Archive for May, 2011

Green-Eyed Envy-Kasey Mackenzie

May 30, 2011

Green-Eyed Envy

Kasey Mackenzie

Ace, Jun 28 2011, $7.99

ISBN: 9780441020492

 

In Boston, someone murders a Bastai cat shapeshifter.  Leading the investigation is the city’s magical investigator chief Marissa Holloway the Fury and her BPD mortal partner Trinity LaRue.  Riss struggles with why the victim who has nine lives fails to come back from the dead.  The corpse of the Bastai as other such victims share in common three things: they are Bastai with lives to spare; yet they are dead and not resurrecting; and each was a former boyfriend of cat shifter FBI agent Harper Cruz, who has announced her engagement to Hound shifter Penn Banoub.

 

Riss and Trinity know a serial killer is on the loose.  They fear the next victim could be Riss’ lover warhound shifter Scott Murphy who is a Harper’s one night stand past conquest.  While she struggles with Fury politics, a deadly game that makes DC look like kindergarten kids at play, someone tries to kill her and her family.

 

Following up Red-Hot Fury in which Riss prevented war between the paranormal, her second police procedural urban fantasy is more personal but just as mega nasty.  Besides a superb investigation into who is murderously Green-Eyed Envy, she must uncover the identity of the betrayer amongst the Fury or her family.  This is a great tour of Boston’s paranormal underground (and not the Green Line).

 

Harriet Klausner

 

 

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Dragon’s Time-Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

May 30, 2011

Dragon’s Time

Anne McCaffrey and Todd McCaffrey

Del Rey, Jun 28 2011, $26.00

ISBN: 9780345500892

 

On the planet Pern, plague was killing the dragons just as the deadly Thread began falling from the red orb.  Lorana found a cure at the cost her beloved queen dragon, but the toll is devastating as the surviving dragons cannot even fill up a weyr.    Since all the dragons and their riders of Telgar Weyr were lost in between, Fiona and T’mar become the new Weyr leaders.  Understaffed and under-skilled, each time they go out to fight thread, more die or are crippled.  Unless they come up with a solution soon, human and dragon life on Pern will be extinct. 

 

Although pregnant and without her dragon, Lorana borrows the Bendon weyr dragon to go to the future to plead for help.  The Brendan Weyrwoman provides her with coordinates as to where she should land.  When she arrives at the location she meets Trader Tenniz who is dying.  She remains at his side until he passes, but now knows she must figure out what he hinted at.  Lorana returns to Fiona two times from her location and she brings F’Jan to be with Terin in her hour of need butt F’Jian does not explain how or why since he was killed fighting Thread. As they put together the clues, they begin a plan to save the planet by hopefully cheating time

 

In this final of the latest Pern miniseries (see Dragon Blood, Dragonheart and Dragongirl the threads (no pun intended) come together to create a stirring exciting sci-fi thriller.  Readers will admire the characters especially Fiona, a natural leader lacking experience and firepower at a time of dire straits yet gets riders to follow her in spite of what appears is a suicide mission.  McCaffrey mother and son team up smoothly wit the latest entry in a classic epic saga.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Violet Flash-Mike Mason

May 29, 2011

The Violet Flash

Mike Mason

David C. Cook, Jun 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781434765253

 

While their dad Reverend Cholmondeley lies in a coma, Chelsea the amateur sleuth tells her brother Chesterton that the excessive wind is being caused by a hole in the sky and not just Porter’s Store where Sky Porter makes deliveries.  Zac Smith arrives with the newspaper whose headline is a plane crashed caused by a missing second; at least that is what Dr. Stromway insists occurred; a phenomenon that happens every 1,400,000 years.  Iris and Sky join the siblings Zac.  When a tear occurs in the Blue Umbrella, a horrified Ches watches his pain in the butt sibling vanish inside the canopy.

 

Ches learns that the atomic clocks stopped beating for a second three days in a row.  In those flash moments accidents have happened around the globe; some deadly.  Ches wonders if his sister’s disappearance and the missing seconds are related.  On a quest to rescue Chelsea, he needs to better understand time so he visits Myron Stinchcombe the clockmaker and Sky the world’s greatest authority on anything at least in Ches’ opinion.  However, instead of comfort from what he learns, Ches pieces together clues of a plot to destroy the world; to save the planet may cost him the return of his sibling.

 

Though Ches has recovered emotionally from Evil Dada stealing his years, he remains ignorant on so much taken for granted by his friends like Grand Central Station.  That naivety he brings to the story line makes the sequel to the Blue Umbrella a terrific whimsical thriller as he tries to make up for lost time in a search for Chelsea.  With a super support cast adding to the fun, young adult readers will enjoy The Violet Flash as the hero knows time is running out.

