blood of human male teens. He stops at Della’s diner for a coffee. She believes he is homeless so she offers him meals in exchange for odd jobs. Eagan notices her but also realizes this is a perfect cover to end the killing frenzy of a young vampire out of control.

These are four fun entertaining paranormal holiday romances starring engaging protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Lord of the Wolfyn-Jessica Andersen

Lord of the Wolfyn

Jessica Andersen

Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 18 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373618705

Two decades ago in Elden, the Blood Sorcerer conducted a bloody coup killing the rulers. He made two critical mistakes when he failed to prevent the dying king from sending to his offspring an obsessed need to avenge their deaths; and the queen using her last breath of power sends their four children into hiding so they could buy time to complete her husband's vendetta. Thus the Blood Sorcerer failed to kill the Crown prince Nicolai (see Lord of the Vampires by Gena Showalter) and his three siblings; Breena (see Lord of Rage by Jill Monroe), Dayn and Micah.

His parents sent Prince Dayn to the land of the Wolfyn, but he kept his memory when he telepathically spoke with his dying dad during his father’s last breaths and understands his obsession with returning home to lead the revolt against the Blood Sorcerer. He is unsure who will guide him back to Elden but knows he will recognize the chosen one. When he meets former cop Reda Weston of Salem, Massachusetts he is sure she is the one, but she seems confused with what is going on.

The third Royal House of Shadows romantic fantasy is a fun loose take on Little Red Riding Hood as the Lord of the Wolfyn must choose between his quest to become the big bad wolf to free his kingdom or become the handsome prince to save his cherished little Red. Although the story line slows down at times, series fans will enjoy the third thrilling entry and look forward to the clean-up hitter Nalini Singh to bring it all to conclusion hopefully with a walk off grand slam.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Sins and Desert Sands-Stephanie Draven

Dark Sins and Desert Sands

Stephanie Draven

Harlequin Nocturne, Oct 18 2011, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373618712

American military Specialist Rayhan Stavrakis spent two years in a prison in Aleppo, Syria before escaping. He captures one of his guards and reads the man’s mind to learn who in the States set him up for torture in this hellhole, what happened to his family and the name of the American shrink who worked with his hosts. He learns his family is safely home and the psychologist who coolly abetted his torturers is Dr. Layla Bahset.

Ray slips back into to United States seeking Barhset so he can read her mind and learn who ordered his rendition and why. When he finds her in Las Vegas, he is shocked on two accounts. First he desires his enemy and second she insists she has no memory of him, Syria and her past. He realizes she is telling the truth about suffering from amnesia while she wonders if he is the one she feels has been stalking her. Ray knows they have a mutual enemy who wants both dead, but he vows to use his other paranormal power to keep the woman he loves safe.

Dark Sins and Desert Sands is a wonderful desert romantic fantasy that brings Minoan mythology into the modern world. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Ray begins his quest and never slows down as the hero struggles with a new set of issues once he catches up with Doc; his thirst to get even with her kept him alive and somewhat mentally stable during the ordeal, but has to change to a new paradigm. Readers will appreciate Stephanie Draven’s marvelous Mythica thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Beauty and the Werewolf-Mercedes Lackey

Beauty and the Werewolf

Mercedes Lackey

Luna, Oct 18 2011, $24.95

ISBN: 9780373803286

Isabella Beauchamps tries to get along with her stepmother (Genevieve) and two stepsisters (Amber and Pearl). However, she is unhappy as she feels like the outsider with her dad Henri the merchant paying attention to his second wife and her two daughters. One day wearing a cloak of red Bella journeys through the forbidden forest where she meets Eric the woodsman as she brings goodies to Granny the wisewoman and heeds her advice.

On the way home, a werewolf attacks and bites her. The king sends Bella to stay with reclusive sorcerer Duke Sebastian to determine whether she is a full moon shifter. Her reluctant host is also a werewolf trying to find a spell to remove the shifter curse. At the same time she assists the duke with his experiments and also struggles to identify his servants, Bella, using a mirror, consults with her Fairy Godmother who explains none can buck the universal Tradition force that insures everyone fits inside a fairy tale.

The latest fabulous Five Hundred Kingdoms fantasy (see The Sleeping Beauty and The Fairy Godmother) is a terrific entry as Mercedes Lackey once again satirizes the Tradition roles of society in which those stepping outside the box are condemned as heretics rather than pioneers. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action while there is plenty of humor as Bella attempts to break out of the Tradition expected of the oldest daughter.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 10, 2011

Hunter of Shadows-Nancy Gideon

Hunter of Shadows

Nancy Gideon

Pocket, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9781439199503

New Orleans Police Detective Silas MacCreedy wants his shapeshifter clan to regain the preeminence his family once had. He investigates the recent rash of Shaper females vanishing without a trace. When he sees a woman under assault in an alley, he races to her rescue. Only shapeshfting Monica Fraser proves capable of taking care of herself.

