Monday, August 9, 2010

Voodoo, Zombies and Vampires

Black Dust Mambo
Adrian Phoenix
Pocket, Jun 29 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439167878

Kallie Riviere enjoys her time at the New Orleans Hecatean Alliance’s carnival where she and other Hoodoo practitioners and Voodoo witches have fun and share experiences. She enjoys even more sharing her bed with Gage the nomadic outlaw biker conjurer with Gypsy blood and a fine butt (and other body parts). However, her euphoria ends abruptly when she finds Gage dead and soulless in her bed; triggering the memory from almost a decade ago when Mama fired a bullet into Papa’s head and tried to kill her too back in Bayou Cypres Noir.

In the present Kallie concludes she was the target of the killing soul sucker. With her best friend Belladonna accompanying her and covering her back, she fears for her childhood buddy Dallas, as she assumes he may be on the hit list too. The two BFFs search for Dallas while eluding a deadly malevolent being who wants to suck Kallie’s soul from her; and has no compunctions about doing likewise to Bella while Gage’s clan brother Layne seeks vengeance at a time when Lord Augustine is determined to possess Layne’s body in order to avoid having to leave this plane. More frightening is the clues lead back to her Tante Gabrielle who took her in when she became an orphan and has mentored her and her cousin Jacks in Hoodoo.

This super opening gamut in the Riviere urban fantasy hooks readers from the opening scene of finding her lover in bed dead and never slows down as the heroine believing she was the intended target of the Black Dust Mambo magic begins her inquiry. The support cast is solid though this is clearly Kallie’s star as Adrian Phoenix starts her new saga with a strong magical mambo murder mystery. Harriet Klausner

Zombie Moon
Lori Devoti
Silhouette Nocturne, Jul 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618385

Samantha Wagner wants to save her best friend Allison from the evil doctor. The madman is changing people into zombies that he controls. She has little hope of succeeding and in fact fears she will instead become another converted lost soul, but will not give up the fight.

Samantha believes she has a break when she meets werewolf zombie hunter Caleb Locke who lost his beloved family to the voracious zombie horde. She fools him into leaving with her. However, Caleb quickly figures out Samantha’s ruse and gets her to confess why. He agrees to try to rescue Allison and others about to be changed, but is unable to persuade Samantha he should go it alone. As they work together, they fall in love, but he fears her reaction to learning what kind of monster he is

Zombie Moon is an exhilarating urban fantasy romance that takes off from the opening gun when the lead couple meet while encountering zombies by a dumpster and never decelerates as the pair risks their lives to try to save Allison and his “monsters” from a lunatic. Samantha and Caleb are courageous soulmates dedicated to their respective cause. Fans of zombie romantic suspense thrillers will appreciate this terrific tale as Caleb knows his inner monster recognizes just who Samantha is to him, but also believes revealing what he is will kill him because she will leave horrified by his revelation.Harriet Klausner

The Vampire’s Kiss
Vivi Anna
Silhouette Nocturne, Jul 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618392

In Nouveau Monde, NMPD investigator Olena Petrovich is excited as this is her first time on a case as the lead. She and her team look into the crime scene at the Nouveau Monde National Bank where people were put inside the vault before the safety deposit boxes were exploded apart. Thus when Interpol inspector Cale Braxton arrives to take command from her in solving a vampire homicide, Olena is fuming as she knows how rare her boss Inspector Gabriel Bellemonte delegates the lead. To make her even angrier is her attraction to Cale.

Olena is a professional so she will not hamper the case. They team up and follow clues starting with victim’s plan to sell a computer virus, but backed away from doing so. The two law enforcement officials believe the non sale led to the murder. Making the case more complicated is their need to keep the witch niece of the vampire safe from the killers who think she might have what they demand

From start to finish the latest Otherworld police procedural fantasy romance (see is a terrific tale that continues the escapades in Europe’s Nouveau Monde (see The Vampire’s Quest) after leaving the States’ Necropolis (Blood Secrets and Dark Lies). The story line is fast-paced but made to feel real as the Otherworld paranormal species and humans interact as if that is normal. The whodunit and why are cleverly designed as once again time is running out to prevent ruthless killers from murdering more innocents in their quest for something that eludes the two law enforcement officials chasing the villains and each other. Harriet Klausner

Grave New Day
Lina Gardiner
ImaJinn, Jun 15 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417561

Remorseful NYPD secret vampire Police Captain Jess Vandermire knows she owes John “Britt” Brittain who saved her life, but died doing so. Even though his body has not been found, she plans on giving Britt the best funeral send off she can. Jess also relooks hiding her existence and even her police work as that no longer feels the same to her.

Because she has a partial soul thanks to Regent her brother, Jess has a partial soul and so feels regret and guilt over Britt’s death. She knows that makes her unique as other bloodsuckers kill without a second thought. Jess buries Britt’s empty casket. The only other attendee is a stranger to her, Zeke who insists he is Britt’s friend and has plenty to tell her about choice between returning to human being or remaining a vampire to fight an ancient evil threatening all humans. However; her police instincts tell her not to trust this informant while fearing failure to heed Zeke’s guidance could mean mankind’s extinction; adhering to it might mean the end anyway.

The third Vandermire Vampire Hunter is a fast-paced urban fantasy that grips fans of the series from the beginning to the cliffhanging climax that ties up some threads, but adds new danglers. Action-packed, the Gardiner universe expands but newcomers will be lost as this super saga must be read from the Grave start to fully comprehend what is happening especially to the heroine. Harriet Klausner

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