Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Couple of Interesting Titles

Devoured by Darkness
Alexandra Ivy
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420111354

For two days inside Missouri tunnels, half breed Jinn Laylah flees from vampire Tane the Charon executioner who knows she leads him away from the Caine estate where he first saw her. He assumes she protects a child. However as a half Jinn she must appear before the Commission as her species is outlawed. Tane lusts for the tired Laylah who stops running when vampires arrive. Tane fights the vampires as Levet the gargoyle arrives. Laylah races back to Caine’s lair to grab the baby concealed in a stasis spell she found in the mists fifty years ago. Tane and Levet follow her. The gargoyle mentions a jinn broke his wing two centuries ago in London. Laylah goes to London using her Jinn skill to vanish in the shadows, but Tane and Levet grab her and end up with her in the mist.

In London, Marika the vampire complains to her mage Sergei she hears her twin Kata whisper Laylah although Kata is in a deep magical sleep but made sure her half-breed daughter was safe from her aunt. Laylah informs Tane she is going to leave him behind in the mists unless he gives a wish debt that spell binds him to the half-Jinn. He agrees and in London she orders him to take her to a safe place. He takes her to the lair of Victor the vampire while Marika knows her quest to use her niece and the baby has finally accelerated.

The lead couple is a fascinating pairing of two seemingly opposites while the fast-paced story line makes vampires, gargoyles, jinns, and mages seem real. A nice late twist adds depth. Although the villainous is considered extremely dangerous and nasty by others, she seems somewhat feeble in person. Still this is a strong Gardens of Eternity romantic urban fantasy that cleverly sets up a future “Darkness” sequel. Harriet Klausner

The Wolf Age
James Enge
PYR, $17.00
ISBN: 9781616142438

By nature an extreme pessimist who in spite of his adept skills knows he cannot live up to the legend of his father except when he is intoxicated. Enchanter Morlock Ambrosius wonders what else could go wrong as nothing seems to be going his way. In the werewolf city-state of Wuruyaaria, he figures he hit rock bottom when he is confined in a prison inside Vargulleion, a werewolf fortress. Morlock soon learns he has not bottomed out when he is forced to kill another inmate who attacked him.

His new cell mate is Rokhlenu the werewolf, whose life he once saved. They become friends watching each other’s back in the dangerous dungeons. However, Morlock also struggles with his sanity as the glass spike pounded into his head blocks his Sight leading to out of control paranoid rages. Working together, the pair escapes, but being on the outside in a city boiling over with angry werewolves divided in strife during an election year proves more dangerous than lock up.

Making last summer’s Tea Party look like tea partiers, The Wolf Age is an excellent political fantasy as James Enge paints balloting skewered by the sword and claw; making Wuruyaaria seem worse than 1850s Bleeding Kansas and that of 2008 violent Kenya. The taut story line is character driven by the honor of blood werewolf voters as democracy proves deadly. With morose Morlock as the guide (see Blood of Ambrose and This Crooked Way), readers will appreciate the dark, grim and gloomy portrayal of democracy. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 29, 2011

The latest from Sevenwaters, Star Wars, and Nancy Collins.

Seer of Sevenwaters
Juliet Marillier
Roc, Dec 7 2010, $24.95
ISBN 9780451463555

The fifth daughter of the Lord of Sevenwaters, teenager Sibeal of Sevenwaters has always dreamed of becoming a druid. Thus she is excited when she completes her training as all she has left to do to fulfill her goal is to take the vow. However, Sibeal's Uncle Ciaran directs her to drop her study in order to contemplate if she really wants to become a druid; as there is no change of mind once you commit. He sends her to the island of Inis Eala where her married sisters live for a summer of reflection in isolation.

Sibeal is angry with her mentor who she believes is punishing her although she cannot fathom why. A storm causes a shipwreck leaving several stranded voyagers. Sibeal is confused by the behavior of Knut the Norseman and his wife Svala who seems deathly afraid of her husband. The other survivor pulled safely from the water suffers from amnesia. To her shock Sibeal is attracted to this stranger with the memory loss, but also wonders what secrets have the married couple and perhaps the other survivor conceal from her and her family.

The latest Sevenwaters’ family fantasy (see Daughter of the Forest and Heir of Sevenwaters) is an engaging entry starring a delightful intelligent daughter who must make choices not easy to select from as her life passion has a new passion. The story line starts off slow with much of what has gone on before overly rehashed to the chagrin of fans and glee of newcomers, but once Sibeal steps to the plate, the game accelerates. This is an entertaining romantic fantasy as the audience will wonder whether the heroine will select Druidism or love while also pondering who the amnesiac is. Harriet Klausner

Star Wars Fate of the Jedi: Vortex
Troy Denning
Del Rey, Dec 7 2010, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345509208

In a remote planet in the Maw Cluster, the Sith believe they have trapped the father and son Jedi Knights Luke and Ben Skywalker. However, before the final confrontation, both sides find a greater threat from a third party. The Abeloth forces the enemies into an unholy alliance between the Skywalker pair and the Sith to survive the menace; not knowing if they survive something even more beastly awaits them on the moon of Pydyr, home to the brutal Fallamassi.

Meanwhile on Coruscant, Han and Leia Solo are in the middle of the growing divisiveness between the Jedi Order and the brutal leader of the Galactic Alliance. Civil war seems increasingly inevitable as the Solo couple tries to negotiate a more peaceful solution.

The newest entry in the nine-book saga "Fate of the Jedi" is a pivotal tale as the overarching story line takes a fresh, exciting and unexpected twist as new developments lead to strange surviving bedfellows and convoluted complications. Fast-paced, both enjoyable subplots continue the woes of the Skywalker duo and the Solo clan with terrific revolutionary spins that will delight Star War fans.
Harriet Klausner

Right Hand Magic
Nancy A. Collins
Roc, Dec 7 2010, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451463661

Her affluent parents are disappointed in Tate as they expect her to marry someone of their social group. Instead, Tate is a Manhattan based metallurgist, sculpting life-sized human figures. Tate feels she is on the way to making it as a metal sculptor when the Templeton Gallery in Chelsea plans a showing of her work.

Tate finds a place to rent in the Golgotham, the oddest area in the city; some would say the world. Here is the true melting pot where Werewolves, Valkyries, Amazons, centaurs, and their ilk live above ground and Dwarves below the pavement. Also residing here is Kymeran witches who sell charms, spells, and curses to customers, mostly dumb humans. Tate's landlord is Hexe the Kymeran sorcerer who’s a practitioner of the Right Hand magic. He shares in common with his new tenant the fact he has disappointed his mother the Golgotham Witch-Queen, Lady Syra by not following in her footsteps with using Left Hand curse magic. As Tate adjusts to Hexe’s strange feline Scratch, a were-cougar stalks her. Hexe catches teenager Lukas, who is cold turkey detoxed from the drugs that had him out of control. He explains he fled from mob Boss Marz's pit fighting ring; the trio knows the gangster and his minion will be coming for their guest.

Right Hand Magic
is a fascinating opening act of a new urban fantasy that focuses in the New York neighborhood Golgotham which is filled with an assortment of non-humans. The story line introduces the audience to the neighborhood through the eyes of the newest resident. The action is somewhat limited as Nancy A. Collins establishes the lifestyle of an assortment of paranormal species and a horde of players. This first entry looks like the beginning of an engaging series as fans will want to walk the streets of Golgotham; albeit with some magic at their right and left hands. Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 28, 2011

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Song Lyrics

I've been hearing this song a lot lately and I like the dragons line. Hope you like it as well.

