Monday, September 14, 2009

Meltdown, Drawn in Blood and Seducing the Moon

Chuck Holton
Multnomah, Aug 18 2009, $12.99
ISBN: 9781590525609

Chernobyl remains a horrific radioactive wasteland due to its nuclear heritage; not just the most famous accident. Now terrorists see the locale as the perfect ground zero to devastate Europe.

U.S. Special Operations Explosives Ordinance Detachment (EOD) unit Task Force Valor is assigned to prevent a disaster in the Ukraine that will make 1986 look like a picnic. CIA Agent Mary “Phoenix” Walker leads the EOD squad with Master Sergeant Bobby Sweeney at her side. Both have issues but especially Mary who still suffers nightmarish flashbacks to when she was a prisoner. The threat widens to include the United States as the terrorists widen the Global War on the NATO alliance.

The third Task Force Valor anti terrorism thriller is the best of a strong series as even with the return of leads and support players from the previous books (see ALLAH'S FIRE and ISLAND INFERNO), the star is Chernobyl. The story line is fast-paced and filled with non-stop action, but it is when the heroes enter the dead zone where the MELTDOWN occurred that the true meaning of nuclear energy having no cost (disposal of the by-product in a waste land apparently does not count) is clear. Fans will relish Chuck Holton’s strong tale as the MELTDOWN dead zone eerily hooks the reader. Harriet Klausner

Drawn in Blood
Andrea Kane
Morrow, Sept 8 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780061236808

A decade ago, Matthew Burbank and his business partners witnessed the murder of Cai Wen, a crime that has come back to haunt him and his family. The FBI Special Agent Williams has questioned Matthew and his partners who tell little out of fear for their loved ones. The chief of a Chinese triad, Dragon Head, has a long memory and feels the time to kill the witnesses and their family is now. They assault Matthew’s wife Rosalyn in their apartment and leave behind a fortune cookie note threatening retribution if he fails to remain silent.

At the same time, Mathew’s daughter Sloane’s former partner and current lover FBI Special Agent Derek Parker leads inquiries into Dragon Head and his cohorts. Following the Burbank apartment “robbery” in which nothing except their mental solace is taken, Matthew asks his daughter for help. She pleads with him to let her bring Derek in on their situation, but he says no fearing for his wife and daughter. Thus he places Sloane in the awkward situation of concealing what she knows about Dragon Head and his associates from her lover who also hides information from her.

The first third of this fast-paced FBI romantic suspense sequel (see TWISTED) focuses on Matthew and Rosalyn, but smoothly switches leads to Sloane and Derek. The story line is action-packed and the spin of who stars is logical and never decelerates the speed of the enjoyable story line. The audience knows just about all during the parents’ lead which takes away somewhat from the suspense; much of what happens to the younger pair is ironically caused by each hiding instead of sharing information. Fans will enjoy their trysts in between their bickering over trust and who is concealing more though the investigation takes a somewhat back seat to the relationship. Harriet Klausner

Seducing the Moon
Sherrill Quinn
Kensington Brava, Aug 2009, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758231895s

Two years ago Pelicia Cobb could do nothing as her life fell apart due to former commando Declan O’Connell. She did nothing wrong, but ended up in jail, unemployed and her heart broken.

Pel fled to her home off the coast of Cornwall where she has mentally recovered though her heart remains shattered; she accepts her rep on the mainland is kaput so she manages her grandfather's Bed and Breakfast. Declan knows what he accidentally did to Pel, but though he believes he should stay away he cannot as he plans to claim his mate. He comes to the B and B to beg for a second chance. However, as if he is a trouble magnet, his arrival also has brought a killer with him who shoots at Pel and has murdered several people. Declan who has one more howling shocker to reveal to his soulmate vows to keep Pel safe from whoever wants them dead.

Readers will enjoy this fast-paced paranormal romantic suspense as the hero uses his superior werewolf skills in the cat and mouse battle with the killer while also concealing his shapeshifting from his beloved until he deems the time is right to do so. The story line is action-packed and St. Mary’s the biggest island in the Isles of Sicilly is a fabulous location that brings the only freshness to an otherwise well written fine but typical werewolf romance plot. Harriet Klausner

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