Juno (Pocket), Mar 30 2010, $7.99
Residents of Detroit are perhaps at their lowest levels of hope and highest levels of rage perhaps since the summer of 1967 and not just because of the Lions. Arson is the norm as chaos prevails much of it caused from those beneath the rotting city.
Detroit Fire Department Arson Investigator Lieutenant Anya Kalinczyk is one of the few who understands the threat of human despair fed by phantoms of the night. Because of her Lantern skill as a “human bug zapper” Anya and her familiar, Sparky the five foot salamander hunt ghosts. Her current fire inquiry shocks her as the evidence points to Drake the Lantern who she is attracted to but fears him as he raises a powerful essence from beyond who will arrive on Devil’s Night unless Anya and Sparky can prevent this catastrophe from occurring even as she accidental swallows Mimi the demon
Urban fantasy fans will relish this superb entry of a kick butt female who takes her day and night jobs seriously. Anya knows fire investigation and paranormal inquires are dangerous and acts accordingly. The fast-paced story line follows her exploits on the mean streets of Detroit and the even meaner underground. Sub-genre fans will wonder which Lantern will prevail with Sirrush from beyond. Harriet Klausner
Velvet Haven: The Immortals of Annwyn
NAL, Mar 2010, $15.00
Annwyn is the Otherworld and mortals are unaware of its existence. The realm is home to all types of supernaturals with the link between that of the humans and that of the paranormal being Velvet Haven, a night club owned by half-breed Rhys MacDonald, whose father abdicated as king of the Sidhe to marry a mortal. Rhys’ shapeshifting cousin Bran, angrily sits on the throne, while suffering from the Legacy Curse that requires him exclusively to mate with the species he loathes humans.
When the ninth murder of a Sidhe occurs and the first female victim, Bran knows he must delay his search for his missing brother, Carden, who vanished into the Wasteland centuries ago. Instead he must focus on stopping the serial killer at a time when his visions show him dead, a victim of a warrior. Since evil initiated on the other side, Bran goes to Velvet Haven seeking a woman to replenish his energy and clues to the deadly predator; unaware that a connected killer is also on the mortal plane. At his cousin’s club he meets mortal nurse Mairi MacAuley whose essence arouses him as never before. She rejects him as she assumes he is a player, but he persists unaware that their attraction could be the cause of his death
With much more going on than described above especially with her friend Rowan and the fallen Suriel for instance, Book One of the Annwyn Chronicles is a tremendous romantic fantasy with religious overtones that will stun readers. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Mairi and Rowen enter the velvet Haven and never stops for even a heart beat. The cast is strong especially the support cast who make the Otherworld seem genuine. Sophia Renwick provides fans with a twisting tale of salvation from even death. Harriet Klausner
Defeat The Darkness
Pocket, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
Devlin Bane is concerned with the instability between Earth and Kalitia especially around volcanoes in the northwest. He asks limping Paladin warrior Hunter Fitzsimon who recently left St. Louis for Washington to investigate especially near Justice Point, where he suspects avaricious folks on both sides of the barrier will destroy anything or anyone for money.
Hunter rents an apartment from tea shop owner Tate Justice. She is curious about her hunk upstairs while he fears his desire for her. Tate follows him into the nearby woods to learn the secrets he strenuously conceals from her. He kisses her senseless, but leaves himself wanting more though he fears he will have to choose between love and his mission; she now knows his secret involves keeping earth safe though she is not sure from what.
This is a terrific Paladin romantic urban fantasy as the hero may have come back from the dead but suffers from PTSD while the heroine will learn the meaning of the full verse from Alice in Wonderland: “curiosity killed the cat, but satisfaction it brought him back”. Filled with action, anguish and love, fans will enjoy Defeat the Darkness with its dual meaning title. Harriet Klausner