St. Martin’s, Apr 27 2010, $7.99
Her dead lover Navaho Skinwalker Sawyer, whom she killed, (see Apocalypse Happens) visits Liz Phoenix every time she dozes off. His nocturnal appearances gives her hope she may be able to raise him from the dead though she has no idea how to bring him back to her and his shapeshifting baby that she is raising and protecting from malevolent forces.
Liz turns to her acrimonious former lover Jimmy Sanducci to help her find a magical tome protected by spells and beasts who no one in their right mind would want to encounter or tangle with. Her job of keeping the baby safe makes their mission all the more difficult. Their trek is dangerous as there are many things out there that prefer the end of the world.
The latest Phoenix Chronicles (see Doomsday Can Wait and Any Given Doomsday) is an exhilarating urban fantasy as the prime triangle continues their escapades with Sawyer reaching out to his beloved from the grave. Fast-paced throughout, the aptly titled Chaos Bites is a great run through a gauntlet of death as apocalypse now continues to happen overwhelming the heroine who also has a baby to contend with (shades of Willow).The Haviland mythos is creative and a great place for readers to visit. Harriet Klausner
The Poet Prince
Touchstone, May 25 2010, $25.99
Researcher Maureen Paschal has diligently probed the “Confraternity of Saint Mary Magdalen”. She finds some racy information referencing the Libro Rosso and the Order of the Holy Sepulcher. After learning this she heads to Florence to follow up with Destino, her ancient teacher.
Destino explains to his favorite student that much is known about The Poet Prince Lorenzo de Medici as he was the guiding light in the Renaissance. However, even more is unknown. Lorenzo secretly married Lucrezia “the Colombina” Donati, who was a star model of Botticelli. As she learns more about de Medici, Maureen also becomes heartbroken when she learns a former lover of her beloved Scottish oil mogul Berenger Sinclair accuses him of siring her baby at a time the duet were researching his family links back to de Medici and further back to Roman Longinus Gaius, who used the infamous Spear of Destiny to stab Jesus on the cross.
The third Magdalene Line thriller is an enticing gripping but somewhat convoluted tale as Maureen struggles with what she has learned about her beloved: a modern day Poet Prince. The heroine also begins to believe she knows who Gaius, doomed to walk the earth for eternity, is. Fans of the saga will relish this enthralling entry while newcomers should start with the previous two entries (see The Book of Love and The Expected One) for a better understanding of the increasingly complex McGowan Magdalene mythos. Harriet Klausner
The Burning Wire
Simon & Schuster, Jun 1 2010, $26.99
Police consultant and criminologist Lincoln Rhyme is a quadriplegic who uses his partner in life and work Amelia Sachs as his field eyes and ears. As a team they have solved more cases than healthy cops. His biggest issue is boredom, which is the state he is in right now; wishing he was in Mexico City where his nemesis Richard “Watchmaker” Logan is giving authorities a merry chase.
Rhyme’s ennui ends when he asks to consult on another case. A substation of Algonquin Consolidated Power and Light goes off line and the computer tries to get it running by diverting power from other locales. When another substation goes black, power is diverted to the original substation that went off line. That happens several times until a wire hanging out of a substation hits a bus destroying it and killing a passenger. This was an act of sabotage and it happens two more times. With the evidence so far gathered, Lincoln thinks a disgruntled employee performed the deed as the culprit is able to control substations. HSD and FBI believe terrorists are at work due to the electronic tech they find. When Lincoln reaches the end game, he realizes how wrong he has been, but has no time to wallow as he must find a way to rectify his mistake.
Series fan will want to read Rhyme’s latest police procedural because he allows the audience to get close and personal with his inner most feelings; as he must decide between euthanasia, experimental surgery or the status quo. The mystery is cleverly executed and the suspense remains high throughout with the enthralled audience consistently kept off guard. The Burning Wire is Lincoln at his most complete best. Harriet Klausner