Thursday, September 30, 2010

Jennifer Rardin, 1965 - 2010

Orbit Books has reported that Jennifer Rardin, author of the Jaz Parks urban fantasy series, died unexpectedly on September 20, 2010 at age 45. No further details are available at this time.

Rardin was born April 28, 1965. First novel Once Bitten, Twice Shy appeared in October 2007. The seventh book in the series, Bitten in Two, will appear in November; the eight and final book in the series The Deadliest Bite, will be published in June 2011. She is survived by her husband and two children.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Every decision you make has a consequence

On September 28, 1918, the course of history was nearly averted when British soldier Henry Tandey allegedly spared the life of an injured Adolf Hitler, while fighting during World War I. Tandey would tell his compatriots that he aimed at the future German dictator, but did not pull the trigger because he could not shoot a wounded man. While the veracity of the encounter remains debated to this day, Hitler, himself, claimed the tale was true during a meeting with British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in 1938.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Blameless, Hero, and Seduced by the Wolf reviews

Blameless
Gail Carriger
Orbit, Sep 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316074155


Lady Alexia Maccon is a soulless, forever denied an eternal home because she was born without a soul; her touch renders supernaturals (vampires and werewolves) human for a period of time. She is the only known female soulless and her husband Scottish Earl Maccon, a werewolf, denounced her and tossed her out of his pack because she is pregnant. He knows the fetus is not his as werewolves cannot procreate so she obviously cheated. She is fuming at her spouse as she knows that she was only with him

Alexia returns to her parents’ home in England and they are upset because of the scandal she caused; which she notices does not include her spouse. When they learn she is pregnant, they throw her out as they know she cuckolded her husband as werewolves cannot procreate.

In London, vampires try to kill her and ladybugs attack her so she flees to the continent where the supernatural are uninterested in human affairs. She ends up in Florence captured by the Knights Templar because she can be a weapon. However, when they learn of her condition and what she might give birth to they want her dead. Only a miracle can save her and her unborn as everyone she encounters fears the abomination she carries.

The third Parasol Protectorate tale (see Soulless and Changeless) is an action-packed, at times amusing, but always suspenseful historical urban fantasy. Readers will root for the intrepid unsinkable heroine who does not adhere to Victorian societal rules. Usually mild mannered, only her husband can raise her ire, which leads to her landing in out of control dangerous scenarios. This alternate Victorian world is an enthralling thriller. Harriet Klausner

Hero
Cheryl Brooks
Sourcebooks, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
www.sourcebooks.com
ISBN: 9781402229411


Since his brother Tychar found his soul mate (see Rogue), Trag the Zetithian is depressed though he feels great for his sibling as he wants the same thing for himself. An outlaw on many planets, he is careful even when he offers to pay for sex; his talent insures he never has to remit any money as women find him to be the sexual encounter of a lifetime. Still he dreams of meeting a female especially from his now destroyed species, but fears no soulmate exists for him. He is especially despondent when he is with his few surviving male brethren (including his brother) as each has found their females.

Micayla leaves her home world of Earth for the first time in her life. She feels lonely but accepts a truism that men or women don’t turn her on and that somehow she is different than her family and friends. That changes in an instant gut changing observation of the back of a stranger who she finds desiring. However, when she meets the hunk who she wants, instead of jumping Trag’s bones as her inclination screams inside her, she rips his skin off blaming him for her unwanted desire.

While the overarching story line involving the pandemic destruction of a race and their planet moves forward with insight into who committed the atrocity, the latest Zetithian science fiction romance also contains the most powerful Cat Stars Chronicles coupling to date. That says a lot as previous tales like Fugitive, Rogue, and Slave are excellent. Readers will relish this pairing of two of the universe’s loneliest people; as Micayla makes Trag dance the Macarena to snare his soulmate. Harriet Klausner

Seduced by the Wolf
Terry Spear
Sourcebook, Aug 3 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402237539


In Oregon, rancher Leidolf Wildhaven is worried about the purebred humans wanting to look too closely at the wilderness wolf populace. Not that the timing would be good ever for him and the werewolf pack he leads but this particular moment is disastrous as he just came from Colorado to take over as Alpha leader of a dispirited pack; werewolves who are without spirit and zest for life become easy targets.

Adding to his headaches is the leggy biologist Dr. Cassie Roux who believes wolves in the wild need protection from human predators. She has problems caused by her angry peer, wolf biologist Alex Wellington and her attraction to this rancher who says a wolf is man’s best friend. She can sniff the lupus garou scent he emits. Courageous she tries to protect a she-wolf and newborn litter from rogues (wolves, hunters and enemy biologists) while also trying to keep her heart safe from a hunk of a werewolf.

No one makes werewolves seem real better than romantic urban fantasist Terry Spear continually does with her “Wolf” saga (see Legend of the White Wolf, To Tempt a Wolf, Heart of the Wolf and Destiny of the Wolf). Her fifth were-wolfish thriller is a strong tale of two dedicated people wanting to d the best for the wolfish populace in the northwest. Sub-genre fans will want to roam Oregon with this lead couple as outside a werewolf, a book by Terry Spear’s is woman’s best friend; inside the werewolf it is to dark to read (Groucho is turning over in his grave).
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Book of Nathan review

BOOK OF NATHAN, Curt Weeden and Richard Marek, Oceanview, $25.95, 264 pages, ISBN: 9781933515915, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

After Rick Bullock’s wife died, he assumed her role as director of a homeless shelter. Here he is able to see people at their lowest point and tries to give them a helping hand. When Zeus, a gentle giant with the mind of an eight year old, is accused of murder Bullock gets involved to prove that Zeus was in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The murder victim was Benjamin Kurios, a high profile evangelist, who is about to announce the finding of The Book of Nathan, a long lost biblical text that will set the pro-life and pro-choice groups out to obtain the text.

Bullock is aided by two friends from the shelter and gets involved with the mob, a stripper, pro and anti abortion groups, lawyers and billionaires. All of them have their own agendas and all do their best to force Bullock to aid them, no matter what the collateral damage is.

Weeden and Marek have written a comedic mystery unlike any other I have read. This is the perfect read if you want an intriguing, lighthearted way to pass a rainy afternoon, or just something to help you pass some time. I think we may see some more from Rick Bullock and his friends.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Fly By Wire Review

FLY BY WIRE, Ward Larsen, Oceanview, $25.95, 302 pages, ISBN: 9781933515861, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

The C-500 is a new type flying wing cargo plane that has over a hundred already in service flying world-wide. The latest one is being delivered when it falls out of the sky into a field in France. Both pilots are killed and the French authorities are joined by a member of the NTSB to investigate.

Frank “Jammer” Davis is sent to be the NTSB liaison and with his fighter pilot background, he gets things done and runs over anyone who gets in his way. Anna Sorensen is another American member of the team and is supposedly working for one of the planes subcontractors. Jammer has issues with the team leader and feels that things are not quite right.

As they investigate the crash, oil refineries are attacked by suicide bombers all over the world. No group lays claim to the bombings but Caliph, a small time terrorist, comes to the attention of the intelligence community.

Jammer is recruited to help the CIA by Anna and they seek to use the evidence to put an answer for the crash on the table as the intelligence community seeks to identify the mastermind behind the refinery attacks.

The two seemingly unrelated problems become intertwined until the true plot is uncovered. Larsen has written another thriller that ties in the events that could be devastating to the world were they to come to pass. It is well written and action packed and is a major novel in the thriller category.

Unusual Reviews

Ghost of a Chance
Simon R. Green
Ace, Aug 31 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019168


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
Nina Bruhns
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618408


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
Zandria Munson
Harlequin Nocturne, Aug 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618415


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

Friday, September 24, 2010

New Words

The Washington Post's Mensa Invitational once again invited readers to take any word from the dictionary, alter it by adding, subtracting, or changing one letter, and supply a new definition.

Here are the winners:

1. Cashtration (n.): The act of buying a house, which renders the subject financially impotent for an indefinite period of time.
2. Intaxicaton : Euphoria at getting a tax refund, which lasts until you realize it was your money to start with.
3. Reintarnation: Coming back to life as a hillbilly.
4. Bozone ( n.): The substance surrounding stupid people that stops bright ideas from penetrating. The bozone layer, unfortunately, shows little sign of breaking down in the near future.
5. Giraffiti: Vandalism spray-painted very, very high
6. Sarchasm: The gulf between the author of sarcastic wit and the person who doesn't get it.
7. Inoculatte: To take coffee intravenously when you are running late.
8. Osteopornosis: A degenerate disease. (This one got extra credit.)
9. Karmageddon: It's like, when everybody is sending off all these really bad vibes, right? And then, like, the Earth explodes and it's like, a serious bummer.
10. Decafalon (n.): The gruelingevent of getting through the day consuming only things that are good for you.
11. Dopeler Effect: The tendency of stupid ideas to seem smarter when they come at you rapidly.
12. Arachnoleptic Fit (n.): The frantic dance performed just after you've accidentally walked through a spider web.
13. Beelzebug (n.): Satan in the form of a mosquito, that gets into your bedroom at three in the morning and cannot be cast out.
14. Caterpallor ( n.): The color you turn after finding half a worm in the fruit you're eating.

