Saturday, August 30, 2014

Locker Rooms-Patty Lesser

Locker Rooms
Patty Lesser
iUniverse, Dec 4 2013, $16.95
ISBN: 9781491713365

In Dundas, Canada thirty-eight year old Alida wins 10 million dollars in the lottery.  After collecting her check in nearby Toronto, Alida buys the Michael house, which is near the home where her parents live in Dundas.  When she cleans out the fireplace, Alida finds a tunnel behind it.  Stepping inside, Alida locates three rooms filled with lockers.  Opening one locker, a voice begs her to help free them from the boite.

Stunned and frightened as the voices warn her of Shad who locked them away, Alida escorts Barbara to her grave so that her soul can move on.  She takes two others to their final resting site while wondering why these good people who suffered sad deaths were locked away like sinners.  As Shad tries to kill her with a train derailment, a plane accident and a taxi’s breaks failure, and goes after her mind through her parents; Alida believes God watches over her.  Her fourth rescue Oliver asks to stay with her for a while.  As Alida and Oliver fall in love, her only hope to save these souls resides with Lucifer.

Locker Rooms is a refreshing, very creative look at the afterlife through the eyes of a courageous bi-polar (though that illness is downplayed) heroine, those victims she rescues and a devil who makes Lucifer seem heavenly.  Character-driven, readers will enjoy this leisurely-paced good, innocent and evil thriller especially as we learn a little about those souls Alida saves.  I would like to read more about those trapped inside the boite in perhaps a prequel short story collection.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 29, 2014

Stone Cold Lover- Christine Warren

Stone Cold Lover
Christine Warren
St. Martin’s, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250012661

As she breaks into the Abbaye Saint-Thomas l’Apost in Montreal, art restorer Felicity “Fil” Shaltis thinks of ending in prison , but also reflects back to when she helped her friend Ella Harrow with the now missing Vancouver Art and History Museum stone gargoyle (see Heart of Stone).  As she illegally enters the museum, obsessed Fil, with no witnesses around, needs to understand why she finds a stone gargoyle attractive.

The Darkness sends evil to kill Fil.  The malevolence fires energy bombs at her, but the assault awakens Spar the gargoyle who Fil desires.  After Fil flees to safety, Spar explains he is one of seven Guardians created to keep mankind safe from the Darkness.  As the couple fusses, fights and falls in love, they must overcome a curse and save mankind.

The second Gargoyle romantic urban fantasy (see Heart of Stone) is a fabulous paranormal starring an intriguing lead couple with totally opposite personalities.  Whereas normally he is stone cold logical (Fil’s entry into his life ends his dispassionate persona); she is impetuous and impatient to charge head first by taking the fight to the enemy.  With a strong support cast (that range from the good, the naive and the evil), Christine Warren authors an awesome novel.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, August 28, 2014

To Die Fur-Dixie Lyle

To Die Fur
Dixie Lyle
St. Martin’s, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250031082

Eccentric (most would say crazy) billionaire Zelda Zoransky hosts a gala attended by affluent animal collectors interested in purchasing Augustus the rare white liger ZZ owns.  Her “Gal Friday” Deidre “Foxtrot” Lancaster put together the party and in reality actually “hosts” the event.

However, to the horror of everyone except for a killer; in ZZ’s private zoo someone murders Augustus.  Deidre wonders who would slay the rare animal since allegedly none of the guests seemingly had a motive; all of them supposedly wanted to buy the liger not kill him.  Receiving assistance from the live animals in zany ZZ’s zoo and those not breathing while resting in Zelda’s cemetery; Foxtrot, accompanied by her two fur buds (Whiskey the canine shapeshifter and the late Tango the feline telepathic ghost) investigates the Linger homicide.

The second Whiskey Tango Foxtrot paranormal cozy (see A Taste Fur Murder) is a jovial lighthearted paranormal whodunit due to the farcical furry frolics of the cast.  The antics of the unlikely bumbling amateur sleuths, their living and dead menagerie of supporters, certifiable ZZ and the visitors make for a charming cozy.

