More from Harriet.
Avon Jul 28 2009, $7.99
In 1692 Susannah Layhem is accused of being a witch and jailed; her baby is born and dies while she is incarcerated. She no longer cares that she is innocent and the facts would bear out her contention; but that did not matter to her accusers including her husband and his brother and wife. After she dies in the holy bonfire, Rabishu the demon recruits her to become his top gun assassinating people. For three centuries she did his bidding, but abruptly says no when the demon assigns her to murder a baby as she never stopped grieving for her dead infant Constanza .
The demon is as stunned as Susannah is when she realizes she somewhat is freed of her Faustian contract although she will still have to kill mortals. Now residing on earth as Maliha Crane, she hopes to regain her soul so she can stop her killing after three centuries of doing the demon’s bidding. She writes mystery novels and tries to save humans in an effort to balance her karma and is involved in the investigation of the homicides of two hackers.
Although the plot is extremely thin especially when it converts from historical to modern day urban fantasy, fans will enjoy meeting Susannah-Maliha and the worlds of Dakota Banks (including eerie dark Midworld). The first paranormal Mortal Path thriller is light fun as Rabishu is outraged at Malilha saying no for the first time as she hopes to obtain some redemption for her dark soul. Harriet Klausner
Jove, Jun 30 2009, $7.99
Psychic though many will say psycho businessman Stavros Gratsos kidnaps Elle Drake who had just returned to her family home Sea Haven. Although Ellie and her six older sisters are also psychics, Stavros has somehow been able to electronically disable their telepathic abilities. Her siblings are distraught, but plan to do whatever it takes to rescue the youngest of this generation Drake brood.
Sea Haven Deputy Sheriff Jackson Deveau has loved Elle from afar forever and vows to save his beloved. Elle has reciprocated his feelings so that a telepathic link built on love connects them in spite of Stavros’ gizmo. He along with the Drake clan extract Elle from the psychopath, but note Stavros tortured and raped her. Jackson is there for his emotionally shattered beloved and she begins to mentally heal due to his nurturing. However, Stavros wants her back and threatens all her loved ones leading to the extended Drake family (stars of the previous six entries) taking on a maniac and his horde of mercenaries.
The seventh and final Drake sister romantic fantasy is a strong finish to a powerful series. The lead couple is a likable pairing as both have issues; especially timely and poignant is the consequences on an individual who was tortures. The villain is a clever and brilliant but insane psychic whose demented vile mind enhances the plot as he forces the return of all the Drake sisters and their mates to unite to counter fight this lunatic. Harriet Klausner
The Red Tree
Caitlin R. Kiernan
Roc, Aug 42009, $16.00
In Atlanta the suicide of her girlfriend shook writer Sarah Crowe to her core so she decides to leave the region. She feels fortunate to have found an old house on the Wight Farm in a remote part of Rhode Island that she rents.
She explores her new home and finds an “ancient” typewriter and an unfinished manuscript by Dr. Charles L. Harvey, a noted anthropology folklorist. He apparently was collecting information re the legend of an old oak tree on this property that the locals hold in awe. His work eerily stopped abruptly when he hanged himself from that same oak tree. Sarah tries to ignore the document, but cannot stop thinking about it. She feels spellbound to investigate and begins her own journal while her life feels increasingly depressing and out of her control and macabre under the oak’s control.
In some ways this terrific haunting is a throwback to the early Stephen King thrillers especially The Shining as the audience observes in full fright Sarah slowly yet knowingly losing her mind seemingly to the oak tree. Fans will relish this tale while keeping the lights on throughout the house and considering cutting down trees near their homes as we hypnotically wonder whether THE RED TREE is a psychological thriller or a supernatural tale; either way trees will be avoided by readers. Harriet Klausner