The Washington Post has also published the winning submissions to its yearly contest, in which readers are asked to supply alternate meanings for common words.
And the winners are:

1. Coffee, n. The person upon whom one coughs.
2. Flabbergasted, adj. Appalled by discovering how much weight one has gained.
3. Abdicate, v. To give up all hope of ever having a flat stomach.
4. Esplanade, v. To attempt an explanation while drunk.
5. Negligent, adj. Absentmindedly answering the door when wearing only a nightgown.
6. Lymph, v. To walk with a lisp.
7. Gargoyle, n. Olive-flavored mouthwash.
8. Flatulence, n. Emergency vehicle that picks up someone who has been run over by a
steamroller.
9. Balderdash,n. A rapidly receding hairline.
10. Oyster, n. A person who sprinkles his conversation with Yiddishisms.
11. Frisbeetarianism, n. The belief that, after death, the soul flies up onto the roof and gets stuck there.
12. Circumvent, n. An opening in the front of boxer shorts worn by Jewish men

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Top 20 Obscure TV Channels

Sheryl Owen from http://www.satellitedish.org/blog/2010/top-20-obscure-tv-channels/ asked me to share this with my readers. Let us know what you think.

Top 20 Obscure TV Channels

I thought it would be fun to comb through the various channels that are available to all of us American viewers to offer something a bit different from the standard TV most of us watch (sitcoms, soap operas, dramas, reality shows, and more). There are a lot of really unique channels that we can get either via satellite or cable tv that are worth checking out. You might like this list of 20 channels if you are looking for something a bit obscure and different to watch tonight (part of the reason why many of us got a satellite in the first place).

Al Jazeera – Though this Arabian-based channel has a large audience in the Middle East and worldwide, it definitely has a strong anti-American slant to it. It’s interesting to watch though even if you just look at the pictures (there is an English version of the network) you can pick up quite a bit. If you are like me, it’s interesting to see the world from a different paradigm.

ZeeTV – is a Hindi channel offered in satellite networks in US. The channel offers programs in various genres such as reality shows, drama, historical and food and fitness which have English subtitles.

KIKU-TV – This is a TV channel available in Hawaii primarily catering to an Asian audience such as Japanese, Chinese, Filipino and Vietnamese. Reality shows such as Cocorico and dramas Ryomaden and Making it Through are among the channel’s most well-known programs.

RTVi – The channel primarily caters to the Russian audience in the United States and since there are limited Russian channels on cable TV, RTVi serves as the main source of information for Russian-speaking homes across the U.S.

Saigon TV – This Vietnamese channel offers various TV shows from news to children’s programs for the Vietnamese community. To further strengthen Vietnamese culture, Saigon TV features special programs and hosts cultural events.

KXLA – This is actually an independent station that broadcasts from West LA and offers programming in Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese (with English sub-titles). They do have some shows like Magic Bell which is broadcast in English (it is a Japanese variety show). You can pick this up on Dish Network, DIRECTV, Charter, Cox, Time Warner, and several other places.

Azteca America – This TV station is geared toward Spanish-speaking homes in the US. Recently the network subscriber base was extended to 89% of Hispanic viewership operating in 62 markets all over US.

Fe-TV – The network’s target audience are also Spanish-speaking but Christian individuals. It is based in Texas and an outreach of the Faith Please God Church. The network closed temporarily in 2006 and resumed airing in September, 2007.

Military History – is a TV channel 100% dedicated to people who are fond of programs related with history and specifically wars. A lot of the network’s programming settles around battles and events related to World War II.

Mexicanal – Has a wide array of various Spanish-speaking programs ranging from news, culturally relevant shows, entertainment, and sporting events.

Create – is a digital TV network that mainly airs programs on how-to, Do-it-yourself, and other instructional shows taken from previous shows that were on PBS and American Public Television.

ImaginAsianTV – This TV network has various TV programs coming from the Asian region. It features dramas and several animated series mostly from Korea and Japan.

TeleFutura – is a US/Mexican show that caters to the Spanish-speaking community in the US. The network was launched in 2002 and is considered to be one of the smallest commercial Spanish-speaking networks in the country (so see if you can find it).

Public Broadcasting Services – The TV network is a principal broadcasting channel in the US. It has 24/7 program feeds that can be accessed by some broadcast stations. It has programs aimed for both young and adult learners. Surely you have watched ageless hits like the Electric Company and Sesame Street on PBS.

Corner Store TV – is a TV network that exclusively shows infomercials. It’s a blast!

TV9 Gujarat – is a foreign news channel offered by Dish Satellite. The network features news from India for 24×7.

Jewelry Television – is a US TV channel similar to home shopping, but focuses on jewelry retailing. The network even put up manufacturing facilities in various parts of Asia a sure sign of at least some success.

Syfy – an American TV channel, which dedicates programming in fantasy horror, science fiction, and paranormal programs among others. It was launched in 1992 and was officially named syfy in 2009.

Sleuth – This cable network focuses on crime and mystery genre. It debuted on satellite TV in 2006.

ART – This TV channel is available on satellite and some cable TV systems. It has Saudi-Arabian natives as their target audience. It is the exclusive broadcasting channel for the Saudi Leagues and other sporting events.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Magic, Star Wars and Zombies

Land of the Burning Sands
Rachel Neumeier
Orbit, Jun 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316072793


The Kingdom of Casmantium used griffins and the magic of fire to annex territory from its neighbor Feierabiand, but the subsequent war ended in abject defeat (see Lord of the Changing Winds). However, inside Casmantium, the loss has led to a power struggle as the fuming griffins have filled much of the void and are overtly hostile to the other sentient species especially the last surviving mage.

Convicted to a life of slavery Gereint Enseichen also believes the debacle has given him a chance to escape from his servitude. However, instead of freedom across the border, he finds himself caught in the middle of trying to prevent the griffins from turning the kingdom into a graveyard of burning sand as they are doing with the city of Melentser; ceded to them during the peace treaty. His mentor Amnachudran rescues Geraint from his botched plan; he and his wife send Gereint to Bredichboden to become an assistant to their brilliant absent minded scientist daughter Tehre. Back in his home city, the adventures continue as Gereint fears he will be caught while the King tries to save his throne.

While the griffins who starred in the first book take a bit of a respite, Gereint picks up the mantle of driving the story line as he tries to stay free. The story line is fast-paced from start to finish and the aftermath of a bitter defeat is made worse when everyone expected the glory of victory which is the vivid focus of this terrific fantasy. The middle Griffin Mage Trilogy thriller is a terrific entry as the action never stops coming while the cast is superb especially the convicted slave and the scientist. Harriet Klausner

Star Wars: Clone Wars Gambit: Siege
Karen Miller
Del Rey, Jul 6 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9780345509000


Strategically, the planet Lanteeb is a nothing microdot in the Outer Rim; far from anything of minor significance. Yet for some unknown reason in the minds of the Republic, the Separatist Alliance has invaded this meaningless orb. Jedi Knights Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker travel undercover to learn why.

The truth lies with research scientist Bant'ena Fhernan, who is being held captive by Separatists demanding she work on a super virus to cause a pandemic never seen before. To fuel this biological weapon of mass destruction, the Separatists require damotite found deep in the mines on Lanteeb. Thus Separatist General Lok Durd and his force enslave the beleaguered locals. He also knows Jedi are on the planet and hunts for them with pleasure while the prey are alone as the natives cannot risk helping them and their communication with their allies are severed by the their adversaries.

The second book in the Gambit duology (see Stealth) is an exhilarating Star Wars entry as Obi-Wan and Anakin risk their lives to prevent a pandemic disaster that could leave the Republic teetering on the brink of extinction. Fascinatingly the audience sees deep inside Skywalker as he struggles with the end justifying the mean pondering “The death of one man is a tragedy; the death of millions is a statistic” (Stalin) since the Lanteebians may have to be sacrificed for the rest of the Republic. Fast-paced and loaded with action, readers will enjoy this solid military science fiction in spite of being somewhat similar in tone to its predecessor with the heroic Jedi Knights going beyond exhaustion with no aid in sight and everyone after them, but ironically should read Stealth first to understand the set up. Harriet Klausner

Dust
Joan Frances Turner
Ace, Sep 7 2010, $24.95
ISBN: 9780441019281


After not buckling her seatbelt, she died at fifteen in a car accident and was interred in a zone void of humans. She wakes up inside her coffin and though she has only one good arm as her right was almost severed off in the accident, she pushes her way out of the coffin and digs through the dirt. The teen immediately knows what she is: a revenant (zombie) and joins a pack of her kind. They live in a human-free zone where they hunt animals for food.

Jessie is an undead who does not suffer from zombie amnesia as she remembers her previous mortal life though nine years have passed since she passed. She has feelings for those she considers family (past and present) though humans lock them away with putting electrical security fences their homes as if they were illegal immigrants and the police have standing orders to kill at first sight. However an inexplicable plague arises like none before as this pandemic disease can kill human and revenant. If a miracle cure is not found soon, both species will go way of the dinosaur turning into fossils and Dust.

