Archive for October, 2013

Dead Set-Richard Kadrey

October 31, 2013

Dead Set
Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager, Oct 29 2013, $22.99
ISBN 9780062283016

After the unexpected death of her father, grieving sixteen years old Zoe and her mother who has no time to mourn their loss move into a run-down apartment in San Francisco. They are broke and cannot afford for Zoe to regularly check her email. Zoe does not hate this apartment, but feels miserable there and at her new school while her dreams frighten her except for mysterious Valentine who she does not know always being there.

The enthusiasm Zoe’s late father had for punk bands is her fondest memory of him. When Zoe meets music store owner Ammut, she feels a connection her dad. Ammut tells her he can arrange for her to meet her father’s spirit. Excited Zoe ends up in Iphigene; where trapped souls like that of her father linger for eternity. Zoe’s deceased brother she never knew existed welcomes her and guides her as she tries to help her dead family members move on from an evil despot and ultimately for her to return to her mom.

This is a fabulous young adult allegory that looks deep into grief as everyone mourns a loss differently. Although the storyline contains no twists, readers will feel the depth of despair Zoe carries in her heart and the burden of the Dead Set denizen stuck in Iphigene in this profound fable.

Harriet Klausner


Midnight’s Promise-Donna Grant

October 31, 2013

Midnight’s Promise
Donna Grant
St. Martin’s, Oct 29 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781250017291

After centuries giving up everything to battle evil, weary Malcolm Munro knows he is mentally in trouble as he is losing hope that he will find a place in this shitty world to end his abject loneliness. Recently the Warrior’s depression has begun to affect his self-control over his powers.

Druid descendent Evangeline Walker is on the run as she believes her paranoia that she is being pursued is real. In Scotland, she and Malcolm meet when he rescues her from a car accident. Both feel the attraction though he struggles with his need after hundreds of years with none and she deals with her expectation of living her life alone. As they fall in love, she may trust him with her soul, but not that of her sibling Brian; so Evangeline turns to the darkness to rescue her brother.

The eighth Dark Warrior romantic fantasy (see Midnight’s Kiss, Midnight’s Captive and Midnight’s Temptation) is a taut action-packed tale starring two fascinating troubled protagonists. The fast-paced storyline focuses on whether two distrusting doubters, whose “… hearts they beat as one; no more love on the run” (Caribbean Queen by Billy Ocean), can depend on love to strengthen their resolve if they are to survive their confrontation with overwhelming evil and Death.

Harriet Klausner

The Influence-Bentley Little

October 31, 2013

The Influence
Bentley Little
Cemetery Dance, Oct 29 2013, $25.00
ISBN: 9781587674198

Engineer Ross Lowery lost his position at Air Research during the Great Recession and has not found work since. He always sent money to his family when they needed it even when he didn’t have much. However, now that he needs assistance, all (including his siblings) except his cousin Lita ignore him. Though not wealthy, Lita and her husband Dave invite Ross to stay with them in remote Magdalena, Arizona for a few months while he applies for jobs over the Net.

At the town’s New Year’s Eve bash, everyone shoots into sky at midnight; only something falls to the ground. Soon afterward the townsfolk begin to face changes in their fortunes. A rancher’s cattle die with eerie creatures leaving the corpses before vanishing and Lita’s eggs hatch lizards and spiders; Ross receives job offers and falls in love, and a beautician wins the mega lottery. When children vanish, realizing something is not right in Magdalena ever since the creature fell from the sky and altered 180 degrees the fortunes and misfortunes of everyone, Ross believes he and others must rescue the young and prevent whatever is occurring from spreading.

The Influence is a strong horror thriller in which darkness threatens life as the townsfolk knew it. The reactions by the affluent suddenly hammered by bad luck and the threat of poverty, and the impoverished suddenly charmed with a run of good fortune make for a super storyline. With deep underlying social messages from scriptures: “But by the grace of God I am what I am …” and “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (karma aside). Bentley Little provides a taut thought-provoking tale.

Harriet Klausner

Black and Blue-Gena Showalter

October 27, 2013

Black and Blue
Gena Showalter
Pocket, Oct 22 2013, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451671605

Michael Black insured the three Otherworlders he found as abandoned babies were raised comfortably in caring homes while he trained them. Owing all to Michael as he gave them sustenance and a reason to live, Solomon “Solo” Judah (see Last Kiss Goodnight), John No Last Name and Corbin Blue became his elite black operatives.

