Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Trial of Fallen Angels-James Kimmel, Jr.

The Trial of Fallen Angels

James Kimmel, Jr.

Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam, Nov 8 2012, $23.95

ISBN: 9780399159695

Brek Abigail Cuttler arrives at abandoned Shemaya Train Station bloody and is somewhat confused about how she got here and what her ten month old daughter Sarah looks like. Luas arrives to inform her that she died when she stopped to pick up milk. The lawyer thinks he is her first legal mentor the late Bill Gwynne. She rejects the notion that she is dead though she misses her child and her spouse Bo.

He escorts her to her to her beloved deceased Nana’s house to prepare her for her afterlife as a defense attorney for souls going before the all mighty Judge. Nana tells her granddaughter that the souls she meets will help her deal with what happened to her on the mortal plane and prepare her to continue her celestial journey. Brek begins her passionate defense of her clients but wonders whether one can receive a fair trial without a jury of your peers when God is sitting in judgment and oversees the procedures.

This exciting allegorical tale uses the Albert Brooks’ “Defending Your Life" premise enhanced by God sitting in judgment of the souls before the celestial bench. The storyline engages the reader while Brek keeps the plot focused as she raises questions of fair play, redemption and forgiveness. Although the key celestial cast is underdeveloped, fans will enjoy Brek’s look at most people who are saint and sinner as she appeals that the judgmental procedures are biased towards the wicked deeds superseding the good ones.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Mortal Ties-Eileen Wilks

Mortal Ties

Eileen Wilks

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425254929

A B&E thief enters Nokolai Clanhome. The felon steals a magical gizmo that Cullen Seaborne was working on. FBI agent Lily Yu and her fiancé Nokolai Lu Nuncio Rule Turner panic as the gadget is far from ready for prime time as it is unstable while the maniacal loyalist to the Old One Robert Friar remains on the loose.

Yu believes the culprit not only knows about the erratic nature of the mechanism, but plans to use the unfinished invention because of that unpredictable and uncontrollable nature. She also strongly thinks that someone inside of the Nokolai betrayed the clan by abetting the theft. While the clan pressures its leader to resolve the breach, Yu investigates as adversaries try to abduct her sister Beth.

The latest Lupi urban fantasy (see Blood Challenge and Human Error in the Tied With A Bow anthology) is a terrific entry. The war between the Lupi and Old Ones is heating up. Readers will appreciate this fabulous thriller with the clan coming front and center as a traitor apparently has sold out his or her “family”.

Harriet Klausner

Revelation-Erica Hayes


Erica Hayes

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9780425258378

In what was once Manhattan, but now Babylon, Luniel the Fallen Angel looking out from Liberty Island sees the signs that Apocalypse is coming. Demons have released two of God’s holy wrath vials. One changed the sea near Liberty island into blood and the other has created zombies.

Medical examiner Dr. Morgan Sterling believes everything can be explained by science with the cause for those phenomena that cannot be proven due to a lack of understanding. She believes she can cure the zombie plague using medical research. Lune comes to her morgue but fails to persuade the agnostic leaning atheist that there are things from heaven and hell that science cannot fathom. They team up in search of Patient Zero as he and other Fallen seeking redemption seek those royal demons who stole and deployed two of the seven holy wrath vials.

The first Seven Signs romantic dark urban fantasy is an exciting thriller starring an intriguing Fallen angel in a world in which the Demon Princes have begun the End of Days although Morgan’s obstinacy in spite of the evidence to the contrary becomes a distractor. Still readers will enjoy Revelation as Apocalypse now has commenced in New York City.

Harriet Klausner

Mate Claimed-Jennifer Ashley

Mate Claimed

Jennifer Ashley

Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251010

In Shifterown, Iona Duncan hides her shifter Wildcat side though she refuses to wear a Collar because she fears if exposed what will happen to her mom and sister. The town’s alpha Eric Warden recognizes Iona as a hybrid masquerading as a purebred human. He waits anticipating when her mating need takes over her mind and body.

Eric worries about Iona because if she remains stubbornly in denial she soon will die. Worse he knows who her mate is and waits for her to recognize the reality of who he is. When her mating desire explodes, Iona struggles to control her need for Eric.

The latest Shifters Unbound romantic urban fantasy (see Wild Cat) is a wonderful brisk thriller due to the relationship between the two protagonists hampered by Iona’s clinging to her denial defense mechanism. The heroine’s insistence on pretending to be human even as her mating instincts demand otherwise brings freshness to a strong series. Readers will relish the paranormal romance dance of love or death.

Harriet Klausner

Between Two Fires-Christopher Buehlman

Between Two Fires

Christopher Buehlman

Ace, Oct 2 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 9781937007867

The Lord God had turned his face from men. His devoted angels know they must protect the children of Adam from the Fallen. As the Lord made no answer to the plight of man, Lucifer tells his followers it is time to test God’s will by releasing the Great Death Plague onto the Lord’s greatest insult the sons and daughters of Adam. The fallen leader says this will mark the beginning of the second war of heaven.

In 1348 in Normandy so many have succumbed to the Great Death, burials have stopped. Four excommunicated former knights turned brigands (Thomas, Godefroy, Jacquot and the fat one) travel the land scavenging for food while forced to eat spoiled meals. They reach a barn in a devastated village. There they meet the Girl who expected their arrival as an angel told her. The Girl realizes Godefroy wants to rape her while Thomas protects her killing two of his companions. She informs her savior that the Black Death is the opening salvo in Lucifer’s plan to win the second war of heaven with mankind caught in the middle of the combat zone. The Girl persuades Thomas to escort her to Avignon where she will confront evil.

Between Two Fires is an engaging good and evil medieval thriller. With a sense of eeriness throughout, Thomas and readers wonder if the orphaned Girl he escorts is a Lucifer witch or a heavenly messenger. Although the key cast (except for the mysterious Girl) is stereotypical of the Heaven War trope, fans will enjoy Christopher Buehlman’s trek across war fourteenth century ravaged and now plagued-torn France.

Harriet Klausner

The Sparrow and the Hawk-Meg Lacey

The Sparrow and the Hawk

Meg Lacey

ImaJinn, Sep 30 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9781610260978

At Ardmore College near Cincinnati, NAS (Normal, Abnormal, Strange) Agency chief Dr. Calvin Walters assigns his niece operative Jillie “Sparrow” Harte with obtaining the dangerous Carmaletta Choker. Uncle Cal believes collector Franklin Doherty has the choker that if deployed could destroy the world.

Jill uses her cover as a documentary filmmaker doing a movie on “Decoration, Fashion and Accessories Throughout History” to meet Franklin as he owns a famous collection. However, her cameraman fails to make the assignment; instead Griff “Hawk” Ryland replaces him; Jillie is attracted to, but distrusts him. After meeting with Franklin, he invites them to stay at his mansion and attend a party he hosts. Strange happenings occur, but the most enigmatic is they find Franklin dead.

The Sparrow and the Hawk is an enjoyable fantasy undercover thriller starring two intriguing protagonists and a weird house filled with odd collectibles that belong in Warehouse 13 (mansion included). Fast-paced with a tongue in cheek feel to the events that unfold, fans will appreciate the case of the Carmaletta Choker while the heroine wonders who she can trust.

Harriet Klausner

Forge of Darkness-Steven Erikson

Forge of Darkness

Steven Erikson

Tor, Sep 18 2012, $27.99

ISBN: 9780765323569

In in Kurald Galain, the Tiste people look forward to the peace after a brutal war against the Forulkan and the Jheleck. However, the militia having no external hostilities to fight refuses to give up power earned during the war and argue between themselves over leadership. Additionally, the three prime Tiste races (the Andii, Liosan and Edur) also are divided as the eight-Highborn noble families covet more affluence and influence.

In this hodgepodge of potential violence, Tiste ruler Mother Dark chose Draconus as a lover. This angers the other noble families who feel their ruler slapped them with picking Draconus; as in their minds the consort is a nonentity lesser Highborn while each of the other aristocratic houses expected one of their members selected. Even the commoners take issue with Draconus as they demand Mother Dark choose their hero Vatha Urusander. Civil was seems imminent.

The opening entry in The Kharkanas Trilogy prequel to the Malazan Book of the Fallen is a fascinating tale that occurs centuries before any event (including flashbacks) in the main saga. The engaging storyline focuses on how they got here questions from the series though there remain older historical events (including new references). Well-written for fans of the Malazan although there is no closure, readers will appreciate this epic prequel.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 17, 2012

Fury's Kiss-Karen Chance

Fury's Kiss

Karen Chance

Signet, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451413239

Working undercover with teammates trying to learn how magical weapons were being smuggled out of Faerie, Dorina Basarab the dhampir awakens to a bloodbath in a lab which she is the sole survivor except for a male staring at her. She tries to kill him, but master vampire Louis-Cesare prevents her from doing so.

