Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Harriet Returns

Hard Magic
Laura Anne Gilman
Luna, May 2010, $14.95
ISBN: 9780373803132


Recent college graduate Bonnie Torres joins New York-based Private, Unaffiliated, Private Investigators (PUPIs) a forensic magic investigative firm. She and the other PUPIs practice magical spell-casting as they prepare for their first field case.

The Chicago police ruled that septuagenarian Charles and Patty Reyboern committed vehicular suicide. Their daughter Rose rejects the official determination of the causes of her parents’ deaths as each was healthy, financially secure and liked one another; no motive appears for their killing themselves. She hires PUPIs as she refuses to accept what the cops concluded. Although not ready, the inquiry is assigned to Bonnie and her team. They follow clues some of a magical variety while interviewing friends and family of the deceased. Soon they begin to agree with their client that murder made to look like suicide occurred. As they interrogate suspects, someone uses magic to take out the team, but Bonnie and company survive the spell-casting assaults.

Laura Anne Gilman explains Bonnie was a bit player in the Retrievers saga when she got a starring role in the anthology Unusual Suspects (see Illumination); Hard Magic is her first lead in a novel. She proves capable as the heroine holds the exciting private investigator urban fantasy together. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy the return to the world of the Cosa Nostradamus starring a naïve rookie (total opposite of the Retriever veterans) whose investigation makes for an entertaining magical whodunit. Harriet Klausner

Edge of Apocalypse
Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall
Zondervan, Apr 20 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780310326281


Joshua Jordan was a hero taking unbelievable chances with his life for the country he loved. When he retired from field work he became a weapon designer trying to still protect the United States from threats outside and inside the nation. In the Atlantic, a North Korean boat has nuclear missiles aboard. Due to failed communication with his superiors at home, the admiral launches the weapons a

Two of the missiles head towards New York City; Jordan has minutes to activate the Return to Sender laser guidance system that sends a missile back to its launch site. The counter operation proves successful, but the media questions the consequences while the White House and Senate demand he turn over the Return to Sender system to Senator Stratworth and his committee. When he refuses to give it to anyone outside of the Pentagon as he fears anyone else will sell it for oil and credit. The President and Congress use the media to go after Joshua. Joshua soon learns he might be a target as Iran, North Korea and Russia as well as allies want the system and will go to any length to get it.

Taking place in the near future in which America is short on cash as a new growing dust bowl threatens Midwest agriculture, corruption permeates the government, Joshua and two secret cabals try to bring back the country to what is once was. Tim LaHaye and Craig Parshall provides readers with an exciting thriller as the United Sates is on the Edge of Apocalypse while the hero must deal with the possibility of biblical Armageddon and saving his nation. Harriet Klausner

Master Of None
Sonya Bateman
Pocket, Apr 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439160848


His partners if they had survived would testify he was the worst thief in the universe. However, even for Gavyn Donatti, his latest failure is a stunner as he lost the score he stole for his employer. Gavyn knows he must skip town, but his irate fence Trevor does not accept failure so he sends Skids Davis to beat the snot out of Gavyn and perhaps more; as a warning to other employees. However, someone intervenes; Skid shoots the male and warns the thug to tell his boss to back off or else.

The djinn makes it clear he needs the moronic Gavyn, but will not put up with any shenanigans. Not interested in Gavyn's mouth, the djinn tells him he was sent here to help him fulfill his destiny. Neither the djinn, Gavyn, his girlfriend Jazz nor her son know what a small time robber's destiny could be beyond surviving and selling the latest heist.

This enjoyable urban fantasy is filled with intelligent jocular dialogue as Donatti the thief struggles with achieving his life’s purpose once he learns his life’s purpose. He is terrific as the focus of the fun plot while his support team augments his efforts to determine his quest by not allowing him to just going back to being the worst thief in the world. Tongue in cheek but loaded with action, fans will enjoy Master of None starring a likable antihero. Harriet Klausner

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