Thursday, April 16, 2009

Just Reviews

Sinuses driving me crazy today so just a few reviews from Harriet.

The Awakening, Kelly Armstrong, Harper, Apr 28 2009, $17.99, ISBN: 9780061662768, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

Ever since the Edison Group genetically reengineered her (see THE SUMMONING), teen Chloe Saunders hr life is out of control. First there is the out of control “dark powers” of being able to raise the dead without trying. Being a necromancer causes havoc with one’s social life. Second there are ghosts who are everywhere further devastating her social life.

Having escaped for now and having been betrayed by those she trusted, Chloe is not sure who is friend from foe especially amidst the living. With help from beyond and from the paranormal, Chloe learns more about the Edison group operatives and scientists who are coming for her, dead or alive. At the same time her dad has announced a $500,000 reward for her safe return, which brings out the whackos. Her only hope for survival is her special friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, but that places them in danger.

The second Darkest Powers teen urban fantasy is a terrific tale as the heroine has learned the hard way from her previous escapades trust no one, but to survive the Edison Group Chloe will have to rely on her friends. The story line is fast-paced as supernatural events continual to occur. There is also a hint of romance, but who Chloe chooses between the brothers Derek and Simon remains up in the air as safety is the first requirement. Although it would help to first read THE SUMMONING to better understand how far Chloe has come and how far she must go to survive and not necessarily win, readers will enjoy the paranormal action of THE AWAKENING.

First Family, David Baldacci, Grand Central, Apr 21 2009, $27.99, ISBN: 9780446539753, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

In DC First Lady Jane Cox hires former secret service agents turned private investigators Michelle Maxwell and Sean King to rescue her abducted twelve year old year niece Willa, who daringly was kidnapped following a birthday party at Camp David; her mom, sister-in-law to President Cox was killed in the assault. Jane chose the pair because she knows they get results as King saved her husband’s life when he was a senator.

The evidence makes no sense to the sleuths as it points to a lone cowboy, an Alabama sexagenarian. They cannot see how Sam Quarry swiped a First relative from under the noses of the Secret Service. Everything they learn about him points to his being so obsessed, Sean and Michele believe he is willing to die; but they remain ignorant why he is so fixated on the First extended family. Meanwhile, Michele still shaky from the near death experience in SIMPLE GENIUS, is reeling with the death of her mom and so Sean fears she will be no use when he makes his concerted effort to save the First tweener.

Though the plot seems unlikely, David Baldacci makes it feel plausible as he hooks the audience from the onset and never loosens his grip until the climax. The story line is fast-paced form the moment the attack occurs and never takes a breath even when the focus is on Michele’s personal issues and doubts. Thriller fans will fully relish FIRST FAMILY as the action keeps on coming and the tension growing.

The Language of Bees, Laurie R. King, Bantam, Apr 28 2009, $25.00, ISBN: 9780553804546, reviewed by Harriet Klausner.

Even her lover Sherlock Holmes is as taken back as Mary Russell is when his estranged son from his first wife, Damien Adler, visits them as he never comes to see them. An illustrator Damien needs his father’s help as his wife Yolanda and their daughter have vanished without a trace. Holmes agrees to investigate the disappearance of his grandchild and daughter-in-law.

Meanwhile Holmes also is disturbed over the disappearance of one of his beehive colonies and plans to learn why so he can avoid a repetition. At the same time he works both cases, Mary investigates Damien, which leads her to his London flat and a druid cult the Children of Light whose troubling tome Testimony was illustrated by Damien.

Since Mary and Sherlock investigate separately, readers do not obtain that much of a look at the married couple. Still the story line is fast-paced from the moment Damien arrives and never slows down enabling fans will enjoy learning just who Holmes’ son is as elementary reader he is not quite a chip off the old logical block. As with the BEEKEEPER’S APPRENTICE, Laurie R. King provides an exciting excellent suspense thriller that the Baker Street irregulars will appreciate even as the plot launches missiles at the mythos

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