Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Dell Commercial

Is it just me or does the Dell commercial where the guys sing "Lollipop" and the one guy is buttoning his overalls creep you out?

Monday, March 29, 2010

New Reviews from Harriet

Busy day doing mundane things. Hope you find these interesting.

Serpent Moon
C.T. Adams and Cathy Clamp
Tor, Mar 2 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765364258


The Sazi still struggle with understanding alpha werewolf Eric Thompson’s howling skill that somehow interferes with airwaves; his problem is though he can do it, he is unable to control his howling talent.  Recently converted by a horrific assault into a Sazi, Holly Sanchez moved from Denver to the Outback where she has become a healer.

However, she has learned that a Sazi relatives support group plans to use an elixir on the werewolves that will return them to Homo sapiens.  At the same time the scheme to resurrect Marduc the snake goddess is nearing fruition. Holly and Eric team up to prevent two probable tragedies from occurring.

This is a great entry in the Tales of the Sazi mythos as Marduc arrives on the scene seemingly invincible.  The story line is fast-paced and filled with non stop action as previously secondary character Holly proves she with the Canadian wolf can hold an exhilarating story line together in Australia.  With no time to catch a breath once the lead couple meets in the Outback, readers will fully relish the latest Sazi romantic urban fantasy as nothing less than love and saving the world at the same time is at stake. Harriet Klausner

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Stealth
Karen Miller
Del Rey, Feb 23 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345509024


The Galaxy is at war with the Republic fighting the Separatists Alliance led by Count Dooku  who has an unknown Sith master.  They are using the dark side of the Force with planets falling to them.  Their latest assault is at Kothlis and its strategic Spy-Net Facility. Jedi knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker lead the land and space battle that leaves countless dead and injured while both Jedi know their side is losing the war even though they won this battle.

When they return to the homeworld of the Jedi Order and the political center of the Republic, Senator Organa tells the two Jedi Knights that the Separatists conquered the impoverished world Lanteeb, a place so isolated in the outer rim no one can fathom why the Seps went there.  The senator knows their must be something of value on that remote orb, but what is unknown.  Anakin and Obi-Ben travel to Lanteeb and learn why the Seps’, led by General Durd, conquered Lanteeb and it is critical they stop him or billions will die.

This is the first of a duology starring two of the more fascinating Star Wars characters.  The story line is fast-paced from the opening battle sequence and when the two Jedi are caught behind enemy lines on Lanteeb.  The battles as always on screen and in books are vivid enhancing the non stop action.  Anakin is a fabulous protagonist whose doubts abut the Jedi and their cause grows with the defeats.  Fans will enjoy the opening of the Clone Wars Gambit and look forward to the continual adventures of Anakin and Ob-Ben trying to survive yet also must prevent Durd’s plan from occurring as the setback would be impossible to overcome. Harriet Klausner

Jordan
Susan Kearney
Forever, Feb 23 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780446543330


The Tribes destroy any planet in the galaxy who defies their edicts.  Their current plan is to devastate the earth for rebelling as no one defies the Tribes.

Vesta Corporation CEO Vivianne Blackstone works on a spaceship to protect earth from the venomous Tribes.  When she realizes her chief engineer, Jordan McArthur, submitted a phony résumé, she confronts him with the evidence.  Instead of denying what she shows him, Jordan sends the spaceship Draco into space with him, Vivianne, some workers and a dog on board.  Jordan has a vendetta that goes back centuries when Trendonis of the Tribes destroyed his world.  Once known as Merlin, he uses his Staff as the fuel source to propel the Draco, but he and his crew must obtain the three Keys of Space, Wind, and Soil to power up his Staff in order to link it with the Holy Grail or watch earth face annihilation.  He is falling in love with Vivianne, but Jordan conceals his feelings because if he succeeds in saving the earth and beyond by destroying the Tribe, he dies too.

The third Pendragon Legacy (see Lucan and Rion) is an excellent finish to a strong romantic science fiction trilogy with a terrific Arthurian magical link.  The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two strong personalities who are in conflict as she wants to save her planet while he wants to save a universe.  Fans will enjoy this exciting thriller in which the courageous heroes know that if they succeed in defeating the Tribe, he expects to die but harder on his soul, he fears she will too; a risk she willingly takes. Harriet Klausner

Vampires, Dragons and Werewolves

Enjoy!

Werewolf Smackdown
Mario Acevedo
Eos, Mar 9 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780061567186


Denver private investigator Felix Gomez is a Latino vampire who works for the Araneum a vampire group that polices its own.  He is an enforcer who goes after rogue vampires who break their laws; especially the ones who threaten to expose the Great Secret that supernatural species exist.

In Charleston, clan alpha Eric Bourbon wants to hire Felix to kill his rival Randolph Colburn for control of the Lowcountry Territory. Bourbon explains his predecessor died in a plane crash ordered by Colburn.  Before he can act, Felix is abducted by Colburn who tells his side of the story.  Regardless, Felix knows a civil war is coming that will impact all supernatural species even the neutrals.

Felix meets to prevent the hostilities from igniting because if they do then the humans will know that they exist.  Vampires try to kill Felix who believes his enemy Julius Paxton has surfaced to take advantage of the pending disaster.  Julius wants to reveal the Great Secret in order to work with mortals to form a great society even though humans will be below on the food chain..  As Paxton’s minions attack Felix and cause other problems, Paxton remains in hiding causing incidents that will lead to a werewolf civil war and Felix’s death. The sleuth has to risk his life in order to stop a nasty war from occurring.

The latest Felix Gomez’s serio-comedic urban fantasy noir (see Jailbait Zombie, X-Rated Bloodsuckers, The Nymphos Of Rocky Flats and The Undead Kama Sutra) is as zany as his previous Noir thrillers, but is the best yet.  Readers obtain a profound in depth look at werewolf society especially the alpha leadership.  Ironically, Felix obtains more allies amongst the were and more enemies amidst his own kind as the tongue in cheek hero risks his undead life for his convictions. Harriet Klausner

Secret of the Dragon
Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman
Tor, Mar 16 2010, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765319746


The power of the old gods led by Torval is waning and new gods led by Aelon and worshipped by the Sinarians and the Gods of Raj are challenging them for power.  To regain their supremacy, the old gods must have the Five Bones of the primal Vektia Dragons, hidden and scattered across the world by the dragon goddess Vindrash during creation.  One is owned by the Sinarions; one in the land of the ogres; and three are unknown.  Whoever has the bones possesses the power of creation.

On the mortal plane, Skylan Ivorson and his sea raiding crew inclding the Bone Goddess Treia, and her sister Aylean are betrayed by Raegar, a Vindraisi turned warrior priest of  Aelon who leads the enemy Sinarians to them.  The crew is captures and sold into slavery while Treia who is Raegar’s lover will do anything for him.  They become the slaves of Lord Acronis and are expected to battle in Para Dix games in an arena especially built for the warrior battles.  Skylan discovers how deep Raegar’s treachery goes and luckily he finds where the dragon bone is interred foils his plan. Unfortunately Skylane may not be able to do anything to stop him permanently even with his knowledge because he needs the aid of the vanished dragon Kahg and the gods.

This book picks up where Bones of the Dragon ended so it behooves the audience to read the previous tale first, but also be aware that the climax of this thriller is a cliffhanger too that will require the next entry to resolve how the hero gets out of his predicament; if he does.  Skylan is a sort of Indiana Jones character landing in one dangerous escapade after another with no chance to breath in between his adventures.  He relies on his instincts and his crew to achieve their mission and stay alive.  Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman provide another superb Bones epic fantasy. Harriet Klausner

The Vampire And The Virgin
Kerrelyn Sparks
Avon, Mar 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061667862


Vampire Robby MacKay heads to the Greek isle of Patmos to recover from his captivity by the Malcontents before seeking vengeance on those who held him prisoner.  At the same time, FBI psychologist Olivia Satiris travels to Patmos to spend time with her grandmother and avoid a stalker.