The Vampire Senate demands answers to what went wrong as they assume the worst of Dory as everyone knows the hybrid dhampir species fly into berserker rages rather easily. Dory has controlled her urges by going after rogue vampires and evil demons. She does not recall what happened that led to the massacre as if her memory cells were tampered with. As she seeks the truth, Dory faces mad scientists wanting to continue their experiment, fallen angels with malice, and a more malevolent violent vampire subspecies.

The third Midnight's Daughter urban fantasy (see Death’s Mistress) is a dark exhilarating thriller filled with nonstop action yet also enables the audience to look deep at the self-destructive dhampir species. Dory holds the storyline focused as she investigates what occurred in the lab only to run into a horde of nasty adversaries with Louis-Cesare and perhaps her dad having her back. Fury’s Kiss is a strong entry in a fabulous saga.

Harriet Klausner

Werewolf in Denver-Vicki Lewis Thompson

Werewolf in Denver

Vicki Lewis Thompson

Signet, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0451238641

Werecon2012 hosted in Estes Park near Denver focuses on the theme of “Our future in a changing environment.” Scottish were Duncan MacDowell the founder of Werewolves Optimizing Our Future (WOOF) and American were Kate Stillman the founder of “Honoring Our Werewolf Legacy” will debate marriage to human partners. Duncan supports the Wallace Experiment (see Werewolf in the North Woods and A Werewolf in Manhattan) while Kate believes that interspecies relationships are doomed to fail.

When the head WOOF and head HOWLER meet, they are chagrined by their attraction to each other. As they fight their feelings, he knows making her his mate will destroy his work and affirm hers. She knows he only will wed a human to validate his belief. Love may not be enough for this arguing pair.

The latest Wild About You romantic urban fantasy (see Werewolf in Seattle) is a clever lighthearted tale that will remind readers of the marriage between Mary Matalin and James Carville but with fur literally flying. The storyline is fast-paced as the lead couple fights each other and their respective hearts.

Harriet Klausner

Ember's Kiss-Deborah Cooke

Ember's Kiss

Deborah Cooke

Signet, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451238252

Brandon Merrick denies his Pyr heritage as he refuses to use his dragon-shifting ability to protect mankind from the Slayers who plan to eradicate both races. His action has isolated him from his heartbroken family and his race, but he cares not one iota. Instead he has become a professional surfer working the waves off Hawaii. Chen the Slayer pretends to be an older friend of Brandon, who insists he can help the surfer control his undesirable dragon side. However, Chen in reality has been casting a binding spell on Brandon that will force the dolt to do his bidding.

Marine biologist Liz Barrett arrives in Hawaii to study the reefs. Like Brandon she flees her ancestry as a witch firedaughter. When they meet, their essence ignites the Firestorm as each recognizes their mate in the other. However, Chen has Brandon captured with only Liz, if she deploys her heritage, able to save her loved one and the innocent on the island.

The latest Dragonfire urban fantasy (see Flashfire) is a super thriller starring two protagonists rejecting genetics and a diabolical villain manipulating that denial. Action-packed, series fans will relish this superb entry that profoundly digs into an individual’s desires to include rejecting their inherited nature while also bringing witches into the Cooke mythos.

Harriet Klausner

The Wild Road-Jennifer Roberson

The Wild Road

Jennifer Roberson

Daw, Sep 4 2012, $25.95

ISBN: 978-0756404956

Alisanos the sentient woods continues to change its borders encroaching into the lands of the humans. No one trapped inside this Deepwood Forest remains unscathed. Audrun the mother of five knows this first hand as she, her mate Davyn and their offspring fled their home only to have Alisanos trap them.

Separated from her four older children, Audrun, under the protection of Rhuan the demigod guide, gave birth prematurely to Sarith; only to lose her newborn to a demon. Fearing for her baby, Audrun locates her other kids while Davyn continues his frantic search for his lost family. However, as monsters roam the predatory woods, Audrun realizes Alisanos has changed her children, but she fears what they have become.

The third Karavans family fantasy is an exciting epic as Audrun and Davyn desperately search separately; while fearing the worst as anyone trapped inside of Alisanos can never leave since those outside reject them as different. Fans will be disappointed with the abrupt climax and that the overarching theme moves glacially, if at all. Still diehard readers of the saga will want to know how the trapped not so human anymore family are doing within the dangerous Alisanos.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Whispers at Moonrise- C.C. Hunter

Whispers at Moonrise

C.C. Hunter

St. Martin's Griffin, Oct 2 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9781250011916

After struggling with her recent self-discovery of paranormal power, Kylie Galen realizes what she is while attending Shadow Falls Camp for the supernatural vampires, werewolves, and fairies. However, that does not ease her mind as she has to learn what powers she possesses and how to control them; as no one mentored her when she was younger.

Besides having supernatural skills issues, Kylie struggles with her feelings for two campers as Derek the half fae claims he loves her and Lucas her werewolf boyfriend constantly chooses his pack over her. The rouges want her dead, and her paternal grandfather whom she recently met trusts no one especially Shadow Falls Camp and wants his descendent to leave with him.

The latest Shadow Falls young adult urban fantasy (see Born At Midnight and Awake At Dawn) is a delightful entry as the protagonist has several difficult choices to make with the three males in her life each demanding she pick him. Action-packed and filled with twists, fans will wonder what destiny the teen heroine will choose.

Harriet Klausner

Skarlet-Thomas Emson


Thomas Emson

St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 2 2012, $14.99

ISBN 9780312621704

At Religion, a club in London, twenty-eight partygoers take a new drug Skarlet. Anyone who did take it dies. Police Superintendent Phil Burch suspects club bouncer, disgraced veteran Jake Lawton killed these people. Jake had the means with his Iraqi tour; the opportunity as his boss supported by two employees implies he stole the tape of what happened, and the motive since his estranged girlfriend is one of the victims. Insisting he is being set up as he was in Iraq Jake storms out of the club.

Forty-eight hours after the clubbers died, each victim rises from the grave with a thirst for live blood. Reporter Christine Murray who destroyed him allegedly for killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq and Lithgow the dealer who brought the drugs to Religion join Jake as they battle an ancient conspiracy fostered by human avarice.

This is a superb vampire thriller that stars a scapegoat hero and a strong support cast. The fast-paced storyline deftly merges pathos with gore. Fans will enjoy exciting Skarlet as the drug of choice becomes blood.

Harriet Klausner

Skarlet-Thomas Emson


Thomas Emson

St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 2 2012, $14.99

ISBN 9780312621704

At Religion, a club in London, twenty-eight partygoers take a new drug Skarlet. Anyone who did take it dies. Police Superintendent Phil Burch suspects club bouncer, disgraced veteran Jake Lawton killed these people. Jake had the means with his Iraqi tour; the opportunity as his boss supported by two employees implies he stole the tape of what happened, and the motive since his estranged girlfriend is one of the victims. Insisting he is being set up as he was in Iraq Jake storms out of the club.

Forty-eight hours after the clubbers died, each victim rises from the grave with a thirst for live blood. Reporter Christine Murray who destroyed him allegedly for killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq and Lithgow the dealer who brought the drugs to Religion join Jake as they battle an ancient conspiracy fostered by human avarice.

This is a superb vampire thriller that stars a scapegoat hero and a strong support cast. The fast-paced storyline deftly merges pathos with gore. Fans will enjoy exciting Skarlet as the drug of choice becomes blood.

Harriet Klausner

Death and the Girl Next Door-Darynda Jones

Death and the Girl Next Door

Darynda Jones

St. Martin's Griffin, Oct 2 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780312625207

In Riley’s Switch, New Mexico, high school student Lorelei lives with her grandparents as she has for the last decade since her parents disappeared. Her grandparents and her best friends Brooklyn and Glitch worry about her the week before, during and after the anniversary of the vanishings.

At school, loner Cameron starts stalking Lorelei as he stands outside her home every night like a sentinel and seems to pop up out of nowhere just about wherever she may be. School newcomer Jared also showers attention on Lorelei. He and Cameron loathe each other at first sight with Lorelei as the cause of their hostility. Their disdain turns to fighting while a stunned Lorelei begins seeing visions of the new teen on the block fighting a monster.

This is a terrific young adult urban fantasy starring a strong cast anchored by the bewildered heroine. Fast-paced, teen readers will want to know the mystery of the “triangle” participants and whether they connect to her missing parents; as Darynda Jones provides a strong paranormal thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Ghosts of Memories-Barb Hendee

Ghosts of Memories

Barb Hendee

Roc, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464842

Vampire Eleisha Clevon lives among humans without killing them as she adheres to the Four Laws. Her “life’s” goal is to mentor her species to live in harmony with humans. Thus, Elisha, accompanied by her vampiric protector Philip Branté and their human friend former police psychologist Wade Sheffield, search for other vamps.