Nica is an assassin in town on a mission. He has no time for a cop, but is attracted to Silas. He wants her as much as she does him. As they team up to look into what is happening to shapeshfting women, Charlotte Caissie and Max Savoie assist them. With their lives in peril, the pairs of couples face their biggest danger: love.

This is a great romantic urban fantasy with links to Nancy Gideon’s Moonlight saga (see Masked by Moonlight and Bound by Moonlight). The story line is loaded with twists as the “Good Samaritan” cop seems to always be near the trained professional killer. Star-crossed as a rival tribe hired her, fans will enjoy the first Shadows of New Orleans due to the kick butt heroine who easily takes the life out of men.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Fate’s Edge-Ilona Andrews

Fate’s Edge

Ilona Andrews

Ace, Nov 29 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780441020867

In the Cascades, Audrey Callahan quit being a con artist thief always On The Edge while working in the mundane Broken and magical Weird planes. However, her retirement is delayed with one last job as her dad pleads with her to help her brother Alex the addict with the theft of a valuable magical artifact. She initially refused until her father used the mom card and vows this would be the last time. She tells him this is her last job as he once again picked her sibling over her; she further explains she no longer has parents as he expects her to steal from the Pyramid of Ptah in West Egypt on the Weird side, a death assignment.

She succeeds, but the robbery has major secondary effects as several countries on the Weird plane are preparing for war. Adrianglia’s Mirror group Renaissance Man (who has feet on both sides of the law) Kaldar Mar amongst others with diverse goals search for the siblings and the relic. He is shocked that the cat burglar and her muscle took under twenty minutes to steal the treasure inside of a locked pyramid. Kaldar finds Audrey, who agrees to help him retrieve what she purloined for her sibling. At the same time Adrianglia’s archenemy the Hand society seeks the same artifact, which means find the Callahan siblings in order to extract information using coercive interrogation techniques.

The third Edge urban fantasy (see On the Edge and Bayou Moon) is an action-packed zany thriller starring two distrusting individuals who fight, fuss and fall in love while working the retrieval. Fast-paced with strong spins, readers from the Broken plane will enjoy the awesome adventures of Kaldar and Audrey in the Weird.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Claimed by Pleasure-Jaymie Holland

Claimed by Pleasure

Jaymie Holland

St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 25 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780312386672

In Tarok, King of Spades Darronn still fears for his subjects though twin hopes recently appeared. The mate of High King Jarron, Queen Alice of Hearts became pregnant and gave birth to werecubs. However, the hope that the end of Mikaela of Malachad’s reign of sorcery terror is over has been muted by no other birthing in the four kingdoms.

Meanwhile In San Francisco Alice’s twin sister attorney Alexi O’Brien has given up her life of one night stands in a futile search to find her missing sister who vanished a year ago. Believing she is his mate, Darronn abducts Alexi taking her to Tarok; where he as a Dom orders her to be his Sub just like her sibling. When she scorns his advances, he assumes she needs time to adjust to his dominance over her and fails to take her to see her sister. Although she enjoys his sexual control, independent and feisty Alexi suspects her so called mate hides something from her, which she deduces involves Alice.

This is a wonderful reprint of the second erotic Wonderland E-book (by Cheyenne McCray). Once again the story line is character driven by the heroine who enjoys her BDSM escapades with Daronn, but remains dedicated to her cause and when she learns the truth she will be pissed off enough that her beloved better keep his penis inside of armor. Readers will appreciate this enticing erotic fairy tale of S&M sex under the city.

Harriet Klausner

Eyes to See-Joseph Nassise

Eyes to See

Joseph Nassise

Tor, Oct 11 2011, $22.95

ISBN: 9780765327185

Harvard classics Professor Dr. Jeremiah Hunt knows his idyllic life ended the day his beloved daughter Elizabeth playing in her room in their Boston home was abducted. Jeremiah remains obsessed with finding her while the cops led by diligent homicide detective Miles Stanton declare the case cold; he watches his marriage and job implode. Desperate, he tries an arcane ritual that leaves him blind but enables him to see inside the realm of absolute darkness where ghosts and other evil supernatural entities thrive. Additionally Jeremiah delineates the genuine gifted from the con artists.

Stanton believes the Elizabeth kidnapping and the ritual have made Hunt a psychic. He employs the professor on strange cases. His current murder inquiry involves a person left dead in a ritual pose, but no cause of death surfaces; the walls of the murder scene contain words and symbols from arcane languages. When a second similar murder occurs, Hunt sees a pattern, but knows he needs help. The professor asks pub owner Dmitri Alexandrov and the witch Denise Clearwater to assist him. The trio identifies serial killing going back many years as something malevolent that has a master plan involving Hunt.

