Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Faerys, Paranormals, and Thrillers

Queene of Light
Jennifer Armintrout
Mira, Oct 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326625

Below Upworld where mortals dwell, in the sewers underneath the streets of Darkworld, half breed human-faery Lightworld assassin Ayla runs into the last thing she needs to meet a death angel. However, shockingly instead of collecting her soul, Malachai is poisoned by the human part of her blood. Even more stunning he is no longer is immortal.

Meanwhile in the faery realm Lightworld, Ayla and Garret plan to marry. However, she is unaware that he has ulterior motives as to why he needs to wed her that have nothing to do with loving or even caring about her; he wants Ayla so he can use her as a puppet ruler serving as his front when he takes the throne from his sister Queen Mabb. The arrival of Malachai places Garret's scheme in trouble as his fiancée is attracted to the death angel.

The first Lightworld/Darkworld romantic fantasy is an exciting tale filled with plenty of action, several intriguing spins, and a solid cast, who bring Jennifer Armintrout’s multi realms to life. However, introducing the laws of physics makes the opening scenes moving somewhat slowly even with the lead couple’s first encounter. Still once the base is set, QUEENE OF LIGHT turns into an enjoyable fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Unhallowed Ground
Heather Graham
Mira, Oct 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326762

In St. Augustine, Florida, Sarah McKinley is excited when she purchases the dilapidated historic mansion that has a history of residents disappearing due to the black magic witch. She plans to renovate and convert the abode into a B and B.

Construction begins, but the work crew finds the old bones of perhaps a dozen victims some apparently from the War of Northern Aggression concealed inside the walls. At the same time, private investigator Caleb Anderson is working a missing-persons case, Winona Hart who vanished from a party filled with stoned underage youths. He finds some fascinating clues and begins to consider if Sarah's house is tied to his search and begins to look into the history of the house. Caleb’s efforts lead him to Sarah, who is in the crosshairs of a killer.

UNHALLOWED GROUND is an enjoyable paranormal romance starring a courageous lead couple and a killer who may or may not be a ghost. The story line is anchored by the historical references that are interwoven into the search for the missing people; as Caleb feels others besides Winona are somehow tied to the house. Although a key coincidence occurs late, fans will enjoy the romantic and investigative teaming of Sarah with Caleb as they try to learn the secrets of haunted Heritage House. Harriet Klausner

Black Friday
Alex Kava
Mira, Oct 2009, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778326519

Looking forward to time off during the long Thanksgiving Day weekend, FBI profiler Maggie O'Dell receives an urgent call from the new assistant director Ray Kunze who replaced her mentor Cunningham after he recently died. Set up by The Project Manager, terrorists bombed the Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota during the busiest shopping day of the year.

The case proves even more complicated and convoluted, but the Feds learn that college students carrying backpacks were seen just before the bombings. Soon afterward an anonymous tip provides the names of the suspected students including Maggie's half-brother, Patrick Murphy. They thought they were pulling a prank with jamming devices, but instead caused a massacre in which no group claims victory, but the Project Manager using the name Asante knows one of his carriers somehow survived. Still adjusting to a new superior with a different leadership style than she is used to, Maggie believes another strike is imminent as the wizard behind the prank remains an unknown John Doe, but evidence points to another attack imminently.

The latest O’Dell FBI thriller (see A NECESSARY EVIL and EXPOSED) may be the best case yet for the profiler as her stepbrother is involved making it personal and the brilliant mastermind remains out there plotting the next strike. The story line is action-packed, but it is the pace that hooks the audience as Maggie believes the clock is ticking towards the second series of explosions and for the only survivor. With a plausible premise that will have Tom Ridge screaming red, fans will read BLACK FRIDAY in one sitting. Harriet Klausner

The Fury
Jason Pinter
Mira, Oct 2009, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778326274

New York Gazette reporter Henry Parker feels good as he leaves the office overlooking Rockefeller center because the obnoxious sports reporter got a well deserved “donkey-whupping”. On the street, a homeless man accosts Parker begging to talk with him as he claims the city is burning, but the journalist is in a rush to meet Amanda Davies and besides has images of a donkey whupping on his mind; Henry tells the man to call him tomorrow.

Later the police inform Henry the man who approached him earlier is dead, a murder victim; and evidence exists that this Stephen Gaines was Parker’s half-brother. They shared the same father though Henry had no idea he even had sibling. Unable to resist and feeling remorse for blowing away his apparent brother, Parker investigates the homicide starting with confronting his father, who the cops suspect is the killer.

The latest Henry Parker investigation (see THE STOLEN, THE MARK and GUILTY) is a terrific suspense laden thriller with a personal angst twist to the reporter’s current inquiry. The super story line is fast-paced from the onset and never takes a breather. However, THE FURY is part one of a duology with THE DARKNESS coming out in December so fans might want wait for part two and read both one after another. Harriet Klausner

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