Meanwhile Julian Ashton the raging vampire continues his hunt for elders using Eleisha and her associates as his unwitting guides. At the same time in the Seattle area, Christian Lefevre masquerades as a psychic who makes contact with the deceased loved ones of his affluent clients; after each session his customers are left extremely weak.

The latest Vampire Memories urban fantasy (see Memories of Envy and Hunting Memories) is an engaging tale as readers learn much more about the psychology of being a vampire as most live for ages as loners with powers superior and vulnerabilities in comparisons to their sustenance species. Readers find out more about what motivates evil Julian and goodness Eleisha as both are wired differently than the humans that surround them. Filled with action in Wales and Puget Sound, Barn Hendee provides a deep look at what being a vampire feels like while swimming upstream in a human ocean.

Harriet Klausner

Death's Rival-Faith Hunter

Death's Rival

Faith Hunter

Roc, Oct 2 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780451464859

New Orleans Master Vampire Leo Pellisier orders his employee skinwalker vampire-killer Jane Yellowrock to return to the city. Leo explains someone wants to replace him as the city’s Master Vampire and to achieve this objective means assassinating the incumbent and his supporters.

An attack proves that the adversary displayed an upper echelon level of power, has no qualms about collateral damage in regards to deaths of civilians and knows how to deploy an operation. As Jane investigates, she uncovers a plague that infects vampires leaving their masters accessible for elimination. Jane believes the rogue making a power play is behind the crippling disease.

The latest Jane Yellowrock urban fantasy (see Raven Cursed) is an awesome action-packed thriller as the heroine works a case unaware that traitors pursue her. The inquiry is excellent as New Orleans’ vampire community is in deep trouble with Jane the only hope for their survival even as her life and much more are in peril. Death's Rival is an excellent entry in a strong supernatural series.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Currents-Jacqueline Carey

Dark Currents

Jacqueline Carey

Roc, Oct 2 2012, $26.95

ISBN 9780451464781

Pemkowet, Michigan is the true melting pot as the small town is home to humans, paranormals and hybrids. Demon-human Daisy Johanssen serves as the liaison between the mortal police and Hel the Norse goddess chieftain of the underworld.

The Police Chief Bryant wakes up Daisy with a situation at the gazebo. College student Vanderhei was intoxicated when he bet his two friends he could swim the river, but died in the attempt. The Chief says the timeline feels wrong so he asks Daisy to help as magic may have been instrumental in the death. Officer Cody Fairfax has doubts having Daisy assist, but they team up on a case in which the means may have been magical, mundane or both.

This first urban fantasy police procedural is a terrific paranormal whodunit as Jacqueline Carey makes her Michigan world of paranormal and normal living together seem real. With a nod to Rosemary’s Baby, Daisy is a superb protagonist as her maternal values battle with her paternal desire to embrace the “Seven Deadlies”. Action-packed, readers will enjoy Daisy’s dilemma as she and Cody investigate the death of a drunken student.

Harriet Klausner

Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes-Rob DeBorde

Portlandtown: A Tale of the Oregon Wyldes

Rob DeBorde

St. Martin's Griffin, Oct 16 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781250006646

In 1887 retired marshal Jim Kleberg digs up the grave of Abraham Thomas Alcott whose gravestone states he died in 1874. When the caretaker asks him what he is doing, Jim shows the man a skull and asks if that is him. Jim reluctantly arrives in Portland, Oregon to live with his daughter Katie, her blind husband Joseph, and their twin children (Samuel and Maddie).

At the same time that Jim goes to live with his daughter and her family, Henry Macke resurrects and reanimates the Hanged Man. This zombie seeks a demonic weapon while targeting mentally impaired Jim. Not long afterward a zombie horde attacks Jim and his family as Joseph with his extrasensory skills and Andre Labeau the occultist lead the battle against these undead monsters.

Portlandtown is an exhilarating action-packed western zombie thriller. Fast-paced, the key living cast (especially the Oregon Wyldes’ wild family interrelationships, Jim’s apparent senility and Andre’s quest for redemption) and the Hanged Man are fully developed. Readers anticipate an OK Corral good and evil confrontation.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 14, 2012

Poison Princess-Kresley Cole

Poison Princess

Kresley Cole

Simon & Schuster, Oct 2 2012, $18.99

ISBN: 9781442436640

Evie attended high school in Sterling, Louisiana but was sent away by her mom to an asylum to help her ignore her grandma’s ranting’s and in order for the delusions to vanish. She took meds and finally got out. Back at school she is paired with newcomer Cajun biker Jackson.

Evie hears voices and draws her nightmares in her journal as she thinks of the apocalypse. Death talks to her calling her the Empress and promising with his ally Ogen to eat her bones. Her prime voice Matthew warns Evie to prepare as the Reaper is coming. Evie asks about the red witch, which Matthew says is the Poison Princess.

Evie and her mom survive the apocalyptic Flash that leaves many dead. There are no plants and zombie like bagmen seeks survivors. Her mom is ill from a bagman attack and when Evie cuts herself with her suddenly large nails, the blood grows crops. Jack arrives and warns them a militia is coming. He wants to know how she grew fresh vegetables. When Evie’s mom dies, they burn down the farm so there is no evidence of vegetables, which would make Evie a prisoner. They begin their trek to the North Carolina Outer Banks where her grandma lives with the truth.

Although the storyline starts slow to anchor the personalities of the lead couple before the world changed in a flash, the Cole post-apocalyptic realm seems real and the cast fully developed as readers will accept the deft transformation of the heroine and the survivor skills of Jack. Evie’s attitude towards Jack seems off kilter as he risks his life to save her several times. Still Poison Princess is an entertaining exciting twisting thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Micro-Michael Crichton and Richard Preston


Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Harper, Sep 25 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780060873172

Nanigen MicroTechnologies has created a process to shrink machines like similar companies but the firm can reduce and return to normal size living beings. Company CEO Vin Drake deploys plans for the firm and him to make billions of dollars. However, Nanigen executive Eric Jansen threatens Drake’s plan. Soon afterward, Jansen vanishes.

Jansen’s brother Peter comes to Oahu accompanied by six other graduate students. He investigates what happened to his sibling only to have Drake shrink him and his companions; leaving them to die in the forest. Their size turns the group into tasty morsels for ravenous gigantic beasts like insects, but this magnificent seven has skills that give them a good chance of surviving.

With a nod to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Micro is an exciting science fiction story. The fast-paced storyline makes great use of the Hawaiian rainforest setting in which bugs normally ignored become vociferous predators. Although the team has too great needed expertise, fans will enjoy this entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

Stefan Kiesbye

Penguin, Sep 25 2012 $15.00

ISBN: 9780143121466

Retired Christian the widower comes home from Buffalo, New York to Hemmersmoor, Germany for the first time in years but it is too late to attend his mother’s funeral. When he was young, he had three close friends in the village, but over time the quartet grew apart. However, Martin, Christian, Linde and Anke knew geography, changing relationships and age were not the underlying cause of their separation four decades ago. Instead each looks back to the dark secrets that cursed them and Hemmersmoor.

This is a psychological horror tale in which the atmosphere haunts the older townsfolk (and readers) while the younger ones scoff at their alleged superstition. The quartet ironically realizes that forty years ago they were the ridiculing youth scorning their elders’ fears. Rotating perspective between the four protagonists as they look back to a period when they were changing from youthful innocents to fearful unwanted maturity, fans will appreciate this dark thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Micro-Michael Crichton and Richard Preston


Michael Crichton and Richard Preston

Harper, Sep 25 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780060873172

Nanigen MicroTechnologies has created a process to shrink machines like similar companies but the firm can reduce and return to normal size living beings. Company CEO Vin Drake deploys plans for the firm and him to make billions of dollars. However, Nanigen executive Eric Jansen threatens Drake’s plan. Soon afterward, Jansen vanishes.

Jansen’s brother Peter comes to Oahu accompanied by six other graduate students. He investigates what happened to his sibling only to have Drake shrink him and his companions; leaving them to die in the forest. Their size turns the group into tasty morsels for ravenous gigantic beasts like insects, but this magnificent seven has skills that give them a good chance of surviving.

With a nod to Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, Micro is an exciting science fiction story. The fast-paced storyline makes great use of the Hawaiian rainforest setting in which bugs normally ignored become vociferous predators. Although the team has too great needed expertise, fans will enjoy this entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Blood Riders-Michael P. Spradlin

Blood Riders

Michael P. Spradlin

Harper Voyager, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062023094

In 1876 in the Wyoming Territory, a terrorized young girl reaches Camp Sturgis near Deadwood screaming hysterically “blood devils”. U.S. Cavalry Captain Jonas P. Hollister leads his eleven troops in search of the child’s family. They find two overturned wagons in which all the people and horses are dead. Suddenly, blood-drinking demons rise and kill his unit; he escapes due to the sun rising.