This is a first rate urban fantasy that “humanizes” zombies who are not mindless shark like predators, but a different sentient life form with feelings for others. Jessie is a strong willed resolute soul who thrives on coping with whatever splitter fastball life throws at her head. Readers will root for her while enjoying Joan Frances Turner’s sensual revamping of zombie fever. Harriet Klausner

Reviews

Wicked Appetite
Janet Evanovich
St. Martin’s, Sep 14 2010, $27.99
ISBN: 9780312652913


After pastry chef Elizabeth “Lizzie” Tucker inherited her eccentric Great Aunt Ophelia’s home in Marblehead, she quit her job and moved from New York City to Massachusetts. She became a pastry chef at Dazzle’s Bakery in Salem. Everything is going right for her until a handsome man entered the store and touched her hand; leaving a burn mark on her. Her life turns further complicated when Diesel shows up at the store and her home.

He informs Lizzie that they are both “Unmentionables” humans with special abilities; his is to find people whiles hers is to locate objects. He needs her to find the SALIGIA Stones; each one possesses a power of the Seven Deadly Sins. His cousin Wulf wants the stones to create hell on earth while Diesel wants them hidden in a safe place. Lizzie and Diesel go after Gluttony, which has been fractured into pieces with each segment given to a member of the Hope family by their Uncle Phil. However, no matter how diligent the pair is, Wulf is always a step or two ahead of them until he obtains his first piece while the two unmentionables feel increasingly hopeless.

Janet Evanovich’s new series opens with a great first entry filled with her trademark humor especially as Lizzie takes on the characteristics of an Unmentionable and the storyline contains plenty of action and romance. The heat generated by Lizzie and Diesel will burn reader fingers while the villain is the more fascinating player as he is an enigmatic wicked yet charismatic person. Readers will look forward to the next adventures of this interesting cast. Harriet Klausner

Infinite Days
Rebecca Maizel
St. Martin’s Griffin, Aug 3 2010, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312649913


Five centuries, nine decades and two years ago Lenah Beaudonte became a vampire. In recent decades, she has come to loath her undead life. She wants to die a human so she would no longer dine on mortals.

Now after 592 years she awakens a disoriented and frightened human after a long period of a deep sleep. Her soul mate Rhode, who existed so much longer than she, displayed his guilt for changing her and his love for her by sacrificing himself in an ancient ritual so she can revert. Lenah struggles to acclimate to being human. Thanks to Rhode she attends the exclusive Wickham Boarding School as a sixteen year old student and marvels how far mankind has come with technology. However, her crypt is opened by her vampire coven who finds her gone. They obsess, especially her emotionally hurt last lover Vicken, over finding their missing queen at any cost to her.

This is an exciting vampire thriller with a strong cast that makes what happened to Lenah seem real. Besides the intrepid heroine, the three main males in her life (Rhode, Vicken and Justin who tries to keep her safe) make for a strong urban fantasy as the emotions of this quartet and other coven members feel genuine. Sub-genre fans will enjoy Rebecca Maizel’s entertaining character-driven dark with a glimmering of light tale of the Undead. Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 20, 2010

Lady Lazarus and Eternal Kiss of Darkness Reviewed

Lady Lazarus
Michele Lang
Tor, Aug 31 2010, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765323170


In 1939 Budapest, Magda Lazarus is the eldest daughter of an eldest daughter whose lineage traces back to the ancient witch Ein Dor. Magda is the servant of Bathory the vampire. Fleeing Stalin’s wrath, a Russian Jew Zihad Juhuri pleads with Magda to help him obtain the Book of the Angel Raziel that only one who has returned from the dead like a Drinker can obtain. He fears the Nazis will obtain the greatest weapon, this biblical tome, ever known. At the same her sister Gisele the seer warns of a pandemic destruction of the Jews by the Nazi abomination.

Magda searches for the tome. On her quest she encounters a horde of diverse supernatural Nazi essences who want to prevent her from becoming the Lazarus witch who can reach the angel Raziel. As she gets closer to completing her mission that she hopes prevents the mass devastation her sibling predicts is coming, she meets and magically duels the King of Lies.

This is a fascinating WW II fantasy thriller that builds its mythos from mostly the Jewish lore sprinkled with some Hungarian and other Eastern Europe myths. The story line is fast-paced as time is running out on Magda while Nazis werewolves, demons, and worse assault her preferable to kill her permanently because she is a threat to their domination. Although the language can turn stilted in an archaic way, which in fairness brings realism with it, readers will enjoy the exhilarating tale of Magda trying to become the Lazarus in order to protect her family, her people and Europe in that order. Harriet Klausner

Eternal Kiss Of Darkness
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783166


Ancient Egyptian Master Vampire Mencheres believes his life is coming to an end. Ti protects those he cherishes from an in family civil war to replace him by designating Bones as his co-ruler; especially since he expects a life and death showdown with his enemy Radjedef.

In Chicago, Ghouls seemingly have trapped Mencheres, but mortal private investigator Kira Graceling saves his life; at least she thinks so when she courageously dives into the fight. Stunned by the mortal’s bravery, Mencheres finds himself dazzled by Kira who is attracted to him though fearful of the strange world she discovered when she jumped into his fight. However, as he now has a reason to live, he fears her distraction and attraction will kill both of them.

The second sidebar spin-off from the superb Night Huntress saga (see First Drop of Crimson) is a great urban fantasy as the Master vampire falls in love at an extremely bad time. Filled with action, as Mencheres tries to keep his beloved from becoming a pawn in the death match with his adversary a great risk to his existence, Jeaniene Frost continues to be one of the sub-genre’s top Master mages.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Some More from Harriet

Shadow Fall
Erin Kellison
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528308


While trying to save the life of his best friend, Custo Santovari was murdered by traitorous Spencer, an apparent wraith supporter. The Shadowman brings Custo to heaven where his courage and willingness to die for his buddy makes him an angel. However, Custo’s goal is to get back to America to warn his BFF Adam Thorne; besides he rationalizes he is too much a sinner to be an angel.

In Manhattan Annabella the ballerina magically dances causing a rift between realms. Custo returns to earth, but also making it through is Wolf the shadow hunter. Custo knows his mission is to go to the New York Segue Institute safe house to warn Adam and to keep safe Annabella from a nightmare; but nothing goes right as Adam thinks he must be a wraith and he falls in forbidden love with the "angel” he protects.

This is a fascinating urban romantic fantasy starring an obsessed lead male fleeing heaven on a quest and the woman who enables him to escape from the angels. The story line is fast-paced, as the city comes across grim and foreboding. Readers learn a little more about the wraiths since the events of Shadows Bound (Adam’s romance), but Shadowman remains enigmatic. Sub-genre fans will relish the second wraith war thriller as the shadows continue to darken the earth. Harriet Klausner

Land of the Burning Sands
Rachel Neumeier
Orbit, Jun 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316072793


The Kingdom of Casmantium used griffins and the magic of fire to annex territory from its neighbor Feierabiand, but the subsequent war ended in abject defeat (see Lord of the Changing Winds). However, inside Casmantium, the loss has led to a power struggle as the fuming griffins have filled much of the void and are overtly hostile to the other sentient species especially the last surviving mage.

Convicted to a life of slavery Gereint Enseichen also believes the debacle has given him a chance to escape from his servitude. However, instead of freedom across the border, he finds himself caught in the middle of trying to prevent the griffins from turning the kingdom into a graveyard of burning sand as they are doing with the city of Melentser; ceded to them during the peace treaty. His mentor Amnachudran rescues Geraint from his botched plan; he and his wife send Gereint to Bredichboden to become an assistant to their brilliant absent minded scientist daughter Tehre. Back in his home city, the adventures continue as Gereint fears he will be caught while the King tries to save his throne.

While the griffins who starred in the first book take a bit of a respite, Gereint picks up the mantle of driving the story line as he tries to stay free. The story line is fast-paced from start to finish and the aftermath of a bitter defeat is made worse when everyone expected the glory of victory which is the vivid focus of this terrific fantasy. The middle Griffin Mage Trilogy thriller is a terrific entry as the action never stops coming while the cast is superb especially the convicted slave and the scientist. Harriet Klausner

Bad Blood
John Sandford
Putnam, Sep 21 2010, $27.95
ISBN: 9780399156908


Bob Tripp, in charge of the Battenberg Farmer’s Co-op grain elevator patiently waits for Jacob Flood to arrive to deposit his crop; Bob plans to kill Jacob. His scheme works perfectly as the police arrive at the scene and conclude he was murdered by Tripp rather than the accident the young man claimed happened. They arrest Tripp who is placed in a jail cell with overnight deputy Jim Crocker remaining in the office. While in the jail Tripp dies in what looks like a suicide, but is a homicide while at his home Crocker is also dead with the evidence pointing towards a female.