Eyes to See is an intriguing fascinating investigative urban fantasy starring an interesting protagonist who cannot see what others see but sees what they cannot. Filled with increasingly tense horror, the hero stays anchored by his determination to find Elizabeth. Although there is too much external description of what Hunt’s eyes fail to see that never quire seems to fit inside the prime story line of what he acts on what he does see, fans will appreciate this strong paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 7, 2011

Death Magic-Eileen Wilks

Death Magic

Eileen Wilks

Berkley, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425245125

Separate assassination attempts on FBI Agent Lily Yu and her Magical Crimes Division chief Ruben Brooks (see Blood Challenge) have both believing a traitor onside the agency wants them dead. Ruben decides the brutal combat between the Old Ones with no regard to collateral damage to human and supernatural beings needs a special solution. He establishes a top secret shadow force of various trusted individuals from different species. Whereas Lily declines a position in this unit because of her values that insist the government needs to adhere to the law regardless of circumstance, her Lupe fiancé Rule Turner accepts as his people are in mortal combat with an ancient adversary.

Someone using Death Magic assassinates US Senator Bixton who was a supporter of the volatile Humans First movement. The prime suspect in the high visible murder is Ruben. Lily investigates while wondering if her boss stepped outside the law to eliminate a senatorial threat. That doubt changes when the killer assaults Lily, which makes her realize the new cell is the only hope to prevent something big and ugly from happening.

The latest Lupi FBI urban fantasy is an entertaining entry in which the heroine’s internal ethical battle brings a strong morality element involving human (and paranormal) rights at a time in which torture and assassination are acceptable practices. The story line is fast-paced as Lily begins to understand why Rule did not blink when offered the opportunity to join a cell working above the law. With plenty of action and a deep look at morality, readers will appreciate visiting Wilks’ wonderful world.

Harriet Klausner

Avenger’s Angel-Heather Killough-Walden

Avenger’s Angel

Heather Killough-Walden

Signet, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451235220

Four loyal archangels (Uriel, Michael, Gabriel and Azrael) were rewarded for their faithfulness with a female angel soulmate. To insure no jealousy occurs amongst the remaining archangels, the quartet is sent to earth to find their soulmate. Their brother, angry Samael leads a revolt against the “old man”, but is exiled as The Fallen One in defeat.

For too many countless millennia they sought their mate, but now each believes it was a cruel cosmic joke. That is until Uriel, currently movie star Christopher Daniels, meets Eleanore Granger in a bookstore. She is on the run from militia who want to use her paranormal skills so has no time for a Hollywood star. Meanwhile media mogul Samuel Lambert offers her a deal she cannot refuse.

The first Lost Angels romantic urban fantasy is an exciting thriller starring a fascinating cast. The protagonists are an engaging duet as the heroine rejects she is his destiny. The villain is intriguing as he comes across more as Mr. Lonely than the evil Fallen One. Although the romance depends on fate’s mates too much with limited development between the pair, readers will enjoy the Avenger’s Angel.

Harriet Klausner

Courting Darkness-Yasmine Galenorn

Courting Darkness

Yasmine Galenorn

Jove, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780515150070

Camille the witch has just returned home bone weary from frozen escapades in the Northlands when her half-sister Menolly (see Blood Wyne for her last lead) accosts her to tell her a demon is in a stand off with werebadger bartender Derrick at the Wayfarer Bar and Grill demanding to speak with her only. The demon is actually a daemon with a message from Trytian the daemon Camille does not trust. His message is a white dragon is in the Demon Underground is seeking Camille. She shows the note to one of her husbands Smoky the white-silver mixed dragon. They both know that his father Hyto hunts them with the intent to kill his son who has shamed him with this abomination marriage and slay his daughter-in-law who led his offspring astray.

A new crisis arises when something at Tangleroot Park sucks friend Chase Johnson through an otherworld energy portal. Camille and her half sister Delilah the werecat/werepanther (see Harvest Hunting for her last lead) attempt to rescue Chase. However, Hyto captures Camille. He plans to break her soul before ripping apart her body.

The tenth D’Artigo Sisters Otherworld urban fantasy is a terrific entry as this time Camille (see Bone Magic for her last lead) is the one going through emotional and physical challenges as the lead role returns to her. The tense story line grips the reader from the moment the two half sisters mount the recue and only intensifies when the father-in-law from hell caches up with Camille. Although the overarching war against the Shadow Wing does not move forward much, the dysfunctional family dragon subplot does so readers need to set aside time with another great Yasmine Galenorn thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Supervolcano: Eruption-Harry Turtledove

Supervolcano: Eruption

Harry Turtledove

Roc, Dec 6 2011, $25.95

ISBN: 9780451464200

In the Los Angeles suburb San Atanasio, livid police lieutenant Colin Ferguson needs to get over the fact that his wife divorced him for a younger man. Bitter and ready to erupt in a meltdown, Colin decides to take a trip to Yellowstone Park. There he meets geologist Kelly Birnbaum who is studying unusual seismic activity when an earthquake hits. She tells him the possibility of a Supervolcano: Eruption is high.