For the next four years, Jonas resides at the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with no hope of ever leaving this place alive as no one believes his nightmarish fairy tale. Detective Allan Pinkerton obtains Hollister's release as the mass murder of Colorado miners match what happened to the captain’s men. Hollister and Pinkerton (accompanied by Chee the fellow-released prisoner, Oliver Winchester the gunsmith, Shaniah the strange woman on a quest, and the European Abraham Van Helsing) ride into hell.

Blood Riders is a fabulous historical horror thriller that uses real events like the Battle of Little Big Horn, real persona (Custer, Pinkerton, etc.) and literary legends (Van Helsing) to excellent effect. Though a romantic subplot seems more an unnecessary requirement, the fast-paced storyline grips readers with the opening bloody assault and never slows as readers anticipate an undead and living OK Corral type confrontation.

Harriet Klausner

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone-Stefan Kiesbye

Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone

Stefan Kiesbye

Penguin, Sep 25 2012 $15.00

ISBN: 9780143121466

Retired Christian the widower comes home from Buffalo, New York to Hemmersmoor, Germany for the first time in years but it is too late to attend his mother’s funeral. When he was young, he had three close friends in the village, but over time the quartet grew apart. However, Martin, Christian, Linde and Anke knew geography, changing relationships and age were not the underlying cause of their separation four decades ago. Instead each looks back to the dark secrets that cursed them and Hemmersmoor.

This is a psychological horror tale in which the atmosphere haunts the older townsfolk (and readers) while the younger ones scoff at their alleged superstition. The quartet ironically realizes that forty years ago they were the ridiculing youth scorning their elders’ fears. Rotating perspective between the four protagonists as they look back to a period when they were changing from youthful innocents to fearful unwanted maturity, fans will appreciate this dark thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Something Witchy This Way Comes-H.P. Mallory

Something Witchy This Way Comes

H.P. Mallory

Bantam, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780345531582

Life was easier when Jolie Wilkins was just a fortuneteller only caring what happened to her. Now she is Queen of the Underworld with subjects to include vampires, werewolves, fae, and witches. She could use a lot of R&R with her soulmate Rand Balfour the Warlock whom she almost killed back in the Victorian Era though she also considers a fling with Sinjin the vampire who vows to protect her.

However, the half-human Lurkers threaten her kingdom so loving rest and recuperation remains on standby, the story of her life. Thus she prepares for war with the Lurkers as no one will attack her already conflicted multi species (think of post Tito’s Yugoslavia) without her fighting back.

The latest Jolie Wilkins fantasy (see Toil and Trouble, and Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble) is a humorous thriller as the paranormal seem real in the Mallory mythos. Still a wisenheimer Jolie struggles with two winning males wanting her when she is used to being alone or with losers while she also learns to govern over diverse ethnic interests. Although the peril seeks similar to Witchful Thinking, fans will enjoy the latest escapades in Queen Jolie’s reign.

Harriet Klausner

The Undead In My Bed-Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper and Jessica Sims

The Undead In My Bed

Katie MacAlister, Molly Harper and Jessica Sims

Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451656794

“Shades of Gray” by Katie MacAlister. Noelle the Guardian protects humans from the denizen of Otherworld. While on the set of a ghost-busting reality show in a Czech Republic haunted castle, she meets Grayson the vampire. They team up to stop a Master Demon from killing everyone on location.

“Undead Sublet” by Molly Harper. In Chicago, executive chef Tess goes berserk from fatigue. She rents a house in Half-Moon Hollow, Kentucky to get away from the kitchen for a month. However, Sam the vampire occupies the home for the next three months although his ex-wife let the place to Tess. They argue, fuss and fight while falling in love.

“Out with a Fang” by Jessica Sims. Depressed over being alone, were-jaguar Ruby tries the paranormal dating service Midnight Liaisons. Her date is Michael the vampire, whom she knows intimately from when he was the human that she loved but dumped because of her pre-existing condition.

These are three amusing action-packed paranormal romances starring solid leads.

Harriet Klausner

Boyfriend from Hell-Jamie Quaid

Boyfriend from Hell

Jamie Quaid

Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781451656350

Law student Justine Clancy works for Andre Legrande in the chemically contaminated Zone of South Baltimore to pay her student fees. She has a record after an arrest while leading a protest that turned into a riot at the undergraduate school in Pennsylvania. As she goes to deliver the day’s receipts to the bank, someone knocks her down and robs her while a limo runs a light hammering crossing students. Liebowitz the reporter refuses to state the Senator ran over the kids and claims no one was near Tina. Her boyfriend Max accelerates her vehicle aiming to kill her as stunned Tina wishes he was in hell. Her wish comes true.

Tina as the Daughter of Saturn finds dormant powers awakening that require her to deal out justice. Meanwhile Max haunts her mirror, insisting to her that he is innocent. Max also warns her someone wants to harm her. With Milo the kitten who leads with a paw, a thief with the perfect M.O of invisibility, Cora of Discreet Detection and Andre, Tina investigates several recent situations as she concludes she is Queen and with her team “We are the champions.”

This is an exhilarating urban fantasy starring a beleaguered heroine who has doubts about the impact of her new powers as she fears for each use, a piece of her soul peels away (think of the puzzle of the owner in the movie Major Leagues). With references to Support Your Local Sheriff adding to the fun, fans will appreciate this brisk, at times amusing thriller as the first Daughter of Saturn is a winner.

Harriet Klausner

Dragon Ship-Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Dragon Ship

Sharon Lee and Steve Miller

Baen, Sep 4 2012, $22.00

ISBN: 9781451637984

Theo Waitley was expelled from the Academy due to Liadan Luck as the focus of violence (see Ghost Ship). Currently she pilots the Bechmio with a crew of one Boss Clarence O'Berin and her dying lover Win Ton surviving so far a deadly nano-virus because of the on-board medical technology. Clan Korval commissions Theo to find a trade route. However, she finds the Bechmio AI is independent as they forge a symbiotic relationship while battling for the dominant role.

At the same Theo pilots the Bechmio, Kamele journeys to Surebleak with plans to rescue Jen Sar Kiladi, who happens to be Theo’s dad. However her efforts to free her lover from the Korval are distracted from what greets her on Surebleak.

Although it behooves the audience to have read Ghost Ship, preferably recently, Dragon Ship is an exciting Liaden entry starring a heroine who knows that if she did not have bad luck she would have no luck as the heroine is the Joe Btfsplk of space opera. In fact her luck is so bad the Bechmio with a personality developed over the ages once again steals the show from Theo. The storyline starts slow as the symbiotic relationship merges, but accelerates once the pair moves past the storming and forming stages (of the Tuchman Model). Fans will enjoy this science fiction thriller although several major themes fail to move forward.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Dark Light of Day-Jill Archer

Dark Light of Day

Jill Archer

Ace, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425257159

In a world in which the demons won the battle of Armageddon, human survivors worship demons as gods if they want to live. The demons established a strict code to insure no fratricide.

In this new earth, twins Nouiomo "Noon" and Nocturo "Night" are total opposites with an unheard of twist. She holds the power of a Magester that is never possessed by a female; while he contains the healing magic of the Mederi that almost always belongs to a woman. Noon conceals her magic as many would declare her an abomination against the laws of demons. She attends St. Lucifer’s where she meets powerful student Ari Carmine. While friend Peter Aster seeks the reversal spell to change Noon’s forbidden magic, Mederi disappear. Noon investigates the vanishings.

With a nod to James Blish’s Black Easter and The Day After Judgment, the first Noon Onyx urban fantasy establishes an earth where the demons rule after winning the war. Noon is a great protagonist as she knows the realm has rigid enforced rules that might mean a female Magester must die. The whodunit is engaging but it is the

entrance into Archer world that casts a spell on readers.

Harriet Klausner

Personal Demon-Susan Sizemore

Personal Demon

Susan Sizemore

Ace, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425254721

In Chicago, demon Ivy Bailey the vampire hunter insures the city’s undead population strictly adheres to the “rules”. When someone breaks one of the edicts, she hunts the felon down.

In 1888 London Christopher Bell defeated the evil Jack the Ripper. The English vampire’s investigation leads him to Chicago. There he notices something that looks eerily familiar stalking Ivy. Christopher warns Ivy and offers to watch her back, but she declines. Meanwhile someone is magically murdering witches with demons as the most likely culprits. Ivy senses a connection as she hunts the serial killer while a malevolent creep stalks her; Christopher ignores Ivy’s bravado as he pursues their common Personal Demon.