Because of a conflict of interest, Warren County Sheriff Lee Coakley asks BIA Agent Virgil Flowers for assistance. They drive separately to Homestead where the killings occurred. The pair learns that two of the victims belonged to the cult World of Spirit where rumors of rape, incest, and young teen brides are acceptable practices. Virgil and the sheriff also know they have no legal admissible evidence as the cult members stick closely together circling the wagons. Knowing the innocent are being harmed, the two law enforcement officials continual their diligence, but remain clueless.

With his fourth Flowers (and the zillion Prey tales) thriller, John Sandford once again affirms he is amongst the top echelon in the police procedural sub-genre. Virgil has a wicked sense of humor that distinguishes him, but when it comes to a case he is serious and meticulous. With plenty of murder, mayhem, and more, fans will enjoy the investigation by “F” Flowers and the female sheriff. Harriet Klausner

The Rembrandt Affair
Daniel Silva
Putnam, Jul 20 2010, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399156588


Art restorer and retired Mossad agent Gabriel Allon and his agent second wife Chiara retreat to Glastonbury, England for some R&R and a return to normalcy after the recent near fatal abduction of her (see The Defector). However, the respite ends when Allon learns a dear colleague was murdered and the Rembrandt painting the victim was restoring was stolen. Unable to hide on the sidelines, Allon investigates.

Allon’s inquiry into a theft turned ugly takes him into the underbelly of capitalism as European firms clandestinely and illegally are selling reactor centrifuges to Iran. He realizes all nuclear waste in this case leads to Switzerland. Knowing he cannot go it alone, Allon calls in his former crew mates.

The latest Allon thriller is a terrific tale that has a different feel to the story line. The tale starts off as a mystery, but the clues turn the plot into an action-packed espionage thriller. Fast-paced regardless of genre, The Rembrandt Affair has the hero doing his usual quality job as he comes out of retirement to try to prevent the illegal sales to Iran. The escapades never stop until after the final confrontation; yet the key that refreshes this entry is Allon, who on the surface seems the same as in his previous appearances, but long time fans will notice subtle by fascinating differences. Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Hounds of Avalon. Siren and The Fire Lord's Rover Reviewed

The Hounds of Avalon
Mark Chadbourne
PYR, Jul 27 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142032


Since the Fall devastated earth with the return to magic as the prime power source, governments are collapsing around the world and with their breakdowns civilization as we know it no longer exists. Optimistically the future is bleak; realistically there is no future. That assessment was even before the pandemic plague struck.

As mankind is on the precipice of extinction, the potential for survival has diminished much further for the Void has emerged. The Void lives for all other essences even its armies to die. Desperately trying to regroup and find a resolution to prevent the Void from nullifying all life, the British government leaders try a Hail Mary ploy by going after one of the Brothers and Sisters of the Dragons. They abduct Mallory to use as their counter weapon against the forces of the Void. However, in their naivety they leave behind a critically wounded and perhaps dying Sophie; weakening the already waning strength of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. With insider help, Mallory escapes and joins his brethren in a last stand against first the Void’s invincible armies and if miraculously successful and still somehow alive then they will battle against the Void; human existence is at stake.

The final The Dark Age fantasy is a great ending to a complicated mythos as the world appears to be blinking out. The story line is fast-paced from the onset while the focus is somewhat different from that of its predecessors (see Devil in Green and Queen of Sinister) as the reader obtains a deeper look at pillars of civilization like government imploding. The Void is a terrific unique end of life essence as it devours the world with only the Dragon siblings sort of like a team of David (or the fantastic Four against Galactus) the only slim prayer. To appreciate fully the Chadbourne Dark Age, readers need to start at the beginning; it is worth the journey. Harriet Klausner

The Fire Lord’s Lover
Kathryne Kennedy
Sourcebooks, Jul 6 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402236525


In 1724, elven lords from Elfthane rule England with a cruel iron fist. Half-breed son of elven Fire Lord evil Mor’ded, Dominic Raikes conceals the full extent of his magical skills and more important his heart from his sire because he knows his father would view him as a threat for either and kill him.

Meanwhile the human Rebellion, who want to overturn the Elven malevolent reign of terror, raise seemingly innocent Lady Cassandra Bridges to appear prim and proper to disguise her other training as an assassin. She and Dominic wed in a marriage of convenience. However, to their shock, the newlyweds fall in love with one another. Unintended consequence is his human side of empathy and love supersedes his ruthless elven half, which leads to his worst nightmare that his dad becomes aware of what has occurred.

This is a superb Georgian romantic fantasy that effortlessly merges facts of early eighteenth century London with a mythical spin. With several great twists the story line is loaded with otherworldly action anchored by the realism of 1724 England as the Rebellion and the elves control the destiny of the newlyweds. Ironically even with others trying to pull their strings, the exciting plot is owned by the lead couple as she is a top rate assassin and he a half-breed coming into his power due to the love of the mortal he married; while Mor’ded tests his son. Harriet Klausner

Siren
John Everson
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843963540


When Josh drowned, his death also figuratively killed his parents Evan and Sarah. Suffering from aquaphobia, Evan watched in horror as his son drowned. Now he watches in horror as his beloved wife drowns her sorrow with alcohol.

Over a year since the tragedy, Evan meets naked Ligeia on the beach he tramps every night before bringing his intoxicated wife home from the bar. She provides Evan with an escape from his nightmarish failure as a father and now a husband. She sexually entices him with her perfect body and her silky voice drowns out Josh’s plea to him for help. Mostly she makes him forget, but not entirely as he tries to ignore her siren’s call by returning to his wife.

Siren plays out on two levels; as a horror thriller and as a psychological family drama. There is also a second subplot that provides the audience with a late nineteenth century look at Ligeia’s past, which is a two edged sword depending on the reader’s taste; on the one hand it anchors the siren story line, but also detracts from the reader’s imagination of whether she is true or a desperate figment of grieving Evan’s psyche. Still this is a powerful thriller as John Everson uses the loss of an offspring as the springboard to the gripping Siren.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 16, 2010

A New Shannara Book

Legends of Shannara, BEARERS OF THE BLACK STAFF, Terry Brooks, Del Rey, $27.00, 360 pages, ISBN: 9780345484178, an appreciation by Barry Hunter.

When I opened the package and pulled this volume out, it was like welcoming an old friend back home. I first ran across Terry Brooks in 1977 when I read THE SWORD OF SHANNARA, it became the first fantasy title on The New York Times best seller list, and from then on Terry has been on my must read list. It doesn’t matter how many times you revisit Shannara, or any other of the magical kingdoms he has created, you are rewarded with terrific writing, characters, and the knowledge that an old friend has returned and a great time is to be had.

I have seen Terry at a few conventions over the years, the last time was at DragonCon several years ago. He is a prince of a gentleman and very easy to get to know and talk with. That is the thing about a lot of science fiction writers – they are very approachable and friendly. Part of being successful as a writer is to mingle with your fans, but it has to be backed up by good writing and Terry is at the top of his form in both aspects.

It has been five hundred years since THE GYPSY MORPH led his followers into sanctuary and sealed their valley with a protective spell. Now, the spell has weakened, predators are attacking the valley, Trolls are preparing an invasion and a successor must be found to become the Bearer of the Black Staff.

There’s plenty of action and adventure here to satisfy every fantasy reader. This is another one of those books that makes you want the next one to be sitting on the shelf to read next. I’m glad Terry decided to write instead of remaining a lawyer, it is definitely a plus for the fantasy field.

The Outer Limits

On this day in 1963, the science-fiction anthology series, The Outer Limits, debuted on ABC.

Who could forget the eerie opening of each episode that featured the image of an oscilloscope? "There is nothing wrong with your television set. Do not attempt to adjust the picture. We are controlling transmission...We can change the focus to a soft blur or sharpen it to crystal clarity. For the next hour, sit quietly and we will control all that you see and hear. We repeat: there is nothing wrong with your television set. You are about to participate in a great adventure.. You are about to experience the awe and mystery which reaches from the inner mind to... The Outer Limits."

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Something for your funny bone

1. Two antennas met on a roof, fell in love and got married. The ceremony wasn't much, but the reception was excellent.

2. A pair of jumper cables walk into a bar. The bartender says, "I'll serve you, but don't start anything."

3. Two peanuts walk into a bar, and one was a salted. (Get it...assaulted.)

4. A dyslexic man walked into a bra.

5. A man walks into a bar with a slab of asphalt under his arm, and says: "A beer please, and one for the road."

6. Two cannibals are eating a clown. One says to the other: "Does this taste funny to you?"

7. "Doc, I can't stop singing 'The Green, Green Grass of Home'."
"That sounds like Tom Jones Syndrome."
"Is it common?"
"Well, 'It's Not Unusual'."

8. Two cows are standing next to each other in a field. Daisy says to Dolly, "I was artificially inseminated this morning."
"I don't believe you," says Dolly.
"It's true; no bull!" exclaims Daisy.

9. An invisible man marries an invisible woman. The kids were nothing to look at either.

10. Deja Moo: The feeling that you've heard this bull before.

11. I went to buy some camouflage trousers the other day, but I couldn't find any.

12. A man woke up in a hospital after a serious accident. He shouted, "Doctor, doctor, I can't feel my legs!"
The doctor replied, "I know, I amputated your arms!"

