Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recent Titles

Cat’s Claw
Amber Benson
Ace, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441018437

Having rescued her father the CEO of Death, Inc, Calliope Reaper-Jones wants to go back to her vapid New York City lifestyle of designer shoes and designer hunks. However, before the immortal Callie can get back into the swing of Manhattan living, she learns her soul mate (don’t use that term in front of dear old dad) Daniel thought long dead may be alive.

Finally after buying two cupcakes as directed, she also has visitors she would prefer stay out of her life. There is the old woman and her tart minx spirit demanding a human form and better behavior from her or else. Then there is Cerberus Hell’s Guardian demanding Callie pay her debt by finding and bringing to the three headed watchdog an architect who varnished. Callie can handle Vegas, Purgatory, and Hell, but a discount department store is something that even Dante could not envision.

This is an entertaining frenzied fantasy frolic that will have the audience laughing at the chick lit voice of the heroine who is willing to go to heaven on a hellish cause, but discount stores are unfair. The story line is thin in spite of a vast richness of supporting myths and several subplots. Still fans will enjoy the amusing antics of Death’s Daughter as she navigates between her work at TV Home Shopping and plenty of otherworldly demands. Harriet Klausner

Where Angels Fear to Tread
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Roc, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451463142

In Boston, former seraphim Remy Chandler struggles to control his heavenly power ever since his beloved Madeline died six moths ago. Deryn York, the frantic mother of six years old Zoe, pleads with Remy to find her missing daughter. The distraught woman shows the private investigator drawings she says her child drew that foretell her abduction by her father Carl and one picture of a male angelic savior with a big black dog in front of a brownstone that Remy recognizes in entirety.

Unbeknownst to Remy, cursed to walk the earth alone Delilah seeks the child as does the followers of the god Dagan. Blind Samson also joins the mix seeking the little girl with power to predict the future. Soon everyone converges in West Virginia.

This exciting urban fantasy is fast-paced and filled with action from the moment Remy sees the last drawing and never slows down as the hero realizes all hell is about to break out over a child. Remy is super as he struggles to contain his power though he would not mind burning a few worthless souls yet will move heaven, hell and earth to protect an innocent little girl. Delilah is a terrific villainess who will do anything to further her power; except for Remy, she makes the rest of the cast including her former husband look emaciated. Fans will relish this fine tale and seek the hero’s back story (see, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse and Dancing on the Head of a Pin). Harriet Klausner

Black Magic Sanction
Kim Harrison
Eos, Feb 23 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061138034

Having defeated various paranormal criminals and resolved the Kisten case, detective Rachel Morgan finds out she has been betrayed to a white magic coven who shun her for using black magic as a witch-born demon whose offspring will be demons. Stunned by the declaration and the sentencing, the coven offers her a choice of solitary incarceration at Alcatraz or sterilization.

Drug kingpin Trent Kalamack the elf offers Rachel a deal that would get the coven to back off of her but the cost is high. Her former boyfriend Nick Sparagmos arrives to make her situation worse as only he can while she wonders what game he is playing this time. Only her demon teacher Al seems to be on her side, but Rachel trusts no one as she realizes the coven that she has paid annual dues to for years can be bought and sold regardless of the buffoon announcements of the coven’s Oliver to the contrary.

There is a lot going on in the Hollows as Kim Harrison shows her bewitching skills with a strong entry that follows up fresh and nice after all that occurred in the super The Outlaw Demon Wails and White Witch, Black Curse. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Rachel learns of the shunning sentencing and never slows down as she battles her “allies” who prove corrupt. As she and readers learn more about the coven and its history, fans will regale in the heroine’s latest urban fantasy as the escapades keep coming at Rachel. Harriet Klausner

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