The first Laws of the Blood urban fantasy (see Heroes) in several years is an engaging grim entry that brings the vampire enforcer road show to Chicago. A major reason this entry is fun is the diverse outlook on how humans, vampire, demons and others should co-exist as the Brit and the American define community differently. Readers will appreciate the triangle battle with the murderer as death stalks the Windy City.

Harriet Klausner

Monster Hunter Legion-Larry Correia

Monster Hunter Legion

Larry Correia

Baen, Sep 4 2012, $24.00

ISBN: 9781451637960

Two conferences converge in Las Vegas as many who attend the Top Secret first annual International Conference of Monster Hunting Professionals at the Last Dragon Hotel will also spend time at the SHOT shooting industry show to look at the latest in weaponry. After dealing with a vampire in Mississippi, Monster Hunter International operative Owen Zastava Pitt, his wife Julie Shackleford and his unit arrive at the hotel. MHO California based agents John VanZant and Green fume when they see unsavory Paranormal Tactical operatives led by Rich Armstrong. Owen and MHI employee Jason Lococo get into a fight that angers their superior Earl Harbinger. The warriors set the unwritten conference agenda.

Monster Control Bureau Chief Doug Stark introduces the conference, but it is Special Task Force Unicorn Chief Stricken who ends the war stories when he announces a ten million dollar bounty on a monster on the loose in Nevada. Private and government hunters race to be the one who bags the monster.

The latest Monsters Hunters International urban fantasy (see Monster Hunter Alpha, Monster Hunter International and Monster Hunter Vendetta) is an engaging thriller that starts slow but entertainingly as readers meet the various rival groups and players at breakfast. Animosity and affinity run high as caffeine is not needed with this testosterone laden (including Julie) group. Once Stricken proclaims the games begin, the storyline accelerates into a fast-paced, action-packed thriller as teams stalk a deadly monster and each other.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sacrifice the Wicked-Karina Cooper

Sacrifice the Wicked

Karina Cooper

Avon, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062127693

In Seattle, Mission Director Parker Adams the witch hunter catches Mission Agent Simon Wells the Witch in her home office holding a secret file. She calmly gives him a choice to either die now or place the file back on her desk. Though he believes she could not shoot, he puts down the folder. Parker demands he tell her about the GeneCorp human testing Salem Project and Juliet Carpenter (see All Things Wicked); Simon tells her to forget it or be buried as he will not always be there to protect her before he escapes.

Simon knows he wants Parker in a big way as his lower head seems to always testify when he sees her. To her chagrin Parker knows Simon melts her Ice Queen persona as she wants him but will do her duty even if that means breaking her heart when she kills the traitor. As they fall in love, they need each other to watch their back as enemies are everywhere and her persistent stubbornness re the Salem Project places both in peril.

The latest Dark Mission futuristic romantic fantasy (see Lure of the Wicked and Blood of the Wicked) is another wickedly dark thriller in the post-apocalyptic world of Karina Cooper. The lead couple is an intriguing pair as neither can afford the luxury of love especially with Parker continuing her diligent investigation as adversaries will assassinate the hunter if she gets too close to the truth.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Immortal Surrender-Claire Ashgrove

Immortal Surrender

Claire Ashgrove

Tor, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780765367594

In 1119, the archangels warned the nine Knights of the Templar not to dig beneath the Temple Mount. They ignored the archangels and excavated holy relics. Their punishment for their disobedience is to combat Azrael's demons until they convert into evil Knights of Azrael; as ironically each demon they slew places darkness on their soul until they are engulfed. By the twenty-first century, for those still loyal need to find the Seraphim before Azrael obtains the eight remaining holy relics needed to defeat the Almighty.

Knight Farran de Clare rejects the destined mate though he knows the ultimate cost is his soul. Archangel Gabriel assigns Farran to keep safe scientist Noelle Keane. When he meets the atheist, Farran curses Gabriel as she is his seraph. Farran vows to protect her, but pledges never surrender his soul to her as he prefers Azrael if forced to choose. However when Azrael’s demons threaten Noelle, Farran realizes his foolishness and he will die to keep his soul mate safe. She stuns him when she demands he give her his heart along with his soul.

The second Curse of the Templars (see Immortal Hope) romantic urban fantasy is a super tale starring a wonderful obstinate lead pair. The atheist brings freshness with her viewpoint re angels, knights and demons troupe, oh my; while her knight provides a unique perspective on salvation. Claire Ashgrove builds on her mythos with the Templar history enhancing the contemporary tale of a cynical knight and a devotee of the scientific method.

Harriet Klausner

Midst Toil and Tribulation-David Weber

Midst Toil and Tribulation

David Weber

Tor, Sep 18 2012, $27.99

ISBN: 9780765321558

In the Year of God 896, the island kingdom of Charis continues to openly defy the Church of God Awaiting. The hostilities have been at sea, on land and in the minds of people via insidious religious terrorist propaganda.

A new front opened when a schism split apart the affluent Republic of Siddermark. The Church of God Awaiting Grand Inquisitor Vicar Clytahn, a member of the ruling Group of Four vicars, plans to starve the people of Siddermark into obedience. The vicars publicly acclaim his courage but fear the backlash as Siddermark is a major source of funding. The Charis Empire leaders (King Cayleb, Queen Sharleyan, and warrior monk Merlin Arthawes) believe they must aid the besieged people of Siddermark. Cayleb understands the implications as he has led naval victories over the enemy since his kingdom rebelled a few years ago; but deploying land forces to battle the more powerful militia of the Church means sending soldiers to their death. At the same time Group of Four Captain General Vicar Allayn Maigwair forges a powerful army.

The latest Safehold thriller (see How Firm a Foundation, By Heresies Distressed and A Mighty Fortress) is a strong entry as the military focus is on strategically key Siddermark. The storyline continues the overarching deep theme of a dictatorial church using all means to oppress its followers and destroy “heretics” like those who formed the Kingdom and Church of Charis deploying any means necessary to achieve their aims. Though the cast is out of a Cecile B. Demille’s epic can be overwhelming; a who’s who glossary helps as Midst Toil and Tribulation is an insightful engaging look at a dogmatic dictatorial church killing any opponents with collateral damage acceptable.

Harriet Klausner

Fallen Masters-John Edward

Fallen Masters

John Edward

Tor, Sep 18 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9780765332714

Astronomers locate the dark mass and determine that the cloud hurtles toward the Earth like an arrow targeting a bulls-eye. However scientists are bewildered as to what this phenomenon is and how to prevent a calamity. Religious leaders representing all denominations are also at a loss as to what can be done. NASA scientist Jason Chang informs the President of the United States that Dark Matter has appeared from apparently a location in the Abell 2744 galaxy cluster with a trajectory destination earth.

Internationally respected inspirational singer Charlene St John heads to Mexico for her last performance as she has terminal cancer and is hoping to gain an audience with the Lady of Guadalupe; whom many believe is the Virgin Mary. Psychic Mama G envisions evil in space that will make humanity extinct unless this malevolence can be stopped. Surgeon Tyler Michaels lost his wife and unborn child while he saved someone else. He and Nurse Rae bond as both feel the cloud traveling towards earth is evil coming to destroy mankind. The dark horde waits for their advanced party to complete the first mission including the assassination of the American President and the abduction of the First Son as destination earth has begun.

Fallen Masters is an entertaining good vs. evil thriller that focuses on mankind’s final days in which the last hope is the inherent goodness in most people. The storyline makes a plea for readers to allow their inner spiritual goodness to flow free in order to make a better place to live for everyone. Although the characters are stereotypical to the nth degree, John Edwards’ fans will enjoy the psychic's novelization of his spiritual message.

Harriet Klausner

Stormdancer-Jay Kristoff


Jay Kristoff

Dunne, Sep 18 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250001405

The Shima Imperium has left the isles on the verge of environmental extinction. The industrialization of the islands has polluted land, air and water as the powerful Lotus Guild worships the lotus that fuels the sky ships, but poisons the soil making it useless and pollutes the water with run-off and turns the air into smog from the ship’s exhausts. The four clans feel hopeless as the spirit animals are becoming extinct and their mad Shogun Yoritomo-no-miya expedites the Shima Isles turning into a wasteland.

Yoritomo tasks a team to capture an arashitora, a creature part-eagle and part-tiger. Sixteen year old Kitsune Yukiko and her father know the mission is impossible, but failure means execution in a horrific way. In the last wilderness, her father maims Buruu the arashitora. When Yukiko and Buruu meet, both are shocked that they understand each other. As they team up, the pair meets enemies of the Shogun and the Lotus Guild while battling to survive against underworld demons and the might of the Shima Imperium.