Olivia and Robby meet with her stunned that her psychic skill of sensing emotions fails with him and he shocked to fall in love at first sight.  However, her stalker has followed Olivia to Greece, which makes her wonder if Robby is her predator.  As he vows to keep his true love safe, Robby knows he must reveal what he conceals from her though once he does he assumes she will flee from him out of fear of love at first bite.

The eighth sparkling Love at Stake urban fantasy romance is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action, but belongs to the PTSD embittered Robby.  He refreshes the story line from the onset with his need to avenge his torture by the Russians and with his falling in love with the virgin shrink.  Fans will enjoy the latest entry (see Forbidden Nights With a Vampire and Secret Life Of A Vampire) though readers will wonder why Dr. Satiris as a shrink and a Fed so easily assumes the worst re Robby. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Words of Wisdom

Here are some words of wisdom from H. David Blaylock. Just thought I would pass them along.


Yesterday is history.
Tomorrow is a mystery.
Today is a gift.
That's why it's called 'the present'.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Werewolves, Revenge, and Norwegian Police

The Devil's Star
Jo Nesbo
Harper, Mar 10 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061133978


Oslo police detective Harry Hole drowns his greatest professional and personal failures with alcohol. He tried to persuade his superiors that Detective Tom Waaler killed Harry’s police partner Ellen Gjelten (see The Redbreast), but no one believed him; Harry also believes the dirty cop sells weapons on the streets. On the personal front, he has been inept in connecting with his girlfriend and her son.

Ironically, Chief Inspector Bjarne Moller teams up Hole and Waaler on the murder investigation of Camilla Loen whose finger was removed and a devil’s star shaped diamond jammed under her eyelid. Harry is assigned a missing person’s case that soon ties back to the Loen murder. Those corpses are followed by similar bodies as Hole realizes a serial killer is on theloose.

The third Hole Norwegian police procedural is a great whodunit as the hero struggles to sober up in order to work the case ALONG side his Nemesis. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down as Harry struggles in all aspects of his life except investigating a homicide. Sub-genre fans will relish his latest caseload on and off the job. Harriet Klausner

Revenge for Old Times’ Sake
Kris Neri
Cherokee McGhee, Mar 10 2010, $16.95
www.CherokeeMcGhee.com
ISBN: 9780979969454


Opposites attract is proven with free-spirited Tracy Eaton and her straight-laced husband Drew. They are yin and yang balancing each other while fulfilling the needs of one another. That is why Tracy is shocked when she literally sees her husband fighting with his fellow attorney Ian Dragger in the garage of their office building. Drew insists to Tracy they attend the party celebrating their getting Skippy Sullivan off of a variety of charges that the two lawyers worked on together. At the gala, Skippy introduces Tracy and Drew to juror Riley who persuaded the other jurors that he was innocent.

The next day, they find Ian dead floating in the Eaton swimming pool. The picture of the fight is in the tabloids. Obviously Drew is the prime suspect. Drew’s mother Charlotte calls his former fiancée attorney CeeCee Payne to defend her son. Through her connections, Tracy learns that a hit is put on Drew. With her mother, mother-in-law Charlotte and others allied with helping her, Tracy busts her Drew out of jail. She begins her own investigation so that the worst case scenario that her spouse is murdered doesn’t happen. This leads Tracy and Drew in danger from a killer who is watching their every move.

The third Tracy Eaton revenge mystery (see Dem Bones Revenge and Revenge of the Gypsy Queen) is as always a tremendous amateur sleuth mystery as the heroine is a courageous free spirit acting like a bloodhound on the scent of suspects. The scene in which a second corpse is found in the pool is humorous as the Tracy and Her mother and Charlotte struggle with what to do with the body. It is scenes like this that make Kris Neri one of the best whodunit writers as she takes her story line serious, but includes plenty of humor that fits in nicely to the main storyline while entertaining the reader. Fans will enjoy Revenge for Old Times Sakes as we, along with the heroine, wonder if that is CeeCee’s agenda with her erratic defense. Harriet Klausner

Legend of the White Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebook, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402219054


While their partners Cameron MacPherson and Vin Summerfield remain in Seattle as the former hunts only criminals and the latter hates flying, David Davis and Owen Nottingham are in Maine hunting black bear. Their guide Kintail Silverman, co-owner with Lila Grayson of Back Country Tours, takes them deep into the wilderness when thirtyish David suddenly suffers a heart attack. Owen knows David and pleads with Kintail to save his friend; he will pay any cost. Kintail agrees and suddenly one of his purebred white wolves leaps at the two private investigators.

Faith O'Mallery is town searching for her former boyfriend Hilson Snowden who stole her father’s research paper. Her father tells her not to read the paper once she recovers it. At a hotel, she enters an occupied room as the desk clerk gave her the wrong key. He says his name is Cameron and he is a private investigator from Seattle seeking his missing two partners. They team up in search of his buddies and her dad’s paper, but neither is prepared to what they find as she learns her dad is not insane with his sociology study and he that his friends live. Soon they will understand the howl of the wolf for its soulmate as their new loupe garous pals are in danger of extinction from Dark Angels.

The fourth werewolf romantic suspense thriller (see To Tempt a Wolf, Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf) is a super entry as two dedicated individuals combine their mission only to fall in love at first bite. The pristine descriptions of Maine and elsewhere add to the feeling that a werewolf pack runs free in the tundra. Fans will relish this strong paranormal entry as no one does tales of the wolf better than Terry Spear does. Harriet Klausner

New Dan Simmons and others

Catch Of A Lifetime
Judi Fennell
Sourcebooks, Feb 1 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402224287


Mermaid Angel Tritone wants to be an advisor to her brother Rod the High Councilman on the Mer Council. However, he rejects her dreams of joining the ruling Council as he insists her safety is paramount. Upset, she goes on a swim by herself to get her thoughts straight.

Breaking the truce between their species Hammerhead Harry the nasty shark attacks her, but Angel escapes by climbing onto Logan Hardington's fishing boat. She claims to be a “maritime biology” student, but the single father is flummoxed by her arrival as the beautiful young lady is stark naked. He agrees to employ her as a babysitter since his son Michael likes her and he would do anything to make his child feel wanted by him as he only recently learned of his existence. Michael vows to keep Angel’s secret that she is a mermaid from even his dad yet also believes she is the mermaid he wished for his birthday. As they fall in love in between arguments with his offspring matchmaking them, the duo rescues Michael from horrible Harry, but also must battle an evil sea monster with oceanic-forming world domination plans.

The third Tritone sibling Mer urban-oceanic romantic fantasy (see Wild Blue Under and In Over Her Head) is a terrific tale of the tail as the female sister takes the lead with her mission to save the world. The story line is fast-paced from the onset and never slows down for even ebb tide; as the unity of a father, a son and a mermaid who helps being the two males together while saving the earth makes for a fun Catch of a Lifetime. Harriet Klausner.

Don't Kill The Messenger
Eileen Rendahl
Berkley, Mar 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425232569


When Melina Markowitz was three years old she died. However, that was not the end of her life as she returned as a Messenger who made deliveries between the paranormal. She tries to stay away from her clients as her motto is to just pass on whatever.

However, in Sacramento her don’t get involved mantra is devastated when her package given to her by a vampiric physician is stolen from her. Trying to retrieve it to finish her delivery, Melina heads to the Taoist temple where she was to hand over the envelope. There her don’t get involved policy is bloodied when seemingly out of control Chinese vampires kill rival gangbangers while not caring if innocent civilians die. Police Officer Ted Goodnight struggles with the deadly chaos and wonders how Melina somehow is constantly caught in the center.

This is an amusing urban fantasy in which the sardonic cynic wonders why her and to her chagrin her support cast responds with why not. Fans will enjoy this fun tale as the cop is attracted to the messenger who likes him, but fears any mortal involvement as breaking cover. Don’t Kill the Messenger is a fun lighthearted formic even with blood flowing freely on the California streets. Harriet Klausner

Black Hills
Dan Simmons
Little, Brown, Feb 24 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780316006989


In 1876 following the battle of Little Big Horn, ten years old Sioux warrior Paha Sapa collects coup from the dead. However, on his last breath, the spirit of General George Custer leaves his dead body to enter that of Paha.