Long Live lyrics
Songwriters: Swift, Taylor

I still remember this moment
In the back of my mind
The time we stood with our shaking hands
The crowds in stands went wild

We were the kings and the queens
And they read off our names
The night you danced like you knew our lives
Would never be the same

You held your head like a hero
On a history book page
It was the end of a decade
But the start of an age

Long live the walls we crashed through
While the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
I was screaming, long live all the magic we made
And bring on all the pretenders, one day we will be remembered

I said, remember this feeling
I passed the pictures around
Of all the years that we stood there on the sidelines
Wishing for right now

We are the kings and the queens
You traded your baseball cap for a crown
When they gave us our trophies
And we held them up for our town

And the cynics were outraged
Screaming, this is absurd
'Cause for a moment a band of thieves
In ripped-up jeans got to rule the world

Long live the walls we crashed through
While the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
I was screaming, long live all the magic we made
And bring on all the pretenders, I'm not afraid

Long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
I was screaming, long live the look on your face
And bring on all the pretenders, one day we will be remembered

Hold on to spinning around
Confetti falls to the ground
May these memories break or fall

And you take a moment
Promise me this
That you'll stand by me forever
But if God forbid fate should step in

And force us into a goodbye
If you have children someday
When they point to the pictures
Please tell them my name

Tell them how the crowds went wild
Tell them how I hope they shine
Long live the walls we crashed through
I had the time of my life with you

Long, long live the walls we crashed through
All the kingdom lights shined just for me and you
And I was screaming, long live all the magic we made
And bring on all the pretenders, I'm not afraid

Singing, long live all the mountains we moved
I had the time of my life fighting dragons with you
And long, long live the look on your face
And bring on all the pretenders, one day we will be remembered

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Solaris Press Release


The Age of Odin makes the NYT Best Sellers List
ISBN 978-1-907519-40-6 • £7.99 (UK)
ISBN 978-1-907519-41-3 • $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN)

It’s probably the most important sales-figures listing in the world: profoundly exclusive, scrupulous in its construction, and peerless in its influence. Since its first appearance in April 1942, the New York Times Best Sellers List has been a badge of success and a distinction that both book and author carry forever.

Solaris Books are very proud to announce that James Lovegrove’s The Age of Odin, the third stand-alone book in the Pantheon series, has made it onto the prestigious list, coming thirty-third in the list of Mass-Market Paperback Fiction for the week ending 16th January 2011, appearing in this weekend’s New York Times Book Review.

Pitting retired British squaddies against an army of Norse giants, The Age of Odin follows Lovegrove’s previous projects The Age of Ra and The Age of Zeus – described by the Guardian as “The kind of complex, action-oriented science fiction Dan Brown would write if Dan Brown could write” – in delivering a unique take on the stories of the gods and monsters of ancient mythology.

In the same week, BookScan, which compiles sales figures from the publishing industry, ranked Odin second in the science fiction category.
Lovegrove was thrilled. “My flabber is truly gasted by this news. I realise that this might be a career peak for me. Equally, maybe we can shunt the book higher up the chart. Come on, America. Now’s the time. I need you. Get out there and get buying. It’s your patriotic duty.

“Seriously, though, what pleases me most is that The Age Of Odin is a book by a British author, written in a British idiom, full of parochial vernacular and references, and that hasn’t deterred Stateside readers one
bit. In addition, it’s science fiction, and not even a popular form of the genre such as space opera, and has received almost no mainstream press review coverage. When you factor in all those potential minuses, you can't help thinking that it’s the little book that done good.

“I can’t not mention the wonderful folks at Solaris, who are gracious, efficient and entertaining to work with. Their enthusiasm is matched only by their professionalism, and they’ve backed me to the hilt all the way. And if that doesn’t secure me a bigger advance on my next contract, I don't know what will.

“Finally: I’ve caved in to pressure (and popular demand) and agreed to write at least two more Pantheon novels. So, there's more to come, gods willing.”

Jonathan Oliver, Editor-in-Chief of Solaris Books, said, “With so many amazing writers on our list, it’s great to see this kind of much-deserved recognition for one of our most talented authors.”

James Lovegrove can be heard discussing the Pantheon books and future projects on the May 2010 Abaddon & Solaris Books Podcast, available at

About the Series

A thematic series of related, but stand-alone novels, the Pantheon series addresses the theme of “men versus the gods” in (to date) three different worlds, with three different pantheons, offering three different takes. All high-action military SF books, the series has presented an armed uprising against distant but powerful Egyptian divinities, a high-powered slugfest between battle-suited humans and super-heroic Greek gods, and now a gritty, intimate firefight between an infantry company and an army of ancient Norse giants.

About the Author

James Lovegrove published his first novel at the age of twenty-four and has since written more than twenty books. His short fiction has appeared in magazines as diverse as Interzone and Nature and in numerous anthologies.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Press release



David Doub
1023 Porter Place, Sanger TX 76266



"On her way to the convention Saboten-Con, artist Jolene Houser was in
a car accident. She had a fractured skull, 17 stitches in her forehead,
6 staples on her elbow from a large laceration, and a fractured #1
vertebrae. During the show, all the fans and staff were very supportive
and sent their well wishes the best they knew how, but that got some of
us thinking. Why stop there? To show our support for Jolene and her
amazing talent, we've put together this sketchbook. All profits will be
given to Jolene to help with various bills stemming from the accident
and her medical care."
~ David Doub, author and publisher, Dusk Comics

Comic book artists are a special breed, and Arizona native Jolene
Houser, who has been a comic book fan ever since she got her first
taste of Witchblade and Sailor Moon , is no exception. This serious
student was studying all forms of art in order to advance her skills and
further her work in her Arizona studio when she was in a serious car accident
she is still struggling to recover from.

To help with the inevitable medical bills, co-artist and friend David
Doub, author and publisher of Dusk Comics, organized their fellow
artists to put together the Jolene Houser Support Book. The book's
goal is clear. As the title page says, "We can rebuild her. Better.
Faster. Stronger. Starring Jolene Houser as the Bionic Artist."

This outpouring of love and respect contains 32 pages of sketches drawn
by 17 different artists, and all proceeds from net sales go directly to
Jolene. Doub notes that the book, available online through Amazon and
Barnes and Noble, is POD and will not run out of stock.

Also, since Jolene drew one-third of the illustrations for volume 2 of
Doub's vampire comic creation Dusk, Doub is donating these proceeds
(from online sales or orders through Ingrams) to her as well through
May 31, 2011, though he notes that the support book will continue to be
sold, with all proceeds going to Jolene, for as long as needed.
"Artists have to pull together and help each other," he says.

In Dusk (Vol. 2), Doub's protagonist, Eve, is still in a trap of her
own devising, trying to find her place in a horrid supernatural world
that doesn't want her. She thinks she loves a vampire, but maybe she's
just addicted to the power of his blood? Notes Doub, "Eve encounters
everything from zombies to demons, and the morality of her life is
always murky at best."

For more information on the Jolene Houser Support Book or Dusk (Vol.
2), contact

See book cover and download complete information in PDF here:>

link to specific Amazon page:

link to Barnes & Noble page:

link to Jolene's site

Monday, January 24, 2011

Law of the Broken Earth, Black Wings, and Alien Tango reviewed

Law of the Broken Earth
Rachel Neumeier
Orbit, $7.99
ISBN 9780316079938

In Feierabiand, her family ignored Mienthe as a child. In fact the gardener was the adult who served as a surrogate parent raising her. That changes when her older cousin Lord Bartaud (see Land of the Burning Sands) takes her under his wings.

Soon afterward, Bartaud's griffin mage friend Kairaithin arrives to inform him that the Wall that separates the land of the fierce griffin from the human kingdoms is splintering. As Bartaud ponders what to do evil Istierinan captures Tan the spy threatening him with torture. Meanwhile Mienthe struggles with her new lot in life as she finds becoming important within a family has a price. She is uncomfortable with learning her magical prowess at a time when her latent skills are needed.

The third Griffin Mage (see Lord of the Changing Winds) is a strong coming of age fantasy starring a wonderful reluctant heroine who prefers to be ignored as that is her comfort zone, but that is not longer an option. The Neumeier universe is cleverly drawn so that the audience will believe in the physics of magic and the wall coming down. The cast is strong except for somewhat the super villain who is too stereotypical of the genre. Still fans will relish the Law of the Broken Earth as Rachel Neumeier provides a powerful vivid realm anchoring a fabulous story line.
Harriet Klausner

Black Wings
Christina Henry
Ace, Nov 30 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441019632

In Chicago, Madeline Black is an Agent of Death who helps guide souls pass from one existence to the next. She likes her job as the benefits include magical skills and wings, but gets irritated with her know-it-all boss who is more a bureaucrat than chief of the Death Agent units.

