Berkley, Oct 2009, $7.99
Forensics Investigator Ramsey Clark works for highly regarded Raiker Forensics. When it comes to her work, she is scientifically thorough and has no time for nonsense or play; when it comes to her personal life alas she has no time to play either.
The homicide of a young woman sends Ramsey to rustic Buffalo Springs, Tennessee where she joins the investigative team of Sheriff Mark Rollins and TBI Agents Matthews and Powell. However this case is anything but by the book for Ramsey who adheres to standard procedures. Instead the witnesses insist the ancient red mist settles over the town. Intruding on her effort to remain professional is parapsychologist Devlin Stryker, who insists the killer will not fit her forensic profile; he refuses to back away from his attraction to her though she tries to keep him outside of her heart. When a second mysterious homicide occurs, Ramsey and Devlin team up seeking a killer before another murder occurs.
This is an enjoyable paranormal romantic mystery starring two likable humans, a beleaguered town, and a killer seemingly from beyond if you believe Devlin or a diabolical mortal if you believe Ramsey. The first reaction by Ramsey to meeting Dev is priceless as she incredulously calls him a “Ghost Hunter”. Putting aside the name of the heroine brings memories of the former male Attorney General, the latest Mindhunter thriller (see WAKING NIGHTMARE) is a superb police procedural romantic suspense enhanced by the supernatural and the romance. Harriet Klausner
7th Son: Descent
St. Martin's Griffin, Nov 2009, $14.99
At Bowling Green College in Kentucky, four years old Jesse Fowler kills President Griffin slicing the POTUS’s throat when he was being kissed on the cheek. The Secret Service grabbed the child and his parents; a week later Jesse was dead and no one understood why.
Government agents grab seven men of interest. Each looks similar enough to be at least siblings if not septuplets. Their memories up until they turned fourteen are identical and their names are offshoots of John Michael Smith. They react to what the Feds tell them in the same way as if they go through the phases of forming a strong cohesive group; this includes their hosts Dr. Kenneth Kleinman and Brigadier General Orlando Hill. The seven know that they are the “offspring” of Alpha, who stole top secret government technology that enables him to download a mind to override the original person’s brain. The seven are his clones, but like their hosts none of them comprehend why their Alpha killed the President with a copy of his mind inside the preschooler or why he plays cryptic games with his seven clones.
This is an entertaining science fiction tale that opens with the toddler assassin and never slows down. Although the enigmatic taunting seems old hat as does the cloning, the key to this fast-paced tale is the seven Smiths all have distinctive personalities and lifestyles even with their same origins; for instance Father Thomas questions whether he has a soul being a clone or father Jack was going to watch ironically D.A.R.Y.L. with his two daughters. Readers will enjoy DESCENT although Alpha acts too typical of a villain, his clones make for a lively science fiction thriller. Harriet Klausner
The Other Lands
Doubleday, Sep 15 2009, $28.00
Several years have passed since their father king of the Acacian Empire was assassinated and his kingdom splintered. His children went on diverse paths, but they won THE WAR WITH THE MEIN.
The late monarch’s oldest child his daughter Queen Corinn rules over the Known World with a magically enhanced iron fist. She insures no one knows her mage secrets and uses magic and drugs to prevent uprisings and dissension. She sends her brother Daniel on what is perceived a dangerous perhaps suicidal mission to the unknown Other Lands. Corinn assumes Daniel and her other siblings are expendable pawns who live to keep her on the throne. Daniel is shocked with what he finds in THE OTHER LAND; as the ruling tribes are very powerful and pose a major threat to the stability of the Known World especially his sister’s rule, but Corinn’s overbearing imperative leadership has left her few allies and plenty of internal enemies ready to betray her.
Corinn is a powerful amoral monarch that keeps THE OTHER LANDS from being a typical fantasy as her view of the world is her subjects including her siblings are throwaways who live to enhance her control. Her dictatorial regime leaves her almost alone. Daniel’s trek is more standard fantasy 101 although well written and fun. Fans will enjoy the return to Acacia as the next generation’s oldest sits on the throne. Harriet Klausner