Spectra (Random House), Aug 31 2010, $14.00
When the country converts from analog to digital, Salvage broadcasts underground stations in the lower frequency airwaves. It tells the populace what to do to survive in the face of the collapsing society and the words are bound in the Book. In the college town of Slade, Texas, best friends Hiram and Adam collect the wisdom of the Salvage so they can be ready when the collapse of American civilization occurs.
The predicted Event happens leaving America rudderless as the country declares bankruptcy and the government loses all control. The Narrator calls himself Hiram and Adam renames himself Levi. They gather other people amongst the homeless of the dead society to go to Amaranth. It is an isolated place where they will be safe. Other groups join them on the bloody journey to the Promised Land.
Reminiscent of the Lord of the Flies merged with Deliverance, Noise is a deep look at civilization spinning out of control into anarchy before leading to a rebirth. The cast is solid with plenty of violence and gore making the aftermath effort to get to Amaranth feel plausible. Darin Bradley writes an entertaining futuristic cautionary thriller as out of the death of America rises the Phoenix of a new order.
Coronets And Steel
DAW, Sep 7 2010, $24.95
Bored Los Angeles graduate student Kim Murray’s French only speaking grandmere is ill. As grandmere recovers from the debilitating fever, she remains mute; but encourages strongly for Kim to travel to Europe to learn her family’s genealogy. Before leaving the States, her grandma gave her minuscule bits of information about their heritage, but refuses to go into any depth.
After Paris proved fruitless, she reaches Vienna lacking information as to where to start so she visits a genealogist. Kim goes on a tour when she notices what looks like a ghost. Soon after that, a suave male treats her like an old friend he has not seen in a while although she swears she never met this sophisticate before. She and this Alec go for drinks, but when she awakens she is on a train though she is unsure how she got on it. However, the biggest shock of all is to learn she looks so much like missing cousin Ruli, they could have been twins. Alec wants her to pretend to be Ruli so he can find her.
Told by the third generation American, this is an exciting at times jocular but always action-packed thriller as Kim digs up her roots in Europe. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the heroine’s European adventure as she is 200 proof American believing she can do anything while also being facetious and irreverent when she is drugged, abducted, and confronting family ghosts. This is her tale as the rest of the cast supports her escapades as a young brash American trashes her kidnapper and taunts the spirits that haunt her and her family. Harriet Klausner
When Blood Calls
Bantam, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
Manhattan-based government attorney Sara Constantine is euphoric following her win in court. She celebrates her victory by spending a heated one night stand with stranger, Lucius Dragos; who is at the tavern because Braddock, who he will kill later that night, is there. Sara is rewarded with a promotion to Division 6; whose lawyers prosecute vampires, werewolves, hellhounds and demons.
To her chagrin, fate deflates her enthusiasm when she is assigned to argue the government’s case against alleged killer Lucius Dragos. He likes Sara and not just because of the great sex. She somehow abates his demon. He argues she needs to take the blindfold off as he insists justice is not a blind legal adherence to the law because where evil deserves death; while she insists the law is the law even as she wonders if the man she prosecutes and loves is a vampire.
Ignoring conflict of interest based on the Judge Scalia defense of not recusing In Cheney v. United States District Court for the District of Columbia Supreme Court case, this is a fascinating legal thriller inside an urban fantasy setting with a touch of romance. Though there is plenty of action in the first Shadow Keepers thriller, the story line is owned by the lead couple who debate justice. Readers will believe the Beck universe is real while pondering the same questions that disturb dedicated prosecutor Sara. If someone murders a serial killer they may be legally a criminal but morally are they delivering justice to an amoral ergo inhuman predator? That is the essence of Lucius’ argument as he insists he killed a malevolence that deserved death, but as Sara (and the audience) ponders should he be judge, jury and executioner as a seemingly vigilante. Their falling in love enhances the legal vs. moral argument. Harriet Klausner