Maddy is stunned when her peer and friend Agent Patrick is murdered. Even more shocking is demons are stalking her wanting her dead too. Finally she thinks there is something peculiar about Gabriel Angeloscuro, her new tenant. However, staying alive is her first imperative as she considers who in her family tree inherits the job if she dies, which is very possible as hell has come for her and other Agents of Death, and learning why is second.

This is an entertaining urban fantasy starring an intriguing heroine whose blood line includes some odd creatures. The support cast is strong especially Madeline’s boss J.B., the enigmatic Gabe and Beezle the suspicious gargoyle. Madeline keeps the tale focused whether she is arguing with the death bureaucracy or new clients, or just trying to get demons off her lawn. The soul-eater serial killer mystery adds to an engaging Chicago joyride as courageous Madeline fears this unknown adversary but goes after the lethal beast. Harriet Klausner

Alien Tango
Gini Koch
DAW, Dec 7 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756406325

Kitty Katt muses how in a flash one’s perception of the world can radically tilt. Although it was six months ago, it seems just yesterday she learned of the A-C aliens from Alpha Centauri who reside among us purebred earthlings. Now the former marketing manager is undergoing rapid training as part of the Human/A-C Airborne Centaurion Division. Kitty also appreciates the side benefit of lovemaking with A-C Commander Jeff Martini.

The Kennedy Space Center brass orders their unit to come immediately. An experimental space ship has returned to Earth when the vessel was not supposed to. On the trek to Florida, a hit squad tries to kill Jeff, Kitty and their team. At the Space center, a stalker frightens Kitty, but her biggest fear is meeting Jeff’s family.

The second kill Kitty Katt science fiction thriller (see Touched by an Alien) is an amusing over the top of Olympus Mons thriller. The story line is faster than the speed of light as the heroine struggles to stay alive while threats from ETs and from earthlings seem to be her constant companion. Readers will enjoy this bizarre totally out of control yet fully entertaining “aliens walk among us” adventures of a novice still trying to comprehend all that is going on. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Zero Gravity, Conundrum and Man's World

ZERO GRAVITY: Adventures in Deep Space, edited by Alva J Roberts, Pill Hill Press, 266 pages, ISBN: 9781617060007, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

There is beginning to be a renewal of stories that I like to call “Space Opera”. Back in the beginning years of my reading Lester Del Rey, Isaac Asimov, Robert Heinlein and Robert Silverberg were filling that niche along with others that filled the pages of the magazines of the 1950s and 1960s. The magazines began to dwindle in size and number and the short stories started becoming novels and trilogies. There was little to fill the small gaps of time after homework and before bedtime. You could always read a chapter or two of a novel, but not a lot to conclude quickly.

In this volume, I was able to remember the joy of instant gratification. Rosemary Jones opens the anthology with “Junkers Fancy” wherein collecting space salvage becomes a rescue mission. “Leech Run” by Scott W Baker tells of those with the ability to drain power being transported to a new life don’t always follow the rules. Paula Freeman takes a computer virus, mixes it with a bit of HAL and turns it into “A Space Romance”. Alethea Kontis has a story about a world of children wondering who will be left to lead them in “The Unicorn Tree”.

This is a pleasing collection with a talented group of writers that share a look at old fashioned space opera in a new way. Kudos go to Alva J Roberts for assembling such a winning group.

CONUNDRUM, Michael LaRocca,, 135 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This too short, highly irreverent work brings back Barry Drake who has appeared in other LaRocca works. This time he has been cryogenically preserved and is a member of the crew of the starship Valkyrie/Pegasus/Reagan, depending on which elsewhere he is in.

This is a funny irreverent, mad satire of the field of science fiction with touches of everything including the kitchen sink thrown in. If LaRocca can use something for a laugh, he does so. From Star Trek to Cheech and Chong and all points in between, there is something there to cause you to pause for a minute.

This is not one of those books to be read once and put away. It is meant to be read several times and each time something new will spring off the page.

Thanks to Michael for a very unusual book. It’s a rare writer that can turn out something like this in a world that is taking itself too seriously. If you can’t laugh at yourself, what is there left to do? CONUNDRUM is the very apt title for this story and hopefully, the reader won’t be left in one.

MAN’S WORLD, Angela Caperton, Circlet Press, $5.99, 157 pages, ISBN: 9781885865---, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Circlet Press is well known for its various and expansive works of erotic fiction. Check out the website,, to see a current listing. They have recently added a selection of erotic science fiction and this volume is a marvelous fit into the space opera slot of the genre.

Stella Blue Darter is a courtesan on the Shangri La, a galaxy hopping vessel. Stella has decided to buy out her contract and go to an out of the way planet and make a new start. It’s a good idea, but you know how things usually turn out.

She goes to the planet Moulton and arrives in the capital city, Scion, but barely gets off the ship before she is drugged, kidnapped and placed in the “Cotillion”. Moulton is ruled by a few families that allow only the first sons to have any power. Second sons either leave; if they can afford it, or live in Second City where women are only available during a “Cotillion”. Daughters either marry or are sent to the Sister City.

There are those in both cities that would like to see the status quo changed and Stella Blue ends up as a sexual pawn in the struggle to change the way Moulton is run.

Angela Caperton has created a wonderful character and a storyline full of adventure, erotic and otherwise. Put a feather in her cap and add another winner for the folks at Circlet Press. It is available at and at the Kindle store on

The Lion of Cairo, The Nostradamus Prophecies and Sundays at Tiffanys reviewed

The Lion of Cairo
Scott Oden
Dunne, Dec 7 2010, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312372934

In the impregnable Afghan mountaintop, Alamut the Hidden Master of the Assassins sends his top assistant Assad on deadly missions. So when Alamut gives Assad his latest task, he assumes he will assassinate an enemy. Instead his job is to keep the young caliph of Cairo safe from insidious enemies so as to arrange an alliance between Cairo and Alamut.

The task seems easy until Assad realizes how much peril Cairo is in. The Christian king of Jerusalem Amalric wants to use the lad to further his plans of tightening his control and Nur-ad-Din, Sultan of Damascus wants to own the Caliph or kill him. Amalric leads his army while Nur-ad-Din's loyal Kurdish general leads another. At the same time while ambition explodes, the grand Vizier plots to kill Assad, the Templars and Cairo. As Assad struggles to keep the Caliph safe, a rogue Assassin necromancer has murdered his allies, but he has himself, his magical sword and three kick-butt females; more than enough to defeat armies and traitors.

With a nod to Robert E Howard, The Lion of Cairo is a super sword and sorcery historical fantasy filled with blood and gore from the fresh perspective of an Arab. Assad is terrific as he uses masquerades, a special sword that loves to kill the Crusaders especially the Templars and is co-mingled with an ancient demonic salawar. He works the shadows so well even the infidel Europeans quietly call him "Emir of the Knife". Scott Oden provides a delightful twist on the Crusades and the Templars due to their enemy assassin. Harriet Klausner

The Nostradamus Prophecies
Mario Reading
Dunne, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312643799

In Paris, a Gypsy Babel Samana insists he possesses the reported for centuries missing fifty-eight predictions that Nostradamus supposedly wrote down but concealed. The other 942 quatrains have been printed and analyzed numerous times, but no one has seen in centuries the complete set of ten verses for ten centuries. Achor Bale believed him and demanded the document, but when Samana fled, he killed the Gypsy.

French Surete suspect American writer Adam Sabir as the killer. He flees France and Spain accompanied by Babel’s witch sister Yola. Adam believes Nostradamus left the Lost Predictions with the Gypsies for safe keeping. Pursuing the pair is the assassin with "freakishly clotted eyes" Achor Bale, whose secret group wants ownership of the cache as they believe that Nostradamus mentioned an Antichrist triad of Napoleon, Hitler, and someone to come. Meanwhile though his peers remain confident that Sabir is a killer, French Police Nationale Captain Joris Calque thinks otherwise, leaning towards Bale as the amoral ruthless murderer.