 

Harriet Klausner

City of Ruin-Mark Charan Newton

May 29, 2011

City of Ruin

Mark Charan Newton

Spectra (Random House), Jun 28 2011, $16.00

ISBN 9780345520883

 

At a time when the Jamur Empire needs to be united to combat an outside intrusion, the nation is divided.  In Villhamur, Chancellor Urtica sits on the throne while Empress Rika is forced to flee the capital for Villiren; where she hopes to gain the support of the Night Guard though she is unsure whose side Commander Brynd Lathraea is on.  The Empress is accompanied on her trek north by her sister Eir and their protector Randur.

 

Across from Villiren, the Okun have massacred the local populace on Tineag’l Island.  These ruthless foes prepare to cross the strait to invade Villiren next even as the Jamur military led by Brynd prepare to defend the city knowing that defeats will mean the slaughter of every person.  However Brynd has non military problems too from an extortion scheme while Inspector Rumex Jeryd does his duty regardless of the pending disaster by investigating the recent disappearances of dozens of locals.

 

The second Legends of the Red Sun dark fantasy (see Nights in Villjamur) is a terrific military, political and social epic that provides a deep look at a city anticipating with some deniers the encroachment of the enemy.  The story line is action-packed and loaded with fully developed characters especially those inside the beleaguered city although there are too many subplots that cause the minor ones to effect the flow of the critical themes.  Still City of Ruin is an engaging tale as the vicious Okrun come to Villiren with their scorched earth blitzkrieg war machine.

 

Harriet Klausner

Gravestone-Travis Thrasher

May 28, 2011

Gravestone

Travis Thrasher

David C. Cook, Jun 1 2011, $9.99

ISBN: 9781434764195

 

Sixteen year old Chris Buckley remains an outsider having recently moved from Chicago suburb Libertyville, Illinois to live with his mom in her hometown of Solitary, North Carolina.  They reside in the cabin of his missing Uncle Robert.  He anticipated a major adjustment, but not what happened especially to Jocelyn who he wanted to make his girlfriend (see Solitary).

 

While his mom suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Chris continues to have canine attack problems even as he meets his cousin Jared who apparently rescues him from the latest dog assault.  Jared wants to know where his father is while also insisting the town is shut down with the snowstorm making it easier to achieve this.  However, as he barely keeps from soiling his pants as he is must choose between life and death over the edge of Marsh Falls, Chris trusts no one especially not his mentally battered mom, a cousin who says his aunt is unaware he exists; nor Pastor Jeremiah Marsh whose closets are filled with skeletons.

 

The atmosphere turns darker and gloomier as Chris struggles with good and evil as he continues his quest to learn the haunting secrets of Solitary.  Although cognizant of the threat to his life that his mission causes, he is just beginning to understand the risk to his soul.  Young adults and older readers will relish the second Buckley Solitary thriller as the hero struggles with comprehending what is going on in this small North Carolina town.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Applewood-Brendan P. Myers

May 28, 2011

Applewood

Brendan P. Myers

By Light Unseen Media, My 15 2011, $13.00

www.bylightunseenmedia.com

ISBN: 9781935303190

 

In Grantham, Massachusetts, Sergeant Lombard of the local police department controls the homicide scene until State Police Captain Jenkins arrives to take over the investigation.  A teen taking a leak in the woods found the corpse of a young Caucasian male whose neck was ripped open, but little blood is in the vicinity. 

 

Lombard knows the vicious attack denotes the return of the beast after a quarter of a century of dormancy.  He contacts his high school friend Dugan to come home to the decaying Applewood neighborhood so they can once again fight the evil that came to town during the Civil War when the Grantham regiment fought in Georgia.

 

This is an engaging atmospheric horror thriller that hooks the reader with the opening corpse and never slows down until the final cemetery confrontation.  Overall the story line is fast-paced though flashbacks to Dugan’s early teen days and 1861 detract from the speed but enhance the sense of inevitable gloom and doom.  Dugan is a unique protagonist who lost the ability to dream during his first encounter with evil while the malevolent one is a super vile beast.  Readers will appreciate a trip to central Massachusetts as Brendan P. Myers provides an exhilarating deadly tour.

 

Harriet Klausner

 

Rogue-Charles Scott Adams

May 28, 2011

Rogue

Charles Scott Adams

CreateSpace, Apr 30 2010, $13.95

ISBN: 9781450513906

 

In the struggle between vampire groups over the ancient Book, Arthur and his team defeated their enemy and now possess the original manuscript (see Never Dream).  However, he knows the real adversary who would turn human into cattle remains unknown as his side defeated foot soldiers.

 

Arthur and several allies take the arcane tome to Philadelphia where they nurture Iago the werewolf on his human side having been born and raised wolf.  The vampire believes his student is the greatest weapon his team possesses to keep the Book from those who want to deploy it.  Their human ally in the fight in Salamanca Terry has returned to her home in Boston unaware of the dangerous events she participated in and equally incognizant that Jennings the vampire watches her. 

 

After a few years of training, Iago leaves to live with the humans.  When Terry is hurt in a car accident, Jennings must choose between letting her die and converting her at the same time Arthur calls Iago home as the enemy vampires begin their assault.