For the rest of his life, Paha heard Custer speaking to him inside his head. He also gained the uncanny ability to know someone’s past and future by simply touching them. For himself he has remained patient having seen what will occur to the sacred Black Hills in the 1930s. Thus in 1936, the septuagenarian who worked on the monuments begins his final days of atonement and exorcism with plans to blow up Mt. Rushmore as FDR arrives on a visit.

This is a refreshing super paranormal historical thriller that grips the audience from the opening battle locale until the final confrontation inside and outside of the lead character’s head. The story line is driven by Paha=Custer, but filled with plenty of action as events lead from Little Big Horn to Mt. Rushmore. Dan Simmons effortlessly switches from Ancient Greek and Dickensian mythologies to an American legend with this superb incredibly creative tale. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Gods, Shadowmarch 3, and Malazan starts to conclude

Venus Guy Trap
Shannon McKelden
Forge, Feb 2 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780765323354


Venus “Aphrodite” Cronus may be the Goddess of Love and daughter of Zeus, but she is slaving on earth as a matchmaker. In Bander, Oregon she finds a sigma in a bookstore window that is her target for a love life makeover. Her name is Haydee Miller, whose parents she matched over three decades ago.

Haydee has been going out lately with losers and fears she will fail at the next step on her list; getting married at thirty-three. The list is sacred to her as it gave her comfort when her mom died when she was sixteen. Any deviation has been disastrous. She has six weeks plus to find her mate.

Venus introduces herself and for some unknown reason Haydee hires her and allows her to move into her home. Venus insists she is the Goddess of Love. Two days later Venus says Prince Charming is entering the store. Haydee has a convulsion as anyone but Derek Reed is acceptable. He deserted her to become a world famous photographer. Haydee tells Venus she stinks at matchmaking. They met soon after her mom died and he blew a knee ending his football ambition; they became an entry until he left abruptly. Haydee asks Derek why he is back. He says he missed her. Venus knows her mission is more than matching soulmates with a history; as she also needs to reconcile father and daughter while eluding men who want her and women jealous with Venus Envy.

The cast is extremely well drawn, Aphrodite owns the show as the matchmaker Goddess of Love insists the one man the lead female hates is her true love while she also deals with every male wanting her at a time she wants to go home. The rotation of lead between Venus and Haydee provides a wider perspective to this fun lighthearted urban romantic fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Shadowrise
Tad Williams
DAW, Mar 2 010, $27.95
ISBN: 9780756405496


Southmarch Castle is eyed by two opposing groups while its rightful ruler King Olin Eddon is taken hostage by the ruler of Hierosol. Hendon Tolly has become de facto ruler of Shadowmarch, but he failed to trap Olin’s twin children Barrick and Briony The Autarch of Ixix kidnaps King Olin and they travel to Shadowmarch Castle for his own diabolical purposes.

Barrick is entranced by the fairy (Qar) Yasammez and goes behind The Shadow Line where the Qar live in perpetual twilight. He has a mission to perform for her but he has many obstacles to overcome and enemies to deal with as he travels across the fairylands. Briony travels to Syan where she is treated as a royal. She hopes to obtain enough support to return home with an army in order to dispose Tolly. Prince Enas is enchanted with Briony and she starts to have feelings for him which makes it impossible to use him and his army in to further her schemes.

The Qar surround Southmarch Castle until Yassammel orders the attack. Under the castle lies the city of Funderling Town populated by humanoid beings that are cousins to draws who live with and fight for the Qar. Briony is accused of treason, but escapes while the Autarch of Ixix reveals his plans for King Olin which if they come to fruition will allow him to be a god but he must he triumphs over the Qar, the Funderlings and an unexpected army friendly to Shadowmarch. Several warring forces converge all claiming a kingdom as theirs.

The third Shadowmarch saga (see Shadowplay and Shadowmarch) continues where SHADOWPLAY leaves off so it behooves newcomers to peruse those tales first even with a strong synopsis to remind readers what previously happened. Tad Williams has created a great storyline that adds much to his enthralling epic fantasy as several rivals are going to Southmarch Castle. Yet with plenty of sprawling action, the characters, especially the twins, drive the story line forward to the cliffhanging ending to be continued in SHADOWHEART. Harriet Klausner

Dust of Dreams
Steven Erikson
Tor, Jan 19 2010, $17.99
ISBN: 9780765316554


East of the Letherii Empire lies the Wastelands and the Glass desert where Malazan 14the Army Commander Adjunct Tavore leads her troops, the Bonehunters into exile. Joining them on their excursion is the Letherii imperial legions under the command of Brys Beddict. Expected to meet them are the Perish Grey Helms and Khundryl Burned Tears, but they are betrayed as they try to cross the Kingdom of Bolkando at the same time on the Ar'kryn plains while the Barghast White Face clans deal with treachery from within also. While all this military movement and treachery occurs, the Shake seeks their ancestral home the First Shore, which will cause an ancient reawakening.

As these various races of mortals and ascendants come together, the sky is on fire. Also as the heavens seem under a growing inferno, a god has escaped imprisonment to return to regain his lost power spreading Darkness over the continent. The allies know they go to war to die as the enemy is much more powerful, but ironically though they bravely face their mortality, each knows they fight to protect an empire that has exiled them.

This is the first of the a two part climax to the Malazan Book of the Fallen saga and though much of reaching the finish line will be in the last half, Dust of Dreams has plenty of action including a superb cliffhanger. There is the usual too much internal introspection by seemingly a zillion of the quadrillion cast, which makes keeping score as always complicated and convoluted. Still fans of the saga will enjoy the set-up as Steven Erikson seems ready to end the epic on a high note if the quality level of first part of the final duology is held up in part two.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 21, 2010

More Interesting Reviews

Gorgeous East
Robert Girardi
St. Martin’s, Oct 2009, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312565862


American actor John Smith is in Istanbul to persuade his former girlfriend to drop the rich Turk and return to him. His endeavor has nothing to do with love and romance, as he has other motives, but his efforts lead to her murder and he joins the French Foreign legion. French-Canadian Evariste Pinard is given the choice between a long jail sentence for drug dealing and mob enforcement or joining the French Foreign Legion; he voluntarily enlists. French aristocrat Colonel Philippe de Noyer looks forward to turning the dregs of society like Smith and Pinard into a powerful fighting force.

In Western Sahara, the self-proclaimed prophet Al-Bab leads a rebellion with his bee stinging Marabouts attacking a legion outpost. He captures the American comedic-musical performer and the Quebec Russian Mafiosi among others. Whereas Morocco and Saharoui Arab Democratic Republic leaders yawn with the latest Imam allegedly rising in the desert, the Legionnaire officers take the Marabouts’ attack personally and send madman Pinard to lead the counter insurgency with instructions to rescue the legionnaire prisoners at any cost.

This is an extremely dark comedic thriller that takes the “values” of the nineteenth century French Foreign Legion and brings them forward to the twenty-first century while ignoring much of what occurred since WW II. The story line is bloody, gory, and bloody with many heads rolling, literally. This is not for the squeamish. Readers who relish an exceedingly over the top of an unnamed Moroccan plateau, bleak with no beau gesture of redemption, will want to read this satire of the West still intruding in Islamic African politics.Harriet Klausner

False Mermaid
Erin Hart
Scribner, Mar 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9781416563761


Three years ago Triona Hallet was murdered in Saint Paul, Minnesota. The police never solved the homicide. Now Triona’s sister, forensic archaeologist Dr. Nora Galvin comes home after spending two years in Ireland working cases (see Haunted Ground and Lake of Sorrows) and loving Cormac Maguire, who is in Donegal spending time with his father who deserted the family when he was a child.

Nora is positive that her brother-in-law Peter killed his wife by smashing her face in before stuffing her in her car trunk. Neither her parents nor the local cops believe sly slick Peter would kill his wife as everyone insists he loved her. Nora’s former lover and police detective is the only who believes her, but has no evidence linking Peter to Triona’s murder. While Cormac investigates a reported half Selkie human, Nora finds the corpse of who appears to be a missing female member of the Twin Cities Rowing Club in a shallow grave. The case is eerily similar to that of Triona as both had the seeds of the false mermaid plant. Nora thinks if her former lover connects the second woman to Peter she has the chance to reopen the closed case; but she fears time is running out as Peter is remarrying.