Young adult and older readers will appreciate this excellent feudal Japan steampunk fantasy starring a vivid dying landscape serving as a reminder of the long term impact of pollution and a strong cast trying to survive or thrive in the dying isles. Although the Shogun is not developed beyond being a malevolent mega maniac, fans will enjoy the coming of age adventures of a teen girl and an injured mystical spirit animal.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Alice in Zombieland-Gena Showalter

Alice in Zombieland

Gena Showalter

Harlequin Teen, Sep 25 2012, $18.99

ISBN: 9780373210589

On what should have been her sweet sixteenth birthday, Alice Bell tasted tragedy. Zombies killed her mom, dad and younger sister, and Alice’s innocence. Besides numbing grief and bone marrow deep need for revenge, Alice regrets that she believed her late father was a lunatic when he insisted monsters lived.

Alice believes she is targeted by these evil beasts for death too. She knows she cannot confront the malevolents by herself, but never expected Cole Holland, the student at school with the worst reputation, to become her defender and mentor. With him and his friends accompanying her, Alice prepares for war against the zombies; unaware that her new ally has secrets that make zombies look like preschoolers.

The first White Rabbit Chronicles is an exciting teen urban fantasy starring a terrific protagonist whose entire life changes in a nanosecond. The key cast is fully developed while enhancing Alice’s coming out party. Although references from the Carroll’s classic starts as fun, these citations eventually distract from what overall is an entertaining zombification of Alice.

Harriet Klausner

Covet-Melissa Darnell


Melissa Darnell

Harlequin Teen, Sep 25 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210565

In Jacksonville, Texas until recently Savannah Colbert never comprehended why the Clann overtly loathed her. At school Tristan Coleman refused to acknowledge she existed as he was warned to keep his distance. That ended when she came back from a week of absenteeism totally changed as Sav and Tristan became an entry (see Crave).

After a warning from the Vampire Council to never see Tristan or else, Sav ends their relationship to protect her beloved from what she is tuning into. Tristan refuses to accept her assertion that it is over as he knows there is more to this. Vowing to find a way for them to be together, neither is ready for what awaits them.

The second Clann teen urban romantic fantasy is an engaging coming of age thriller. Both protagonists mature out of necessity as much as due to their love, while the support cast enhances the insight into the Darnell vampire mythos. Leisurely paced for the most part, readers will enjoy this fresh vampire romance.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 7, 2012

Aquarian-Jan Coffey


Jan Coffey

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Aug 18 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781479104574

Teenager Killian feels alone as her mom died a few years ago and her dad ignoring her remarried. When she graduates from the Green Mountain Academy in Vermont, her maternal great Aunt Hannah Winthrop invites her to stay at Cuttylea Island with her; she accepts in spite of the isolation with Hyannis being three hours away by boat and limited electronic access.

In a storm, a frightened Killian, who cannot swim, sails in a small boat when the driver picks up Perth, an Olympic Gold medal quality swimmer. Hannah welcomes her niece who will work at the nearby inn. Killian is attracted to Perth, but as a wallflower accepts he is out of her league. When she hears a mother’s plea to rescue her children, Killian is confused as the woman is dead. Meanwhile Perth confuses her as he seems to like her before instantly turning into a grouch. However, Killian becomes concerned when Dr. Davenport and a team arrive ostensibly to study wind energy, but asks questions about Perth’s wheelchair bound father Walter. Wondering what is going on with elderly Lynx warning her to leave, Dr. Davenport’s inquiry and what the birthmark on her lower back has to do with pentagrams inside older abodes. Killian seeks the truth.

Aquarian is an exhilarating young adult paranormal mystery that will have the audience wondering like the heroine what is happening at Cuttylea Island. The storyline starts leisurely as the heroine’s personality and the island setting of “no cell phone service; no cable TV; no mall … and no Facebook” are established. Once done, the plot turns into a fascinating tale as Killian begins to learn the dangerous truth about her ancestry and that of Perth.

Harriet Klausner

Bad Glass- Richard E. Gropp

Bad Glass

Richard E. Gropp

Del Rey, Sep 25 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9780345533937

A biological incident leads the government to quarantine Spokane, Washington under military control. There is no information as to what has happened except for sporadic leaks out of the shutdown metropolis.

Photographer Dean Walker breaches the military sentry around the city to sneak into Spokane with plans to take shots of whatever he finds in order to tell the world and gain fame. He is unprepared for what he sees in the embattled city. Dean is fortunate to meet struggling survivors in a world turned grotesquely anti physics as time no longer flows in the same way and monsters are everywhere and people trapped at the subatomic level within solid items as Dean’s mission changed from informing the world to surviving this inner collapsing world.

This is an exciting cautionary horror tale that uses Dean’s photos to describe the grotesque state of Spokane. PTSD becomes a common link between those still clinging to their humanity and theorizing what happened though like readers not knowing for certain. Although a deeper look at the change in physics would have been appreciated, Bad Glass remains one of top horror thrillers of the year, as fans will relish this profound psychological drama of the end of civilization when a city collapses.

Harriet Klausner

Dearly, Beloved- Lia Habel

Dearly, Beloved

Lia Habel

Del Rey, Sep 25 2012, $16.99

ISBN: 9780345523341

By the end of the twenty-second century, much of the planet was devastated; the United States nuked itself into a united wasteland. Central and South America consolidated as New Victoria with the capital in New London, Nicaragua. The society is based on the historians' interpretation of life in Britain during the reign of the late nineteenth century monarch.

Not all is idyllic as the Laz virus has created sentient and feral zombies. Most humans refuse to distinguish between the two classes of zombies as a majority of the humans believe a truly dead zombie is a good zombie. However, some individuals like teenager Nora Dearly knows otherwise ever since she met Punk undead Bram Griswold who saved her life (see Dearly, Departed). The civil rights issue explodes into hostilities especially between the Changed dead and the Murder alive. Collateral damage is an acceptable norm by the two enemies as each believes innocent civilians is an oxymoron. However, as both extremist sects focus on a zombie sympathizer who’s dearly father the scientist seeks a cure for Lax, the heated dispute changes for the worst when a zombie with a new strain of the virus emerges.

The key to this great futuristic urban fantasy is Habel World as the author makes her vision seem vividly real through an insightful historiographical premise and a racist profiling. Action-packed, readers will relish the second Dearly thriller as the heroine and her allies push for equal rights for all, her endeavor enables the Changed and the Murder to agree on one thing: Nora’s permanent demise.

Harriet Klausner

Darkest Desire-Tawny Taylor

Darkest Desire

Tawny Taylor

Kensington Aphrodisia, Aug 28 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758265661

The three Alexandre Brothers (Drako, Talen and Malek) have been the leaders of the Black Gryffon for a decade since their father retired at fifty; as expected. Although Drako as the oldest is top griffin, his siblings understand the mission is to protect humanity and keep secret the sources of humanity's power safe from the covetous Chimera. Proud of his offspring, their father reminds them it is time for wives and children so that they too can retire at fifty like he did.

Drako has found his woman Rin (see Darkest Fire). As the second Malek believes he has selected his mate in former sex slave Lei. However, though she is attracted to him, they have a problem with their relationship since both are doms. Adding further complications are Male is in a relationship with Brent and the Chimera targets Lei.

The second Black Gryffon erotic Celtic fantasy romance is an action-packed thriller with an intriguing love between two doms arguing who’s on top. However, neither protagonist feels three dimensional though sub-genre fans, especially those who read Darkest Fire, will enjoy the heated courtship.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 6, 2012

A Book of Horrors-Edited by Stephen Jones

A Book of Horrors

Edited by Stephen Jones

St. Martin’s Griffin, Sep 18 2012, $15.99

ISBN 9781250018526

This fabulous fourteen short story collection is a throwback to the days when the horror genre was more narrowly defined which Stephen Jones explains in his brief introduction. All the tales are well written with most being outstanding. In “The Little Green God of Agony” by Stephen King, the billionaire turns to a faith healer to relive him of his intense pain caused allegedly by a plane crash injury. Billy picks up the female hitchhiker who shows him the destruction of fire in "Charcloth, Firesteel and Flint" by Caitlín R. Kiernan. In Maine the idyllic life of Hugh and Angie ends when they drive into evil "Ghosts with Teeth" by Peter Crowther. In Angela Slatter’s "The Coffin-Maker's Daughter" Hepsibah the coffin artisan builds a box for a wealthy patron while flirting with the deceased’s daughter even as the ghost of the dead person taints him. Meth owns the small rural community as Gina and Dylan visit their late grandmother's house while thinking of their deceased cousin who many feel the Woodwalker abducted in "Roots and All" by Brian Hodge. The child plays his late mother's old piano when the ghosts of children warn him to beware of "The Music of Bengt Karlsson, Murderer (by Karl Ajvide Lindqvist). With Ramsey Campbell, Dennis Etchison, Elizabeth Hand, Richard Christian Matheson, Reggie Oliver, Robert Shearman, Michael Marshall Smith and Lisa Tuttle also providing strong entries, A Book of Horrors is a great strong anthology.

