Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Werewolves, Paranormals and a Dying Sun

No Werewolves Allowed
Cheyenne McCray
St. Martin’s, May 25 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312946425


The ancient Alpha werewolf Dmitri Kral Beketov informs hybrid Drow-human Nightracker Nyx and her purebred human partner Olivia that someone is abducting and killing his pack members. He wants to hire the paranormal crimes private investigative pair to find out who is the culprit that leaves no clues behind; not even olfactory.

The stakes rise when the culprit kidnaps several werewolf pups. The two sleuths are assisted by other Night Trackers and NYPD detective Adam Boyd, who not just has Nyx’s back but wants her on her back, scour the woods for the malevolence. Nyx soon realizes the vile motive and who the evil one is, but to end this reign of terror could cost her and her partner their lives.

The second Night Tracker urban fantasy whodunit (see Demons Not Included) is a terrific paranormal investigative novel told by the hard-ass Nyx. Fast-paced with a strong twist, the New York City Underworld seems genuine while evolving with Were, Vamps, Demons, and assorted other ilk traipsing the cement canyons. Cheyenne McCray continues to provide strong tales (see the author’s magic saga) to the deserved accolades of her sub-genre fans. Harriet Klausner

Strange Neighbors
Ashlyn Chase
Sourcebooks, Jun 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402236617


Former Rhode Island resident Merry Mackenzie works as a nurse at Boston General Hospital. She rents an apartment from baseball superstar pitcher Jason Falco; whom she never heard of but her brother and dad think he is great with his blazing fastball. She is attracted to her new landlord almost as much as she is euphoric that Chad the ghost allegedly resides in the historic Back Bay home since the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan. Jason calls his mom back in Minnesota to lament that he has struck out on his first at bat with beautiful Merry.

Merry soon finds her unconventional borders are not just eccentric. They include two witches running a phone sex business; several shape-shifters, and a vampire. However, the most frightening paranormal is reporter Lila Crum, who plans on Jason being her double play partner. Jason's kind snooping aunt has chosen his partner for him, but he and his new renter go on a merry chase of love.

This is an amusing at times heated but always heartfelt paranormal romance. Jason’s baseball asides and Merry’s caring for others while knowing noting about sports are enhanced by Chad’s “colorful” commentary. The support cast is solid especially her family and Chad’s neighbors. Fans will enjoy this humorous lighthearted romp as the baseball pitcher swings the bat and hits a home run with a woman who never knew his strike zone until they met. Harriet Klausner

Nights of Villjamur
Mark Charan Newton
Spectra, Jun 29 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345520845


As the ice continues to spread as forecasted decades ago across the Jamur Empire archipelago and when it became obvious the sun was dying, increasingly humans and others coming from all the islands take refuge in the ancient city of Villjamur. Some of the horde of thousands comes for more insidious reasons. Thus stability of leadership even if the top person is insane is critical at this time although some in power like Chancellor Urtica choose personal ambition over what is good for the island empire. When the mad emperor Jamur Johynn dies suddenly, placing his untested heir, his elder daughter Rika as the queen, Urtica plans to act to replace her with himself immediately. His strategy is to foster hatred of the desperate immigrants flocking the city before he leads a coup d’etat and an ethic cleansing of all outsiders.

As Rika sits on the throne precariously though sympathetic towards the plight of her people, her mentor Randur Esteyu advises and encourages her while her sister Eir supports her, but her council wants to use her for personal power. Meanwhile someone murders Councilor Ghuda leading to Inspector Rumex Jeryd a nonhuman rumel to investigate at a time the city and kingdom needs unity, not divisions and conspiracies plotting to overthrow the monarchy.

Although the plot starts just a bit faster than the encroaching ice age, Mark Charan Newton creates his world of human and nonhuman; once set (just under a third of the way), the fantasy thriller turns into a police procedural that grips the audience. The cast is solid whether they are human, banshee, rumel or other; but the key player, the dying sun fed ice never feels as if it threatens to destroy all life. Still this is an entertaining tale as death squads initially sent by Johynn and now employed by Urtica use eradication to solve problems though sometimes the dead come back. Harriet Klausner

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