13. I went to a seafood disco last week... and pulled a mussel.

14. What do you call a fish with no eyes? A fsh.

15. Two fish swim into a concrete wall. The one turns to the other and says, "Dam!"

16. Two Eskimos sitting in a kayak were chilly, so they lit a fire in the craft. Not surprisingly it sank, proving once again that you can't have your kayak and heat it too.

17. A group of chess enthusiasts checked into a hotel, and were standing in the lobby discussing their recent tournament victories. After about an hour, the manager came out of the office, and asked them to disperse.
"But why," they asked, as they moved off.
"Because," he said. "I can't stand chess-nuts boasting in an open foyer."

18. A woman has twins, and gives them up for adoption. One of them goes to a family in Egypt, and is named 'Ahmal.' The other goes to a family in Spain; they name him 'Juan.'
Years later,Juan sends a picture of himself to his birth mother. Upon receiving the picture, she tells her husband that she wishes she also had a picture of Ahmal.
Her husband responds, "They're twins ! If you've seen Juan, you've seen Ahmal."

19. Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of calluses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him (oh, man, this is so bad, it's good) ... a super-calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

20. A dwarf, who was a mystic, escaped from jail. The call went out that there was a small medium at large.

21. And finally, there was the person who sent twenty different puns to his friends, with the hope that at least ten of the puns would make them laugh. No pun in ten did.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Writers of the Future 26 and The Exile Reviews

L RON HUBBARD PRESENTS WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOLUME XXVI, edited by K.D. Wentworth, Galaxy Press, $7.99, 464 pages, ISBN: 9781592128471, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

One of the highlights of the end of Summer is the receipt of the new WOTF volume. It, at least to me, represents a new beginning of a group of talent as they present the birth of their future to the rest of the world. It is a time of harvesting their products and preparation for the winter crops to be sown. Each writer and artist represented herein are giving us the fruits of their labors and giving us a glimpse of the future seeds they are sowing.

This year’s collection is another vast array of topics and styles. I once thought it would be a lot of fun to be a judge, but it is really a lot of work. I don’t know how many entries they receive each year, but narrowing it down to twelve and then picking out one as the best would be an impossible task. Each one is a winner and the reader and the science fiction community are the winners as well because we have a new group of people to add to our reading lists.

My favorites are as varied as the topics. “Living Rooms” by Laurie Tom takes the ideas that rooms have their own personalities and home is where the heart is to a new level. Lael Salaets’ “The Black Side of Memory” gives a future look at PTSD and how the government handles it and what it wants to hide. “Not in the Flesh” by Adam Colston reminds me a bit of BLADERUNNER with a twist. Simon Cooper’s “Confliction” is a medical tale of black market organs and nanotechnology.

Other stories by Scott W Baker, K.C. Ball and Jason Fischer are standouts as well. There is something here for everyone and there is plenty here to give you extremely good value for your hard earned buck. Start out your harvest season with this cornucopia of great reading.

THE EXILE, An Outlander Graphic Novel, Diana Gabaldon, Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen, Del Rey, $25, ISBN: 9780345505385, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

If you are one of those millions of readers who have followed Galbaldon’s OUTLANDER saga over the last few years, you are in for a treat. If you are not one of those millions, here is a starting point to get involved in a multi-faceted time traveling historic adventure.

Jamie Fraser is an 18th century Scot and Claire Beauchamp Randall is a 20th century woman and a force to be reckoned with. The story presented here takes place before OUTLANDER and gives details not previously known about their meeting and gives a glimpse of what is to come.

I’ll be the first to admit, my memory is foggy on the events of OUTLANDER. This is a good stepping stone to either start (for new readers) or restart your appreciation (for everyone else) of grand storytelling, great characters, and writing.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baryon 117

Baryon 117 has been sent to everyone on the mailing list. It will be on the website as soon as Pete has time to get to it.

If you want me to send you a copy, email me.

Barry

Scars and The Strange Affair of Spring-Heeled Jack reviews

The Strange Affair Of Spring-Heeled Jack
Mark Hodder
PYR, Sep 1 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142407


By 1861, Britain is radically changing due to technology; enhanced by the eugenicists creating specialized beasts to do the labor. Four groups emerge to challenge the power structure. The Libertines demand no laws insisting government impedes creativity; the Rakes agree with no government interference as they are anarchists demanding the use of magic fueled by sex and drugs to create a super human, the Engineers use technology to transform the world into a marvelously polluted realm in their image; and finally the Eugenicists create specialized beasts of burden.

British Prime Minister Lord Pamerston hires Sir Richard Burton, just back from the Nile expedition, to serve as the "King's Spy". His first investigation is to look into the reported sexual assaults by an apparent apparition Spring-Heeled Jack. At the same time Algernon Charles Swinbourne is doing an inquiry of his own. Meanwhile apparently hybrid canine-humans are kidnapping chimney sweeps while terrorizing the East End. Richard also plans to learn what happened to his injured former friend, John Speke, who vanished.

This is a fascinating tongue in cheek alternate historical thriller that grips the reader throughout. The story line pays homage to Dickens and Wells in a setting in which the moral fiber that kept the sun from setting on the Empire is waning from the extremes demanding the establishment of their Eden regardless of the cost to others. As the threads converge into a great twist, readers will want to join Burton and Swinbourne discovering the truth of Mark Hodder’s Victorian England.
Harriet Klausner

Scars
Patience Prence
Spring Harvest, Mar 2010, $14.99
www.springharvest.com
ISBN: 9780982633601

In a concentration camp in what was once the free United States of America, but now is the tyrannical Northern American Union, sixteen years old Rebekah Silver sits in a cell, contemplating how she came to bee here. She was a Southern California high school cheerleader until the earthquake destroyed her home. Becky has seen the tsunamis cause massive devastation eradicating metropolitan New York City and Florida while leaving much of the rest East Coast in ruins.

In a world shattered by natural and man-made catastrophes comes Maitreyes the Prophet whose predictions always come true. He rises in power until he becomes the world’s leader. When he dies, he is resurrected so that most people including Becky’s mom believe he is the Christ. Anyone who fails to believe Maitreyes is God or keeps a bible with them is considered a heretic enemy of the state and sentenced to death. That is how Becky has ended up in a cage as she ponders how strong her faith really is.

Patience Prence’s End of Times saga targets the teen crowd with this fascinating one sitting thriller. Becky was a normal teen worried about passing tests and meeting boys until extraordinary circumstances changed her life. Now she must decide between her faith in the one God, which most likely will make her a martyr no one heard of, or bow to Maitreyes. Her tribulations make for an exciting saga.
Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You

NEWS RELEASE

UNIVERSAL PICTURES AND NBC UNIVERSAL TELEVISION ENTERTAINMENT TO MAKE FILM TRILOGY AND TELEVISION SERIES BASED ON STEPHEN KING'S EPIC SERIES OF NOVELS THE DARK TOWER!


Academy Award® Winners Akiva Goldsman, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer Will Produce the Three Films and the TV Series Based on The Dark Tower

UNIVERSAL CITY, CA, September 8, 2010 – Universal Pictures Chairman Adam
Fogelson and Co-Chairman Donna Langley—along with Jeff Gaspin, Chairman, NBC
Universal Television Entertainment and Angela Bromstad, President, Primetime
Entertainment, NBC & Universal Media Studios—today announced that Universal
Pictures and NBC Universal Television Entertainment have acquired the rights to produce three films and a television series based on the seven epic novels, short stories and comic books from Stephen King’s The Dark Tower.

Ron Howard will direct the first film and the first season of television, which will be written by Goldsman. Goldsman will produce the film through his Weed Road Pictures with Howard and Grazer for Imagine Entertainment. Howard, Grazer and Goldsman will executive produce the television series for Universal Media Studios. Kerry Foster will executive produce the first film for Weed Road Pictures along with Todd Hallowell and Erica Huggins for Imagine Entertainment.

“I’ve been waiting for the right team to bring the characters and stories in these books to film and TV viewers around the world,” said King. “Ron, Akiva, Brian along with Universal and NBC have a deep interest and passion for the The Dark Tower series and I know that will translate into an intriguing series of films and TV shows that respect the origins and the characters in The Dark Tower that fans have come to love.”

The Dark Tower is Stephen King’s opus of seven bestselling novels with, to date, more than 30 million copies sold in 40 countries. The novels incorporate themes from multiple genres including fantasy, science fiction, horror and adventure. After the series was completed, a prequel of comic books based on one of the characters was also published.

“Building a franchise home for The Dark Tower is an exciting opportunity for this studio, and we’re thrilled that Stephen has entrusted us to bring his beloved novels to the big screen,” said Fogelson.

“Stephen King is a brilliant storyteller who creates imaginary worlds that resonate with the broadest audiences across ages and demographics,” said Gaspin. “We are thrilled to partner with our colleagues in the film division and Brian, Ron and Akiva to bring Stephen’s vision to the largest audience possible through this innovative multi-platform collaboration.”