Although this is another Brownian 101 thriller; fans will appreciate this exciting tale due to the insight into The Nostradamus Prophecies especially why some believe there are fifty-eight unpublished. Calque brings freshness as a diligent intelligent police officer whose professional inquiry is welcome because it is rare in a sect conspiracy tale. Fast-paced from the moment Bale stabs Samana, fans will enjoy the opening act as Nostradamus scholar Mario Reading shines a light on the legendary seer inside of an action-packed thriller. Harriet Klausner

Sundays at Tiffany's
James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonett
Grand Central, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446536318

Born to affluence and fame, Jane Margaux grew up lonely with one exception. While her famous producer mother Broadway creates musicals and her father preferred spending quality time with his second wife in Nantucket, her only friend and companion is Michael, who provided her solace even if he was only imaginary. However, when she turned eight, Michael informs her he will no longer be with her though he will always be her best friend.

Over two decades later, Jane remains lonely even with a boyfriend and neurotic because she works for her mother. No one would believe she is Vivienne’s daughter as she is treated scornfully and horrifically. As Jane produces her first play based on her childhood with Michael, he returns bringing light into Jane’s dark life. They fall in love as each find their groove with one another; but Michael fears he will not be allowed to stay with his beloved as adults are not supposed to remember imaginary friends while she has never forgotten him especially since he left her once before.

This contemporary romantic fantasy is an enchanting tale in which Jane breaks the rules of imaginary friends by somehow always remembering her Michael. The story line effortlessly switches from preadolescence in which he is a sort of guardian big brother to her to and an adult love story. Although the standard operating procedures of what an imaginary friend does and does not do and the laws of physics that govern the relationship between a child and their buddy are lacking so that the audience cannot fully appreciate the heroine’s breaking the barrier, fans will enjoy it happened to Jane. Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 21, 2011

Bone Gods, The Flock and The Redemption of Holly Dobson reviewed

The Redemption of Holly Dobson
C. Lynn Barton
Dark Willow Books, $16.95
ISBN: 9780615349411

Holly Dobson understands her name quite well. Her simple first name denotes sweet and stable, which she is not and her surname comes from her adopted parents who bestowed her with her basic needs of food and shelter, but nothing else. She is like the Holly trees she planted in front of her Illinois home; or perhaps the red berries of the trees is more descriptive as they look beautiful on the outside but are inedible as twenty of them will kill anyone.

Holly knows one thing: society considers her evil because she will do anything to protect her son and grandson. She knows she takes the family values mantra to an extreme, but so what she rationalizes is that not what the politicians say to do until you do it. As she smokes her Meerschaum pipe, Holly muses about life with George Dobson, who mentors her on all things evil or perhaps it is her who teaches him the evil facts of life. She is the daughter, the mother and the grandmother while he is the son and father.

Told by the title character looking back on her life one puff at a time, The Redemption of Holly Dobson is a deep thought provoking psychological thriller that ponders the essence of what is evil. The story line looks at nurturing vs. natureing while using hyperbole to skewer the family values mojo practitioners who conveniently surface during elections and dark incidents. Holly, her son and her grandson Simon are strong individuals with apparent an evil DNA flowing through their cells. Elderly, the matriarch reflects on her life and its impact on her descendants as it is with them she believes she can claim redemption as a caring mother and grandmother who will do and has done anything for her progeny; as her family right or wrong is her family. Harriet Klausner

The Flock
James Robert Smith
Forge, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765328014

In a remote part of the Florida rainforest where development has been nonexistent, the Berg Brothers want to open an amusement park in land that is part of the Edmonds Bombing Range. The 450,000 acres are considered environmental treasures so are protected from development. They manage to build Salutations, a town based on American family values.

Billionaire environmentalist Vince Holcomb opposes any intrusion into this pristine area while the developers hire a mercenary militia to clear the opposition. In the middle of this wilderness lives the Flock of prehistoric brilliant pre-aviary beings who will fight against any intrusion into their land. Contemporary humans and Pleistocene Era survivors fight to determine which species is the more predatory with Fish and Wildlife Agent Ron Riggs caught in the middle.

With a nod to Jurassic Park, The Flock is a terrific action-packed thriller in which the dino-birds and the humans prove adaptable when it comes to operational deployments as each side is viciously aggressive. Although the main players are stereotyped as the poster children representing a specific group (mega business, tree huggers, paramilitary, and the Flock as nature), fans will enjoy this strong drama. Ironically The Flock has the stronger moral cause, but that does not prevent humans from claiming economics supersedes animal natural habitats as cynical greed wrapped inside the flag vs. protecting “family” values of home turf lead to a dynamic satirical tale. Harriet Klausner

Bone Gods
Caitlin Kittredge
St. Martin’s, $7.99
ISBN: 9780312388201

Black London is a dangerous place to reside as witches, mages and necromancers fight each other for control with no regard for collateral damage. Adding to the deadly chaos is the deity civil war and the revival of the lethal order of the Malleus who stalk witches with deadly intent.

Trying to retain order are detectives like Pete Caldecott. A Weir she misses her mentor former punk rocker Jack Winter, who took her under his wings when she was sixteen before he apparently died (see Street Magic). When Pete found Jack, she was euphoric. After drying out from his addiction, Jack was turned into a demon so he fled to hell to keep himself from harming Pete (see Demon Bound). Now Jack is back for the third time in Pete’s life as the Commander in Chief of an army of hell’s most odious horde with plans to dominate the world. Pete must assassinate her hero in order to save Black London and the world or else.

This strange but exhilarating Black London urban fantasy (see the anthology Huntress, for a Winter dark novella) takes a third major spin in the Jack-Pete relationship; which gives new meaning to dysfunctional. Although there is an initial déjà vu all over again feel, the twisted fast-paced story line holds reader attention; as Pete is left with the choice of saving the world by killing her mentor-hero. Readers will relish the tale of the heroine’s dilemma as she knows what she must do, but fears she will not be able to figuratively squeeze the trigger as the thought of patricide makes her ill. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Parallel Universe, The Last God and Climate Change as Plotlines

Game Over
Taylor Keating
Tor, $6.99
ISBN: 9780765365477

River Weston created a game that enables people to experience adventure, but has some snafus. The brilliant game designer is also unaware that she has drilled into a parallel universe where the Dark Lord resides. He manages to fool with the levels. Soon River finds herself trapped inside her game that is not a game; a place that is constantly changing. In this virtual realm, River meets a Dark Lord prisoner Hawk.

In her real world, River fears her friend Nick is hiding some dark secret from her. At the same time Kaye investigates River hoping to learn her secrets to use initially against her and then others. In Hawk’s real world his body remains dormant under the alert of the Guardians, but like River’s spirit, his remains trapped by his people’s enemy the Dark Lord.

Readers will enjoy this exciting science fiction-fantasy romantic thriller due to the strong cast. River and Hawk prove that the sum is greater than the parts as the skillful duet from this different universes team up against a very formidable opponent. Fast-paced from the moment River and the Dark Lord “meet”, readers will wonder who will be left standing where once Game over occurs. Obviously the plot pays homage to Tron as a loosely sort of daughter of the movie, however be aware the Legacy of the son is soon to be released on film. Harriet Klausner

The Horns of Ruin
Tim Akers
PYR, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142469

The three brothers were Gods until Amon betrayed and murdered Morgan. He also died leaving the sole surviving sibling Alexander as the last god.

A Morgan Paladin Eva Forge provides security for Barnabas the Fratriarch of the Cult of Morgan as he travels on a mission into dangerous sectors of the city of Ash to bring out an Amon Librarian Cassandra. Confused by the assignment, Eva knows the remaining Cult of Amon want revenge against the Morganites; as they blame their enemy for the fall of their God while choosing to ignore who initiated the betrayal. However, as Eva rides the monorails through she skies over Ash and journeys into underground lairs where the Amonites scurry like rats, she begins to uncover unnerving truths about her perceptions of past and present at the same time Alexander operative Owen investigates Barnabas’ activities.

The keys to this refreshing fascinating fantasy are the city and its three prime interrelated siblings’ cults. The story line is fast-paced and vivid as the intrepid trio treks through Ash though they are unsure why and Owen and Cassandra are uncertain whether to trust the brusque cantankerous follower of a different God. Although the ending feels more like a set up to the next thriller than a wrap up of the first adventures, fans will enjoy the investigation into the homicide and abduction that has the already despondent Morgan supporters in further disarray.
Harriet Klausner

The Human Blend
Alan Dean Foster
Del Rey, $26.00
ISBN: 9780345511973

Mankind bickered over whether climate change was voodoo until it became too late to stop the catastrophes that placed major port cities under the sea. In this new world order that includes Mars and Titan, still dependent on personal finances, humans choose between remaining a “natural” unmodified person and a “meld” altered with natural or mechanical augmentations.

