St. Martin’s, May 25 2010, $17.99
In Nocturne City, homicide is a way of life. At least that is what NCPD Supernatural Crime Squad police lieutenant Luna Wilder believes as she spends much of her time investigating murders. However, she has found solace away from the job in her relationship with ATF agent Will Fagin.
Her current case is nasty as someone brutally killed an underage teen Were. Jurisdiction problems arise between her unit and that of Special Victims who deal with minors flares up. As Luna and her team investigate the gruesome murder, they find an unexpected connection to the Russian mob. Following her instincts leads Luna to a dangerous confrontation in which she knows she will be fortunate to come out alive and with her heart intact especially where the case leads.
The fifth Nocturne City police procedural urban fantasy (see Witch Craft and Second Skin) is an exhilarating entry as the heroine remains nasty to subordinates, superiors and associates in the NCPD (just ask SV Detective Lane), and even worse when she grills outsiders. In fairness Will has mellowed her a bit since Night Life. The investigation is entertaining as Luna kicks supernormal and natural butt; mostly of a Russian variety. Fans of the series will enjoy Luna’s latest lunatic inquiry although once again one must wonder how, in spite of her resolution record, she remains a supervisor as she is as far from a people’s person (regardless of species) one will meet. Harriet Klausner
Laurell K. Hamilton
Berkley, Jun 2010, $26.95
At the Circus of the Damned, vampire executioner extraordinaire and zombie animator Anita Blake sees her lover St. Louis master vampire Jean-Claude arguing with his second in command Asher. They were once lovers, but Jean-Claude refuses to share his body because he fears how Anita will react. Anita assumed the pair was having sex all along. Richard Zeeman informs her he has reconciled himself to what he is and joins the fun,
They are having fun, when Belle Morte, Jean Claude, and Asher creator interrupts them in a metaphysical astral projection. She has a piece of the Mother of All Darkness, the first vampire in her body which makes her believe she can bind them to her. She is wrong and Padma Master of the Beast tries to break the ties that bind them to each other which will weaken them.. The Vampire Council is determined to destroy the Triumvirate of Richard, Jean-Claude and Anita because they are accumulating so much power they threaten the vampire hierarchy everywhere even the ruling Vampire Council. The Mother wants Anita’s body since she lost her own, but Anita is strong and rejects the Mother and the Council trying to prevent her and her lovers from owning America starting with assassins sent to kill them.
The nineteenth Blake Vampire Hunter urban fantasy is a great entry, which is extraordinary as most of the long running series is excellent. The keys to this terrific tale is so much comes to a head as the vampires and shapeshifter hierarchies fear the Triumvirate and decide to destroy it before it is too late. The fun is trying to discover who are the assassins, spies and enemies in the Mother of All Darkness war. With sedition and a mole inside the Circus to augment the action, fans of the saga will relish this strong thriller as hell is coming to St. Louis. Harriet Klausner
Ballantine, Jun 29 2010, $26.00
Boston medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles is attending a convention in Wyoming. Meeting some friends from two decades ago like Doug “ponytail-less” Comley, she joins them on a ski trip to the nearby snow covered mountains. However, the SUV stalls out on a remote snowy road as a blizzard strikes. Maura and her conventioneers find haven in Kingdom Come, a hamlet with twelve identical houses. They are stunned when no one response to their knocks or noise; and they are shocked when they find each abode deserted even with food on the tables and cars in garages. Unbeknownst to the stunned outsiders someone is watching them; someone who left prints in the snow.
Several days later, Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli learns of Maura’s death as her charred body was found in a ravine. Grieving Jane vows to learn what happened to her friend. Accompanying her to Wyoming is FBI agent Gabriel Dean and Father Daniel Brophy. The trio is going to find more than want to know about Kingdom Come and what lies beneath the snow, and the fate of the skiers.
The latest Rizzoli-Isles thriller (see The Keepsake) is a fabulous suspense novel that grips the audience once the SUV fails and never slows down until the final confrontation. The story line is fast-paced throughout leaving fans breathless. Although several twists seem unlikely and distracting, readers will enjoy the Bostonian invasion of Wyoming. Harriet Klausner