A Magic of Dawn
DAW, Apr 2010, $24.95
By 563, Nessantico the once proud powerful Empire remains divided, but a renaissance of sorts has blossomed under its female ruler Kraljica Alessandra ca’Vorl, Fifteen years ago The brutal Tehuantin army invaded from Hellins, but were repelled. Alessandra managed to keep the Sun Throne as ordained in the capitol city of Nessantico, but the empire was fractured as the city-states were divided in support of her and in allegiance to her son Jan ca’Ostheim, leader of the rebellious Coalition of Firenzcia.
Mother and daughter have negotiated since the last horde invasion, but so far that has proven futile. The Concenzia Faith has arisen seeking its once glorious position of power; they face strong opposition from within led by Nico ce'Morel, who though defrocked three years ago, leads a powerful following who demand a strict fundamentalist reshaping of the Faith and from the secular ruler and her Garde Kralji, who reject religious influence. As violence between the groups increases, the Tehuantin have regrouped and deployed ready to invade again. If Alessandra and Jan fail to come together, Nessantico will crumble again by the invading horde; if they come together the empire has a chance, but the religious-secular schism may prove too internally divisive and enervating to overcome anyway.
The third Nessantico Cycle political-military fantasy (see A Magic of Twilight and A Magic of Nightfall) is a great finish to a strong saga. Fast-paced and loaded with action, the characters and their divided loyalties make the Farrell mythos seem real. Readers will enjoy the exciting finish in spite of a late spin that some will relish and others question as too simplifying. Newcomers would be better suited reading the previous magical tales first to better appreciate the world S.L. Farrell has constructed as it begins and ends with the city of Nessantico. Harriet Klausner
The Killing Room
Pinnacle, May 2010, $6.99
For nine years and three hundred and sixty-four days, the Young Mansion in Maine is an ordinary home. The room that remains locked always is quiet except on the first day of a new decade. A sacrifice of a family member must be made so every ten years a lottery is held and the selected one is left inside the room.
This has been going on since 1930 with everyone who spent time in the room dead except for one survivor. Since the room is locked, the other family members assume the people commit suicide except for that one female who lived, but her mind was fried and spent four decades inside a padded cell. The patriarch Howard Young hires former FBI Agent Carolyn Cartwright who has dealt with supernatural cases to find a way to break the curse. Carolyn knows her first step is to learn what happened in 1930 in that room and the second step is to pray she and the Young family survive the truth.
Readers will thoroughly enjoy the locked room mystery inside a haunted house tale reminiscent of early King and Koontz. There is a steady growing tension as the answers to the cause percolates, but the solution seems to never boil to the surface. John Manning provides the audience with a chilling tale as the heroine knows there is only one way to learn the truth. Harriet Klausner
St. Martin’s Griffin, Mar 30 2010, $14.99
In 2007 Christopher moves to New York seeking to find and meet his biological parents so he can finally understand why he is so different than the Ross family who raised him. In Manhattan, he meets performing art film documentary maker Joie. .They share a strange bond as each realizes the impact on their respective soul by otherworldly forces. However, they will soon learn that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts as together they possess incredible power that others want to use for their nefarious schemes.
The Federal funded covert ops Clean Slate Global learns of their joint skill and plans to use it as a super weapon to eradicate all vampires except for those who work for them. Christopher and Joie team up with her parents Lori and Steven, psychotherapist Dr Lazarus, and Prenelle the vampire top prevent the government from being the only group to possess vampires.
Two decades since Bite Marks occurred, the action picks up without missing a heartbeat due to a strong cast especially the heroes and the lead villain. Fast-paced throughout even with super looks back in time to late 1920s Cabaret Berlin and the Harlem Renaissance, fans will relish this motley crew of Davids and Davidettes fighting against Goliath as well as some rogue vampires. Blood Pressure is a one sitting thriller as the streets of Manhattan is draped in blood.