Although mostly in Minnesota, this terrific cross Atlantic investigative tale is a fast-paced must read for fans due to predominantly Nora, but also Cormac. Redemption and vengeance are the twin engines that propel the action in the States as Nora is on a vendetta that turns to desperation to protect a mother and daughter from the man she believes is a killer. Readers will enjoy False Mermaid as Erin Hart is at the top of her game with this homecoming. Harriet Klausner

Whisper of the Seventh Thunder
Larry Brooks
Sons of Liberty, Mar 1 2010, $17.00
http://sonsoflibertypublishing.com/
ISBN: 9780982403532


Over two thousand years ago on the Island of Patmos where John the Divine was exiled, the Angel of the Seven Thunders showed him visions that he was unable to write down. In the present, Gabriel Stone stood in the cave where John saw the angelic vision and he knows what the Jesus disciple saw. In that cave, he meets his wife and upon her death, Gabriel writes down the vision.

Writing the book in nine weeks, Gabriel feels as if someone putting the words in his brain. He takes his book to an agent who sells it to a publisher, but before it can be published, the agent and the publisher are dead. Two groups who do not want his book released because they believe the theme is not for public consumption; they go after Gabriel. In Israel, a supercomputer with cryptology software breaks down the vision, which involves people and events leading to the rise of the Antichrist. Gabriel’s name is on the list of key players, but regardless of God’s master plan and his role or any sect’s religious dogma, his goal is to prevent the slaughter of the innocent.

This is a fascinating enthralling apocalyptic thriller that deftly blends Brown, Clancy and LaHaye-Jenkins. The hero is a courageous person mindful of Moses in his belief that a nonentity like him who rested from his first day on earth until he entered the cave could not be a key player in the Lord’s plan, but like the Exodus leader does his best to do the mission and overcome his doubts. However, it is the fundamentalist Brethren group who grip the reader as these devout believers need the Antichrist to take his throne as they insist that is God’s plan and if millions die in support of their belief; so be it as long as the end of days begins. Harriet Klausner

World War 2, Alternate Worlds and The Future

Red Inferno: 1945
Robert Conroy
Ballantine, Feb 23 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780345506061


In 1945, the Allied forces prepare for victory over the Third Reich by jockeying for position in accordance with the Yalta agreement. However neither President Truman nor Prime Minister Stalin trust one another; while British head of state Churchill fears an Iron Curtain coming down across Europe if the west fails to act so he is pushing the new American leader to take action.

Truman is concerned that Churchill is right about Stalin. He sends two divisions across the Elbe River towards Berlin to counter the Soviet’s control of Eastern Europe though that violates Yalta and General Eisenhower’s advice. Stalin is outraged by the affront even as Truman claims it is for peace. Instead Stalin orders the Red Army to attack its former allies.

Red Inferno: 1945 is a super alternate historical thriller based on the premise that Truman crosses the Elbe extending the war in Europe. Ironically, though a WWII thriller, the super cast (military and civilian) on both sides of the continuing confrontation do their assigned jobs, but all especially the soldiers make it clear they prefer to give peace a chance; everyone wants to go home but not in a body bag. Fast-paced and loaded with action, Robert Conroy explores what if Truman sent units across the Elbe in 1945 as the war with Germany was all but over.
Harriet Klausner

Embrace The Night Eternal
Joss Ware
Avon, Feb 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061734021

Although the world is not what he remembers having undergone the change five decades ago when he and friends (Dr. Elliot, Quint, Wyatt, and Fence) were trapped in a cave near Sedona without aging, Simon Japp still feels guilty for what he did back then. Still he and his buddies struggle to adjust as they battle the evil Strangers and the deadly Ganga. Elliot having found Jade (see Beyond the Night) is doing the best in their new compound Envy once called Vegas.

Sage Corrigan was born after the "change," but like Simon has a nasty past that haunts her. To survive she and her cohorts at Envy need information on their enemy the Cult of Atlantis and the mysterious Remington Truth. What they know leads to Falling Creek, the last place Sage wants to return to; but she knows she is only one who can get inside along with her pretend husband Simon.

The setting in Awakening Heroes makes the tale as the futuristic world of Ware feels genuine with references back to the old world and the mysterious malevolent Strangers and the Ganga enhance that eerie feeling. Through the flawed lead couple, readers learn more about the post apocalyptic America. Simon and Sage are a wonderful pairing as their respective past psychologically intrudes on the mission and on a future together. Joss Ware is two for two with this terrific urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Dead Matter
Anton Strout
Ace, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441018444


In an alternate world where supernatural species are known to exist, organizations formed like the Department of Extraordinary Affairs to keep the human population safe. One of the DEA Agents Simon Canderous is working without his partner and mentor Connor Christos who is on vacation; having accumulated five years worth. Simon’s gift is psychometry while his girlfriend Jane’s is technonomy (bending electricity and machines to her will). They are together when they see a creature who they fail to capture and these creatures have been seen all over New York.

Chased by spirits into a graveyard, Simon and Jane find Connor in a horrific state. He explains that each night he dreams about his brother Aiden who went missing two decades ago. The pair believes Connor is seeing his sibling at his window so they stake out the place. They find someone spying on Connor and follow him into the Gibbon-Case building where vampire lives in a castle surrounded by a forest within the edifice. There the two brothers reunite while the odd edifice subsumes Jane. Determined to get her back, Simon turns to the lead vampire Brandon for help. Attempts are made on the lives of Connor and Simon. Brandon believes Simon is the prophesied one to bring peace between humans and vampires, but traitors amongst his army want war as does a rabid anti-vampire DEA operative. Hell is about to break out in Manhattan.

Anton Stout provides an entertaining and hypnotic police procedural urban fantasy filled with action inside a somewhat thin plot but loaded with deep characterizations who drive the story line forward. The protagonist has come a long way since his Deader Still escapades as he has learned vampires like humans are good and bad. His job is to ferret out the evil one, but that proves seemingly impossible. Watching the brothers unite is heartwarming yet the audience wonders whether that will turn heart-wrenching as those involved pray the species become friends, but settle for not being enemies for now; that is if they survive their ordeal. Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baryon 115

Just finished Baryon 115 and sent it to Pete to get it ready for the website.

I'll be emailing copies to the mailing list this weekend. If you aren't sure whether you are on the list or not, drop me an email at the-baryon-review@bellsouth.net and I'll be sure you get one.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

A Quickie Review

HUNGARIAN GIGOLO by Gabe G. Kubichek is a very realistic look at how one boy made a life changing decision on how to live his life and followed it. This is a very interesting book that reads like a biography rather than fiction.

This an upcoming title from www.xoxopublishing.com. Barry Hunter

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Elric Returns and Others

Time Meddlers: Undercover
Deborah Jackson
Lachesis Publishing, September 2009, $14.95
http://www.lachesispublishing.com/
ISBN: 9781897562437


In Ottawa, thirteen year old Matt Barnes and his best friend Sarah Sachs sneak into his home hoping to find clues to where his father is. They know he is caught back in time in the multiverse. They remain alert knowing his former caretaker and lab assistant Nadine is on the run. When Nadine breaks into the house, they observe her opening a hidden safe. After she leaves, they find microfilm inside the safe. Her father tells the two kids that the library has a reader. There they see highlights from WW II in Amsterdam.

After doing some research Matt recognizes the name of a Dutch undercover Special Operations Executive (SOE) operative Johanna “Celery” Van Duizen. They disobey her dad and reenter his father’s lab only Nadine follows them. They push her into the time portal in which lands her in 1942 in Nazi occupied Amsterdam. The pair follows in terms of time, but switch location to England only to run into trouble with an elite British Royal Air Force unit who ignores their warning that the SOE has a deadly fate awaiting them.

