ImaJinn, May 2010, $14.00
Less than two decades ago Chicago was in a bloody war between the humans and the vampires. The city’s top vampire Che “Cade” Kincade managed to end the hostilities, but knows how quickly the streets can turn combative. Cade got Mayor Deborah Dayton elected as she ran on a peace platform and so far the blood has stopped flowing.
However, when Her Honor the Mayor is assassinated, Cade, who was receiving a donation from Red the blood whore, is blamed for her murder. He goes into hiding, avoiding the vampires of the city and CPD detectives seeking to arrest him. His loyal energetic assistant Thorvald Sweet the vampire and Red the human witness who can vouch for his alibi are with Cade as he moves from one place to another while trying to determine who wanted the peace movement ended. Cade and Red meet with a vocal anti-vampire group, but as they leave, violence erupts. Trusting no one, Cade continues his mission to keep his city from falling into a bloody conflation in honor of the late woman he loved.
All hell has broken loose in Chicago as it seems a new war is about to occur, but this time the heroic pair who ended the last combat are not there to stop the civil war. Ironically, Dayton’s policy of inclusiveness divided the city. Rotating between Cade’s fifteenth-year along the Illinois River in 1697 when he was different from his peers with a thirst to learn from the Black Robe with tomorrow’s struggles to prove his innocence without harming Red while trying to prevent another cross species inferno. Jaye Roycraft crafts a fangulous sequel to the fangtastic Half Past Hell. Harriet Klausner
ImaJinn, Mar 2010, $14.00
Vampire hunter Aria Michaels a mortal has dreamed of the same man for years. Lately her nocturnal fantasies have become so heated; they feel real to her leaving her wet with desire. He is Aria’s hope in an ugly filled world in which demons devastate the realm and vampires struggle to prevent them from doing so.
Rialto Renaldi believes the prophecy of Hope is a child’s inane fantasy. He rejects the Blood Revelation, which claims a vampire and his true mate will bring forth a child that will become a light to counter the growing darkness; in his mind the world is beyond saving. Rialto's mother knows in her heart that her son and Aria are the prophetic pair. However, they would be star-crossed lovers as she hunts his kind ever since a vampire killed her mother.
In spite of the author’s upbeat name, the world of Crystal-Rain Love to quote Marmalade in Reflections of My Life: “The world is a bad place … A terrible place to live” as this realm is dark and evil even with the light of love flickering to life. Fast-paced throughout starting with the iconic search for Poe’s cottage near Baltimore’s Inner Harbor the audience will enjoy the pair denying their feelings as she plans to use the star of her nocturnal dreams to enable her to hunt down her mother’s predator; and he wants to avoid the human his mom insists will fulfill the prophecy with him. This is an entertaining “Charm City” romantic urban fantasy as each will learn that there are much nastier things out there. Harriet Klausner
The Darkest Lie
Harlequin HQN, Jun 29 2010, $7.99
Like the other Lords of the Underworld who released Pandora’s Box, Gideon hosts a demon as his punishment. He is the keeper of Lies, which denotes unbelievable agony if he tells the truth. The Lord of Lies also has the ability to detect when someone else fabricates.
At their Budapest fortress, Scarlet Keeper of Nightmares arrives claiming she is Gideon’s wife. He is stunned because not only can he not remember her, he cannot tell if she is lying. His demon Lies is ecstatic with the saucy sassy sexy siren; Gideon wants her too but is much more cautious as he knows he must speak lies or feel the crippling pain. Hunters close in again while his teammates fear how Gideon behaves with Scarlet as a woman scorned is deadly so they want her dead but the Gods interfere with his truth seduction scheme.
Gideon is one of the more fascinating of the Underworld warriors as he talks in lies so needs a special woman who can translate what he is saying. He hopes Scarlet proves that she is that extraordinary female who knows when her beloved says hate he means love, but fears she will believe hate means hate. The story line is fast-paced but it is the characters who make it work as the audience receives an insider look at the Showalter pantheon with Gods like Cronos intruding. Fans of the saga will appreciate the tale of team Gidlet wondering if they will kill each other as The Darkest Lie is a strong entry in a deep darkening romantic urban fantasy series. Harriet Klausner
Tor, Aug 3 2010, $14.99
Around the world in eighty seconds is what the zombie pandemic seemed like to those not bitten. It occurred so fast, zombie became the dominant species on the planet. Humans were food and forced to hide behind barriers. New York City, for instance, contains eight million of these reanimated dead and little pockets of hiding mortals.
In an apartment building in Manhattan, a few souls remain concealed, but are running out of water and food. From windows they can see the supermarket, but zombies hang out on the streets seeking fresh flesh. The besieged group see hope when a female teenage human walks freely while the zombies avoid her. Mona brings food and drinks as she moves in with the adults at 1620 York Avenue, but the danger remains constant.
This is an exciting fast-paced zombie horror tale that grips the audience early and never let’s up as it will remind readers of I Am Legend by Richard Matheson (and to a lesser degree the Will Smith movie). The vivid opening in which zombies walk the streets while humans are locked behind barriers is riveting with an implied social spin as to who owns the neighborhoods. Additionally with civilization collapsed, the humans trapped inside an apartment with no electricity prove horror comes in many shapes and forms as Bob Fingerman provides a taut thriller. Harriet Klausner