Two thieves work with a body parts dealer by killing victims and harvesting parts for resale on the black market. Their latest kill looks worth a fortune as the victim had an expensive prosthetic hand and a metallic thread attached to a data port. However, the cops interrupt their dealing, which leads to the two thugs fleeing separately; one with the hand and the other the thread.

Dr. Ingrid Seastrom remains a natural whose career is thriving. She also performs the government mandated house calls where she treats a teenage girl with a bad meld; however, during her fixing the botched job Ingrid finds a miniature device implanted in the teen. She begins to study the gizmo that her patient did not know was inside her when she meets a patient Whispr the thief who has Police micro-tracking units and a thread inside him. The odd couple teams up on an investigation to learn the truth while also eluding the cops who are coming for them.

The first Tipping Point futuristic science fiction mystery provides a strong world view, but that proves a two edged sword as Alan Dean Foster’s vision is incredibly deep reaching literally to the bone marrow, but in turn it takes up more than half the book before accelerating. Whispr and Ingrid are a fascinating pairing, but so far obviously are not Pip and Flinx. Still in spite of the slow early pace, readers who prefer a fully developed setting will want to join the doctor and the thief as they investigate what is going on. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Two Vampires and a Historical Romance

Zoe Archer
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420106817

When Nathan Lesperance was a child, the Canadian government took him away from his tribe. By 1875, the adult Nathan has become an attorney practicing in Vancouver, but feels outside of both the Anglo and tribal worlds. Likewise both societies treat him like a leper.

Several years later his law firm chooses Nathan to travel to the wild Northwest Territory because of his heritage as the assumption is he will feel right at home unlike the all white rest of the staff. His task is to pick up the belongings of the recently deceased Douglas Prescott. On the trek the malevolent Heirs of Albrion kidnap him, but he escapes. Former Blade of the Rose Astrid Bramfield finds him wandering lost near dead. Whereas the heirs want to use magical objects to dominate the world; the Blade wants to prevent magical abuse. With her Blade late husband as her partner, Astrid studied the Primal Source, but the Heirs killed her spouse and stole the artifact. Now the Heirs stalk the pair to obtain her knowledge and his untapped magic, Astrid and Nathan trek to the expected safety of an alleged tribe of shapeshifters.

The latest Blade of the Rose historical romantic fantasy (see Warrior and Scoundrel) is another super thriller as the suspense never slows down while the romance simmers nice and slow as each has a history filled with doubts that desire is not enough. Fast-paced once Nathan goes north fully understanding why him and never takes a respite as Zoe Archer hits a bulls-eye with this winner. Harriet Klausner

The Vampire Jerome
Ann B. Morris
ImaJinn, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417509

Everyone believes that the deaths and vast destruction of the Mississippi delta was caused by Katrina, but what is mostly unknown is that during the chaotic lawlessness in which civilization temporarily vanished, evil deep earth vampires feasted. The malevolent potent Zurik captured Dottie Crawford with the intent of using her to get to the Whitcombe brother Julian. After being tortured many times, Julian frees her and sends her to his sibling Jerome for medical treatment.

Jerome loves being a vampire but if he meets a mortal woman he cherishes more then he would give up immortality for her. He knows Julian who found his soulmate wants that for his brothers even though that means fighting the amoral immortal deep earth vampires with the powers the Goddess Lilith will give them as humans. A shift in the magical forces near the earth’s core indicates a major earthquake is coming soon; Jerome and his cadre are needed to prevent another Katrina hammering the Bay area. Jerome knows he has feelings for Dottie, but fights his desire as undesirable because he detests the concept of monogamy. He finally concludes he loves Dottie but is duty bound to his bother and their Whitcombe legacy; either way he fears for the woman whose blood is imprinted on his brain.

The Vampire Jerome
is a terrific urban romantic fantasy filled with plenty of action and yet also contains complex moral dilemmas; together they grip the audience to keep turning the pages to learn what happens next. Dottie is a person of strength who loves Jerome although he is a vampire who seems to cherish being undead and she was a hostage of one of his kind. The second Whitcombe triplet’s legacy (see The Vampire Julian) continues the fresh take on the vampire mythos as each of the brothers must choose the dank darkness or the light of love. Harriet Klausner

The Greyfriar
Clay Griffith, Susan Griffith
PYR, $16.00
ISBN: 9781616142476

In 1870, vampires came out of the coffins to attack western civilizations in the northern temperate zone. Instead of leading a counterinsurgency, human leaders fled south while their former subjects became food for the conquerors.

A century and a half later, the world remains divided between the vampire and human zones. A party led by Senator Clark of the American republic stunningly takes back St. Louis from the vampires. At the same time, Equatorian Empire Princess Adele is on a state visit to Marseilles when British vampire Prince Cesare kidnaps her in spite of the efforts of the mysterious freedom fighter Greyfriar. These two events bring a treaty between the two human superpowers and a plan to attack jointly the vampires.

The first Vampire Empire fantasy is an exciting thriller that grips the audience with the divided world concept that feels like a supernatural Cold War with heated incursions. The story line is fast-paced though it behooves the reader to ignore the plausibility factor; especially of the limited lack of major difference on how minorities are treated yet react radically different to injustice in both camps. Mindful of Phil Ochs’ Ballard of William Worthy “But somehow it is strange to hear the State Department say You are living in the free world, in the free world you must stay”. Still this is an exciting paranormal futuristic spin to the Cold War.
Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Romantic Fantasies

Shadow of the Sheikh
Nina Bruhns
Harlequin Nocturne, Nov 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618477

The note from her sister Gillian the historian says not to worry as she claims she is doing okay but is in love (see Lord of the Desert). Concerned for her sibling anyway, Cultural anthropologist Gemma Haliday wants to be looking at her sister “Jelly Bean” when she hears how Gillian is doing.

In the Nubian desert of Egypt to find Gillian, Gemma knows immortal shapeshifter Sheikh Shahin “Black Hawk” Aswadi has information as to the whereabouts of her sister. Thus she follows him into the forbidden zone where mortals never dare travel; not even the nomads have crossed into this area in a century. She enters the oasis of his people who worship the God Set-Sutekh where her prey captures her. Caught with overt desire for the Black Hawk, Gemma agrees to accompany him when he enters the underground city although she knows once you cross through the portal you can never exit. However, she had not expected to be a key player in an ancient war between Shahin’s vampire leader Seth-Aziz and their immortal enemy Haru-re.

The second Immortal Sheikhs desert romantic fantasy is a delightful thriller starring an intrepid heroine and the immortal who dares to love her. Gemma is a bulldog who once she makes up her mind no one can budge her though her sisters can nudge her. Shahin recognizes his beloved’s obstinacy and uses it as a tool to get his beloved to come to him; which she does into the pits of hell but engulfed by love. Filled with excitement, Shadow of the Sheikh is an enjoyable Haliday tale with one more sister to go. Harriet Klausner

Alaskan Wolf
Linda O. Johnston
Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618491

In Alaska Alpha Force Lieutenant Patrick Worley serves as an undercover dogsled driver at the remote Great Glacier Dog Ranch. His current cover assignment is escorting naturalist magazine writer Mariah Garver to an isolated area where she plans to research the wildlife of a glacier for an article she is writing. Besides obviously keeping the civilian safe, the shapeshifting wolf’s security task is to investigate the strange happenings occurring to the glaciers.

Besides her prime subject, Mariah wants to know more about the glacial mystery too. She accidentally uncovers her guide’s secret. They team up when they learn am industrialist is destroying the glaciers to expedite extraction of minerals from the ocean floor. The pair plans to prevent an ecological disaster from happening.

