Tuesday, March 9, 2010

New Reviews from Harriett

Wild Ride
Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
St. Martin’s, Mar 16 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312533779

Dreamland, located in Parkersburg, Ohio, is a rundown amusement park that is receiving a face lift. Mary Alice Brannigan is restoring the fading artwork and remaking the exhibits, but scoffs at the rumors that demons reside there. That proves misfortunate because Dreamland is more than just an aging amusement park; it is the prison for five of the most dangerous Untouchable demons to walk the earth. Each of these evil doers is restrained inside a chalice cup contained with a statue of iron with the keys to unlock their cells spread around the park.

The Guardia elite demon fighting team watch over the five Untouchables to make sure none escape, but if even one manages to get free, they unite to recapture the demon. Mab struggles to believe what she hears and that she will be the newest Guardia warrior now that Funflun the clown is restored the demon escape. She becomes the Seer when the present one dies and former Green Beret Ethan Wayne who has come here to die becomes the Hunter. As a child he lived at Dreamland, but never believed the story until now. As Halloween approaches, led by Kharos the Devil, the Untouchables plan to break out by taking advantage of two skeptical rookies.

This aptly titled book takes readers on a Wild Ride to a decrepit amusement park that serves as a demon prison. Mab fights against her destiny since she does not relate well with people so prefers being left alone to restore art; however she rises to the occasion when she is needed to help with the demon problem. This is an amusing roller coaster urban fantasy that is fun to read as Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer never takes the entertaining story line too seriously. Harriet Klausner

First Drop Of Crimson
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, Feb 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061583223

Over a year ago on New Year’s Eve, they were attacked by something paranormal that frightened her best friend Cat; Denise knew that little scares a vampire even a hybrid bloodsucker. Denise’s husband Randy went outside where the fray was on going, but told his beloved to stay inside with the runaway kids who take shelter with them and promised to be back. He never kept his promise dying during the zombie assault.

Over a year later, Denise’s cousin Paul informs her that he does not believed the doctors or police are right when they insist twenty-three year old Amber died from a heart attack; he thinks she was murdered and he is “Destined for an Early Grave” too. Denise says no way, but the man comes out of the shadows and grabs Paul who stops breathing. She attacks the man who laughs and vanishes. Next she tries CPR as does a stranger, but both end up coughing and Paul remains dead.

Unable to reach Cat or her BF’s mate Bones, Denise calls Spade the vampire. Bones’ best buddy quickly arrives and realizes that the killer left behind a residual of demon essence from Raum, which proves Paul was right; dead right. They seek Nathaniel, who escaped from Raum. As they search for the predator, each feels an unwanted attraction to one another, which she rejects out of guilt and he denies out of a previous failed mortal relationship.

This is a great beginning of a sidebar series spun from the terrific Night Huntress saga as Denise and Spade have consistently appeared so fans knows each of them. The story line is fast-paced from the attack on Paul and never slows down on either the urban fantasy thriller prime plot or the supporting romantic subplot. Jeaniene Frost provides a powerful tale. Harriet Klausner

Connie Willis
Ballantine, Feb 2 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9780553803198

In 2060, studying history at Oxford is a contact sport as historians conduct real field research. In that regard three historians are sent to different locations during WW II. Seventeen years old Colin Templer, who saved the life of project chief Mr. Dunworthy wants the faculty adviser’s help so he can age enough in the past for older student Polly Churchill to notice him and how much he loves her. At the relative same time, Michael Davies is preparing to go to Pearl Harbor but the assignment changed after he obtained his American accent implant to be there for the Channel fishermen rescue at Dunkirk; Polly is going to London as a shopgirl during the Blitz; and Eileen works at a children’s evac center in Warwickshire during a measles outbreak.

However something is not quite right with the Research lab equipment as assignments change abruptly and the historians face danger when they arrive during the early stages of WW II in England. Although Eileen insists she trusts in the future, something Mike did at Dunkirk should not have happened; at least based on the prime premise of the History Department at Oxford in 2060 in which a traveling historian cannot change what has been.

This is a super time travel historical thriller that hooks the audience from the onset and never slows down especially when the trio land in 1939-1940. The story line is fast-paced yet loaded with vivid detail so that the prime subplots seem genuine as Polly struggles with working at a store and evacuating during air raids; and Eileen with twenty two kids and resentful locals including the sponsor especially during a measles outbreak. However, it is Mike who may have changed the outcome of WW II and the next century with his impossible actions that could not have happened at Dunkirk. Perhaps the only issue with this great saga is it never climaxes as the second book to be published later in the year contains the rest of the story. Harriet Klausner

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