Harriet Klausner

The Getaway God: Sandman Slim-Richard Kadrey

The Getaway God: Sandman Slim
Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager, Aug 26 2014, $24.99
ISBN: 9780062094612

James “Sandman Slim” Stark still feels relief that he no longer has the Lucifer gig; even if he realizes he soon must deal with the raging creators Angra Om Ya Old Gods demanding their previous place in the universe before some upstart newbie conned them out of the lofty top spot.  However, the hybrid human-angel expects that confrontation to save heaven, hell and all sorts of sh*t  in between from the Old Gods reengineering the future back to their glorious ancient past is for another day.

Golden Vigil lectures Sandman Slim to hunt down the murdering machine Wildfire Ripper who is devastating Los Angeles.  Instead of killing the predator as he desperately wants to, Sandman Slim learns he needs this destructive psychopath to save more than just L.A.; as apparently the insane Ripper is the only essence (besides the plotting deities) who knows how to prevent the planet and beyond from a nasty Big Crunch; he apparently can no longer delay the Old Gods confrontation.

The sixth Sandman Slim irreverent humorous urban fantasy (see Kill City Blues, Devil Said Bang, Aloha From Hell, Kill the Dead and Sandman Slim) is an amusing over the top of the Hollywood sign thriller as once again the universe is at stake.  Fast-paced as always, Stark and his allies (very loose definition) team up based on Darwin’s Survival of the Fittest requiring normally serial and mass killing adversaries to unite against a mutually stronger and crazier enemy with a kick the universe butt attitude. 

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Wanted: Wild Thing-Jessica Sims

Wanted: Wild Thing
Jessica Sims
Pocket Books, Aug 26 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9781476753973

A decade ago, the fortune-teller informed then fourteen year old Ryder Sinclair she was a changeling who if still a virgin by twenty-five, the monster inside would replace the outer bubbly human façade.  Since then Ryan has sought unsuccessfully to meet her “One” true love, but has failed to find the male who can prevent the monster inside her from taking over her outer appearance when passionate.  Even working at Midnight Liaison dating service for the supernatural has proven futile.

Finian the Fae accompanied by a giant he introduces as “unimportant” arrive at the office.  The arrogant Fae calls Ryan a Changeling, which shocks her as no one knows what she is.  He also explains her biological parents were breeders he hired in order to own the offspring.  Before leaving, Finian assigns his gigantic companion Hugh to insure his asset remains a virgin so that he can collect on his investment by selling his merchandise to the highest bidder when the monster inside of Ryder takes control.  Ryder’s only hope is to seduce her humongous hunk.

This Midnight Liaisons romantic urban fantasy (see "Out with a Fang" from the Undead In My Bed anthology, Must Love Fangs, Claws and Effect, Desperately Seeking Shapeshifter, and Beauty Dates The Beast) is a jocular chastity belt tale starring a frustrated “owned” couple.  The storyline starts off leisurely-paced, but accelerates as readers meet all the players (including those from previous books and the primordial).  Although why Finian waited until the final countdown to guard his valuable virgin (and in hindsight should have chosen a female or a eunuch), this well-written novel stars the ugly changeling and her Wild Thing falling in forbidden love

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Slimy Underbelly-Kevin J. Anderson

Slimy Underbelly
Kevin J. Anderson
Kensington, Aug 26 2014, $15.00
ISBN: 9781617731143

In the Unnatural Quarter the weather wizards (Alastair Cumulus III and Thunder Dick) compete for the bragging rights of top weathermancer; which leads to chaotic conditions from blistering heat to a whiteout blizzard in an hour.  Private investigator Dan Shamble of Chambeaux and Deyer gets to the office where his girlfriend (and office assistant) Sheyenne the ghost lectures him for being out in a snowstorm.  Shamble’s partner Robin Deyer the human lawyer completes the Recompose Spa case for Mr. Lurmm the frog demon.