This is a great time travel thriller with a super surprising final twist. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action as Matt is obsessed with rescuing his dad lost in time and Nadine having his back end up in WW II England and Amsterdam at a key point in which the Dutch resistance is in trouble. Deborah Jackson interweaves the Dutch resistance to the German occupation especially hiding Jews like Anne Frank and her family and other targeted people from the Nazis as a key element in the strong plot. Middle school readers and anyone who read or saw the movie The Diary of Anne Frank (except Holocaust deniers) will enjoy this fine sequel to the Time Meddlers as courage is an equal opportunity trait that ignores religion, ethnic origin, age and gender. Harriet Klausner

Hawkmoon: the Jewel in the Skull
Michael Moorcock
Tor, Jan 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9780765324733


The Dark Empire of Granbretan has devastated their opponents who have tried to overthrow their harsh subjection. One such loser the Duke of Koln Dorian Hawkmoon attempted unsuccessfully to destroy the empire, but instead failed and became their pawn.

When Count Brass the lord of the city Kamarang rejects an offer of an alliance with Granbretan, imperial Baron Meliadus sends former rebel Hawkmoon to kidnap Brass' daughter, Yisselda. However, Hawkmoon has problems with carrying out the abduction order that goes against his values; besides his attraction to Yisselda, her father treats him with respect and kindness; reminding him of his original vow to destroy the evil Empire and his deep humiliation of bowing down to Meliadus.

This is a fast-paced, action-packed reprint of a 1960s sword and sorcery thriller that holds up nicely though contains little insight into life under the Black Jewel sorcery rule as the plot is linear. The hero makes the story line work as he believes his ultimate abjection is a betrayal of his own soul and when he meets the last holdout, Hawkmoon knows how far he has fallen in disgrace. Fans will enjoy Dorian’s efforts to regain what he lost when the Empire defeated his army; his impetus is the father and daughter who shower him with adulation and respect while he feels he deserves contempt. Future Europe has rarely looked as dark as the continent that Hawkmoon traverses. Harriet Klausner

Whisper of the Seventh Thunder
Larry Brooks
Sons of Liberty, Mar 1 2010, $17.00
Nashua, NH 03062
ISBN: 9780982403532


Over two thousand years ago on the Island of Patmos where John the Divine was exiled, the Angel of the Seven Thunders showed him visions that he was unable to write down. In the present, Gabriel Stone stood in the cave where John saw the angelic vision and he knows what the Jesus disciple saw. In that cave, he meets his wife and upon her death, Gabriel writes down the vision.

Writing the book in nine weeks, Gabriel feels as if someone putting the words in his brain. He takes his book to an agent who sells it to a publisher, but before it can be published, the agent and the publisher are dead. Two groups who do not want his book released because they believe the theme is not for public consumption; they go after Gabriel. In Israel, a supercomputer with cryptology software breaks down the vision, which involves people and events leading to the rise of the Antichrist. Gabriel’s name is on the list of key players, but regardless of God’s master plan and his role or any sect’s religious dogma, his goal is to prevent the slaughter of the innocent.

This is a fascinating enthralling apocalyptic thriller that deftly blends Brown, Clancy and LaHaye-Jenkins. The hero is a courageous person mindful of Moses in his belief that a nonentity like him who rested from his first day on earth until he entered the cave could not be a key player in the Lord’s plan, but like the Exodus leader does his best to do the mission and overcome his doubts. However, it is the fundamentalist Brethren group who grip the reader as these devout believers need the Antichrist to take his throne as they insist that is God’s plan and if millions die in support of their belief; so be it as long as the end of days begins.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 15, 2010

TV Programs

Just a quick note to let everyone know of two really good shows.

SPARTACUS: Blood and Sand is a bloody look at how the Thracian warrior became a slave and a gladiator. It's on the Starz Network.

THE PACIFIC is a new series about World War 2 from Speilberg and Tom Hanks. It's a ten part series on HBO and started out tonight.

Both shows are repeated throughout the week.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Writers and Illustrators of the Future Quarterly Winners

Fourth Quarter Winners Announced

The 4th quarter winners of the 26th year of the L. Ron Hubbard Writers and Illustrators of the Future Contest were announced today by Joni Labaqui, the contest Director.

FOURTH QUARTER WINNERS IN WRITING:


1st Place — Laurie Tom of California
2nd Place — Scott W. Baker of Tennessee
3rd Place — Lael Salaets of Oregon

Chosen from a group of 8 finalists, this quarter’s winners are awarded cash prizes, a week-long intensive writing workshop culminating in the annual awards ceremony as well as being published in the next volume of the L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthology.

FOURTH QUARTER WINNERS IN ILLUSTRATION:


Ven Locklear of Oregon
Olivia Pelaez of New Jersey
Alice Jingxuan Hu currently of Chicago, from Singapore

These talented artists will additionally receive cash prizes, attend the illustrator workshop in Hollywood before attending the awards ceremony where they will be acknowledged. Each winner will also illustrate one of the stories published in the annual L. Ron Hubbard Presents Writers of the Future anthology.

Congratulations to all!

All of them will now compete with the winners from the first three quarters for the Grand Prize of $5,000.00 that will be announced this August.

"Hot Tips" from Judges

What does it take to be professionally published in the United States where only 3 of every 10,000 manuscripts submitted see the light of print?

“Forget the great American novel”, says multi-New York Times bestselling author Larry Niven. “Write short stories instead, send them out to several editors and enter the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest four times a year. You can complete your stories quickly, submit them, move on to your next story, and have several stories being reviewed by editors at the same time.”

In today’s publishing universe, it simply takes too long for the traditional novel process for new authors. “You spend months on a novel, then send it to editors and wait for months more,” Niven said. “Send out regularly to magazines that accept short stories.”

Vampires, Werewolves, Dungeons and Dragons top themes for largest speculative fiction contest for new writers.

Apparently ghouls, goblins and even wizards are no match for vampires, werewolves, dungeons and dragons for today's upcoming fiction writers.

A two year survey of thousands of entries for the L. Ron Hubbard Writers of the Future Contest—the world's largest and oldest for speculative fiction—shows vampires first, dungeons and dragons second and werewolves third. Wizard stories were a close fourth.

In making the announcement, K. D. Wentworth, Writers of the Future Contest coordinating judge and first reader, said, “It seems to suggest that some fantasy themes may be more enduring than others.”

“Originality is the key element to a story being selected as a finalist in the Writers of the Future Contest,” warns Wentworth. “So picking a popular theme doesn't mean a story will be picked.”

“You need a good imagination to be a successful writer, so I’ll lean towards the most creative entry every time.”


New Video Released on the Writers of the Future YouTube Channel


Last month, we launched the Writers of the Future channel on YouTube where you can now watch exclusive interviews, clips from the Awards Ceremonies, book trailers, documentaries and more! Click here to check out the new channel, see what's new and subscribe today: WritersoftheFutureYouTubeChannel



Writers of the Future Books

The winning stories published in the Writers of the Future volumes are also available from the publisher. Click here for more information: www.GalaxyPress.com

Contest Deadlines

The Contest has four quarters, beginning on October 1, January 1, April 1 and July 1. The year will end on September 30. To be eligible for judging in its quarter, an entry must be postmarked no later than midnight on the last day of the quarter. Late entries will be included in the following quarter.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Interesting Reviews

Invisible Fences
Norman Prentiss
Cemetery Dance, May 2010, $30.00
ISBN: 9781587671845


Nathan had an ordinary childhood until his half sister died; which plunged his mother into a depression that made her a recluse who could not leave the house nor throw anything out. Their home was covered with piles everywhere making it impossible to walk. Both his parents told him and his sister Pam cautionary tales that made each fear even crossing the street.

Nathan and Pam were in the woods near his best friend Aaron’s home. An accident occurs and Aaron falls into the overflowing creek and cannot get out. Neither of his two companions can swim, but both refuse to give up on rescuing Aaron. They come up with an idea, but as they leave the woods with their friend still in the water Aaron curses them. Later Nathan goes to visit Aaron; his friend’s brother beats him up.

Nathan and his family move to another state; where he grows up into a male “spinster”, afraid to take even the slightest chance. However, after his parents die, something from their warnings surfaces to challenge Nathan’s Invisible fences that allow no risks.