They exchange phone numbers and email addresses; as Colin intends to call her as he wants to date her. Her predictions prove correct when she is flying away from the area: the sky is dark and particles mess up the engines and everything on the ground. All the nearby states are devastated with Wyoming obliterated and the rest of the lower 48 impacted. As the skies remain perpetually dark, while the romance between Colin and Kelly heats up, he keeps track of his three adult children spread across the country. Rob and his band members Squirt Frog and the Evolving Tadpoles are stranded in Northern Maine where gas is unavailable. Vanessa got out of Nevada only to stop at a Kansas FEMA relief camp which she calls is another world for hell. Perpetual student Marshall, on the verge of a degree after a couple of almost a decade at school, is trapped at home in Southern California.

Although life dramatically changes due to the impact of a Supervolcano: Eruption, this engaging tale is not a post apocalyptic thriller at least in the grand scale. Instead the entertaining story line focuses on a family before and after the blast so that the reader feels they have been in several states across the nation. With a nod to Krakatoa but on a continental scale rather than an island, known for his alternate history sagas, Harry Turtledove writes a fabulous near future survival tale (of the Ferguson family).

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans-Robert Louis Smith; Geof Isherwood (illustrator)

Antiquitas Lost: The Last of the Shamalans

Robert Louis Smith; Geof Isherwood (illustrator)

Medlock Publishing, Oct 1 2011, $19.00

ISBN: 9780615460475

Fifteen year old Elliott worries about his mom Mary who he believes his dying. They moved to New Orleans to live with her elderly father in his home built in 1796. The kind old man tells him about the house’s history and sadly informs his grandson that his mother has breast cancer.

Hi grandfather sounds as crazy as his dad claimed him to be with talk of the cause of the cancer and artifacts in the basement. Elliot explores the basement where he finds strange paintings and hears whispers. He soon finds himself in the Forest of Ondor in war wracked Pangrelor where two tiny gimlets (Marvus and Jingo) believe he is a Shamalan. They explain his species once ruled the realm, but due to ethnic cleansing are down to Princess Sarintha, prisoner of the Serpans at war with the Shamalans, Gimlets and the Grayfarers. They take him to the ruling council who plan to execute Elliot and Hooks the Susquatanian, but Jingo and Marvus rescue both. The quartet tries to prevent a Serpan attack, rescue the princess and elude the Council; while the hero needs to be with his mom.

This is an entertaining quest fantasy with unique species that bring a brisk freshness to the tale. The story line is fast-paced with vivid illustrations enhancing the good vs. bad guys plot. The Serpans who seem to be winning the war come across as incompetent in battle scenes (even their pictures make them look like losers). Mindful of the NeverEnding Story, young adult readers will appreciate this engaging thriller starring heroes with histories and allies with nebulous motives not as lucid as they first appear.

Harriet Klausner

Mirror Maze-Michaele Jordan

Mirror Maze

Michaele Jordan

PYR, Oct 25 2011, $16.00

ISBN 9781616145293

In 1882 London Jacob Aldridge grieves the death of his beloved fiancée Rhoda Carothers. Everything he does requires him to push himself as he just wants to lie down and die. His kind landlady Mrs. Florence tries to help him with his depression, but neither her or his twin sister Cecily can do much for him.

After being soaked by a carriage, Jacob comes home to find a woman sitting in his least favorite chair in his flat. She looks exactly like his beloved Rhoda; he becomes euphoric when she explains she came to haunt him. Concerned Mrs. Florence sends for Cecily because her renter was rude, filthy and profane. Cecily makes her sibling wash up and take a walk with her. They meet Livia Aram, who looks like the late Rhoda’s identical twin. He obsesses over her, which frightens her. However, they learn the truth about their late respective fathers who were wizards who dabbled in the paranormal leading to a curse upon their families. Now the twins, Livia and her guardian Dr. Chang confront a demon who thrives on human suffering with Jacob his current sustenance.

This is a superb Victorian fantasy in which no one is quite like they seem except in the dangerous Mirror Maze that connects the realms. The lead quartet are solid players who must face truths that are impossible for their rationale minds to grasp (except for Dr. Chang); while each step brings them closer to an all or nothing soul-saving vs. dying confrontation against a demon abetted by the horrific curse. Although the audience can become lost in the convoluted Mirror Maze, fans will still relish joining the fearsome foursome as they traverse a London filled magical horror.

Harriet Klausner

The Alloy of Life-Brandon Sanderson

The Alloy of Life

Brandon Sanderson

Tor, Nov 8 2011, $24.99

ISBN: 9780765330420

In the last few decades a steel based technology boom has come to Scadrial. The new Steel Age has led to railroads traversing the surface, electric lights on streets and skyscrapers. At the same time, the ancient magical system of Allomancy, Feruchemy, and Hemalurgy remains potent though more so in the perilous Roughs than in the urban centers.

