Got some reviews in the works, but here are some from Harriet to tide you over.
Pirates of the Levant
In the year 1627 sword for hire Captain Alatriste and his former page Inigo now an adult seventeen year older soldier in his own right, are on board the Spanish galleon Mulata. When not at sea battling Spain’s enemies and collecting booty, they are based in Naples. It is in Naples that Inigo shows he needs more time to grow up as he tangles with a swindling gang and needs his former mentor’s help to keep him safe.
They have adventures as they catch and bound their enemies and sell prisoners as slaves for booty. In a remote Spanish port on the North African island Oran, Captain Alatriste and Inigo meet Sebastian Copons whose supervisor refuses to allow him to leave the island because he needs all the soldiers he can deploy. After Alatriste tries to buy his friend’s freedom, Gurriat the Moor sees the captain in action and attaches himself to him and earns a berth on the Mulata. The four of them and the rest of the Mulata crew believe they are going to die in battle against several Turkish ships, but refuse to back down.
This is the final book in the swashbuckling Alatristo historical saga and like its predecessors (see Cavalier in a Yellow Doublet, The King's Gold, The Sun Over Breda, Purity of Blood and Captain Alatristo) this entry vividly brings to life historical Spain as if the reader is there. The audience observes as if at the front the Christian civil war with the Mohammedans (Moors) as religious intolerance led to strife and conflict. Pirates of the Levant makes the Edwin Starr case of the ugliest of “War, what is it good for; absolutely nothing” inside a great adventure thriller. Harriet Klausner
The Mullah's Storm
Thomas W. Young
In Afghanistan, the C-130 Hercules transport plane left Bagram Air Base to deliver a Taliban Mullah prisoner for interrogation when the storm hit. The heavy blowing snow made visibility impossible and a rapid drop in pressure made flying even more dangerous. However, a surface to air missile strikes the plane causing it to crash in the mountainous lethal Hindu Kush region. The crew has several dead or severely injured; the blizzard cuts them off from immediate rescue while the Taliban who know the area intimately are coming to rescue the Mullah.
With broken legs keeping him trapped, Lieutenant Colonel Fisher assigns the highest ranking person standing navigator Major Michael Parson and Army Pashto interpreter and cultural awareness expert Master Sergeant Gold to escort the Mullah to the authorities. The enemy who heed the Mullah’s call to bring hell to the Americans and their allies know the terrain made more treacherous by the storm while his two escorts already believe they are traveling in a frozen hell. The Taliban hunt them abetted by frightened villagers and the Mullah who prays for deliverance.
This is an action packed military thriller that brings alive the stark reality of war in Afghanistan. The Air Force navigator and the Army interpreter are fully drawn characters, but it is the prisoner they escort who owns the plot (along with his country).as his beliefs profoundly contrast with prevalent Western philosophy. The suspense is summed up by author Thomas W. Young as an airman in Afghanistan: “…, what scared me the most wasn't the thought of getting shot down and killed. It was the thought of getting shot down and not killed…" Harriet Klausner
Kiss of Death
The corpse was found in Temescal Gateway Park. LAPD fears the murder is ritual caused by an NRM (new religious movement) as the locale is where After Dark, a self proclaimed vampire group, holds rites and the victim has two puncture wounds in her neck. The local cops ask for FBI profiler Sophie Anderson to work with Detective Sloan on the investigation into who murdered Sherry Taylor, teenage daughter of an affluent producer.
As they interview interested parties, Sloan believes an acting professor or the former boyfriend killed Sherry while Anderson believes either After Dark or another “vampire” clan performed the deed. When a second corpse is found near the Sherry’s murder scene, Anderson fears someone is working on a psi transfer of power. However, as the Fed ignores her visiting boyfriend (from Arizona) and fears her attraction to Anton Ward, leader of After Dark, who senses her psi power, she goes undercover as Lady Veronica seeking a killer amidst the Goth scene.
The fascination in this tense well-written police procedural is with the insight into the two types of vampires (psi and blood suckers) as readers learn of psychosomatic illnesses (porphyria and Renfield's syndrome). Sloan is a terrific support character who should have a return engagement with Anderson. The prime rest of the secondary cast bring to life either the Goth or police subcultures. Although Anderson’s eerie attraction to Ward is not fully explained as this is a key element and questionable is the ease she switches to and from her Aussie accent (and vernacular), fans will enjoy her latest whodunit (see Killing Hands, Fan Mail and The Body Count). Harriet Klausner