Howard, Grazer and Goldsman are planning for the first film in the trilogy to be
immediately followed by a television series that will bridge the second film. After the second film, the television series will pick up allowing viewers to explore the adventures of the protagonist as a young man as a bridge to the third film and beyond.

“We are excited to have found partners at Universal who understand and embrace our
approach to King’s remarkable epic,” said Howard. “By using both the scope and scale of theatrical filmmaking and the intimacy of television we hope to more comprehensively do justice to the characters, themes and amazing sequences King has given us in The Dark Tower novels. It might be the challenge of a lifetime but clearly a thrilling one to take on and explore.”

“The worlds of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series are richly detailed, inter-locking and deeply connected,” said Goldsman. “By telling this story across media platforms and over multiple hours—and with a view to telling it completely—we have our best chance of translating Roland’s quest to reach The Dark Tower onto screen. We are proceeding with tremendous excitement, fidelity to the source material and, quite frankly, no small amount of awe at this opportunity.”

“King has created the most visually enthralling places and characters in The Dark Tower,” said Grazer. “The synergy created across all the media divisions of our partners at NBC Universal to tell this remarkable story is ground-breaking and invigorating. This project will be one of the most exciting and challenging that I will have ever worked on and I am thrilled to be a part of it.”

Just How Bad is the Economy Where I Live

Here is the lead story on my Local Daily News Update Site, www.hometownheadlines.com.

Your wait for those shakes and steakburgers has been extended one week because of some equipment issues. But the good news is the opening day will be a famous first. -The store on Turner McCall will be the first in the nation to open with the new design. Several restaurants under construction will be completed after the Rome store opens with a ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. Sept. 22. Also:

-Corporate Steak N Shake executives will be on hand as will other franchisees.

-All 125 employees have been hired, says partner Wayne Robinson, and training continues. More than 4,000 people applied.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Ocean Dark and Wicked Appetite Reviews

The Ocean Dark
Jack Rogan
Ballantine, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780553385182


In a rarely noticed remote island in the Caribbean, the Mariposa cargo ship heads to its meeting with the Antoinette to pick up an illegal shipment of guns. However, the criminal crew mostly from Costa Rica is attacked by deadly apparently amphibious creatures.

When the Antoinette finally reaches the rendezvous point, they find an island littered with broken ships. The crew of almost entirely felons with one undercover FBI agent on board is under siege. A nearby FBI vessel serendipitously follows the Antoinette, but hesitates whether to intervene. While in the States DOD scientists have an idea what is terrorizing the Antoinette, but protocol slows down their assistance. All hell has broken loose in a tiny dot in the Caribbean.

This is an exciting horror thriller as the beasts mount up quite a number of kills even before readers meet the amphibious species up front and in person. The story line is fast-paced with mostly unsympathetic characters like the last survivor on the Mariposa Braulio putting a human face to the terror. Action-packed from the first bloody scream to the last, fans will enjoy this exhilarating sea thriller mindful of the Beast from the Black Lagoon especially over the first third of the novel. Harriet Klausner

Wicked Appetite
Janet Evanovich
St. Martin’s, Sep 14 2010, $27.99
ISBN: 9780312652913

After pastry chef Elizabeth “Lizzie” Tucker inherited her eccentric Great Aunt Ophelia’s home in Marblehead, she quit her job and moved from New York City to Massachusetts. She became a pastry chef at Dazzle’s Bakery in Salem. Everything is going right for her until a handsome man entered the store and touched her hand; leaving a burn mark on her. Her life turns further complicated when Diesel shows up at the store and her home.

He informs Lizzie that they are both “Unmentionables” humans with special abilities; his is to find people whiles hers is to locate objects. He needs her to find the SALIGIA Stones; each one possesses a power of the Seven Deadly Sins. His cousin Wulf wants the stones to create hell on earth while Diesel wants them hidden in a safe place. Lizzie and Diesel go after Gluttony, which has been fractured into pieces with each segment given to a member of the Hope family by their Uncle Phil. However, no matter how diligent the pair is, Wulf is always a step or two ahead of them until he obtains his first piece while the two unmentionables feel increasingly hopeless.

Janet Evanovich’s new series opens with a great first entry filled with her trademark humor especially as Lizzie takes on the characteristics of an Unmentionable and the storyline contains plenty of action and romance. The heat generated by Lizzie and Diesel will burn reader fingers while the villain is the more fascinating player as he is an enigmatic wicked yet charismatic person. Readers will look forward to the next adventures of this interesting cast.
Harriet Klausner

The Evolutionary Void, Married with Zombies, and The Dervish House Reviews

The Dervish House
Ian McDonald
PYR, Jul 27 2010, $26.00
ISBN: 9781616142049

In 2027 in Istanbul, Turkey Necdet rides the jammed tram to work, but though he is not a creep he cannot stop staring at the young woman with the red highlights and silver curls. Thus he sees first hand when she touches a jewel at her throat and detonates her head. The exploding skull panics everybody.

The nanotechnological Swarmbots gizmos investigate what seems like a loner suicide bomber. Necdet knows he must elude the Swarmbots because they have ways of knowing everything; he must not reveal that he is moving into the Dervish House for fear he will destroy his brother’s plan to use the home as a sanctuary for an underground Islamic group. The timing for the move is bad especially as the country celebrates its fifth decade as a member of the EU, which means terrorists will blow themselves and others up for some obscure inane cause in God’s name and law enforcement will sweep anyone regardless of criminality.

This is a complicated gloomy science fiction novel that extrapolates current trends in politics, economics, religion, science, technology and social terrorism into a strong enthralling thriller. The cast is solid starting with Necdet and the Swarmbots while the story line is fast-paced and extremely dark. Readers will appreciate Ian McDonald’s ominous near future as 1984 comes to full throttle in his vision of 2027. Harriet Klausner

Married with Zombies
Jesse Petersen
Orbit, Sep 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316102865


Seattle based David and Sarah hope to salvage their faltering marriage as they love one another. When they go to their appointment with their marriage counselor, they find Dr. Erica Kelly dining on another couple. Shocked, they flee in spite of charges for a missed visit.

They manage to reach their home safely, but remain stunned with what they witnessed. After discussing what next, David and Sarah decide to visit his sister in nearby Longview to insure she is okay. Everywhere they go they are chased by a zombie horde. Having seen the Romero and Ron Zombie films and other sub-genre movies of the walking dead, they know how to fight the enemy. As they remain struggling first with seemingly irreconcilable differences, they team up as married slayers battling the dead while having each other’s back but also thinking of placing the knife elsewhere.

Based on the principle the “couple who slays together stays together”; Married with Zombies is a fun lighthearted horror thriller that never takes itself even remotely seriously. Fast-paced, but eventually repetitive with a ton of zombie tangos and dysfunctional marital discord, this remains an amusing lampooning of zombie fever.

Harriet Klausner

The Evolutionary Void
Peter F. Hamilton
Del Rey, Aug 24 2010, $28.00
ISBN: 9780345496577


Having become known as the Second Dreamer, Araminta fears everyone hunts her for their own purpose. She believes some want her dead and others want to use her; both for the same reason; her ability to provide a path into the timeless Void where many believe Eden exists while other think pandemic destruction will occur.

Ilanthe of the Accelerator Faction and the Living Dream cult want to control the gateway, which is Araminta so they can enter the Void. Others like Government Agent Myo search for Araminta fearing what she might unleash as the Void demands incredible energy from outside to feed it. Meanwhile Edeard the Waterwalker has fooled with time judiciously (in his mind that is) for his people, but his dreams that connect to the First Dreamer Inigo turn darker as he grieves loss caused by his maneuvers. Inigo via Edeard and Araminta via herself must make choices that will determine much of what is to come inside and outside the Void.

This is an extremely complex and somewhat convoluted science fiction thriller as the intensity and tautness mount towards a showdown that could alter the universe. With an underlying concept that even when the monumental universe is at stake, the fully developed key cast members bring personal agendas and plenty of baggage whether they are heroic or malevolent. Although, one must read the previous two books in the Void trilogy (see The Dreaming Void and The Temporal Void) to dive into the Void finale entry, fans of the saga will relish the entertaining ending.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Hounds of Avalon, Siren, and Shadow Fall Reviews

The Hounds of Avalon
Mark Chadbourne
PYR, Jul 27 2010, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142032


Since the Fall devastated earth with the return to magic as the prime power source, governments are collapsing around the world and with their breakdowns civilization as we know it no longer exists. Optimistically the future is bleak; realistically there is no future. That assessment was even before the pandemic plague struck.

As mankind is on the precipice of extinction, the potential for survival has diminished much further for the Void has emerged. The Void lives for all other essences even its armies to die. Desperately trying to regroup and find a resolution to prevent the Void from nullifying all life, the British government leaders try a Hail Mary ploy by going after one of the Brothers and Sisters of the Dragons. They abduct Mallory to use as their counter weapon against the forces of the Void. However, in their naivety they leave behind a critically wounded and perhaps dying Sophie; weakening the already waning strength of the Brothers and Sisters of Dragons. With insider help, Mallory escapes and joins his brethren in a last stand against first the Void’s invincible armies and if miraculously successful and still somehow alive then they will battle against the Void; human existence is at stake.

