Friday, January 15, 2010

Harriet's Reviews

Kindred in Death
J.D. Robb
Putnam, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399155956

NYPD Police Lieutenant Eve Dallas and her husband Roarke are enjoying a rare three day weekend until she receives a call from Commander Whitney telling her to go to a crime scene wheere he will be waiting for her. Newly promoted Captain Jonah MacMasters and his wife went away for the weekend, but returned to find their sixteen years old daughter Deena dead; the teen was raped and sodomized several times before being suffocated to death.

The security discs are missing in their home so no pictures of the perp is available, but the cops assume this was personal because on a video, Deena says this was her dad’s fault. The Captain asks Dallas to lead the investigation; though close friends with Whitney and feeling exorbitant pressure, Eve agrees. During her investigation she learns the victim was deliberately targeted and the killer diligently researched to insure he knew when to attack and leave no ties. That Eve feels is his biggest mistake as Dallas and her team interview Deena’s friends learning the teen she was secretly seeing a college aged boy. Witnesses give Eve a description of Deena’s boyfriend. After he kills again with ties to the first homicide, Eve concludes he has a death list so she works even harder to bring this wannabe serial killer to justice.

The key to the terrific “In Death” futuristic police procedural saga is the recurring cast grows and changes yet their basic essences remain the same so that they become more than just characters to the readers. In this harrowing case that Dallas wants no part of as she knows whatever she learns will disturb her friends, the murder of a cop’s daughter hits home to readers (and Eve). J.D. Robb provides an excellent whodunit in which the heroine and her team meticulously step by step investigate without any unbelievable incidents not even by Roarke; making KINDRED IN DEATH one of the best entries in a strong series. Harriet Klausner

Twilight Zone
Carol Serling
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765324337

This anthology celebrates the fiftieth anniversary of the first airing of the Twilight Zone, which in 1959 was refreshing and creative with its deep look at what his human and its trademark closing twist that accentuated the theme of that particular show. A virtual who’s who has contributed to the anthology; this includes a work by the series creator the late Rod Serling. The nineteen contributions are well written and fun to read as they catch the essence of the original series. However ironically (something I believe Mr. Serling would have enjoyed as twisted irony was a trademark of his) the final spin somewhat limits the creativity and in some cases feels forced to achieve. Still this is a fine collection with superior entries like Alan Brennert's WWI Honolulu drama “Puowaina”, the “Benchawarmer” by Mike Resnick and Lezli Robyn who has waited his turn patiently for almost twenty years, Deborah Chester’s “The Street That Time Forgot” as Nick barley misses running over the dog that kept him from barley missing the odd street and the answer man Karl the killing star of “Ants” by Tad Williams. As a fitting final tale is “El Moe” by Rod Serling. Obviously for die hard Zoners, this is a fine anthology in spite of the limitations caused by the required final spin. Harriet Klausner

The Fall of Eden
Richard Michaels
Berkley, $ 15.00
ISBN: 9780425229941

Professor Charles and his wife Vanessa Spencer, accompanied by their two children James and Chloe, are flying down to the Caribbean island of St. Bart's. Meeting them there is Charles’ brother Dan and his lover. The brothers are looking for their octogenarian father who is going pirate hunting with his friend Luc Vacher.

At the isle’s airport, Dan informs his sibling that Europe and America were nuked and all communications are shut down. For at least the moment, the people on the island are safe because the radioactive winds are blowing away from St. Bart’s. Dan takes charge stealing guns from Vacher’s boat and turning employees into a private army to protect them and their food and water supply. They make plans to go to inland to find more water and Dan kills any intruders. When Dan can no longer lead, Charles takes charge. As he toughens up, he decides who will live and who will escape from the isle as the winds have turned, threatening the air they breathe just when a hurricane is also coming.

THE FALL OF EDEN takes a close look at what happens when civilization crumbles as survival of the fittest rules in a lawless isolated situation. This is a dark grim thriller as people must make horrific decisions that they would never had had to face when governments thrived. With a philosophical underpinning of what makes a human when the clothing of civilization is torn asunder, fans will enjoy this fine tale mindful of Hitchcock’s Lifeboat but On the Beach rather than at sea. Fans will enjoy this mesmerizing thriller. Harriet Klausner

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