The Painted Darkness
Brian James Freeman
Cemetery Dance, $19.99
This is shipping this week and is well worth the effort or price to find a copy. It is a terrific book and can be a personal look inside as well. Barry
Everyone knows five years old Henry has a vivid imagination so when his parents are away and his babysitter preoccupied, he decided to have an adventure. This was a disaster from the time he climbs on an old tree-house. He sees a skeleton, falls to the ground, follows rabbits with red eyes and falls into the frozen river. He can’t swim against the current, but he becomes caught on a tree branch. He follows the rabbits, which leads to the school where his father is eaten alive by monster rabbits. He gets home to see his father is okay, but tells him what happens as a way to release his fears.
Twenty years later, married with a son, Henry is having another adventure. There are things in the basement where there are three graves and his furnace starts to talking to him. Henry is scared to death as he hears noises throughout the house. He chalks it up to his imagination, but he is an adult not a pre-adolescent child.
Henry’s fear and imagination lead to his painting chilling but brilliant art. The chapters alternate between the past and present; enabling the reader to see the similarities between Henry the child and Henry the adult as he makes choices. This is an entertaining but frightening ride filled with heart wrenching moments as the readers wonders whether Henry is psychotic or an oracle. Harriet Klausner
Speak (Penguin), $7.99
The car accident left her mom dead and Ashlyn hurt mentally because she believes with her visions combined with that of her sister Kyra she could have prevented the tragedy. She looks back to growing up when she and her sibling learned to hide their cursed trances and the number they would write down.
Meanwhile Kyra has cut Ashlyn off, which leaves the latter believing more so she failed her mom and her family. Her father buries himself at work, which leaves Ashlyn feeling further isolated. She feels completely alone despite her efforts to connect with her father and find her sister. Unable to relate when Jake wants to know her better, Ashlyn goes deeper into her shell. Co-worker, Gina tutors her on numerology, which Ashlyn hopes will enable her to interpret the vision and prevent another tragedy as she sees another car accident occurring this time to Jake.
This is an exciting but strange tale as the siblings slowly come to somewhat understand their visions and the numbers they write down while in a Trance. Pathos filled Ashlyn makes the teen tale terrific with her intense struggle to comprehend what the number denote. Character driven, young adult readers will empathize with Ashlyn who blames herself for her failure to interpret her vision in time to save her mom’s life and hope she can this time with Jake on the line. Harriet Klausner
West Coast Vampires Master Rhys Costain has frozen his heart ever since he was betrayed by a woman over four centuries ago. However, he is surprised to be attracted to Megan DeLacey, who works evening at Shores, an exclusive men’s shop open only in the evening.
Rhys feels somewhat like an obsessed stalker as he visits the shop every night to spend time with Megan, who limits their relationship to saleswoman-customer. However, his hopes jump up when he prevents a robbery. As he makes progress, ancient vampire Tomas Villagrande encroaches in Rhys’ territory; killing without regard and leaving the West Coast Vampires in danger of discovery.
Following the events of Everlasting Kiss, the latest West Coast vampire romantic urban fantasy is a strong entry as fans of the saga will be elated that Rhys finally stars. He seems like a teen in love for the first time as he does a lot of nocturnal shopping while he tries to persuade a strong willed female they belong together. Ultra arrogant Tomas, who changed Dracula into a bloodsucker, is a great opponent who leaves drained corpses on the mean streets of Los Angeles. Rhys knows he must stop the reign of terror immediately, but now has an Achilles’ Heel for the first time in 435 years. Harriet Klausner