Luna, Sep 1 2010, $14.95 paper
Street smart and kick butt tough Domino Riley serves as the lieutenant to six millennia old Sumerian gang boss Shanar Rashan. When a low bottom rung mage Jamal is gruesomely murdered with his magic siphoned away, LAPD and the mobs assume a rival gang took the victim out with a strong-arm declaration of war.
Domino investigates starting with talking to Jamal’s ghost. The dead graffiti artist mage informs the mob lieutenant that his homicide has roots with a magical practitioner outside of their gang and not with the usual mundane competitors. Evidence mounts towards Rashan’s son Adan doing the hit, but Domino knows he lacks the ability to steal the magic. She tries to keep him safe as she is seeing him, but to do so Domino breaks the rules between the mobs. Her actions place her in danger from mortal gangsters and sorcerer killers.
Although the story line is obviously a first book in a series as establishing magical Los Angeles is the prime plot, Cameron Haley provides an enjoyable opening urban fantasy noir. The cast is strong as the support players make magical L.A. seem genuine. However besides the city, this is Domino’s tale as she investigates and keeps her boss’ son her lover safe. Sub-genre fans will be looking forward to sequels hopefully with a more robust plot. Harriet Klausner
Jump Gate Twist
Mark L. Van Name
Baen, Jul 6 2010, $12.00
This omnibus focuses on the distant future outer space adventures of Jon Moore nanotech warrior and his partner Lobo the artificially intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle. The tale contains two novels, two short stories and several articles.
"My Sister, My Self". On Pinkelponker, Jenny heals an injured Jon.
“One Jump Ahead”. Pinkelponker has been shut off from the rest of civilization, but Jon got off planet before the blockade could be enforced. He travels to Macken for R&R hoping to forget his warrior past although his nanotech enhanced body serves as a constant reminder. Jon is informed of the kidnapping of a girl Jasmine. Her father affluent Ron Slake of Kelco hires Jon to rescue his daughter from the Gardeners who demand Kelco leave. Jon finds a broken Predator-class assault vehicle Lobo that he borrows to challenge the Gardeners.
“Slanted Jack”. Jon and Lobo become couriers, but Moore discovers his partner is incredibly intelligent with emotional issues that make the killing machine confrontational. At a restaurant in the Falls, con artist Slanted Jack arrives needing his aid. He ignores Jack but not the shyster's client Manu who needs help. Jon checks out the Research Institute and a warehouse owned by Dougat with Lobo’s assistance leading to a secret secure basement. All hell breaks out with Jon rescuing Maggie and Jack before taking them on board Lobo. Agrateful Jack injects a chemical into Jon knocking him out.
"Lobo, Actually". Before Lobo meets Jon, he worked with other humans not as sensitive to his needs.
This is a strong collection in which the two shorts tells the early days of Jon and Lobo respectively; while the novels are exciting action-packed though similar with the pair going from one firefight to another. The real fun is the bickering relationship between two hard-butt warriors. Harriet Klausner
Wait for Dusk
Eos, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
He hammered her in the jaw cursing Mira for being a nightwalker as if that is the most sinful abomination in creation. Still recovering from her successful but harrowing triumph that has kept the perilous Bori from conquering humanity (see Pray for Dawn; better yet the entire Dark Days saga), Mira is further stunned when the man battering her claims to be her father. In between the vicious beating, she insists her dad is dead, but he proclaims otherwise and demands she use her paranormal power of being the only nightwalker who brings the fire for his profit or she and her loved ones and allies will suffer the consequences.
The coven makes her an Elder and sends her to Budapest to repel the deadly onslaught of the Naturi incursion. Mira fears a set-up as she knows few if any trust her because her skills make her unique by placing her with a foot in each camp. She turns to Danaus the vampire slayer for back-up. However, in Hungary, as she learns who her dearest so called dad is, Mira is right about treachery, but wrong as to the source.
As dark and bloody as its four predecessors, Wait for Dusk is a terrific entry in which this round Mira tells the tale. The story line continues the overarching theme of back stabling treachery with the mantra trust no one especially family and loved ones. Readers will appreciate this urban fantasy as the European vampire and human communities are being overrun by the insidious bellicose Naturi. Harriet Klausner