This is an enjoyable glacial romantic fantasy starring two likable strong protagonists and intriguing environmental vs. development scenario. He finds his desire for his client distracting him from his mission; while she finds him desirable. Although the remote glacial background is glossed over so lacks the deep starkness of the region, Linda O Johnston provides a fast-paced paranormal romantic thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Wolven
Deborah LeBlanc
Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 1 2010, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618484

In New Orleans, a serial killer is targeting werewolves. The victims are always left dead in their wolf body with claws and fangs removed as if the predator collected souvenirs. The Keeper of the local Wolven populace shopkeeper Shauna MacDonald is sworn to protect the packs so she investigates the murders. She teams up with alpha pack leader Danyon Stone, who has had several of his members killed.

The pair concludes the predator is murdering werewolves to obtain their claws and fangs not as memorabilia or ritual items. Instead once extracted, the body parts are grounded into a fine powder that enables the user to gain immense physical prowess to rival that of a genuine shifting werewolf without changing from their human form. As the duet work on the case, they realize they want more as each knows this their mate.

The key to this strong New Orleans urban romantic fantasy is the smooth interweaving of recent real events with the paranormal happenings. The story line is fast-paced as the lead couple investigate the homicides, which continual unabated, and fall in love; though for the most part their romance takes a back seat to stopping a diabolical killer. Harriet Klausner

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vampires, Ghouls and Goddesses

Real Vampires Have More to Love
Gerry Bartlett
Berkley, Dec 7 2010, $14.00
ISBN: 9780425236970

Shopkeeper vampire Glory St. Claire feels ill for having to kill a mortal technofreak although she intellectually knows she had no choice. Making matters worse, is Brent Westwood’s will stipulates that if his two children snarling crossbow carrying Viv and her sibling David want to inherit the multibillion dollar estate of their late father, they must slay Glory. She does not want to kill them, but her protectors will without remorse.

At the same time, Glory arranges a bachelorette party for her friend Flo and helping Aggie the siren host a bridal shower. Finally, Glory struggles between jealous Ray the rock star, former bodyguard Rafe Valdez the shapeshifter, and Jeremy Blade in town for the wedding. However, as Jeremy has to leave, the man Glory killed has found another way to come after her besides manipulating his offspring.

The latest Real Vampires urban fantasy is a fast-paced entry as the son and daughter have several billion reasons to kill Glory who muses that Brent from the grave would still find a way to try to kill her manipulating his adult kids. Although a bounty would have helped the Westwood brood and a super villain feels like comic book caricature in nature, fans of the series will njoy the sixth twisted adventure of Glory who still believes she is too big though the males sniffing at her blood say otherwise. Harriet Klausner

Ghouls, Ghouls, Ghouls
Victoria Laurie
Obsidian, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451231970

She is a psychic with her strongest abilities being mediumistic in nature. She is also an intuitive and M.J. Holliday uses her talent to be a ghostbuster sending bad spirits back to the lower levels and closing their portals. Finally she also sends good spirits trapped here to the light. Her best friend Gilly, her lover Heath and cable TV producer Peter “Gopher” Gophner shoot an episode of a new Ghoul Getters.

They are in Ireland investigating Dunlow Castle said to be haunted by several spirits who obey the first lord of the castle Ranald Dunnyvale. It is rumored there is gold treasure hidden in the vast manor house, but guarded by the phantom, an evil dark blob that can drive people insane or kill them. When they arrive, the Americans realize just how dangerous the phantom is. When they come out of a spell Gopher is missing. Someone kidnapped him and he will not be returned to them until M. J. gets rid of the phantom. This malign demon could easily kill her if she does not listen to Ranald or Sam Whitefeather, Heath’s dead grandfather

Want to read some of the spookiest mysteries written today; choose Victoria Laurie who is a maestro of the paranormal whodunit. Her current supernatural mystery is a combo of the TV shows Ghost Whisperer and Ghost Hunter. The keys are a strong Ghostbuster crew whose interactions with each other and the beyond seem plausible, and the genuine sense that the Phantom is a real danger. The latter will have readers leave the lights on at night and the former will have the readers wanting to text message them for help with every noise. With humor, eccentricity, and a malevolent menace, The Ghost Hunter in Ireland is a ghoulishly delightful mystery (see Ghouls Gone Wild). Harriet Klausner

Goddess of Legend
P.C. Cast
Berkley, Dec 7 2010, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425228166

In the Crystal Cave Water Goddess Coventina better known by her beloved Merlin as Viviane fears her loved one will soon fade into nothingness. The only way Merlin may be saved is if King Arthur avoids the darkness, but the monarch is depressed over his wife and best friend which expedites his going into the abyss.

Increasingly desperate Viviane finally sees a slight possibility in twenty-first century photojournalist Isabel Cantelli after her car plummets off an Oklahoma bridge when she avoided a chipmunk. Viviane fast forwards Isabel into Camelot as a countess to seduce Lancelot away from Guinevere. However, instead of Lancelot, Isabel is attracted to King Arthur who wants her too, but a deal is a deal or is it.

This is a terrific refreshing (hard to believe something new can be created from Camelot) retelling of the Arthurian legend as Isabel turns the romantic triangle into a quadrangle. The key cast is fully developed so that the reader will believe that the Sooner has landed in the midst of the Camelot threesome. Fast-paced fans will enjoy this charming romantic fantasy as Isabel sums up the plot quite nicely when she informs Arthur that he is better for her heart than a cardio workout.
Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 16, 2011

A Couple of Interesting Titles

Cat Coming Home
Shirley Rousseau Murphy
Morrow, $19.99
ISBN: 9780061806933

In Los Angeles, the murders of her son and daughter-in-law shake Maudie Toola’s equilibrium as even her bone marrow feels numb in shock. However, she has no time to grieve her loss as she must make the holidays uplifting for her grandson Benny who witnessed the double homicides. Maudie and Benny move to her childhood home Molena Point, California.

However, the town has its problems as criminals have broken into homes and assaulted women throughout the small village. Police chief Max Harper struggles with the attacks as they are seemingly random and he lacks the manpower to handle them. At the same time the L.A. killer has followed Maudie and Ben to Molena Point. Apparently Christmas may not be coming to town this year; as even Joel Grey, Dulcie and Kit fail to help Max until a hardened elderly stray arrives with a message for the cats and the cop. .

This is an entertaining holiday mystery in which Benny and the visiting tomcat add a special warmth to the tale. Both subplots are fully developed so long time fans feel sympathy for the Toola twosome and shock that Joel and associates fail to connect the dots. Shirley Rousseau Murphy provides her myriad of fans with a very merry Christmas tale. Harriet Klausner

Anya Bast
Heat, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425236864

At the court of the Edaeii in Belai, Evangeline the Enchantress is euphoric as she is rewarded for her magical skill of emotional manipulator by being be-Jeweled with a sapphire, which makes her recognized as a master adept. However her joy shatters when revolutionaries destroy the court and kill most of the mages. Adept Anatol Nikolisan the illusionist saves her life.

Already attracted to each other even before the insurrection, the pair flees together to the only potential sanctuary, the home of Gregorio Vidhin. Ironically his oratory was the catalyst that inflamed the rebellion. As the low born hunt for the pair, Evangeline finds herself torn between two lovers.

This heated erotic romantic fantasy is fast-paved from the onset, filled with vivid love scenes that will raise body temperatures of adoring fans, and a strong sense that in the Bast universe the physics of magic feels genuine. The prime threesome comes across as real whether they flee the revolutionaries, deal with locals wanting to buy “his sister” for the night, or stop for a tryst. Although expressions like “sowing your wild oats” and even “middle class” feel out of place in this realm, fans will enjoy Evangeline’s excellent escapades with the two mages in her life. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Reviews from Harriet

Entice Me At Twilight
Shayla Black
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439166772

In England the Doomsday Brethren chief wizard Bram Rion orders wizard Simon “Duke” Northam to meet with him prompt as the brazen enemy Anaraki army led by malevolent Mathias d'Arc have become brazen with their attacks. They burned the home of Bram and the headquarters building of the Brethren, but fortunately failed to achieve their goal of either taking or destroying the Merlin texts. Simon understands the gravity of such a call, but wonders how to be in two places at the same time as he is also the best man at the wedding of his half-brother the barrister Mason Daniel to nursery school teacher Felicia Safford.