For twenty years Waxillium Ladrian has enforced the law in the Rough using his Twinborn skill of deploying Allomancy to Pull metal and employing Feruchemy to change his weight. However, his time in the Rough is over as he must return home to the modern city of Elendel to replace his recently deceased uncle as Lord Ladrian. However, he learns upon coming home that a ruthless gang of thieves the Vanishers are abducting women and stealing cargo from the railcars. His sense of justice and honor has Wax, along with his friend depraved Wayne and genius Marasi, on a mission to rescue the kidnapped and to end the Vanishers reign of robberies.

The Alloy of Law is a stand alone urban fantasy that occurs in the lands of the Mistborn Trilogy, but in the future three centuries after the heroes of the previous tales are alive only as legends. The brilliant story line can be read without the perusing the trilogy though those who do so will miss out on a fabulous magical fantasy series. The key to this strong action adventure is the emerging competition between magic and technology except when a rare practitioner combines them. Wax and his two compatriots add amusing banter to a brisk High Noon in Mistborn guns and sorcery thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

A Beautiful Friendship-David Weber

A Beautiful Friendship

David Weber

Baen, Oct 4 2011, $18.99

ISBN: 9781451637472

Xeno-veterinarian Richard Harrington, his botanist wife Marjorie and their twelve years old daughter Stephanie move from planet Meyerdahl to Sphinx. The adults are ecstatic with relocating but their tweener offspring is upset having to leave behind friends and the big city of Hollister to reside in boring rustic Two Forks where harsh winters never end. Stephanie finds herself as an outsider with kids her age as her interests in xeno forests is shared by none of them

Native to Sphinx are the sentient treecats. They are cautious about revealing themselves to the two-legged outsiders. Thus Climbs Quickly is tasked with observing those residing on the Harrington farm.

Stephanie is fascinated with someone stealing celery from her mom’s greenhouse and those of others. The locals set traps, but she sees how inane their attempts are. Instead she sets her own gizmo to try to capture the thief. She sees a six-legged treecat climbing out a window and takes a picture. Using a glider, she searches and meets Climbs Quickly as a storm threatens both of them followed by a stalking beast.

This fascinating look at ancestors of Honor Harrington is an enjoyable young adult science fiction thriller that focuses on the first bonding between a treecat and a human. The story line is character driven by the humans and the treecats as two cultures collide not always smoothly. Although background between how well the two species, especially their respective families, cope with the unique bonding is ignored for action, readers will appreciate A Star Kingdom’s tale of the beginning of A Beautiful Friendship.

Harriet Klausner

The Furnace-Timothy S. Johnston

The Furnace

Timothy S. Johnston

CreateSpace, Sep 19 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781466276659

In 2401 AD, Confederate Combined Forces Security Division, Homicide Section Lieutenant Kyle Tanner investigates crimes at the most isolated locales in the solar system. His success rate is much greater than his colleagues because he cares about the family members of the butchered victims. Thus he obstinately stalks deadly predators with a determination fueled by his need to tell the loved ones he executed the monster. Other investigators do not give a damn about the victim or those grieving the loss.

In a dive on Mercury, Tanner captures Quint Sirius who killed his only friend. After he breaks his prisoner’s kneecap, he takes him to CCF Headquarters. CCF Lieutenant Commander Bryce Manning informs Tanner that earth wants him to go to SOLEX One, an energy gathering station closer to the sun than Mercury. SOLEX One Command Group Chief Jace Lassiter explains there are six officers, four scientists and five crewmen until someone murdered and mutilated crewman James Chin. His assignment is to find the killer. The station Captain Fredericks greets him with disdain while the Systems Officer Shaheen Ramachandra welcomes him. However, Tanner finds no motives for the death, mutilation or the related fire as the cause is much more insidious to both ends of the pipe line.

This is a great science fiction locked station mystery as Tanner is only the second visitor to SOLEX One. The key to the exciting thriller is the futuristic world of Timothy S. Johnston feels real whether it is the tunnels of Mercury or an isolated energy gathering station. Tanner is terrific as a caring yet kick butt protagonist. With a delightful late twist, readers will appreciate this early twenty-fifth century whodunit and why.

Harriet Klausner

Fallen-Traci L. Slatton


Traci L. Slatton

Telemachus Press, Jul 27 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781935670896

Ten months ago the white miasma Mists began to ooze from the caves. Everything burned except chlorophyll. Billions died as the Mists sucked out metals from humans and other beings on the planet during the Day five months ago when people cried in anguish. Scientist could not explain or stop it. The religious crazies insist God is punishing the global Sodom and Gomorrah, but offer no redemption except death.