While discussing Operation Dumpster Dive to take down Gregory Star, a bombing at their chief’s house separates an injured Blue from his cronies Solo, John and their leader Michael. He was left with perilous third degree burns. Being an Arcadian may save his life but only if he can find shelter to heal. Instead of his naïve fiancé Pagan Cary, Blue turns to Michael’s estranged adopted daughter Evangeline a doctor and rare Rakan as the only person he trusts with his life; though he previously insisted he’d “rather be slit open from naval to nose” than have anything to do with her; being a former operative she carries a knife. As he recovers, they must drop the animosity and team up in search of her father and the other two members of the Dynamic Trio. At the same time each remains in denial re how they really feel by hiding behind a façade of acerbity.

The second exciting Otherworld Assassin romantic urban fantasy is a fun tale that focuses more on the war of the words than the search and rescue. Readers will enjoy the Beloved Enemies storyline as Black and Blue blend together into the color of love.

Harriet Klausner

The Iron Traitor-Julie Kagawa

October 25, 2013

The Iron Traitor
Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, Oct 29 2013
ISBN: 9780373210916

Iron Queen Meghan Chase’s younger brother Ethan wanted nothing to do with his sibling’s Iron Realm Nevernever after spending a traumatic time as an abducted four year old in that abomination (see The Iron King). In the normal realm, Ethan hid his true nature behind an angry tough guy loner façade until he met Mackenzie St. James at his new school. That encounter eventually led to his return accompanied by her to the last place he wanted to visit (see The Lost Prince).

After a week in Faeryland, he is back in normal land, hopefully with Kenzie as her boyfriend. The cops question him re shell shocked Todd and Kenzie whose parents order her not to see Ethan again after he explains that he drove her to New York for a week. Meanwhile Ethan’s same age as him nephew Keirran, who he met for the first time on his recent visit to his sister, vanished. The family fears the teenager plans to raise the deadly Forgotten. Feeling a sense of responsibility that he knows sucks Ethan must stop his relative before he devastates two realms.

The second entertaining Iron Fey Call of the Forgotten urban fantasy (see The Lost Prince) continues to focus on Ethan who no longer is an angry teen since he has friends and family to care what happens to them especially Kenzie. Though it behooves the audience to read the previous book to better understand the protagonist (and for that matter Meghan’s saga – see The Iron King, The Iron Queen and The Iron Daughter), fans will enjoy this entry as Ethan learns the importance of family.

Harriet Klausner

Revealed-P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast

October 24, 2013

P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast
St. Martin’s Griffin, Oct 15 2013, $18.99
ISBN: 9780312594435

In Tulsa, the immortal Neferet is lost to Zoey and her House of Night companions (see Hidden). However, Neferet has a greater thirst for victory with revenge a powerful motivator for this ancient one used to always winning. She needs a body, but for one like her easily obtained through the blood of these lesser being mortals she kills without remorse.

Neferet begins her return engagement with a gruesome kill that angers the humans residing in Tulsa. The irate mortals demand a reckoning with the vampires starting with the House of Night occupants. The teen students led by Zoey know they must not just vanquish their evil adversary this time; they must prevent the malevolent from ever retuning. At the same time Zoey and her friends also must persuade the humans they will not harm them before a bloody incident happens.

The latest House of Night older teen urban fantasy is an engaging entry though the storyline has a déjà vu theme and the overarching plot fails to advance. Zoey and crew struggle with Neferet’s lethal actions that lead to the city outraged with all vampires racially profiled and blamed for one evil apple. Long time series fans will enjoy Neferit’s comeback tour.

Harriet Klausner

The Osiris Curse-Paul Crilley

October 23, 2013

The Osiris Curse
Paul Crilley
PYR, Oct 15 2013, $17.99
ISBN: 9781616148584

Late in nineteenth century London, someone murders Nikola Tesla and steals the inventor’s WMD schematics. Encouraged by Sebastian Tweed’s father Barnaby, he and his partner Octavia Nightingale investigate the homicide in order to obtain the weapons’ plans before the killer deploys them.

The teenage sleuths quickly find a stunning connection between the Tesla homicide and the disappearance of Olivia’s mother over a year ago. More clues lead the daring duo to The Hermetic Order of Set whose members attempt to assassinate them. Sebastian and Olivia flee on the luxury airship Albion heading to Tutankhamen’s View Hotel built inside the Great Pyramid knowing that the history texts are wrong and England is in peril.