Supervillain in training and junior mad scientist, twelve year old Jody Caligari, Jr. needs their help but says his payment will make them feel good for doing it pro bono.  The lad explains his slumlord evicted him from his sewage lab and kept his experiments based on his being a child. Irked Robin says that is age discrimination and accepts the case over Shamble’s objection; he has doubts about a client who only reads graphic novels.  Meanwhile something underground has caused deaths, bad plumbing and horrific smells above ground.  With his neighborhood turning into a cesspool, Dan’s inquiry leads to Ah'Chulhu.

The latest Dan Shamble, Zombie P.I. paranormal investigation (see Hair Raising, Unnatural Acts and Death Warmed Over) is as always a terrific timely satirical thriller as Kevin J. Anderson amusingly lampoons values in which feuds are the weird norm.  Whereas Jody is a great client, the usual suspects help the hero work the inquiries.  Included is a short story (previously published as an e-book) in which the sleuth conducts a Stakeout at the Vampire Circus where performers do their final act.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 25, 2014

Keepers Of Runes And The Tower Of Shadows-Andrew D. Cratsley

Keepers Of Runes And The Tower Of Shadows
Andrew D. Cratsley
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, May 1 2014, $15.98
ISBN: 9781494365530

Though his student is over a century old, Tessius the master worries that newly promoted to Knight Corinth is too egotistical and overconfident in his magic and sword-fighting skills.  Thus Tessius sends Corinth away from Enzlintine supposedly to end the trouble caused by Khalid but mostly for the pupil to learn more of the vast complex world out there. 

On Corinth’s trek, Aventis the swordsman and Nadine the siren join the knight.  With other allies, they consistently succeed and triumph; adding to the knight’s belief he can beat anyone.  When Mortiscet the elven necromancer captures the trio, Corinth mentally struggles with his first setback.  Mortiscet forces the trio to abet his daughter Rieka regain a magical book.  However, Rieka has a different agenda as she wants freedom from her despicable father; so she persuades her companions to rebel against the evil necromancer.

Keepers Of Runes And The Tower Of Shadows is a fabulous Tolkien epic fantasy due to the vivid Cratsley world filled with fully developed species.  Although nothing new is provided, subgenre fans will take immense delight in this enchanting opening act as the “young invincible” and his cohorts taste “   the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat...” (ABC's Wide World of Sports).

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 23, 2014

The Vampire’s Curse-Mandy Rosko

The Vampire’s Curse
Mandy Rosko
CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Apr 23 2013, $9.99
ISBN: 9781489521125

In Griffon City, with her mom ill, Jackie Moore the witch does a double shift at her mother’s business Patty’s Potions N’ More.  After closing the shop, Jackie walks home in a snowstorm when a male body lands at her feet next to a prone female; several vampires lay unconscious while others stand nearby.  When Jackie goes to help the man on the snow near her, he apologetically tries to bite her; but instead she kisses him and flees.

Kyle McCane is stunned with the results of that kiss.  Somehow the female turned him back to human.  However, the next night the curse returns as he reverts back to vampire.  Thus he seeks the witch who temporarily cured him.  As they kiss every night, the pair searches for a more permanent cure though each likes the lips-locking; at the same time they investigate who or what is killing feral vampires.

The first Things In The Night paranormal investigative romance (see book two The Legend of the Werewolf and book three The Shepard's Agony) is an amusing lighthearted fantasy starring two fascinating protagonists.  Whereas she is The Worst Witch (not the star of the 1980s children movie) except for her healing lips; he is the reluctant part-time vampiric outsider (mindful of the adult leads in Ladyhawke) who no longer belongs in New York City as his family fears that one night soon he will bite them.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 18, 2014

Islands Of Rage And Hope-John Ringo

Islands Of Rage And Hope
John Ringo
Baen, Aug 12 2014, $25.00
ISBN: 9781476736624

US Navy Atlantic Commander Steven John Smith leads his Wolf Squadron fleet to Guantanamo where the mission is to clean the area of the infected so that a safe lab can begin vaccine production with a long term vision of taking back North America from the insane diseased.  The squadron mounts a successful beach deployment that includes rescuing civilian survivors.