The child is the adult as the impressionable boy is frightened by his parents by their stories into fearing life. Nathan faces a supernatural essence that is a horror from his childhood; leaving readers to wonder if he psychologically created his demon. This is a chilling tale as Norman Prentiss provides a profound look at the child inside the adult whose fear is palpable while the audience wonders if it is externally real or internal psychosomatically real. Harriet Klausner

Shoot to Thrill
P.J. Tracy
Putnam, Apr 29 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9780399155208


Minneapolis Police department homicide detectives Gino Rolseth and Leo Magozzi are sent to a decrepit section of the Mississippi where they see the body of a dead floater dressed in a bridal outfit. They later learn the homicide of the drag queen in a wedding dress was filmed for the Internet crowd.

FBI cyber crime special agent John Smith joins the Minneapolis PD inquiry into the bride murder and other similar filmed horrifying deaths. He also enlists the aid of the Monkeewrench computer gurus (Harley Davidson, Grace MacBride, Annie Belinski and Roadrunner) who have helped law enforcement before including donating special software applications. While the Minneapolis detectives follow more typical procedures, the Monkeewrench crew works on a program to delineate real web-based murder from acting. As more homicides occur in other cities but linked to the bridal murder, no progress is made until a victim in Medford, Oregon survives.

This is a superb police procedural that fans of the Monkeewrench crew will fully appreciate while newcomers will be hooked immediately by the likable team and seek out previous thrillers (see Dead Run and Snow Blind). The story line is fast-paced from the moment the two Minneapolis cops begin to investigate the bridal drag queen floater case and never takes a respite as the Feds and their computer “consultants” make inquiries into live Internet serial killing from other cities. Shoot to Thrill is a fabulous entry in a consistently strong series. Harriet Klausner

The Skorpian Directive
David Stone
Putnam, Apr 29 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399156328


CIA “cleaner” Micah Dalton is in Vienna meeting with former-Mossad field operative Issadore Galan when he feels something is not right. Used to cleaning up the mess of failed operations, he fears he will need a cleaner too, as he quickly realizes that he is under surveillance by unknown assumed to be hostile enemies. Not one to sit back and wait, Micah catches one of them, Veronika Miklas.

After sex, he flees with her accompanying him following a failed assault on him. Someone wants Micah dead, but he is unsure why; especially since his CIA contacts and handlers are part of the death squad pursuers. He turns to his alcoholic psychopathic friend Ray Fyke to insure he has his back covered. As the trio travels to the Balkans, the former KGB assassins, an American top secret agency, other espionage groups, and Smoke the Serbian killer follow with death to the threesome as their mantra.

The latest Cleaner espionage thriller (see The Venetian Judgment, The Echelon Vendetta and The Orpheus Deception) is a great conspiratorial story line filed with action, action and more action. The cast is especially powerful including the enigmatic killing machine Smoke while the locales enhance the exciting plot. Genre fans will enjoy The Skorpian Directive as someone high up has decided to clean the cleaner. Harriet Klausner

The Secret of Excalibur
Andy McDermott
Bantam, Mar 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780553592955


Eddie Chase and Nina Wilde have been successful with finding ancient myths (see The Hunt for Atlantis and The Tomb of Hercules). Not the type to sit on their laurels, neither knows what next until family friend historian Bernd Rust sends Nina a cryptic message about the sword of Excalibur. He explains to her his belief shared by a Russian that Arthur's legendary sword exists and is a source of earth energy no longer used in modern times.

Before they can further talk, Rust is murdered. Nina sells Eddie on the worthiness of a search while fearing a Russian Kruglov perhaps backed by his government and the American governments are also seeking the sword that allegedly makes a bearer invincible in battle. Lost for over a millennium, the daring duet begins their search in the deserts of the Middle East, but as they elude deadly encounters, they follow clues to Siberia.

The third Wilde and Chase adventure thriller is a fast-paced, action-packed and over the top of Camelot saga that is fun to read. From the opening scene with Kruglov, the giant Russian and the blue-haired lady visiting a church but not for confession until the final anticipated confrontation, fans will enjoy the escapades of the lead heroes as they distrust the Americans as much as the Russians. This work is very entertaining, a superb thriller that hooks the audience from the very first page. Harriet Klausner

Reviews

Working on the April issue of the magazine.so I can send it off to Pete to get it on the website. Here are some reviews from the prolific Harriet.

Raven's Ladder
Jeffrey Overstreet
Waterbrook, Feb 16 2010, $13.99
ISBN: 9781400074679


When he was a prince Cal-raven freed Auralia’s Colors only to find their “house” collapsed killing his father. Still believing that the Keeper sent Auralia to them for a reason, he led his people to safety inside a stone labyrinth after overcoming the beastmen (see Cyndere’s Midnight). However their refuge proves unsafe when something from underground is trying to drill through the stones. The people of Abascar flee again while their ruler King Cal-raven foretells the rebuilding of a New Abascar.

However, King Cal-raven is distracted by the Seers of the House Bel Amica. He fails to protect his people who have plans for the wanderers and having learned of Auralia’s Colors from those they have trapped with their charms, they weave this into their lies. Only Cyndere as daughter of Bel Amica’s widow Queen Thesera abetted by Jordam the House of Cent Regus beastman; and “Rescue” the mysterious ale boy can save the weary wanderers. However they must overcome the brutal cursed Cent Regus beastmen, the sneaky Seers advisors to the queen of Bel Amica and the wavering monarch Cal-raven having lost his faith in the colors and his vision.

The third colorful Abascar religious fantasy is a terrific entry with a powerful message of keep the faith at all times especially when you feel abandoned. The story line is fast-paced but character driven as Cyndere continues to believe even more so while Cal-raven is losing his beliefs. Although filled with action throughout, it is the King’s questioning what the Keeper wants for the House of Abascar that he helped to collapse that makes this a strong inspirational fantasy.
Harriet Klausner

Warriors
George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Tor, Mar 16 2010, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765320483

Through time memorial, Warriors have fought for and defended their country and will do so in the future. In fiction, Warriors appear in every genre; they turn up in the past, present and future; are various species; on diverse locations throughout the universe and beyond; and are of both human genders. George R.R. Martin points this out in the Introduction that Warriors play major roles in The Lord of the Rings, The Forever War, All’s Quiet on the Western Front and Starship Trooper for instance. George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois deployed well known authors to write Warrior tales in their particular genre and favorite period; however writers are an independent group so fans will find delightful surprises.

An entry sure to be popular is “The Custom of the Army” by Diane Gabaldon focusing on a seventeenth century colonial soldier who is being court-martialed and asks Lord John to speak up for him.. Joe Haldeman’s “Forever Bound” takes place in the near future when warriors have implants that make them into a cohesive unit due to a group mind, but one soldier finds his partner, but though he thinks differently he continues to fight for his country. In Lawrence Block’s “Clean Slate”, Katherine has a more personal war to fight as her dad’s Little Soldier. In 4577, “Seven Years From Home” (by Naomi Novik), Ruth the diplomat arrives on a planet to ignite a civil war between the two local human species, one of which needs more land.

These are a sample of a strong diverse 20-story collection of new tales as Robin Hobb and Steven Saylor takes the audience to Rome and Carthage; Cecilia Holland has Vikings as her stars; Joe R. Lansdale highlights the "Soldierin" in the American Civil War. Readers will enjoy this varied anthology as the contributors use differing genres, era, locations, species, and genders, but share in common a deep look at the heart of Warriors. Harriet Klausner

Come Hell or High Water
Michelle Bardsley
Signet, Feb 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451228789


In Broken Heart, Oklahoma single mom Phoebe Allen is looking forward for a short breather while her four years old son Danny is visiting Disneyworld with his dad. However, her respite ends almost immediately after Danny leaves.

Half demon Connor Ballard courts the vampiric mom because he believes she is his only hope to prevent his purebred demon stepmother Lilith from escaping her incarceration in hell. However his pursuit changes when they are mated, but he knows he must stand vigilant because if Lilith escapes to earth all hell will break out. Phoebe realizes she must help the hunk, but does not have to consign her heart with new mate; now if only her heart would heed her advice.