So far Emma has survived along with her five years old daughter Mandy though they have come close to being history. The single mom, who carries a gun to kill her child if infected, travels with her offspring and seven lost little orphans. When the Mist has Mandy in sight, a man on a horse arrives in time as the Mist leaves. Arthur takes the nine to a camp where the mists cannot attack. Emma realizes Arthur can disperse the Mists. To keep her eight youngsters safe, she agrees to obey his command. She knows some of her charges have psychic skills and she soon meets others who do to. However, Arthur’s former colleague and now bitter adversary Alexei believes his enemy’s friend is his enemy and plans to use the kids to take down his adversary and the earth mother allied with him.

Fallen is an exhilarating post apocalyptic thriller that contains superb twists and spins, which keep the audience wondering what next. The fast-paced story line grips the reader early on with the vivid description of a world gone mad and never slows down as Emma has a bullet with Mandy’s name on it just in case. Traci L. Slatton provides an exciting end of the world thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Fenrir-M.D. Lachlan


M.D. Lachlan

PYR, Oct 25 2011, $16.00

ISBN 9781616145279

The Vikings lay siege to Paris with a threat to burn down the city if their demand is not met. The berserkers have already begun setting fires to homes along the seine. The Norse invaders demand the city elders give to them Lady Aelis, sister to the ambitious Count who wants to be the Emperor. Whereas the Count is caught between sacrificing a sibling he holds dearly and the occupants of Paris with his objective to become the Franks’ emperor almost dead, the Vikings believe she is destined to determine whether King Sigfrid is the latest incarnation of Odin.

The Count and the church turn to the blind crippled Saint Jehan of St. Germain to ask God to intervene on their behalf. However, Lady Aelis is not sticking around to become a sacrificial lamb. Instead she flees with Saint Jehan and a mad werewolf who believes he is the incantation of Odin’s most dangerous adversary the Fenris Wolf. At the same time sibling priests of Odin have set in motion a lunatic war of the Gods plan.

The sequel to Wolfsangel is a great Dark Ages fantasy that builds the Lachlan mythos from a Nordic mythological base. The cast is solid especially the beleaguered heroine, her two polar opposites protectors and the Odin priests who converge in a powerful twisting story line.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile-J.L. Bourne

Day by Day Armageddon: Origin to Exile

J.L. Bourne

Gallery/Pocket, Sep 27 2011, $18.00

ISBN: 9781451633030

“Day by Day Armageddon.” He is stationed in San Antonio. As he starts a diary, he is unprepared for the Dead attacking cities around the world. The soldier must decide on survival of the deadest with his friend John as his only trusted ally.

“Day by Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile.” He continues keeping his log having survived three months. With other humans he stays at the Hotel 23 where he fought against fellow breathers but suffers from PTSD. However, he must leave the relatively safety of Hotel 23 on a mission that will take months in which he doubts he will return as the zombie infestation has crippled the world.

“If You Can Read This...” Texas like the rest of the country is gone. Twins Brook and Eugene struggle with the deaths of their parents and younger brother, but take hope in a radio transmission they receive at the local fire station of a person claiming to be at Matagorda Island.

This is an omnibus reprinting of the first two Armageddon journals and a very short story. The novels employ a refreshing technique of a survivor in a post-apocalyptic America overrun by zombies. This diary technique is two edged as the audience sees what the hero encounters and knows his demons, but also the first person account is a filter for what others believe and somewhat passive especially when the protagonist muses. Still these are enjoyable horror tales that is summed up by Eugene in seven words when he says “If You Can Read This...”

Harriet Klausner

The Infernals-John Connolly

The Infernals

John Connolly

Atria, Oct 18 2011, $22.00

ISBN: 9781451643084

In Biddlecombe, England a few years ago, tweener Samuel Johnson and Boswell the dachshund prevented the demon Mrs. Abernathy AKA Ba’al from opening The Gates of Hell. She craves revenge for her humiliating defeat at the hand of the mortal child and his mortal dog and her demotion by the Great Malevolence who rules Old Nick’s Place.

Nearly blind Samuel asks Lucy Highmore for a date before his friend Thomas Hobbes tells him he asked the letter box out. The opportunity has finally arrived after a few years of impatience for Mrs. Abernathy to claw the punk who thwarted the invasion. The Large Hadron Collider has been reactivated allowing Mrs. Abernathy the energy to pull Samuel and Boswell, Police Constable Peel and Sergeant Rowan, Mr. Happy Whip the ice-cream man, and the performing troupe of Mr. Merryweather’s Dwarves into Hell where she has him on her home turf where her allies the Infernos wait no longer. Once again, Mrs. Abernathy underestimates her young opponent who has a contingent of supporters brought from earth accidently by the demon and one friend Nurd the hapless demon on his side.

This is a whimsical young adult lighthearted fantasy filled with satirical and slapstick humor competing for top billing against the encroaching evil darkness. Fast-paced and loaded with jocularity as puns are everywhere, readers will enjoy the rematch between the powerful demon and her Infernals vs. Samuel and his retinue because at stake is two realms.