Harriet Klausner

The Wolf Princess-Karen Whiddon

The Wolf Princess

Karen Whiddon

Silhouette Nocturne, Sep 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885565

“The Wolf Princess.” Her concerned royal family sends for American Dr. Braden Streib to come to Teslinko to help Princess Alisa perform her shape-shifting. Braden is amazed by her ability not to shift for months and remain sane. She is intrigued by the dark glasses wearing visitor who treats her so differently from her suitors. He reciprocates but as a hybrid feels unworthy of his beloved. However, extremists send assassins to kill Alisa who they feel is an abomination to the purebred superior species. Braden risks his life to keep The Wolf Princess safe. This is an exhilarating Pack paranormal romance starring a fascinating hero whose blindness adds depth to the tale. Although the climax feels abrupt, fans will enjoy the latest Pack entry.

“One Eye Open.” In Upstate New York, fearing for her missing sibling, Brenna Lupe searches for her brother Alex; DEA Agent Carson Turner also searches for Alex; he believes his former partner murdered his wife and children. She needs help so she turns to Carson who tells her what he believes about her sibling; she refuses to accept what he says about her brother. She hides her shapeshifting essence from him even as they fall in love while teaming up in the hunt for Alex. Still someone wants them dead. Although the romance feels too sudden considering their diverse opinions on her brother, this reprint of an early Pack paranormal romance is an action-packed tale that grips readers with wondering if Alex is a cold blooded killer.

Harriet Klausner

Forever Werewolf-Michele Hauf

Forever Werewolf

Michele Hauf

Silhouette Nocturne, Sep 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885558

“Forever Werewolf.” Rhys Hawkes sends his wolf-vampire son Tryst to Castle Wulfsiege in the Hautes-Alpes region of France. Tryst meets Lexi Connor, daughter of pack principal Edmonton Connor’s daughter. Tryst and Lexi are attracted to one another but she rejects her feelings as she refuses to betray her father by becoming involved with an unacceptable hybrid. When an avalanche buries much of the castle, Tryst helps. He later investigates the poisoning of his beloved’s sire though he admits to himself that his motives are to persuade father and daughter to take a chance on him. This is an engaging paranormal romance starring two strong loyal protagonists.

“Moon Kissed.” In the Twin Cities, Belladonna Reynolds starts to jog home when three dudes chase her. Severo the werewolf takes her to a safe spot until the blood suckers leave. He saves her from gang rape and dining on her blood. He wonders if he met his life mate as Severo is attracted to Bella. However, her best friend Seth informs her vamps and weres live as he dates one. Severo thinks Seth is seeing Evie whom he calls Elvira. That means Bella needs to write his eulogy soon and if the crazed Elvira thinks Bella is Seth's lover, she is in trouble too. When the vamps remain fixated on their search for her, Severo escorts her home and moves in with her to keep his mate safe. As they fall in love, she remains under siege and the beastly werewolf side of Severo has to accept or kill his lifemate who has become his beloved enemy. This reprint starts off as Beauty and the Beast with an initial werewolf twist, but takes another ironic spin.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Something Red-Douglas Nicholas

Something Red

Douglas Nicholas

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Sep 18 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451660074

Winter strikes harsh and early leading to heavy snows making passage in northern England increasingly difficult. Irish medicine woman Mistress Molly leads her small traveling troupe south. Recent recruit thirteen year old orphan Hob navigates the trek. Molly learns from the crows and from patrons at places they rest that a terrible horror stalks the countryside.

Their journey to the warmer climate ends when a vicious storm and a rockslide leaves the troupe stranded. Molly leads them to Blanchefontaine where they seek and receive shelter. However, Molly, Jack, Nemain and Hob realize that this Norman castle with so many knights also hosts the Beast that has frightened the countryside.

Something Red is a great Middle Ages fantasy in which the varied people (and others) that the travelers meet bring to vivid life thirteenth century northern England. The suspense builds up nicely as the audience anticipates the confrontation between the troupe and the malevolence. Douglas Nicholas places the setting deftly in a “locked” castle wondering who will walk away alive.

Harriet Klausner

How to Drive a Dragon Crazy-G.A. Aiken

How to Drive a Dragon Crazy

G.A. Aiken

Zebra, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420108903

Eibhear the Blue dragon is part of the fierce Mi-runach special military unit who take on missions that no one with a sane mind would dare. His current assignment is to escort General Izzy the human, who fights for Queen Annwyl, home. The feisty female warrior was attracted to Eibhear but that was ten years ago before he joined the Mi-runach.

Izzy worries about her younger sister Rhianwen whose magic increasingly seems out of control. She and Eibhear enter the deadly Desert Lands to meet with her malevolent grandmother the witch, the only person Izzy knows who could aid her troubled Rhianwen.

The latest Dragon Kin romantic fantasy (see The Dragon Who Loved Me) is an engaging amusing entry starring two previous support characters who prove they can hold a storyline together while mocking and bickering on their way to grandma’s house. The action is fast and furious though the relationship between the protagonists is more straightforward than usual as no rivals soar to cause triangulation tsuris while also transitioning into the next generation. Fans will enjoy this jocular second chance at sarcastic love.

Harr4iet Klausner

Cast in Peril-Michelle Sagara

Cast in Peril

Michelle Sagara

Luna, Sep 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803507

In the Elantra Empire, Private Kaylin Neva feels she has a strong opportunity for a promotion with the scandalous information she found re the Exchequor. Kaylin dreams of a larger flat, which a raise would make possible; as currently she shares her efficiency apartment with the last known female dragon Bellusdeo and an egg to be hatched. When someone tosses a bomb into her one room abode, the egg absorbed most of the energy and thus dramatically reduced the impact.

Lord Nightshade wants Kaylin to accompany the Barrani on a journey to the Land of the West March. The private agrees as leaving the city reduces her chances of death by assassin. However, her companions allegedly have been connected to the vanishing of citizens from Tiamaris fief so if Kaylin wants eventually to go home, she better watch her back.

The latest Chronicles of Elantra fantasy (Cast in Shadow, Cast in Courtlight and Cast in Secret) is a terrific fresh entry as readers and the heroine leave the empire for the first time. Though less thematic cautionary re de facto racism than Cast in Fury, the fast-paced and explosive storyline is an entertaining thriller starring a strong protagonist.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Curse-Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love

The Curse

Sherrilyn Kenyon, Dianna Love

Pocket, Sep 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451671988

As they have done for centuries, the purebred Beladors protect humans from the others like demons. However, though their cause is worthy, the Beladors are intolerant towards the half-breed Alterants, who are mostly incarcerated. Thus one of the few freed Alterant Evalle Kincaid knows she is a scorned outsider by those she has lived with all her life. In spite of her courage and achievements risking her life to protect the humans and the Beladors (see Alterant and Blood Trinity), she remains unacceptable as illogically her tribe prefers her dead or locked away as trash.

The demonic Trolls assault Atlanta so Evalle, though used to being alone, joins with Black Ops specialist Isak Nyght to end the gang urban warfare while also struggling to understand her relationship with Storm the skinwalker though the latter is on hold. When Evalle realizes she is the key for the enemy to commit genocide by killing the queen and the other Beladors, she takes a gambit to find other Alterants while knowing the Tribunal will not accept her rationale of saving their lives when they lock her away.

The third Beladors urban fantasy (see Alterant and Blood Trinity) is an exciting thriller as a multi-species war leaves Atlanta unsafe for anyone. The various paranormals seem genuine as they turn Peachtree into a battle zone. Although there are too many key characters making the storyline overly complicated, sub-genre readers will enjoy Evalle’s adventures to save the humans and purebreds who scorn her.

Harriet Klausner

Borderlands: Unconquered-John Shirley

Borderlands: Unconquered

John Shirley

Pocket, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781439198483

Needing to escape Pandora, the deadliest most lawless planet in the galaxy; Roland needs to get to the Crystalisks to harvest Eridium so he can buy off world passage. He seeks the toughest fighter on the orb, all brawn and no brain Brick to help him. Instead he runs into the best sniper Mordecai who agrees to join him for a share of the loot. The pair locate Brick defending a mine against the psycho soldiers of General Goddess Gynella who uses off world science she stole to control her army of lunatics. Roland distrusts Brick’s partner Daphne Kuller the Killer so he chooses to leave without the big bruiser.

Gynella tells her loyal Lieutenant Smartum that she wants Roland and Brick captured as she has plans for both of them. Her horde traps Brick and Daphne though the pair kills many psycho soldiers. Roland and Mordecai barely make it to the well-fortified Bloodrust Corners where families live. While Mordecai plans to leave though a back door exit in a cave, Roland chooses to help the townsfolk stay alive. At the same Gynella arranges for a concussed Brick to fight her meanest warrior Goliath with the prize being Daphne.