As always with this chick-lit urban fantasy romance series, Michelle Bardsley combines humor with romance and this time literally the stepmom from hell. The story line is fast-paced as the wind comes sweeping down the plain is not sweet; almost as terrifying as the heroine’s first night in town when a Consortium member welcomed her to Oklahoma sooner than she wanted. Fans will enjoy this thin but fun tale as the vampire mom figuratively insists “Over My Dead Body”. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Recent Titles

Cat’s Claw
Amber Benson
Ace, Feb 23 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441018437


Having rescued her father the CEO of Death, Inc, Calliope Reaper-Jones wants to go back to her vapid New York City lifestyle of designer shoes and designer hunks. However, before the immortal Callie can get back into the swing of Manhattan living, she learns her soul mate (don’t use that term in front of dear old dad) Daniel thought long dead may be alive.

Finally after buying two cupcakes as directed, she also has visitors she would prefer stay out of her life. There is the old woman and her tart minx spirit demanding a human form and better behavior from her or else. Then there is Cerberus Hell’s Guardian demanding Callie pay her debt by finding and bringing to the three headed watchdog an architect who varnished. Callie can handle Vegas, Purgatory, and Hell, but a discount department store is something that even Dante could not envision.

This is an entertaining frenzied fantasy frolic that will have the audience laughing at the chick lit voice of the heroine who is willing to go to heaven on a hellish cause, but discount stores are unfair. The story line is thin in spite of a vast richness of supporting myths and several subplots. Still fans will enjoy the amusing antics of Death’s Daughter as she navigates between her work at TV Home Shopping and plenty of otherworldly demands. Harriet Klausner

Where Angels Fear to Tread
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Roc, Mar 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780451463142


In Boston, former seraphim Remy Chandler struggles to control his heavenly power ever since his beloved Madeline died six moths ago. Deryn York, the frantic mother of six years old Zoe, pleads with Remy to find her missing daughter. The distraught woman shows the private investigator drawings she says her child drew that foretell her abduction by her father Carl and one picture of a male angelic savior with a big black dog in front of a brownstone that Remy recognizes in entirety.

Unbeknownst to Remy, cursed to walk the earth alone Delilah seeks the child as does the followers of the god Dagan. Blind Samson also joins the mix seeking the little girl with power to predict the future. Soon everyone converges in West Virginia.

This exciting urban fantasy is fast-paced and filled with action from the moment Remy sees the last drawing and never slows down as the hero realizes all hell is about to break out over a child. Remy is super as he struggles to contain his power though he would not mind burning a few worthless souls yet will move heaven, hell and earth to protect an innocent little girl. Delilah is a terrific villainess who will do anything to further her power; except for Remy, she makes the rest of the cast including her former husband look emaciated. Fans will relish this fine tale and seek the hero’s back story (see, A Kiss Before the Apocalypse and Dancing on the Head of a Pin). Harriet Klausner

Black Magic Sanction
Kim Harrison
Eos, Feb 23 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780061138034


Having defeated various paranormal criminals and resolved the Kisten case, detective Rachel Morgan finds out she has been betrayed to a white magic coven who shun her for using black magic as a witch-born demon whose offspring will be demons. Stunned by the declaration and the sentencing, the coven offers her a choice of solitary incarceration at Alcatraz or sterilization.

Drug kingpin Trent Kalamack the elf offers Rachel a deal that would get the coven to back off of her but the cost is high. Her former boyfriend Nick Sparagmos arrives to make her situation worse as only he can while she wonders what game he is playing this time. Only her demon teacher Al seems to be on her side, but Rachel trusts no one as she realizes the coven that she has paid annual dues to for years can be bought and sold regardless of the buffoon announcements of the coven’s Oliver to the contrary.

There is a lot going on in the Hollows as Kim Harrison shows her bewitching skills with a strong entry that follows up fresh and nice after all that occurred in the super The Outlaw Demon Wails and White Witch, Black Curse. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Rachel learns of the shunning sentencing and never slows down as she battles her “allies” who prove corrupt. As she and readers learn more about the coven and its history, fans will regale in the heroine’s latest urban fantasy as the escapades keep coming at Rachel. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Movie Tie In Novels

I don’t go to the movies as often as I used too. Prices have just gotten too out of line. At least we have a local theater that has a discount on Tuesday but we may have to wait for a while to see the feature we want to see.

To me, I can create most of the scenes just as well in my mind. With ticket prices in the $10 (or more) range, it’s cheaper to pick up the novelization of the movie and enjoy it in the comfort of your own home. This way you can re-read the good parts and save a lot of money on the snacks as well.

Two of the more interesting titles coming out in the next few weeks are The Ghost Writer and Repo Men. Here is a brief look at both of these so you can pick up the books or if you have the cash, spring for the movie.

THE GHOST WRITER, Robert Harris, Gallery Books, $15, 335 pages, ISBN: 9781439190555
is the story of the second “ghost” chosen to write the memoirs of Adam Lang, a controversial former prime minister of England. His memoirs are expected to be a best seller because of the secrets he may choose to reveal.

The first “ghost” died under shocking circumstances and the new writer is not up on politics and is unaware of the secrets that Lang still carries around in his head. Secrets that change the way his service may be remembered. Secrets that may mean more deaths in order to kept his memoirs secret.

Harris has written several other books and has worked for the BBC and The Sunday (London) Times. This is well written and is a wonderful way to pass a couple of hours.

REPO MEN, Eric Garcia, Harper, $7.99, 328 pages, ISBN: 9780061713040
is one of those unusual titles that while deadly serious in its purpose, left me grinning and laughing on occasion. I guess this makes me a little weird (but you already knew that).

Everyone knows that a repoman comes around in the middle of the night and takes your car back when you miss a payment. We also know the normal function of a Credit Union is to make loans and collateral on that loan. REPO MEN gives both of these institutions a twist that makes them businesses with a future with which to be reckoned.

Only thing is that is now the future and when a repoman comes around, he has come to repossess your liver or your kidney or even your heart. The best thing to do is to keep up with your payments, or you will come face to face with the one person who wants possession and won’t take “No” or payment for an answer.

Everything is going fine until one of the Repo Men has to become a customer and then has trouble making his payments. It seems like there’s never enough money to go around and there’s always someone out to take your place.

This is a fun read and takes a job everyone takes for granted and gives it that twist that makes it a tremendous ride.

Pick up the books and enjoy them. And if you have time and some extra cash, check out the movies, too.

New Reviews from Harriett

Wild Ride
Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
St. Martin’s, Mar 16 2010, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312533779


Dreamland, located in Parkersburg, Ohio, is a rundown amusement park that is receiving a face lift. Mary Alice Brannigan is restoring the fading artwork and remaking the exhibits, but scoffs at the rumors that demons reside there. That proves misfortunate because Dreamland is more than just an aging amusement park; it is the prison for five of the most dangerous Untouchable demons to walk the earth. Each of these evil doers is restrained inside a chalice cup contained with a statue of iron with the keys to unlock their cells spread around the park.

The Guardia elite demon fighting team watch over the five Untouchables to make sure none escape, but if even one manages to get free, they unite to recapture the demon. Mab struggles to believe what she hears and that she will be the newest Guardia warrior now that Funflun the clown is restored the demon escape. She becomes the Seer when the present one dies and former Green Beret Ethan Wayne who has come here to die becomes the Hunter. As a child he lived at Dreamland, but never believed the story until now. As Halloween approaches, led by Kharos the Devil, the Untouchables plan to break out by taking advantage of two skeptical rookies.

This aptly titled book takes readers on a Wild Ride to a decrepit amusement park that serves as a demon prison. Mab fights against her destiny since she does not relate well with people so prefers being left alone to restore art; however she rises to the occasion when she is needed to help with the demon problem. This is an amusing roller coaster urban fantasy that is fun to read as Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer never takes the entertaining story line too seriously. Harriet Klausner

First Drop Of Crimson
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, Feb 9 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061583223


Over a year ago on New Year’s Eve, they were attacked by something paranormal that frightened her best friend Cat; Denise knew that little scares a vampire even a hybrid bloodsucker. Denise’s husband Randy went outside where the fray was on going, but told his beloved to stay inside with the runaway kids who take shelter with them and promised to be back. He never kept his promise dying during the zombie assault.