Commander Smith’s teenage commissioned officer daughters (Sophia Lynn and Faith Marie) lead a rescue mission of others trapped on Caribbean islands especially seeking research scientists and medical practitioners, but with the Marine mantra of no one left behind.  The Squadron also sends a team to free royal Harry from the Tower of London.

The third Black Tide Rising apocalypse thriller (see Under a Graveyard Sky) is filled with plenty of island hopping action; engaging and at times satirical survivor rescues; profound mental health issues as the American Psychiatric Association’s Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders seems obsolete; and an overabundance of strategic planning.  Although there is a déjà vu similarity with book two (see To Sail A Darkling Sea), this is an entertaining zombie war entry.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 16, 2014

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel-J. Scott Fuqua

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel
J. Scott Fuqua
Bancroft Press, Aug 15 2014, $25.00
ISBN: 9781610881302

At one time Baltimore’s Greaser Hotel was considered one of the most luxurious places for a city visitor to stay.  Now surrounded by downtown urban blight, the Greaser Hotel is a rundown dump with few occupants; though those residing there recognize this is a special place where magic thrives and the secrets kept sacred.

When Allie “the Rat” Argos was six, her parents went to prison for twenty years after a failed kidnapping of a Gristle.  Greaser Hotel caretaker Mrs. Friendly became her foster parent bringing the child to the Greasy Blight where for the next nine years she slaved alongside other inmates (former homemaking diva Midge Darlington, elderly ex billionaire Arnold Armstrong, and tweener Rena Duchamp).  Jerome the cat worries about naive Allie after she suffers an apparent concussion, and no supper.   Marvin Greaser III and Herman Gristle come to stay at the hotel.  Gristle inspects the teenage Rat to insure she poses no threat to him in the near future; but his arrival opens up the past to her.

The Secrets of the Greaser Hotel is a gripping modern day gothic fantasy enhanced by powerful B&W illustrations.  The good vs. bad contemporary Dickensian satirical storyline looks deeply at the negative impact of the under-regulated free market on the exploited with no protection; as young adult readers (and us seniors) want the heroine and her friends to kick the ugly butts of the mean crew.  No one sees Baltimore quite the same way as J. Scott Fuqua does (see Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore).

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

The Wandering Dragon-Irene Radford

The Wandering Dragon
Irene Radford
Daw, Aug 5 2014, $17.00
ISBN: 9780756409142

Coronnan begins the slow healing from the magically-generated super storm that devastated much of the kingdom.  Among those who sacrificed their lives in the quest to end the raging mage Samlan’s magically created tsunami are mates Brevelan the witchwoman and Jaylor the Chancellor of the University of Magicians (see The Broken Dragon).  Their four children have different destinies.  Lila continues her efforts to help people survive and recover from the cataclysm while her beloved Skeller the bard returns home to Amazonia as King Lokeen’s heir.  Her twin sister Val continues to help healed Lady Ariiell who rejects Lokeen’s proposal.  Their half-brother Glenndon’s father King Darville recognizes him as Coronnan’s heir.  Finally their brother Lukan agrees to accompany Skeller on his trek home in order to find his missing mage mentor Master Robb. 

None of the siblings are aware of the diabolical plotting of a beautiful witch who just escaped from a fifteen year incarceration.  She plans to forge a coven loyal to her that includes Lukan and a scheme to become mad Lokeen’s royal bride.  Neither Skeller nor Lukan realize that the Krakatriv monsters who recently destroyed much of Coronnan during the storm run rampart in Amazonia, a land filled with chronic fear.