Harriet Klausner

The Third Section-Jasper Kent

The Third Section

Jasper Kent

PYR, Oct 25 2011, $16.00

ISBN: 9781616145316

Decades of relative peace across Europe ends in 1855 as the Crimean War has ignited. In Moscow, Tamara Valentinovna Komarova is stunned by a particularly vicious homicide at a time when combat has made death the norm. The brutal murder is the first of its kind since the Napoleonic Wars.

In Sevastopol, like his father did years ago (see Twelve), Dmitry Alekseevich Danilov leads a Russian army against the French, but unlike his dad he also faces their allies the British. However, he soon realizes another foe who was his dad’s worst nightmare and thought dead three decades ago (see Thirteen Years Later) still live to terrorize people. Vasiliy Innokyentievich Yudin and other Oprichniki use the hazy chaos of war to bare their monstrous fangs.

The third Russian nineteenth century fantasy is an interesting entry anchored in time and place by the Crimean War. The story line lacks the freshness of its predecessors mostly because so much was revealed in Thirteen Years Later turns this thriller into a middle book. Still the tale engages the audience who want to follow how Jasper Kent ties The Third Section mythos to real history.

Harriet Klausner

Lightbringer-K.D. McEntire


K.D. McEntire

PYR, Nov 22 2011, $16.95

ISBN: 9781616145392

When adults die, they almost always enter the Light. However some children alone for the first time are afraid to step into the Light. Instead they go to Never, a place similar to the cities and towns they resided in when alive but the skies are perpetually dark and the Lost ghosts roam eternally with abilities that work in both dimensions. The Lost are linked to a Rider who protects them from the evil Walkers, the dead who reject and curse the light.

Lately more Walkers are capturing the Lost, whose youthful innocence they feed on. The first Rider Piotr lost one of his children so he and other Riders who also have some wards meet to safely discuss what to do. Wendy is a Lightbringer who sends the spirits she sees into the Light. She and Piotr meet, and to their amazement they can touch and feel each other. Malevolence in the form of the White Lady enters Never with the ability to enhance the power of the Walkers who owe her absolute loyalty or else. Her target is Wendy who she threatens top destroy by manipulating Piotr; Wendy loves him, but knows she belongs in the Light bur she come up with a plan to save him before the Dark takes him.

The Lightbringer is a superb unforgettable young adult romantic urban fantasy filled with a strong venue that will have readers believing in the McEntire mythos. The relationship between the star-crossed protagonists adds angst and ardency to plenty of action. With nods to the Ghost Whisperer, readers will appreciate the war over the souls of Piotr the Lost First Rider and Wendy.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Botticelli Affair-Traci L. Slatton

The Botticelli Affair

Traci L. Slatton

Telemachus Press, Jul 27 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781935670872

In 1483 John Bolingbroke became a vampire. On Christmas Day 1652, John changed when he followed a prostitute into a church leading to his valuing humans. Five decades ago, a capricious God thought it would be humorous to play with John by giving him a half soul so he can feel desire, regret and remorse like a human does.

In the basement of MOMA, John hides while listening to a powerful vampire coven needs Robert Cambridge to give them a lost Botticelli. To force his cooperation, they plan to kidnap his daughter former art forger Laila. Just before Robert vanished, John promised him he would protect the red haired amazon Laila whose paint strokes remind him of an old friend from centuries ago Buonnaroti. He meets her at MOMA when she conducts a tour he joins. He claims to be a collector who saw her dad. While vampires chase John and Laila in Europe, they search for Robert whose life is in danger and so is the missing Botticelli.

The Botticelli Affair is a superb romantic urban fantasy thriller that vividly takes readers on a tour of the Metropolitan, and museums and galleries in Europe. The protagonists are a fabulous pairing as he is attracted to her like no one in over five centuries and she is a kick butt Valkyrie on a mission to save her father, the painting, her beloved hybrid and her soul. Like Traci L. Slatton did with the entertaining complex Immortal, she paints a cerebral action-packed vampire tale of danger in the international world of art.

Harriet Klausner

Better Off Undead-D.D. Barant

Better Off Undead

D.D. Barant

St. Martin’s, Oct 4 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312545055

The world of Thropirelem consists of 99+% paranormal (vampires, werewolves and gloms) and the rest mostly humans. FBI profiler Jace Valcek was dragged from our earth to capture the head of the Free Human Resistance Aristotle Stoker; her NSA handler Cassius the vampire swears she can go back to her Seattle once the mission is done.

Twice werewolf Dr. Pete saved Jace’s life but died in a third attempt. He is back as criminal Tair, which has Jace trapped in the claws of a werewolf mob war. However, in her efforts to keep the war cold, Jace is bitten and becomes infected with the thrope virus. Cassius explains the best way to prevent the Lycan change is conversion to vampire.

