Friday, June 19, 2009

Vampires and Atlantis

Vampires are popping up in more books that anything else thanks to True Blood and the Twilight movies. I wonder what Bram Stoker would have to say about their popularity.

Atlantis Unleashed
Alyssa Day
Berkley, Jun 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425220412

To save the life of his brother, Lord Justice volunteered to become the prisoner of evil vampire goddess Anubisa. She was elated to take the hybrid Atlantan and Nereid as her special guest. His sacrifice has begun to take its toll on his sanity as he has no outlet for his dueling natures.

Archaeologist Dr. Keely McDermott uses her extrasensory skill psychometry to learn what occurred to inanimate objects. She excavates a carving that when she touches it she finds herself linked to its creator; to her shock, that individual is alive though the carving is old and in torment. Their tie enables Justice to escape his bondage. With Anubisa giving chase, they team up seeking the Star of Artemis jewel of Atlantis, needed with the rest of the jewels to destroy Anubisa.

This is super Warriors of Poseidon urban fantasy entry starring perhaps the most tormented of the warriors and a courageous human who risk their lives to defy Anubisa. The story line is filled with Alyssa Day’s trademark action in several locals. However, it is the lead couple who make this a terrific romantic fantasy thriller as the scientist and the seemingly insane paranormal half-breed team up in love. Harriet Klausner

The Shore
Robert Dunbar
Leisure, Jul 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 084396166X

Edge Harbor is a small seaside town that gets its resources from the tourists during the summer; in winter the place is almost like Wall Street on a Sunday as it is practically deserted with only locals residing there. Barry Hobbs, a stranger arrives in town in the winter. He has been tracking for months a young man Perry and he intends to take him alive to a place where he can receive help. Although the town is empty, Barry finds it impossible to ascertain where Perry is hiding. The lad is holding Stella hostage or it seems as if he is.

A woman’s body washes up on the shore with her back savagely torn to pieces and her car having claw marks ripped into the metal. Barry knows his prey is holed up in town, but he remains ignorant that someone else is hunting Perry and Stella; that predator has no problem with collateral damage even eradicating a town. Officer Kit Lonigan joins forces with Barry after he explains why he seeks Perry though she finds his tale implausible: thatis until the truth slaps her in the face. She wants to kill Perry, but Barry is on a mission to take Perry to a safe place; that if they survive a hurricane and the unknown apparently inhuman adversary.

Robert Dunbar knows how to scare his readers into leaving the lights on especially while we are sleeping. THE SHORE is gothic in many respects with a semi deserted town cut off by a surging hurricane. Barry is on a mission he believes strongly in as he risks his life to accomplish it. Kit‘s needs are simpler as she just wants to save her town by killing the peril. Character driven yet filled with action, Mr. Dunbar provides a terrifying horror thriller. Harriet Klausner

Undead and Unwelcome
MaryJanice Davidson
Berkley, Jun 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 0425227731

The vampire king and queen, newlyweds Eric Sinclair and Betsy Taylor feel obligated to accompany the corpse of werewolf Antonia back to his New England-based Wyndham Pack since he died saving her undead life. They leave the twin Cities for the Cape with Betsy grieving and feeling survivor guilt while her spouse fears a cross paranormal species war is coming.

50,000 plus howling werewolves scream for their blood so the werewolf council demands an accounting as to why one of their own died protecting a vampire. In St. Paul, Betsy’s half sister Laura fears for her sibling’s life and being the daughter of the devil plans to take action against her enemies. The Minnesota royal supporters struggle to keep her from going over the deep end and causing the hostilities to heat up which Eric hopes to prevent from happening. Alas adding to the cross paranormal mess is the royals’ legal ward of her infant half-brother BabyJon who has fangs flying everywhere; hell even Eric who did not want to be a daddy for a few more centuries is over the edge when it comes to the baby.

The latest Undead and … tale is a fast-paced wild ride filled with much darker but as hilarious humor as its predecessors. Now two years as the queen, Betsy still struggles with the intra and inter etiquette between the supernatural species as well as with humans and vamps; she especially struggles with those who pee and those who never urinate (don’t ask what is left). The story line is loaded with off beat zaniness as Eric expects an unwelcome greeting in Cape Cod while St. Paul is out of control. Betsy puts the potential cross species war in proper perspective: her shoes have no scratches so far. Harriet Klausner

The Loch
Steve Alten
Tor, Apr 2009, $9.99
ISBN: 076536302X

Marine biologist Zach Wallace is on a National geographic quest to find the famous recluse the Sargasso Sea giant squid when tragedy strikes. He is fortunate to survive though he comes out of the calamity with feelings of Aquaphobia not a good thing for marine biologist and dumped by his fiancée Lisa. He is unsure what is next for him when he is asked to come home. Though he would prefer not returning to his birthplace in Scotland as he remains angry with his father Angus for cheating on his mother who took him to live with her in NYC seventeen years ago, Zach has no choice.

His dad is on trial for killing his business partner John Cialini, Jr. Angus claims he is innocent. He admits they had a fight and he punched John who fell into Loch Ness when something in the water killed his partner. John’s wealthy and influential family want blood and England quietly since the terrorist attacks has reinstated capital punishment. Zach investigates his father’s claim as do a zillion tourists, adrenaline freaks, scientists, and the media as the Wallace murder case becomes the latest crime of the century. Soon human body parts partially eaten wash ashore, which adds to the Nessy seekers.

This is an enjoyable Loch Ness thriller filled with action. The story line is fast-paced from the misadventures in the Sargasso Sea to the mass of people in the hero’s way at Loch Ness. Zach knows he must overcome his feelings of inadequacy and his fear of the water if he is to save his estrange dad’s life. Although the Scottish enunciations add a sense of place, I personally find it distracting from what is otherwise another winning watery adventure tale (see the MEG saga). Harriet Klausner

Blue Moon
Alyson Noel
St. Martin’s, Jul 2009, $9.95
ISBN: 9780312532765

Ever and her entire family died in a car cash but the six hundred years old Immortal Damen brought her back to life by making her an Immortal too. They have loved one another for centuries, but each time they get close to each other, his wife Drina kills Ever. She reanimates; he finds her; they renew their love and his wife murders her. The cycle seemed endless until now when Ever changes the triangular interrelation dynamics by killing Drina.

A new student enters the night school; Ever instinctively distrusts Roman with his bonhomie and surface good will thoughts. Damen becomes ill and when he recovers he treats Ever as an enemy and a stalker. The student body dissolves their differences and become one group who loathe Ever. She knows somehow Roman is behind the animosity and believes he is an Immortal. As Damen begins to age and die, Ever journeys to Summerland, the dimension between dimensions, seeking a cure for her eternal beloved. There she learns she can go back in time to save her family. As she decides what to do, she vows no matter what she will save Damon and reverse the aging process.

BLUE MOON, the second Immortals saga (see EVERMORE) is an outstanding teen fantasy in the tradition of Kelly Armstrong and Stephanie Meyers. Ever struggles with becoming a pariah at school and cope with Damen’s dire health problems and she is a firecracker who intends to obtain the knowledge needed to save her beloved and return the student body back to the normal rivalries and bickering. She has several obstacles to overcome starting with her lack of experience with what to do and no one to turn to that she feels she can trust; adding to her issues is one wrong choice means tragedy. Harriet Klausner

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