The third Children of the Dragon Nimbus (see The Silent Dragon) completes the latest trilogy with the prime focus on Lukan and Skeller.  Though there is a déjà vu feel to the entertaining storyline, the bard-prince, the new master mage, the insane ruler and the beguiling evil witch make for an exciting quest fantasy.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Broken Souls-Stephen Blackmoore

Broken Souls
Stephen Blackmoore
Daw, Aug 5 2014, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756409425

Necromancer Eric Carter fled Los Angeles years ago vowing to never return to the “Mad City” where too many wanted him dead.  His pledge ended with the tortured shredding death of his sister Lucy in her home; that he interpreted correctly as a personalized message to him from a psychopathic essence (see Dead Things).

Things only have gotten worse with the death of his buddy Alex and the grinning grim reminders of his “wife” Death, Santa Muerte; whom Eric foolishly agreed to wed in exchange for paranormal power.  He can’t do anything for Alex, but Eric decides he needs to annul his vow before Death claims him.  Desperate, he turns to a mage for help; unaware what lurks beneath the skin of his advisor.  Eric also finds brutal assistance from Bruja and an essence that seems to be Alex yet can’t be his best friend; meanwhile a predator who “steals” bodies targets the necromancer and his allies.

The latest Eric Carter urban fantasy noir is a superb paranormal thriller that grips readers throughout.  The beleaguered protagonist finds his quest change from voiding his deal with “Lady Death” (not the Chaos comic book heroine) to uncovering a deadly maniac stalking him.  Bruja adds depth with kick butt pulling no punches verbal shots that rip Eric’s skin.  Readers will enjoy the adventures of the necromancer as he walks the dangerous streets of the City of the Lost.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, August 9, 2014

Trial by Fire-Charles E. Gannon

Trial by Fire
Charles E. Gannon
Baen, Aug 5 2014, $15.00
ISBN 9781476736648

Diplomat Caine Riordan comes home to a devastated world at war.  He was part of the negotiating team with the Accord, but during the talks the aliens, abetted by seditious corporations, attacked the earth’s fleet leaving it crippled and the planet undefended from a potential genocide level assault. 

As Caine tries to end the violence, he finds supporting evidence that this probably is not the first contact with another species from space.  He considers what the aliens want and why as he forms a hypothesis based on the original encounter seemingly forgotten by Terran but not by the Accord.  Thus he concludes that first time was catastrophic for the enemy whose objective is to bring war to the Terran terrorists on their planet before this feral race brings it to theirs.

The second Tales of the Terran Republic (see Fire with Fire) is a super futuristic science fiction in which the aliens deploy the Bush preemptive first strike doctrine as their defense of an all-out sneak attack.  The keys to this strong entry are the prime cast (Terran and alien) are fully developed so that the species seem genuine and the balanced blending of the military-industrial-political complex while Riordan and readers learn many of his species are diplomacy deniers even if war most likely means Terran extermination.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 8, 2014

Shadows-E.C. Blake

E.C. Blake
Daw, Aug 5 2014, $19.95
ISBN: 9780756407605

With her father being the Autarch Master Maskmaker in Aygrima, Mara Holdfast's future seemed predestined as his apprentice.  However, at her rite of passage ceremony, the mask her father made for her broke apart marking her as a traitor.  Stunned and despondent, Mara is banished from her upper class existence to a deadly short life at a mining camp.  Believing Mara is the key to their revolt, the Unmasked rebels rescue her (see Masks).

Still concealing her unique skill to see all the colors of magic as she always has, her new friends assign her to use her ability to abet their cause by making masks for them; but she fails as her creations crumble.  Mara knows she must sneak into the city to obtain guidance from her mentor father, but unsure she can trust him after her masking debacle.  Instead a boat arrives with a person demanding to meet the Unmasked Community chief.

The action-packed second Masks of Aygrima coming of age fantasy contains a strong storyline that continues to focus on the two-caste society, but with the additional effect that “Strangers from a Strange Land” (Robert A. Heinlein) have on the divided country.  As she fears her magical talent will destroy everyone without prejudice towards masked and unmasked in her path, Mara continues to learn that "… great power involves great responsibility" (FDR in a speech never given).