 

The sequel to Never Dream is a super urban fantasy that can stand alone, but enhanced by reading the first thriller in order to know how far the prime players have come.  The story line is action-packed as expected with vamps at war and a Rogue lone werewolf, but it is the details of instructing kick butt Iago on little things like getting dressed that makes the tale excellent; as he learns A Boy Should Know How to Tie a Tie(And Other Lessons for Succeeding in Life by Antwone Fisher).  Charles Scott Adams provides fabulous thriller due to his cast of ferocious vamps and a werewolf with moral fortitude.

 

Harriet Klausner

Cursebusters!-Julie Smith

May 28, 2011

Cursebusters!

Julie Smith

Bold Strokes Books, May 17 2011, $13.95

http://www.boldstrokesbooks.com

ISBN: 9781602825598

 

In Santa Barbara, teenagers Jace, Morgan and Deborah break into the home of Michelle Zunger to steal her diamonds.  However, a big orange cat, that the elderly woman denies exists, foils their attempts.  Police officer Frank Dominick arrests Deb.  Her parents get the Zungers to drop the charges on the condition that Deborah Reeno Dimond attends St. Joan, the “Bad Girls School” near Ojal.  Her only remorse is not being there for her dying sister Haley, wasting away from an unknown disease.

 

Though placed in Remedial that she knows that is a euphemism for the prison wing, Reeno hooks up with other psychics at the school.  She learns from her Ozone Ranger peers especially Carlos that her sister’s disease is caused by an ancient Mayan curse.  Their advisor A.B. (calls himself Alpha Beast) insists he knows ho save her sibling’s life.  Reeno would do anything for Haley even heeding the advice of an untrustworthy predatory Alpha Beast who considers her a worthless human novice by going back in time to steal an artifact from ancient Mayans.

 

This is a terrific young adult fantasy that grips the audience from the moment that darn cat gets in the way of the perfect teen heist and never slows down as Reeno gets into messes one after another though the timeline is not linear.  Action-packed, readers will enjoy the Cursebusters as Julie Smith leaves New Orleans (see sleuths Talba Wallis and Skip Langdon) for a fabulous adventure in Mayan territory, past and present).

 

Harriet Klausner

The First Days: As the World Dies-Rhiannon Frater

May 28, 2011

The First Days: As the World Dies

Rhiannon Frater

Tor, Jul 5 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9780765331267

Texas housewife Jenni watches in shock as her abusive husband Lloyd eats their three years old child while their other child twelve year old Mikey is already turned into a zombie.  As tiny fingers grab the bottom of the door to get Jenni, a driver shouts at the stunned woman to get into her car.  Katie explains she was on her way to work when she was almost bitten.  A zombie plague has humans reeling.  As Katie hits and runs over the brainless beasts, both are elated to have a companion while driving through the horrific landscape and grieving for loved ones.

The two women rescue Jenni’s stepson Jason who was at a sleep away camp while fighting zombies.  The trio obtains shelter at Ashley Oaks, a human encampment in which high fortifications are being constructed.  The zombies are increasingly becoming more intelligent with their attacks increasingly sophisticated and strategic, which frightens the nervous residents although their charismatic leader Travis tries to keep them safe.

Jenni and Katie make this urban horror fantasy fun to read as their bond is forged over the gruesome destruction of loved ones and their civilized world. Neither one is prepared to be alone.  Although they differ in background, each proves to have the right stuff while covering each other’s back.  Filled with graveyard survivor humor, fans will enjoy this Z thriller that explores the implosion of Texas society mindful of On the Beach (by Nevil Shute), zombie style.

Harriet Klausner

Honeyed Words-J.A. Pitts

May 28, 2011

Honeyed Words

J.A. Pitts

Tor, Jul 5 2011, $25.99

ISBN 9780765324689

 

Blacksmith Sarah Beauhall struggles with acceptance of what she has learned about the world since she reforged a sword that turned out to be magical.  Denial will not work when dragons and other fantasy species are genuine instead of just the imagination of authors, filmmakers and the medieval reenactment community.  Sarah knows her mission from those in charge is to cleanse the magic (see Black Blade Blues).

 

She observes Skella and Gletts watching her, which she hypothesizes has to do with her recent save the world task.  Greedy dwarves hired the pair as they seek more power.  Sarah and her BFF Katie attend a concert only the dwarves attempt to abduct the singer whose blood they need to amplify their magic.  Her preference is to stay out of this scenario, but that is not an option as Sarah begins her latest save the world rescue mission that has her aligned with her enemies.

 

This entertaining Beauhall urban fantasy is a fast-paced thriller though it not quite as fresh as the first book Black Blade Blues.  The key to the tale is the reluctant heroine who prefers her quests to remain in enactments and theater and not in the real world.  The rest of the characters are underdeveloped even the dwarves (think of Time Bandits) as the roles of the rest of the cast is to force the protagonist into reaction mode.  Fans will enjoy Sarah strong and hesitant as she copes poorly as she battles with otherworldly essences.

 

Harriet Klausner