The final The Dark Age fantasy is a great ending to a complicated mythos as the world appears to be blinking out. The story line is fast-paced from the onset while the focus is somewhat different from that of its predecessors (see Devil in Green and Queen of Sinister) as the reader obtains a deeper look at pillars of civilization like government imploding. The Void is a terrific unique end of life essence as it devours the world with only the Dragon siblings sort of like a team of David (or the fantastic Four against Galactus) the only slim prayer. To appreciate fully the Chadbourne Dark Age, readers need to start at the beginning; it is worth the journey. Harriet Klausner

Siren
John Everson
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780843963540


When Josh drowned, his death also figuratively killed his parents Evan and Sarah. Suffering from aquaphobia, Evan watched in horror as his son drowned. Now he watches in horror as his beloved wife drowns her sorrow with alcohol.

Over a year since the tragedy, Evan meets naked Ligeia on the beach he tramps every night before bringing his intoxicated wife home from the bar. She provides Evan with an escape from his nightmarish failure as a father and now a husband. She sexually entices him with her perfect body and her silky voice drowns out Josh’s plea to him for help. Mostly she makes him forget, but not entirely as he tries to ignore her siren’s call by returning to his wife.

Siren plays out on two levels; as a horror thriller and as a psychological family drama. There is also a second subplot that provides the audience with a late nineteenth century look at Ligeia’s past, which is a two edged sword depending on the reader’s taste; on the one hand it anchors the siren story line, but also detracts from the reader’s imagination of whether she is true or a desperate figment of grieving Evan’s psyche. Still this is a powerful thriller as John Everson uses the loss of an offspring as the springboard to the gripping Siren.
Harriet Klausner

Shadow Fall
Erin Kellison
Leisure, Aug 1 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780505528308


While trying to save the life of his best friend, Custo Santovari was murdered by traitorous Spencer, an apparent wraith supporter. The Shadowman brings Custo to heaven where his courage and willingness to die for his buddy makes him an angel. However, Custo’s goal is to get back to America to warn his BFF Adam Thorne; besides he rationalizes he is too much a sinner to be an angel.

In Manhattan Annabella the ballerina magically dances causing a rift between realms. Custo returns to earth, but also making it through is Wolf the shadow hunter. Custo knows his mission is to go to the New York Segue Institute safe house to warn Adam and to keep safe Annabella from a nightmare; but nothing goes right as Adam thinks he must be a wraith and he falls in forbidden love with the "angel" he protects.

This is a fascinating urban romantic fantasy starring an obsessed lead male fleeing heaven on a quest and the woman who enables him to escape from the angels. The story line is fast-paced, as the city comes across grim and foreboding. Readers learn a little more about the wraiths since the events of Shadows Bound (Adam’s romance), but Shadowman remains enigmatic. Sub-genre fans will relish the second wraith war thriller as the shadows continue to darken the earth. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Black Magic, Midnight Crystal, and The Red Queen Reviews

Black Magic, Cherry Adair, Pocket, $7.99, ISBN: 9781439153819

In Western Australia wizard-geologist Jackson Slater is doing field work. His former fiancĂ©e wizard Sara Temple is in San Cristobel, Venezuela working on a luxurious hotel deal when the illness struck turning good well balanced people into homicidal psychopaths. When her mentor whom she considers her father since her parents died becomes ill, a panicked Sara instinctively shouts telepathically to the only man she ever loved for help. Jack still loves Sara and hears her cry and teleports to her side instantly as if he is one of Pavlov’s dogs.

Based on the mounting evidence, the Wizard Council fears the serpentine Omnivatics are siphoning off the life-force and power of wizards. They also believe the pairing of Jack and Sara is the only hope to prevent the malevolence from returning to take over the world in their evil way. The chosen duo believes they are a poor matching, but agree to work together to save the world; perhaps as a by-product they can save their relationship too.

This is an exhilarating second chance romantic urban fantasy in which the paranormal elements of wizardry and the Omnivatics seem genuine. The lead couple is a wonderful pairing of two people in love, but with polar opposite beliefs when it comes to magic as she never moved pass the death of her parents so she stopped being a practitioner; they are not a yin and yang fit, but together in unity prove that in their case their love makes for an inequality as 1 + 1 > 2. Like she did with her Night T-FLAC trilogy, Cherry Adair provides an engaging thriller starring two wizards in love; this time trying to save the world. Harriet Klausner

Midnight Crystal, Jayne Castle, Jove, $7.99, ISBN: 9780515148367

The new head of the Frequency Guild is Adam Winters appointed to clean up the corrupt organization. He is also the direct descendent of Nicholas Winters who found a way to enhance psychic skills. However, his concept was flawed with a curse to those who have the genetic marker. That person becomes a Cerberus, a person with three diverse psychic talents who will eventually go insane and must be killed; unless he can find the Burning Lamp and the female guide who can use dreamlight.

Adam believes he is cursed but when he meets the head of a private investigation agency Marlowe Jones who can manipulate dreamlight she fixes his brain section that was damaged. They team up to go into the underground because fractures in the walls in a certain part of the maze means the whole place blows up killing many unless Marlowe and Adam can fix it.. Before they have a chance to catch their breath, they meet the traitor in the Guild who wants to kill both of them, and probably will succeed.

Connecting the Krentz universe with the clever Dreamlight trilogy (see Fired Up by Jayne Anne Krentz and The Burning Lamp by Amanda Quick), Midnight Crystal is a terrific entry that fans of the author will relish. The story line is fast-paced and action-packed. In some ways similar in tone to the previous entries in this arc yet different as time and place widely varies (hence the three names the author uses to delineate historical, present and future). This is a winning stand alone, but the brilliance of author comes across by reading and comparing the trilogy.
Harriet Klausner

The Red Queen, Philippa Gregory, Touchstone, $25.99, ISBN: 9781416563723

As a child, Margaret Beaufort felt she was destiny’s darling and planed to remain pious while pushing the cause of the red Rose of Lancaster. However, her mother rudely awakens her by informing her she is a worthless chip off the old block of England’s military commander in France; and therefore will be sent to Wales to marry some lord older than her parents. She is quickly widowed at thirteen and forced to marry again. This time she has a son, whom she names Henry after the king. To keep him safe she sends him away but pledges him to the daughter of the White Rose rival York family. Widowed and married this time to Lord Thomas and knowing her son is ready to take the throne from the usurper, Margaret executes a coup.

This is a terrific historical biographical fiction as queen of the sub-genre Philippa Gregory provides her fans with another strong female royal (see The White Queen and The Other Boleyn Girl). Filled with intrigue, murder and betrayal while occurring for the most part in the second half of the fifteenth century, Ms. Gregory focuses this time on a female dynasty maker as Margaret Beaufort proves to be the matriarch of the Tudor line. Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 3, 2010

News from Harper Collins

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE





HARPERCOLLINS TO CREATE GLOBAL SCIENCE FICTION & FANTASY PROGRAM UNDER VOYAGER IMPRINT

U.S., UK, and Australia Join Together to Form Global Imprint

HarperVoyager.jpgNEW YORK, NY (September 3, 2010) – Announced today at Aussiecon IV (the 68th World Science Fiction Convention), Eos Books, a U.S. imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, will be rebranded as Harper Voyager, joining together with the celebrated Voyager imprints in Australia/New Zealand and the UK. The move is anticipated to create a global genre-fiction powerhouse.

“We are already globally publishing some of the biggest names in science fiction, fantasy, urban fantasy, and horror, including Raymond E. Feist, Robin Hobb, Kim Harrison, and Sara Douglass,” said Brian Murray, President and Chief Executive Officer of HarperCollins Worldwide. “Uniting our sister companies in the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia/New Zealand allows readers globally unparalleled access to books and authors. This move enables us to offer authors a strong global publishing platform when signing with HarperCollins – whether the acquiring editor is in New York, Sydney, or London.”

The Voyager/Harper Voyager editorial leaders are: Executive Editor Diana Gill in the U.S., Editorial Director Emma Coode in the UK (working with Publishing Director Jane Johnson), and Associate Publisher Stephanie Smith in Australia.

Each country has a vibrant, robust list of science fiction and fantasy icons; merging the lists under one imprint will bring readers around the world access to the masters of these fiction genres.

Two authors, Karen Azinger and David Wellington (writing as David Chandler), have recently been signed and are expected to publish with Harper Voyager and Voyager for a worldwide debut.

The Eos imprint will officially change to Harper Voyager starting with the January 2011 hardcover, trade, mass market, e-book, and audio publications.

ABOUT HARPERCOLLINS PUBLISHERS

HarperCollins, one of the largest English-language publishers in the world, is a subsidiary of News Corporation (NYSE: NWS, NWS.A; ASX: NWS, NWSLV). Headquartered in New York, HarperCollins has publishing groups around the world including the HarperCollins General Books Group, HarperCollins Children's Books Group, Zondervan, HarperCollins UK, HarperCollins Canada, HarperCollins Australia/New Zealand and HarperCollins India.