The second Borderlands science fiction (see The Fallen) is an exciting action-packed thriller that once again captures the essence of the videogame. The fearsome foursome comes across with diverse personalities while Gynella is the queen of mean. Although the use of metafiction by having Marcus the bus driver tell the tale of the magnificent quartet to a kick butt passenger and a claptrap robot seems unnecessary even as these chapters at beginning, ending and one in the middle enhance the dangers of Pandora, readers will enjoy this fast-paced tale.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 3, 2012

Alchemystic-Anton Strout


Anton Strout

Ace, Sep 25 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781937007799

The Belarus family is a longtime fixture in Manhattan. Siblings Devon and Alexandra are totally opposites in outlook; he runs the family realty firm while she is an artist; he is a certified a-hole and she is a nice person. Ironically though neither knows it, both in their diverse way are chips off the old block of an ancestor who built Belarus Mansion by Gramercy Park.

When Devon dies in a freak accident, Lexi takes over running the business. However, she thought running the real estate firm would prove difficult, but Lexi finds something much more complex when a tattooed stranger attacks her and a stone gargoyle saves her. Centuries ago her relative who built the famous mansion Alexander Belarus was a spellmason who created the gargoyle Stanis to protect his descendants for over a century. As she tries to learn more about her ancestor, why her family is under siege and more about whom or what Stanis is; she also is trying to keep the enemy from taking a big bite out of the city.

The first Spellmason Chronicles urban fantasy is a super thriller as the heroine begins to learn family secrets while under a baptism of fire. The storyline rotates perspective between Stanis and Alexandra as he lives to protect her from adversaries who want her dead though she has no earthy idea why. Filled with Anton Strout’s vintage dark humor and plenty of action and suspense (see Simon Canderous’ “Dead” tales), readers will enjoy the Belarus tour of New York.

Harriet Klausner

The Kingsmakers-Susan Griffith, Clay Griffith

The Kingsmakers

Susan Griffith, Clay Griffith

PYR, Sep 4 2012, $17.95

ISBN: 9781616146740

Over a century and a half ago, the world was divided between the vampire and human zones. The “cold war “peace recently ended; hostilities between the humans and the vampires turning heated. Equatorian Empire Empress Adele leads her army against their more powerful opponents. On her side is Gareth the Greyfriar who saved her life from his sibling British Vampire Clan Lord Prince Cesare. Gareth believes his brother schemes to become the ruler of the Vampire Empire.

Cesare has double agents high in the human hierarchy of Adele’s forces as well as inside the vampire court. Adele and Gareth know spies are everywhere prepared to betray them and their cause to their more powerful enemy. Increasingly Adele and Gareth conclude their lone hope to snatch victory from defeat is for the queen to use her geomancy powers that she once rejected as genocide, which may destroy the vampires but also has a strong chance of eradicating the humans too.

The third steampunk Vampire Empire fantasy (see Greyfriar and The Rift Walker) is a superb finish as both sides fight to the death to determine who will be the dominant species. The Griffith world seems genuine as it has throughout the saga. However, this series belongs to and with the lead couple remain consistent the human empress who has matured from when Cesare kidnapped her and Greyfriar rescued her, and her beloved vampire prince who believes his love for her is doomed. Action-packed, readers will relish this great ending to a strong trilogy as the Griffith couple provides a fabulous climax.

Harriet Klausner

The Skybound Sea-Sam Sykes

The Skybound Sea

Sam Sykes

PYR, Sep 4 2012, $17.95

ISBN 9781616146764

Lenk the Swordsman and de facto by omission leader of a band of mercenaries (Denaos the thug, Asper the priestess, Dreadaelon the wizard, Gariath the dragonman, and Kataria the shict) knows he and his team have been fortunate to still be alive. Their enemies have been formidable at sea (see Tome of the Undergates) and on land (see Black Halo).

However, Lenk also realizes their biggest obstacle comes from within as in spite of the evidence to the contrary the sextet remains somewhat distrustful of one another; each assumes any of the others would stab not defend your back with only the payments keeping them together. The voice reminds Lenk to beware of betrayal. Still their adventures have changed each of them as the object of the six is no longer the fee though they expect payment in full, but to save the world from the return of the Kraken Queen as fee collection would be nonexistent if the world died. This evil’s horde includes dangerous malevolent monsters, quisling humans, and super inhuman soldiers. However, it is the first of thousands of demons to rise from the water that has Lenk and crew doubting their chances of collecting their money.

Once again, the scope changes as the mission becomes apocalyptic in nature in the third Aeon's Gate sword and sorcery. The storyline is fast-paced as the six continue to bicker but with a nod to the Tuckman Group Development Model, they have gone through the phases of Forming, Storming, Norming and Performing. Though their banter at times seems somewhat off as if they reverted back to the sea adventures of the Tome of the Undergates, fans will enjoy this engaging epic fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Be My Enemy-Ian McDonald

Be My Enemy

Ian McDonald

PYR, Sep 4 2012, $16.95

ISBN: 9781616146788

In London brilliant fourteen year old Everett Singh witnessed the kidnapping of his father quantum physicist Tejendra by thugs. Soon afterwards the math prodigy obtained the Infundibulum complex digital map, which enables the user to plot an infinite number of alternate worlds. He learns the leaders of the Ten Known Worlds alliance abducted his dad to gain control of the Infundibulum. Everett outwitted Charlotte Villiers and the Order (see Planesrunner), but she still pursues him as do others like Everett M, from a parallel Earth.

The airship Everness piloted by Captain Anastasia Sixsmyth and his adopted daughter Sen with Everett on board has jumped to a frozen Earth far beyond the Plenitude to make plans to rescue his dad lost in one of the parallels. Forced to leap to another earth they meet the Thryn Sentiency who landed on the moon in 1964 and dead earth where the few human survivors in London battle a losing fight against nanotechnology led by Nahn.

The second Everness science fiction tale is a great thriller as the teen hero outthinks his opponents who continually underestimate him due to his age. The entertaining storyline is loaded with current science inside of a fabulous thriller. Filled with vivid alternate realms, plenty of humor, and a precocious teen hero, fans will want to join Everett and the crew of the Everness as they traverse the parallel earths.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Desire the Night-Amanda Ashley

Desire the Night

Amanda Ashley

Zebra, Sep 4 2012, $7.99

ISBN 9781420121346

Verah the witch incarcerated Gideon Marquet with silver chains. She uses his blood as a fountain of youth and forces her slave to kill innocent women for his sustenance by starving him until he cannot control his basic need.

Verah’s latest female prisoner is Kiya “Kay” Alissano, daughter of the Shadow Pack werewolf alpha. The werewolf and the vampire plot to escape the witch’s captive when the full moon enables her to change if she lives that long. As they work together on their escape, they fall in love but she is the intended of nasty Victor Rinaldi, son of a rival pack alpha. Thus Verah and two packs pursue these escaped star-crossed lovers.

Desire the Night is an entertaining paranormal romance starring two intrepid warriors falling in forbidden love. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the escapades of the heroic lead couple though the villains are one dimensional and a spousal “forced” rape seems trivialized. Still the vampire and werewolf make for an engaging romantic thriller as seemingly the world chases them.

Harriet Klausner

Order of the Seers-Cerece Rennie Murphy

Order of the Seers

Cerece Rennie Murphy

LionSky Publishing, Sep 4 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780985621001

In 2008 in Oregon, Lilith Knight drags her older brother Liam to the carnival. She explains to him that their mom told her to take him here. When they finally go home, he finds his mom dead having been shot and the neighborhood desolate on a nice Sunday morning. His mom’s note to Liam is to run and protect Lilli.

Using his mom’s notes she left for them, Liam knows the Guild hunts Seers; and ergo killed his mom and will try to capture his sister. Thus for twenty-one months, the siblings stay on the lam as they go from site to site staying out of sight. Though time has passed, Liam knows he will carry his last sighting of his late smiling mom to his grave as he believes she saw what was coming to her. He realizes Lilli’s emotional burden is much greater than his eyeing the aftermath, she hopelessly “witnessed” the murder. The pair meets other seers in Iowa as Marcus and Alessandra escaped from the Guild. While Liam and Alessandra fall in love, the foursome join a commune preparing for war with the Guild.

Order of the Seers is an intriguing science fiction novel that makes its prime premise of people with a genetic code to see the future seem genuine starting with the realization that the mom knew what was coming to her. The storyline is action-packed from the moment the siblings go home and never slows down as the Guild stalks them and others to exploit their gift/curse. With a strong cast, readers will appreciate the first OOTS thriller as this Seer predicts a fine novelist future for Cerece Rennie Murphy.

Harriet Klausner