Ghost of a Chance
Simon R. Green
Ace, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
In a deserted supermarket in Bath, England are the Ghost Finder agents powerful in magic JC Chance, technological geek who disdains magic Melody Chambers, and telepath Happy Jack Palmer. The place is haunted and between psi and tech skills, they locate a stone age settlement miles beneath the parking lot. A woman’s murder led to the haunting, but they obtain justice and dispatch the victim to the next plane and malevolence lingering from ancient times is destroyed.
Shortly afterward, the team, who are part of the Carnacki Institute, is summoned to meet with their boss. A massive supernatural event occurred at London’s Oxford Circus Tube Station. The team is to learn what supernatural essence caused the incident, kick its butt, and send it back to whatever hell it calls home. They realize “it” is a Power so potent no one can defeat it. Adding to their difficulty is two dark arts practitioners from the Crowley Institute; the mission of these operatives is to kill the three Carnacki agents. When they comprehend that the otherworldly entity can terraform the planet into its environs, the adversarial pair of earth groups unite though none of the five field operatives believe they have a ghost of a chance to prevent the extinction of their world.
The newest series from urban fantasy grand mage Simon R. Green is as good as the Nightside and the Secret Histories sagas. Each of the three Carnacki heroes have their own personalities, which feel believable as they fight the supernatural; their human enemies become frenemies because they may practice dark magic but are not suicidal as they do not want to be devoured by otherworldly powers. Filled with action, no one turns London into a horror-fantasy playground better than Mr. Green consistently does as the city has a Ghost of a Chance of surviving the writer’s latest magical mayhem. Harriet Klausner
Lord of the Desert
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 2010, $5.25
The Kilpatrick family hires historian Gillian Halliday to find the grave of their ancestor, English lord Lieutenant Rhys Kilpatrick. He died over a century ago in the Nubian Desert of Egypt. As Gillian follows clues she is taken aback to what they lead her to.
Instead of a tomb, she encounters the breathing Rhys who remains alive though he vanished one hundred and twenty five years ago. Shapeshifting Rhys explains that he serves immortal vampire demigod high priest Seth-Aziz, a five millennia being, as he has for decades. When Rhys and Gillian fall in love, he risks everything to be with her even when his owner demands he turns the woman over to him. Their only hope is to find her mother, who vanished twenty years ago.
Placing a vampire romance inside of Egyptian mythology, Nina Bruhns provides romantic fantasy fans will a great read. The Immortal Sheikhs story line is fast-paced from the moment the star-crossed lovers meet and never slows down for an instant. Lord of the desert is a winner as fans will root for the lead couple as they go up against impossible odds with love their strongest yet also weakest weapon. Harriet Klausner
Heiress to a Curse
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 2010, $5.25
In the sixteenth century in Romania, a witch placed a curse on the Drakon family that turn each one into gargoyles. Centuries later Marius Drakon knows he is next to change unless he can earn the trust of the witch’s descendent and then kill her.
Twenty-nine days remain before his conversion. Marius meets reporter Alexandra and knows he must make her believe in him before he murders her. There is only one problem, he is attracted to her. She is working a child abduction case in which he joins her. When she learns who he is and what he must do, she is heartbroken as she loves him. As they trust in their love, they fight off his family who see her death as redemption and seek another way to overcome the curse.
This is a great romantic urban fantasy due to the apparent star-crossed lovers as each understands the curse. The first Hearts of Stone story line is fast-paced from the moment they meet and never slows down as his days tick away. Readers will need to set aside time for this fabulous thriller as Zandria Munson provides a strong tale that means little if any nocturnal sleep. Harriet Klausner