More reviews from Harriet.
Night's Cold Kiss
Eos, Aug 25 2009, $7.99
The Hundreds Years War between the humans and Aeternus vampires finally ended when courageous leaders from both sides reached a desperately needed peace accord. However, Necrodreniacs rebels reject the pact as they thrive on human blood; their thirst is insatiable.
Fifteen years ago, when she was six years old, Antoinette Petrescu observed in fear and horror as vampire Dante Ribins slowly killed her mother. Although another vampire Christian Laroque saved the child’s life, she loathes all undead. Her racial prejudice has driven Antoinette who as a teen worked obsessively hard so she could become part of the elitist Venator corps stalking down paranormal criminals.
The CHAPR council between the humans and para-humans that has maintained the peace is beginning to fall apart due to distrust fostered by the actions of rogues on both sides especially the vamps. To save the council, Antoinette and Christian agree to taem up though she loathes doing so. However, as she begins to believe Dante is behind the prime assaults on the council, no one accepts her theory that the notorious serial has returned from the dead. She also ponders whether Christian, hiding behind his mask of concern, is the impetus behind the dreniacs’s bloody surge.
The first Dark Brethren tale is a terrific foreboding urban fantasy that uses sentient species’ needs to be numero uno as a form of prejudice to anchor an ominous looking world where danger is everywhere. The story line is fast-paced, but the introduction to who’s who slows down the reader (thankfully Tracey O'Hara provides a scorecard). Fans will enjoy the hostilities to be top dog on earth yet Antoinette makes this thriller work as she witnessed the tragedy of her mother’s s death; the adult is the child. This is a great start to a world in which NIGHT’S COLD KISS is the warmest time on planet earth. Harriet Klausner
Laced with Magic
Berkley, Aug 2009, $15.00
Chloe Hobbs lives in remote quiet Sugar Maple, Vermont, running the Sticks & Strings yarn shop as a half human heir to the sorcery that keeps her town safe for the paranormal inhabitants and summer tourists. However, she has upset her neighbors especially the witches and fae when she and purebred human police officer policeman Luke MacKenzie becomes lovers.
Luke’s former wife Karen arrives hysterically insisting the ghost of their deceased daughter Steffie needs their help. Simultaneously, her long time enemy Isadora the fae is CASTING SPELLS over control of the child’s spirit and that of the town. Chloe’s family has always protected her town so she prepares for war though this sorceress would prefer a knitting battle.
This is a lighthearted satirical blending of a knitting cozy with a paranormal romance in a New England village fantasy (urban seems to denote a bit bigger of a community). The story line is breezy as Chloe and Luke struggle with small-town gossip and saving Steffie’s spirit with a stitch and a spell. Never serious except for knitting tips, fans will enjoy Barbara Bretton’s fine tale LACED WITH MAGIC of love. Chloe believes she can do anything including CASTING SPELLS with Luke at her side; however he is distracted as High Noon comes to the Green Mountain State.
Signet, Aug 2009, $7.99
Sasha Ledbetter desperately searches for her vanished Mayanist father Dr. Ambrose Ledbetter. She is shocked when she locates his remains in an ancient temple. However, she has no time to mourn her loss; as Xibalba worshiper and high chieftain Iago capturers her. He tortures her seeking information about those who oppose his effort to bring back the demon Banol Kax into the world.
Nightkeeper warrior Michael Stone learns where Sasha is and leads a successful rescue mission. Michael and Sasha are attracted to each other, but he tries to ignore his feelings because he fears passion will ignite the dark side of his nature while Sasha wonders if her disbelief in her late father’s theory of Nightkeepers enabled her to disavow that she might be one of them. However, both recons finding a missing critical Mayan depository which comes before their desire for one another, as Iago is not waiting for love to uncover that same ancient library.
As Michael discovers new powers that he must learn to use, the doomsday clock is ticking against the Nightkeepers warriors as the demon and his adulating horde push the end of days. Michael and Sasha are a terrific pairing who may be in love, but each wonders whether the Final Prophecy’s kismet leaves them no choices; their feelings for one another may be predestined and disturbingly to both neither can say no. Fans will enjoy the latest exhilarating Mayan Final Prophecy urban fantasy thriller (see DAWNKEEPERS and NIGHTKEEPERS) with the philosophical debate of free choice vs. predetermination while time is running out on those who want to save the planet from Xibalba. Harriet Klausner