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Loyal Wolf-Linda O. Johnston

Loyal Wolf
Linda O. Johnston
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 1 2014, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373009275

In Clifford County, Montana, Deputy Sheriff Kathlene Baylor becomes concerned when a large group of alleged hunters move onto nearby land.  She fears these fully armed men are anarchists, but her supervisor Sheriff Frawley warns her to let it go; insisting they are hunters.  Still, the outsiders frighten the locals and intimidate the council. 

Kathlene bypasses her boss and soon the military send in three members of Alpha Force (Lieutenant Jock Larabey, Sergeant Raif Nunez and K9 Click to investigate.  Attracted to Jock, Kathlene soon discovers his and Alpha Force’s top secret even as the evidence mounts that the strangers are anarchists with a nasty plan for the local community.

The key to the 5th Alpha Force werewolf romantic suspense (see Undercover Wolf, Guardian Wolf, Alpha Wolf and Alaskan Wolf) is the intimidation and threat by the armed strangers in spite of these outsiders coming across as underdeveloped stereotypes.  Subgenre fans will cheer on courageous Kathlene every time the kick butt heroine takes risks that frighten Jock as he fears for the woman who has hooked his inner wolf.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Wolf Returning- Rhyannon Byrd

Dark Wolf Returning
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 1 2014, $5.75
ISBN: 9780373009268

Three years ago, the Silvercrest Lycan pack banished Eli Drake for an unsanctioned revenge killing.  He met four similar exiles and they formed a bond of mercenaries (and good deeds) while his siblings ((Eric (see Dark Wolf Rising) and Elise (see Dark Wolf Running)) begged him to come home to save the pack in peril after their late father’s abominations and the current dire threat from Sebastian Claymore and the Whiteclaw pack.

Half-breed Bloodrunner Carla Reyes arrives in a dive in Texas to bring Eli home.  Before he left the pack, they began the mating ritual but he stopped leaving both in limbo.  After punching him in the face, she persuades him to come home to Maryland to save the pack from an enemy who uses super drugs to abduct females (like they did with Carla and Elise) and to create super soldiers.  As Elise and the quintet head east, Eli wonders how he will leave Carla behind again while she insists she wants to rip him out of her heart. 

The 6th action-packed Bloodrunners werewolf romantic suspense completes the “Dark Wolf” Drake siblings saga (see the previous “Last Wolf” trilogy: Last Wolf Standing, Last Wolf Hunting and Last Wolf Watching) with a fast-paced return of the prodigal alpha thriller.  Series fans will relish this entry as much for the unfinished business between the lead characters as the constant confrontation between rival packs.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

The Angel Of Losses-Stephanie Feldman

The Angel Of Losses
Stephanie Feldman
Ecco/HarperCollins, Jul 29 2014, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062228918

The Burke sisters were best friends growing up off the Jersey Turnpike and listening to their Russian grandfather Eli telling tales of the White Magician.  As adults Marjorie and Holly went their separate ways and rarely see each other; especially since Nathan entered their lives and destroyed Eli’s sacred study and who knows what inside the den.  Marjorie attends Barnard working on her Ph.D. dissertation re The Wandering Jew while Holly marries Nathan and converts from a gentile to the Orthodox Jewish Berukhim Penitents.

After Eli recently died, Holly gives birth to a child named after her late grandfather; while Marjorie found one of his notebooks that focused on the carrier of the Sabbath Light, the White Rebbe.  She peruses Eli’s scrawl and seeks the other tomes on the legendary White Rebbe and the Angel of Losses.  Her study leads her to another scholar Simon and a strange older man who gives her an amulet.  When Nathan vanishes and his son becomes very sick, Marjorie learns the legend of her grandfather. 

The Angel of Losses is a strong Judaic spiritual family drama that at times is difficult to follow due to the profound but extremely complicated mysticism especially that of the Kabballah’s unknown 23rd Hebrew alphabet letter to complete God’s true holy name when the Messiah arrives.  Not for everyone, Stephanie Feldman provides a powerful reflective Jewish mysticism saga as seen through the respective filters of the Jersey girls.