The second Tweed and Nightingale steampunk investigative thriller (see The Lazarus Machine) is an engaging save the Victorian world young adult adventure. The teenage amateur sleuths are fascinating heroes as they try to save England while shocked by what they have learned about the history of the world. Although the romantic elements between the lead couple feel more of a requirement that takes away from an otherwise entertaining alternate historical suspense with fun steampunk inventions in the name of progress, readers will enjoy the teens’ heroic escapades.

Harriet Klausner

The Heavens Rise-Christopher Rice

October 23, 2013

The Heavens Rise
Christopher Rice
Gallery, Oct 15 2013, $26.00
ISBN 9781476716084

In the Bayou in 2005, Niquette Delongpre’s father dreamed of changing the land surrounded by swamp water into Elysium an estate like no other. The construction crew diligently working at the site dig into a long buried well. None of them or the Delongpre family knew at the time that they liberated an interred parasite better for mankind left buried. Soon afterward, the entire Delongpre family except for Niquette disappears near Bayou Rabineaux leaving behind the frightened teen and signs that their car went through a guardrail.

Niquette knows what has happened to her and her family. Filled with rage and remorse, she vows to never allow her recent need for violence to harm her boyfriend Ben and their best friend Anthem so pushes them away. However, they refuse to walk away from her. In 2013, Niquette realizes that the parasite infected another childhood peer Marshall who while he resides in a coma in an Atlanta Hospital plans to release his inner violence in an unsuspecting world.

Rotating viewpoint between the four protagonists and two time periods, readers get to know what motivates each of the quartet; especially the pair hosting the parasite inside them. Character driven, readers will relish this strong horror thriller that builds suspense from the eeriness of what was released from deep in the murky Bayou.

Harriet Klausner

The Diamond Deep-Brenda Cooper

October 19, 2013

The Diamond Deep
Brenda Cooper
Pyr, Oct 8 2013, $18.00
ISBN 9781616148553

The rebellion between the oppressed Grays against the elitist technologists Reds on the generation ship Creative Fire has been somewhat settled though some ire and revolt remains especially among those who have fallen in status. Ruby Martin, who led the rebellion as a rare dreaming Gray, and her partner Joel North with the collaboration of the ship’s AI leads the vessel on their way home to Adiamo.

However, when they dock at the Diamond Deep station, instead of being welcomed as exploratory heroes, the residents treat the Creative Fire crew with disdain as inferiors. Ruby and her mates are backwater when it comes to the advances in technologies since the ship began the venture many generations ago. Ergo their superiors dump them at the bottom of the social hierarchy.

The second Ruby’s Song science fiction (see The Creative Fire) is an exciting outer space first contact thriller that continues to focus on technological class warfare (an issue impacting the world today). Ruby still covets life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but now that she is in charge of governance rather than leading a rebellion against status quo leadership she seems incompetent which ironically makes her appear real. Although not as exciting as its prequel, fans will appreciate this deep look at the technological revolution especially the impact on those left behind.

Harriet Klausner

All The Shadows Of The Rainbow-Inanna Arthen

October 19, 2013

All The Shadows Of The Rainbow
Inanna Arthen
By Light Unseen Media, Aug 2 2013, $14.00
ISBN: 9781935303152

Three years have passed since 1952 when she last attended a Beltane at the Order of the Silver Light Motherhouse in Boston. Instead in self-exile Diana Chilton grieves the losses of friends caused by what she and her associates wrought trying to help Thomas Morgan overcome his vampiric thirst for human blood. Now a vampire as well as a witch, she ponders whether to visit the coven’s Belrane rite or continue to hide in Pepperell, Maine. Concealing her vampiric side, Diana decides to attend but is surprised with what has happened to the Motherhouse in her self-imposed banishment.

At the masked gala, Diana and Jack Garret pair off. The next day he suggests they and others form a new clandestine coven dedicated to improving the lot of the people. Diana, who established and still funds the Bread and Roses Foundation, is euphoric with helping others improve their lives. Magicians David Hofstein and April McFarland join their coven until three of the founding members start to doubt the wisdom of their manipulations. The disagreement comes to a head in November 1963 leading to the coven’s breakup. Alone and filled with remorse, Diana joins Troy Stevenson the vampire in Sheridan, Massachusetts until rumors arrive warning her that Jack has begun implementing an agenda that will change the world in his image.

The third Vampires of New England historical fantasy (see THE LONGER THE FALL) uses the major events of the 1950s and 1960s as a backdrop to a strong morality play that focuses on free will. Character-driven, readers will relish Inanna Arthen’s powerful drama as the heroine learns once again that “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

Harriet Klausner