Over a year later, Denise’s cousin Paul informs her that he does not believed the doctors or police are right when they insist twenty-three year old Amber died from a heart attack; he thinks she was murdered and he is “Destined for an Early Grave” too. Denise says no way, but the man comes out of the shadows and grabs Paul who stops breathing. She attacks the man who laughs and vanishes. Next she tries CPR as does a stranger, but both end up coughing and Paul remains dead.

Unable to reach Cat or her BF’s mate Bones, Denise calls Spade the vampire. Bones’ best buddy quickly arrives and realizes that the killer left behind a residual of demon essence from Raum, which proves Paul was right; dead right. They seek Nathaniel, who escaped from Raum. As they search for the predator, each feels an unwanted attraction to one another, which she rejects out of guilt and he denies out of a previous failed mortal relationship.

This is a great beginning of a sidebar series spun from the terrific Night Huntress saga as Denise and Spade have consistently appeared so fans knows each of them. The story line is fast-paced from the attack on Paul and never slows down on either the urban fantasy thriller prime plot or the supporting romantic subplot. Jeaniene Frost provides a powerful tale. Harriet Klausner

Blackout
Connie Willis
Ballantine, Feb 2 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9780553803198


In 2060, studying history at Oxford is a contact sport as historians conduct real field research. In that regard three historians are sent to different locations during WW II. Seventeen years old Colin Templer, who saved the life of project chief Mr. Dunworthy wants the faculty adviser’s help so he can age enough in the past for older student Polly Churchill to notice him and how much he loves her. At the relative same time, Michael Davies is preparing to go to Pearl Harbor but the assignment changed after he obtained his American accent implant to be there for the Channel fishermen rescue at Dunkirk; Polly is going to London as a shopgirl during the Blitz; and Eileen works at a children’s evac center in Warwickshire during a measles outbreak.

However something is not quite right with the Research lab equipment as assignments change abruptly and the historians face danger when they arrive during the early stages of WW II in England. Although Eileen insists she trusts in the future, something Mike did at Dunkirk should not have happened; at least based on the prime premise of the History Department at Oxford in 2060 in which a traveling historian cannot change what has been.

This is a super time travel historical thriller that hooks the audience from the onset and never slows down especially when the trio land in 1939-1940. The story line is fast-paced yet loaded with vivid detail so that the prime subplots seem genuine as Polly struggles with working at a store and evacuating during air raids; and Eileen with twenty two kids and resentful locals including the sponsor especially during a measles outbreak. However, it is Mike who may have changed the outcome of WW II and the next century with his impossible actions that could not have happened at Dunkirk. Perhaps the only issue with this great saga is it never climaxes as the second book to be published later in the year contains the rest of the story. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Orlando's Vigil Review

Orlando's Vigil, Bryce Piper, Moongypsy Press (http://moongypsypress.com/index.php), March 2010, $3.99 Kindle, ISBN: 45150998, 12 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Every now and then you come across a new writer who has a strong voice and gets his point across in a very subtle way. Piper has one of those voices and I am extremely impressed with this story. I have high hopes of seeing many more offerings from him in the future.

Orlando is the topic of discussion by a couple of young women. He sits on a bench overlooking the playground of their apartment complex. One of them wonders if it is safe for their children to play with him around. It takes a while for the story behind his vigil to come out.

Orlando is disabled veteran of the Afghan war. While there he learned many things that were contrary to his morals, but some things have to be overlooked since it is not your culture. He has a wife and two sons at home and they, too, weigh on his mind.

The rest of the story is poignant and disturbing. Even though it is a short story, it packs a punch that shows the horrors of war aren’t always “over there”.

Here’s the direct like to the Kindle version at Amazon - http://www.amazon.com/Orlandos-Vigil-ebook/dp/B003AU4T0E/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=digital-text&qid=1267829656&sr=8-1

Friday, March 5, 2010

Border Crossing Differences

LET ME SEE IF I GOT THIS RIGHT.


IF YOU CROSS THE NORTH KOREAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET 12 YEARS HARD LABOR.

IF YOU CROSS THE IRANIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU ARE DETAINED INDEFINITELY.

IF YOU CROSS THE AFGHAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU GET SHOT.

IF YOU CROSS THE SAUDI ARABIAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU WILL BE JAILED.

IF YOU CROSS THE CHINESE BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU MAY NEVER BE HEARD FROM AGAIN.

IF YOU CROSS THE VENEZUELAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU WILL BE BRANDED A SPY AND YOUR FATE WILL BE SEALED..

IF YOU CROSS THE CUBAN BORDER ILLEGALLY, YOU WILL BE THROWN INTO POLITICAL PRISON TO ROT.

IF YOU CROSS THE U.S. BORDER ILLEGALLY YOU GET;

* A JOB,
* A DRIVERS LICENSE,
* SOCIAL SECURITY CARD,
* WELFARE,
* FOOD STAMPS,
* CREDIT CARDS,
* SUBSIDIZED RENT OR A LOAN TO BUY A HOUSE,
* FREE EDUCATION,
* FREE HEALTH CARE,
* A LOBBYIST IN WASHINGTON
* BILLIONS OF DOLLARS WORTH OF PUBLIC DOCUMENTS PRINTED IN YOUR LANGUAGE
* THE RIGHT TO CARRY YOUR COUNTRY’S FLAG WHILE YOU PROTEST THAT YOU DON’T GET ENOUGH RESPECT



I JUST WANTED TO MAKE SURE I HAD A FIRM GRASP ON THE SITUATION…

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Frame Up

FRAME UP, John F. Dobbyn, Oceanview, $25.95, 278 pages, ISBN: 9871933515632, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Michael Knight is joining his friend John McKedrick for dinner. As Michael is approaching the car in the parking garage, John waves and starts the car only for it to explode and put Michael in the hospital. McKedrick is an associate of a notorious mob lawyer while Michael is a partner in a prestigious criminal defense firm.

A witness comes forward and links the son of the mafia don as the driving force behind the killing. Knight and his partner, Lex Devlin, come together to represent the son and find the true killer.

Devlin and Knight are called to a meeting by Matt Ryan, a priest, to meet with Dominic Santangelo, the mafia don. Devlin, Ryan and Santangelo are childhood friends who have taken different paths and haven’t been in contact in years. Dominic hires Devlin and Knight to represent the son because he knows he is not guilty.

The son surrenders and is killed while in Police custody. From this point on Knight starts digging into the background of his fried and finds ties to a stolen Vermeer painting, the Russian mafia, international finance, and a conniving aggressive mob boss seeking to advance. The action moves from Boston to London to Amsterdam as Knight seeks clues to prove his case.

Dobbyn has written a fast moving interesting novel that shows the attorney going beyond his normal abilities in order to clear the person accused of killing his best friend. This is a splendid legal thriller that shows there is more to a lawyer's case than what happens in the courtroom.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Skull Ring by Scott Nicholson

Here's a release notice on the latest from Scott Nicholson. Check it out and pick up a copy. He has never disappointed.

Julia Stone will remember, even if it kills her...

With the help of a therapist, Julia is piecing together childhood memories of the night her father vanished. When Julia finds a silver ring that bears the name "Judas Stone," the past comes creeping back. Someone is leaving strange messages inside her house, even though the door is locked. The Christian handyman offers help, but he has his own shadowy past. And the cop who investigated her father's disappearance has followed her to the small mountain town of Elkwood.

Now she has a head full of memories, but she doesn't know which are real. Julia's therapist is playing games. The handyman is trying to save her, in more ways than one. And a sinister cult is closing in, claiming ownership of Julia's body and soul...

It's an ebook right now at Amazon (http://www.amazon.com/The-Skull-Ring-ebook/dp/B003980ELA/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1267487700&sr=8-1) and Smashwords (http://www.smashwords.com/books/view/9523) and will be in print in a few weeks.