Undercover agent Denzel informed the brethren that the latest scheme of the Anaraki is to enter the tomb of evil Morganna le Fay to resurrect their evil idol. Bram believes Duke holds the key to prevent the catastrophe, as he feels the playboy has touched a rare "Untouchable" since he has lost some of his aura. Duke assumes someone in the wedding party is an Untouchable; most likely his future sister-in-law. If so, he must abduct her to safety, which will alienate his half-sibling and further strain their already dysfunctional relationship.

Thee latest Doomsday Brethren romantic fantasy (see Possess Me at Midnight and a novella in the anthology Haunted by Your Touch) is a stupendous thriller due to the relational triangle though the Mathoas-Morganna arc adds exhilarating incredible levels of suspense. Readers will appreciate the low energy flow of the hero; the loyalty to her first choice by the heroine; and the half-sibling caught in the middle between a woman he claims he loves and the half-brother he detests. On top of that is the Morganna scenario that moves forward the overarching theme of the saga as Shayla Black entices readers to stay up long past Twilight to finish this terrific tale. Harriet Klausner

Mr. Monster
Dan Wells
Tor, $11.99
ISBN: 9780765327901

John Wayne Cleaver still struggles, as he has all his life to keep, his demonic Mr. Monster side from taking over his mind. However, ironically his heroism involving taking out a serial killer has strengthened Mr. Monster’s hold.

A second Clayton County serial killer apparently surfaces with several corpses as the calling card. Once again the local police fail to catch the predator. In spite of fearing involvement again after how much stronger Mr. Monster has become, John uses his knowledge he gained from his war with the first demon killer to try to trap the second. However, evidence mounts that John is the serial killer.

This is much darker than the dark I Am Not A Serial Killer as Mr. Monster takes over for a few moments leading to a raging out of control beast ready to torture and kill, which after Cleaver regains the power he is filled with anguish and torment for what happened; mindful of mid stages of Alzheimer’s victims who recall what they did and consider stupidity. Cleaver and Monster make the lead character appears as if he has a multiple personality disorder as they war for the lead. Action-packed with ultra gory scenes (some too vividly ugly for my sensitive stomach), yet Dan Wells enables his audience to see the battle of good and evil inside the heart and mind of one struggling soul teetering on the brink of being lost. Harriet Klausner

Rogue Wave
Boyd Morrison
Pocket, $5.99
ISBN: 9781439189580

Somewhere over the Pacific, a light flashes past an airplane, which erupts into flames killing all on board. Their bodies were never found. A humongous wave assaults Christmas Island leaving it underwater; no survivors.

On the Hawaiian Island of Oahu, Kai Tanaka is the assistant director at the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center when he accesses data that the world will never forget. While he is at work, his wife Rachel is at her job at a state of the art hotel. Their daughter Lani is with their guests Teresa and her daughter Mia at the beach. At the center, a tsunami warning is advised, but neither he nor his assistant is worried but then certain island stations fail to report. They do not understand what is happening because none of the conditions are right for a tsunami. They realize after studying available data that a meteorite hit the earth causing undersea earthquakes greater than any ever recorded before. Their announcement is late but they hope to save some lives including their loved ones. Few survivors in the Pacific Rim are expected to escape unscathed since the waves are more and bigger than they expected. Kai tries to find a way take his daughter Lani, his brother Brad, Mia and Teresa to a safe high point while his wife is at the hotel taking care of the guests.

This is a riveting apocalyptic thriller that is so enthralling readers will be unable to put it down until they finish the last page. Millions of people on the Pacific islands and Hawaii are on the verge of having their lives end due to a wave that is strong huge and higher than the largest skyscraper. Readers are hooked from the opening Mayday and the lack of the routine signal from a buoy as required to the Pacific Tsunami Warning Center. The audience ironically knows hell is coming while Kai and his cohorts remain blissfully blind until it appears too late. Adding to the pending doom is Kai has family and guests caught in the upcoming catastrophe forcing him and Rachel to make difficult choices. Mindful of the giant tsunami that killed millions a few years ago, Boyd Morrison provides the audience with a spectacular thriller that brings to readers the tragedy on the two levels of a biblical scale and a personal dilemma. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Shifters, Fated, and Wanted Undead or Alive reviews

The Shifters
Alexandra Sokoloff
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.25
ISBN: 9780373618460

In New Orleans, a potential epidemic has spread across the city. Spirits without bodies are occupying humans and paranormal entities until they burn out their host leaving behind a dead person or other.

Shapeshifter guardian Caitlin MacDonald is assigned to end the lethal possession practice. She works closely with bounty hunter shifter Ryder Mallory over her objection as she does not trust his species. However, he is the one who has trailed these Walk-Ins to New Orleans so she has no choice but to team up with the expert. In spite of her overt scorning of him and their mutual attraction that he embraces and she loathes, when she becomes a target, he has more than her back. Neither is prepared for what they find when they reach the ephemeral ground zero.

Though a bit over the top with the ultimate source, readers will be hooked with this terrific urban romantic fantasy starring a bigot who has classified all shifters as shiftless evil until Ryder rocks her world with honesty and compassion. Fast-paced from the moment Caitlin angrily muses over a latte that her BFF is an idiot for loving a despicable Other until the final confrontation fans will enjoy this super thriller. Harriet Klausner

S. G. Browne
NAL, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451231284

For several millennia Fabio Delucci has been Fate responsible with assigning the misfortunates that betwixt just under a mean plus one standard deviation of the human race. This 83% are the classic losers who seem to screw up sure hands. He is tired and envious of his distant hands off lover Destiny who has fewer clients but those are elite Nobel Prize winners while his are drug addicts and the worse dregs of society politicians.

His superior Jeremiah counseled him over his recent poor performance. He can deal with a bad rating and his no touch romance with Destiny or even the schmuck clients. However, he has broken the Fate SOPs when he falls in love with purebred human Sara Griffen. When he reveals to his beloved who he is Fabio causes a shift in the cosmic, which could lead to the death of this immortal and his love.

This is an amusing fun romantic fantasy as Fabio feels Fated to be with his Sara though that is original sin since it breaks the immortal rules of behavior with mortals. Using a tongue in cheek story line, S.G. Browne provides an insightful look at the disaster of love as people will do all sorts of insane things when caught in that debilitating disease. Yet also takes a clever glimpse at the pitfalls of immortality though ennui has been written in many vampire tales and The Wellstone by Wil McCarthy provides a wonderful well written concept that the heir to the throne remains the heir and not the king for eternity. Mr. Browne is Fated for acclaim (and sales) with this engaging thriller. Harriet Klausner

Wanted Undead or Alive: Vampire Hunters and Other Kick-Ass Enemies of Evil
Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman
Citadel (Kensington), $16.95
ISBN: 9780806528212

What is paranormal evil and who are the good fighting against these abominations? Those are the questions that Jonathan Maberry and Janice Gable Bashman analyze in this self help tome that looks at books, movies and TV to provide advice to readers on when to use holy water, silver bullets, or a garlic necklace worn to the school prom. Readers will learn when to join the arson mob chasing a vampire or to run faster than Bolt (the Olympic champ not the Marvel character). With interviews of some of the masters like Marvel’s Stan Lee and director John Carpenter, fans learn how to be a superhero or a super runner as the “Root of Good and Evil” is explored. Set up like an encyclopedia, horror fans will learn the evil can track back several millennia before that Stone Age practitioner Lovecraft. This is a fun tongue in cheek reference guide worth reading over several weeks and this work is made stronger with illustrations and pictures that bring out the ancient war of good and evil. Simply put a superhero needs a supervillain (what is Superman without Lex? mild mannered Clark or Ali and Frazier); and you will no longer be afraid of ghosts or need the busters charging an exorbitant fee to rid you of these apparitions as you now can do it yourself. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Another Writing Update

Pros and Cons of Self-Publishing

By Scott Nicholson

Even a few years ago, most professional writing advice doled out at conventions and forums said, "Never self-publish," because it was seen as the mark of an amateur, a lunatic, or simply an impatient writer yet top put in the requisite years of craft.

Aside from that perception of "vanity publishing," the commercial barriers were considerable. Even if you managed to print up hundreds of copies of your book, you had an uphill battle getting them into stores.