HarperCollins is a broad-based publisher with strengths in literary and commercial fiction, business books, children's books, cookbooks, mystery, romance, reference, religious and spiritual books. With nearly 200 years of history HarperCollins has published some of the world's foremost authors and has won numerous awards including the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award, the Newbery Medal and the Caldecott.

Consistently at the forefront of innovation and technological advancement, HarperCollins is the first publisher to digitize its content and create a global digital warehouse to protect the rights of its authors, meet consumer demand and generate additional business opportunities. You can visit HarperCollins Publishers on the Internet at www.harpercollins.com.




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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Angel Interrupted, Captured by Moonlight and Dark Warrior Untamed Reviews

Angel Interrupted, Chaz McGee, Berkley, $7.99, ISBN: 9780425233146

In life, Kevin Fahey was a lousy father, a miserable husband, and a bottom feeder detective; who was drunk more often than he was sober. In death, he remains stuck on the mortal plane seeking redemption. He believes he needs to make reparations because of all those he harmed when he was alive. He follows the activities of his replacement highly regarded Detective Maggie Gunn.

Currently Maggie is bogged down with two complicated cases that each needs her full attention. A female corpse is found in her home; dead by a gunshot made to look like a suicide, but Maggie realizes a murder occurred. Across the street is a park and while all attention is inside the victim’s home, someone abducts a child there. Fahey knows where the kidnapped child is being held and that the lad is safe for the moment. He needs to find a way to inform Maggie, but has limited ability to communicate with her. If he succeeds he knows that she will conclude that the homicide and the kidnapping are linked.

This is a great paranormal police procedural that focuses on two violent crimes, a dedicated but lonely cop working both and a ghost who fights evil anyway he can as he has a personal objective. Heart wrenching yet also heartwarming, Angel Interrupted is fast-paced with terrific twists the reader never expects yet afterward will feel Chaz McGee is on target as the paranormal adds the nice extra touch to an entertaining whodunit. Harriet Klausner

Captured by Moonlight, Nancy Gideon, Pocket, $7.99, ISBN: 9781439149652

New Orleans Police Detective Charlotte "Cee Cee" Cassie has been seeing unsavory Max Savoie, but she has concealed the identity of the person she is dating from everyone even her partner Alain Babineau. Max’s criminal connections make him a questionable lover for a cop. Still she hates the secrets and decides to reveal who she is seeing to her partner and the other detective at the precinct.

None of her work associates are pleased with her. When an associate of Max is murdered, he and Cee Cee argue as he knows that murderous shapeshifting trackers wants him dead, but refuses to tell her because she will dive in head first if he does. To keep his beloved safe he hides what he knows from her, but he obviously has not learned his lesson when it comes to Cee Cee (see Chased by Moonlight); nothing will keep her out of the line of fire when her loved ones are imperiled.

From the beginning, readers are captured as Max knows his Cee Cee is near from the smell of her Voodoo Love perfume. Fast-paced, fans will relish the third Moonlight romantic police procedural fantasy though similar in tone to Chased by Moonlight except that this time Max expects his beloved to nuke his attempts to keep her safe. Fans will enjoy this exhilarating romantic urban fantasy (see Masked by Moonlight) while rooting for Max and Cee Cee to find a way to be together; that is if they survive. Harriet Klausner

Dark Warrior Untamed, Alexis Morgan, Pocket, ISBN: 9781439175927

Talion Greyhill Danby leaves London for Puget Sound to begin his new position to protect the Kyth’s Grand Dame Kery Thorsen. When he arrives at his new office he is a bit surprised and unwelcoming to find a beautiful woman sitting inside. Assistant to the Grand Dame Piper Ryan is not shocked by his reaction to her though they share the office albeit his is on a temporary basis.

However, the ancient warrior and the administrator are at war with one another. That is until the emails begin to appear on Piper’s computer which concerns both of them. When the bombing terrorist acts occur, Greyhill goes into full protective mode from an unknown adversary. Though attracted to his temporary office roommate, Greyhill adheres to his vow of protecting the Grand Dame.

The third Dark Warrior Talion political urban fantasy (see Dark Warrior Unleashed and Dark Warrior Unbroken) is a terrific tale of two distrusting individuals desiring one another with out of control hormones yet neither seems willing to take the first step. That distrust is a prime key to this strong entry as danger mounts so does their suspicion of one another as neither grasps the diabolical brilliant revenge ruse of an unknown adversary. The world Morgan continues to create feels genuine especially because of the dirty politics at play. Although the romantic subplot takes a necessary support role to the suspenseful mystery, readers will enjoy this taut Talion thriller. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Mob Rules, Jump Gate Twist, and Wait for Dusk Reviewed

Mob Rules
Cameron Haley
Luna, Sep 1 2010, $14.95 paper
ISBN: 9780373803200

Street smart and kick butt tough Domino Riley serves as the lieutenant to six millennia old Sumerian gang boss Shanar Rashan. When a low bottom rung mage Jamal is gruesomely murdered with his magic siphoned away, LAPD and the mobs assume a rival gang took the victim out with a strong-arm declaration of war.

Domino investigates starting with talking to Jamal’s ghost. The dead graffiti artist mage informs the mob lieutenant that his homicide has roots with a magical practitioner outside of their gang and not with the usual mundane competitors. Evidence mounts towards Rashan’s son Adan doing the hit, but Domino knows he lacks the ability to steal the magic. She tries to keep him safe as she is seeing him, but to do so Domino breaks the rules between the mobs. Her actions place her in danger from mortal gangsters and sorcerer killers.

Although the story line is obviously a first book in a series as establishing magical Los Angeles is the prime plot, Cameron Haley provides an enjoyable opening urban fantasy noir. The cast is strong as the support players make magical L.A. seem genuine. However besides the city, this is Domino’s tale as she investigates and keeps her boss’ son her lover safe. Sub-genre fans will be looking forward to sequels hopefully with a more robust plot. Harriet Klausner

Jump Gate Twist
Mark L. Van Name
Baen, Jul 6 2010, $12.00
ISBN: 9781439133705

This omnibus focuses on the distant future outer space adventures of Jon Moore nanotech warrior and his partner Lobo the artificially intelligent Predator-Class Assault Vehicle. The tale contains two novels, two short stories and several articles.

"My Sister, My Self". On Pinkelponker, Jenny heals an injured Jon.

“One Jump Ahead”. Pinkelponker has been shut off from the rest of civilization, but Jon got off planet before the blockade could be enforced. He travels to Macken for R&R hoping to forget his warrior past although his nanotech enhanced body serves as a constant reminder. Jon is informed of the kidnapping of a girl Jasmine. Her father affluent Ron Slake of Kelco hires Jon to rescue his daughter from the Gardeners who demand Kelco leave. Jon finds a broken Predator-class assault vehicle Lobo that he borrows to challenge the Gardeners.

“Slanted Jack”. Jon and Lobo become couriers, but Moore discovers his partner is incredibly intelligent with emotional issues that make the killing machine confrontational. At a restaurant in the Falls, con artist Slanted Jack arrives needing his aid. He ignores Jack but not the shyster's client Manu who needs help. Jon checks out the Research Institute and a warehouse owned by Dougat with Lobo’s assistance leading to a secret secure basement. All hell breaks out with Jon rescuing Maggie and Jack before taking them on board Lobo. Agrateful Jack injects a chemical into Jon knocking him out.

"Lobo, Actually". Before Lobo meets Jon, he worked with other humans not as sensitive to his needs.

This is a strong collection in which the two shorts tells the early days of Jon and Lobo respectively; while the novels are exciting action-packed though similar with the pair going from one firefight to another. The real fun is the bickering relationship between two hard-butt warriors. Harriet Klausner

Wait for Dusk
Jocelyn Drake
Eos, Jul 27 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061851810

He hammered her in the jaw cursing Mira for being a nightwalker as if that is the most sinful abomination in creation. Still recovering from her successful but harrowing triumph that has kept the perilous Bori from conquering humanity (see Pray for Dawn; better yet the entire Dark Days saga), Mira is further stunned when the man battering her claims to be her father. In between the vicious beating, she insists her dad is dead, but he proclaims otherwise and demands she use her paranormal power of being the only nightwalker who brings the fire for his profit or she and her loved ones and allies will suffer the consequences.

The coven makes her an Elder and sends her to Budapest to repel the deadly onslaught of the Naturi incursion. Mira fears a set-up as she knows few if any trust her because her skills make her unique by placing her with a foot in each camp. She turns to Danaus the vampire slayer for back-up. However, in Hungary, as she learns who her dearest so called dad is, Mira is right about treachery, but wrong as to the source.

As dark and bloody as its four predecessors, Wait for Dusk is a terrific entry in which this round Mira tells the tale. The story line continues the overarching theme of back stabling treachery with the mantra trust no one especially family and loved ones. Readers will appreciate this urban fantasy as the European vampire and human communities are being overrun by the insidious bellicose Naturi. Harriet Klausner