Harriet Klausner

Fiction River Original Anthology Magazine #9: Fantastic Detectives-Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Ruschr

Fiction River Original Anthology Magazine #9: Fantastic Detectives
Dean Wesley Smith and Kristine Kathryn Rusch (Editors)
WMG Publications, Aug 2014, $15.99
ISBN: 9781496104465

“Case Cracked” by Joe Cron.  In Magic City, the wife fears the Goblin Collection Agency so tells cop Dumpty nothing though she witnessed her spouse’s homicide.

“Living With The Past” by Dayle A. Dermatis.  A Marilyn Monroe impersonator’s ghost begs Nikki to help her granddaughter.

“All She Can Be” by Karen L. Abrahamson.  Geological Survey cartographers Mosley and Drake try to correct the change magically made to North Dakota.

“Under Oregon” by Kara Legend.  The teen attacks the fairies, but learns what reside under Willamette Valley.

“Role Model” by Kevin J. Anderson.  At the Cosplay Convention, Shamble (see Slimy Underbelly), McGooh and a Shamble impersonator investigate the homicide of a Star Wars vampire.

“Death In Hathaway Tower” by Ryan M. Williams.  Brookwind the elf crashes Emily’s party where a goblin shifter murdered a guest.

“Trouble Aboard The Flying Scotsman” by Alistair Kimble.  With help from a sentient “rat”, Harland seeks to prevent a saboteur from destroying the train.

“Containing Patient Zero” by Paul Eckheart.  They must prevent the execution of Little Star as the consequences will be devastating since he is patient zero zombie virus carrier.

“Canine Agent Rocky Arnold Vs. The Evil Alliance” by Judith Nordeen.  FBI canine agent Rocky learns that the Evil Alliance (rabbits, squirrels and coyotes) abducted Kaya’s girl-person.

“An Incursion Of Mice” by Kristine Kathryn Rusch.  Wall T insists he leads the -feline pride, but fails to prevent a mouse incursion.

“They’re Back” by Dean Wesley Smith.  Poker Boy and his allies thought they saved the world from the evil ghost slots (see The Slots of Saturn), but failed to account for a time anomaly.

This fantastic Fiction River anthology runs the gamut of fantasy-detective subgenres.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Throne Of Stars-David Weber and John Ringo

Throne Of Stars
David Weber and John Ringo
Baen, Aug 12 2014, $14.00
ISBN: 9781476736662

“March To The Sea.”  The bogus diplomatic mission assigned to Prince Roger was to get rid of him temporarily as the royals are tired of his boorish spoiled behavior.  One thousand rugged Marines accompany Roger with every one of these tough soldiers detesting this royal pain in the butt.  The assignment goes wrong and Roger and his troops become stuck on hostile Marduk.  Over the next few months, as many die Roger leads his Marines and loyal Mardukans in a deadly march to reach the only spaceport held by the enemy. 

“We Few.”  While marooned for eight months (and three books) with marines on Marduk, Roger survives while watching most of his comrades die.  Death turns Roger from hedonistic "Playboy Prince" to Bravo Company leader.  Freed from Marduk, he learns his biological father and Prince Adoula overthrew his mother Empress Alexandra; killed his siblings, nieces and nephews; blamed Roger for the mass regicide murders; and use the former ruler as a puppet.  Roger and his few marines supplemented by a few hundred Mardukans, a ghost and a few others need allies from those who will kill him at first sight.

March to the Sea is a powerful coming of age military science fiction as Roger turns from a hedonistic rotter into a competent leader.  We Few moves off Marduk but continues Roger’s development into a strong leader as he and the other survivors begin a counter revolt against those who assassinated and usurped his family as rulers.  Though it behooves newcomers to read the first Prince Roger Omnibus collection (contains March Upcountry and March to the Sea), series fans will enjoy this outer space saga.

Harriet Klausner