The latest Bloodhound Files (see Dying Bites, Death Blows and Killing Rocks) is an exhilarating fantasy with a great spin. The heroine has choices to make; none that she desires. However, though this is an excellent entry, it is the thought provoking overarching premises of de jure and de facto racism that Jace and other humans face every day and race wars between species seeking ethnic cleansing that makes this saga of an alternate Seattle (and elsewhere) consistently one of the best.

Harriet Klausner

Fire Works in the Hamptons-Celia Jerome

Fire Works in the Hamptons

Celia Jerome

Daw, Nov 1 2011, $7.99

ISBN 9780756406882

Willow Tate has the unique ability as a Visualizer to draw essences from the Faerie realm into out world. However the graphic novelist has a tendency to get so involved in herself and her work, Willow forgets the byproduct consequences of what she can do (see Trolls in the Hamptons and Night Mares in the Hamptons).

Her current novel stars a fire wizard, which means the residents of Paumanok Harbor must contend with serial arson caused by lightning bugs from beyond. Willow’s neighbors want to burn her at the stake for what she has caused and its consequence of potentially revealing the town make up not found in any census. She also deals with a fire baby dumped on her and a psychic firefighter who wants to heat her body with his; as she muses just another few days on the Hamptons.

Although the heroine is too mellow with all the Fire Works in the Hamptons that threaten the South Fork, readers will enjoy the third island fantasy of the Visualizer whose drawings cause havoc. The story line is fast-paced and filled with twists as the locals deal with Willow’s latest mass destruction “creation”.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 2, 2011

The Night Eternal-Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

The Night Eternal

Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

Morrow, Oct 25 2011, $26.99

ISBN: 9780061558269

Two years ago the pandemic vampiric virus was deployed on an unsuspecting New York City (see The Strain). The toll turned devastatingly global as humanity fell from the top of the food chain with the vampires hunting mortals. Releasing a nuclear winter that turned the earth into almost total Night Eternal, the Master ancient vampire has his followers establish death camp ranches where his followers can breed humans in order to snack on the mortals.

There are few free humans who remain outside the cattle captivity; most of those hide in remote holes. A small defiant cell continues to rebel against the Master and his bloody horde. Doctors Eph Goodweather and Nora Martinez, Vasiliy Fet, and the Master’s hybrid offspring Mr. Quinlan have different motivations accentuated by the death of their spiritual leader Abraham Setrakian (see The Fall) in spite of the same goal to rid the planet of the bloodsuckers. One of the rebels has the answer to end the genocide killing of the Master and his species in what would be a suicide mission, but whose side is this individual on as the ancient vampire masterly manipulates his enemies into betraying their kind.

The final Strain post-apocalyptic urban fantasy is an exciting ending to an entertaining fresh modern spin to the mythos. Action-packed throughout the trilogy, readers will enjoy what looks like the final extermination of humanity except for those in the camps. Although the climax will not shock the audience and too much personal demons defang the human resistance (and slows the plot), fans will appreciate getting there; as before they become bloodless fodder Nora and others must discover man’s most beloved weapon against an amoral more powerful predator.

Harriet Klausner

The Cliff Road Chronicles: Tales of the Brotherhood of Darkness

The Cliff Road Chronicles: Tales of the Brotherhood of Darkness

Anne Fraser, Inanna Arthen (editor)

By Light Unseen Media, Sep 21 2011, $15.00

ISBN: 9781935303275

The Cliff Road Chronicles is a fitting tribute to the late Anne Fraser whose take on the 1990s urban fantasy is extremely refreshing and showcases how ahead of the sub-genre she was (and still is).. Filled with amusing puns, these contributions provide intriguing relationships and personal tsuris that vamps, mages, druids, werewolves, fairies and humans confront.

“Gideon and Joshua: A Love Story” consists of eleven shorts that start in the mid 1990s to 2006 mostly in Maine in the chronological order they occur; while simultaneously matching when they were released. They are a direct follow-up to the superb vampire novel Gideon Redoak. The key to these entries is that the pair has relationship issues as mortal couples have, but also has additional issues. With Gideon the baron so tense over several crises, his human lover Joshua books them for a few days at Club Undead in the Caribbean. Over their time together, the lovers admit their love for one another, become engaged and marry, but face problems like any couple compounded by the Pope’s condemning gay couples “To Burn In Hell”. The tales end with the stunning twist of “The Lost Boy.”

“The Adventures of the Brotherhood of Darkness” focuses on other members of the "Cliff Road Crowd" with the same concepts in time (from 1998 to 2007) as the Gideon-Joshua tales. In “Daven’s Stream”, Ray Griffin the mage is asked to sit for a spell. While driving Vampire widow Alex Goldanias almost suffers a cardiac even without a heartbeat when his “Fairy Godmother” appears out of nowhere to lecture him. The other four tales range from jocular inanity to taut suspense.