Technology has eliminated most of the barriers to entry. You can now upload a digital file and be "published" in minutes. There is no overhead and you actually have the chance to reach whatever audience you deserve, assuming you can find it.

For those who have used up the A-list of agents and the few publishers who will look at unagented manuscripts, it's hard to argue against it. For those with out-of-print mass-market novels, it's a no-brainer to seek a new audience and earn easy money for work already completed. Print-on-demand technology has even made paper books a reasonable option, with more small publishers and even a few of the bigger houses using it for limited runs.

So why should you even bother with a publisher anymore? After all, you can earn the bulk of the book's revenue if you do it all yourself. But how much of "all" are you really qualified to do?

Can you find professional editing, a respectable graphic designer, and a publicist? Those are the primary advantages of New York, aside from the ability to give you a generous advance and put your books in stores. Of course, the level of attention your book gets will be directly proportional to both the publisher's investment and the publisher's sales outlook, which are almost always intimately connected.

Bookstores are always swapping out the inventory, so your book usually has between 30 days to a year to find a buyer, depending on format. After you're removed, you've likely lost the rights to your own work and the project is dead for years, so you are losing both money and potential audience. That's not an issue with self-publishing and digital publishing.

So if you accept that bookstores are vanishing, and the digital audience is growing, and most books end up with nothing but a single product page on Amazon anyway, then why should you give a publisher and the supporting cast 85 to 96 percent of your book's income?

Simple. Your small cut of the publisher's income may prove far more than you will ever make on your own. And if you are a bestseller, then you will still make far more money with a conventional deal.

If you know you will never be "good enough to be published," and you have no patience to improve your craft, then you hardly have any reason not to be self-published. If you feel your work is so extreme or of such a niche market that no publisher will invest in it, then you, too, will probably want to self-publish. If you feel New York is a pretentious club where everything comes down to a secret handshake, then you'll probably project that attitude in any submission and therefore New York is a waste of your time and theirs.

So, really, the only camp that even needs to struggle with the decision is the hard-working, aspiring midlist writer, one who dreams of a professional career. Going it alone is a hard road to wealth and success. But so is the other way.

These are philosophical debates that each writer must resolve to personal satisfaction, and have no right or wrong answers.


Scott Nicholson is author of 12 novels, including the #1 Kindle bestseller in Mystery & Suspense, Disintegration and his new release Crime Beat. Other novels include The Red Church, As I Die Lying, Forever Never Ends, and The Skull Ring. As L.C. Glazebrook, he writes the October Girls series, and with J.R. Rain, he published the urban fantasy Cursed!, as well as story collections, screenplays, and children's books. You can learn more at Sign up for the Inner Circle newsletter and be eligible for great prizes.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Press Release from Solaris Books

Cloneworld by Andy Remic, 3rd March 2011 • £7.99 (UK), ISBN 978-1-906735-57-9, 22nd February 2011 • $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN), ISBN 978-1-906735-58-6

Also Available as an eBook

The fourth novel in the rock-hard Combat K series!

Junks, an evil alien scourge, are flooding Quad-Gal with terror. Combat K are sent on a mission to find an alien artifact which could win the war all at once.

SLAM-dropped to Cloneworld – a planet ravaged by violent civil war – Combat K get caught in a global conflict between augmented mechanized war machines and genetically-modified humans who have the ability to clone themselves. Combat K must fight their way to victory to save the Four Galaxies.

But how can they possibly succeed, when their main foes are their own elite, deadly clones?

The hardest man in science fiction has done it again! Pippa and Franco, the last surviving members of the gun-toting, sword-swinging, no-holds-barred Combat K squad, are sent down to the war-torn, TV-obsessed planet of Cloneworld, in search of an artifact that may bring peace to the Four Galaxies. They will find pain. They will find betrayal. They will find a seemingly endless supply of CubeSausage, PreCheese and horseradish. But will they find the truth?

“Loud, brash and so in-your-face that it’s actually gone right through and is stood behind you, giving you a good kicking when you least expect it.”
– Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review on Biohell

About the Series

Described by the Guardian as “hard-hitting, galaxy-spanning, no-holds-barred, old-fashioned action adventure,” the Combat K novels follow the adventures of three of the toughest, coldest, hardest human beings in the Four Galaxies: Keenan, hard-bitten and cynical mercenary; Pippa, tortured and merciless killer; and Franco, who seems to be able to lose his trousers and locate a pint of Guinness on even the wildest and most dangerous of worlds. Together they make up the elite Combat K squadron, whose usefulness to the Quad-Gal Military machine is matched only by their expendability. They may be the Four Galaxies’ only hope for the future.

Cloneworld is the fourth Combat K book. A fifth book, Theme Planet, is due to explore the Anarchy, a new thread in the same universe, in 2011.

About the Author

When kicked to describe himself, Remic claims to have a love of extreme sports, kickass bikes and happy nurses. Once a member of an elite Combat K squad, he has retired from military service and claims to be a cross between an alcoholic Indiana Jones and a bubbly Lara Croft, only without the breasts. Remic lives in Lincolnshire and likes to think lewdly about zombies.

Loss of Separation by Conrad Williams, 3rd March 2011 • £7.99 (UK)
ISBN 978-1-906735-55-5, 26th April 2011 • $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-906735-56-2

A new book from the three-time winner of the British Fantasy Society Award!

Commercial pilot Paul Roan is in command of a Boeing 777 when it is involved in a near miss. Nerves shot, he resigns and re-launches his life running a small hotel in a coastal village with his girlfriend, Tamara.

On the day they move to their new home, Paul is hit by a speeding car. Emerging six months later from a coma, he discovers that Tamara has left him, and the villagers, astonished by his cheating of death, now see him as a talisman. They bring him secrets too awful to deal with themselves. He burns the things they bring him, wishing he could rid himself of his own darkness. He is suffering from terrible dreams of a crippled black airliner screaming through the night, its pitted engines streaked with carbon and blood. He knows that, somehow, this jet – and it’s terrible cargo – is coming for him.

Conrad Williams, winner of the 2007 International Horror Guild Award for Best Novel and three-time winner of the British Fantasy Society Award, returns with another haunting, darkly atmospheric work.

“Conrad Williams writes dark and powerful prose balancing the poetic and elegant with needle-sharp incision.”
– Keith Brooke, The Guardian

About the Author

Conrad Williams was born in Cheshire in 1969. He is the author of three novels, four novellas and a collection of his best short fiction. His most recent book, One, won the British Fantasy Society Award for Best Novel; previous books have earned him the International Horror Guild Award and the Littlewood Arc Prize.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vampires, Wild Cards and Demons

When Wicked Craves
J.K. Beck
ISBN: 9780440245797

Petra Lang can never know the warm touch of another person whether it would be a lover or a friend. A hug is something she should never feel as one touch turns the nicest person into a snarling demonic beast. The Shadow Alliance leadership fears her curse will be used against them as she apparently has caused the prophecy of their deaths to begin. She must die before they die.

Vampire Nicholas Montegue rescues her from death as he needs her to save his friend Serge who she turned. However, her hero is turned into a beast. While the Alliance assassins chase them, the pair goes to his former mentor, an alchemist he betrayed centuries ago as their only hope. When she learns her death will save his friend, she willingly wants to die. However, he can no longer kill the woman he loves but can’t touch.

When J.K. Beck writes a romantic fantasy readers know the tale will prove great as affirmed by When Blood Calls and When Pleasure Rules. Her latest tale is a tense twisting thriller that comes across as a paranormal Gift of the Magi starring an adult Kitty Pryde of X-women fame and a fascinating frustrated hero. Sub-genre fans will crave impatiently for when the next visit to the Beckian universe occurs.
Harriet Klausner

Wild Cards 1
George R.R. Martin (editor)
Tor, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765326157

In 1946, Jetboy begins what looks like a suicide mission to save New York City from the Takisians invasion. The aliens plan to use Manhattan as a mass weapon experiment. He has “Thirty Minutes Over Broadway” (by Howard Waldrop) to prevent the tragedy; he fails.

While most died from the virus, nine percent suffered monstrous body changes and one percent became the super powerful beings – Jokers to some; Aces to others. When the bomb exploded he was a ninth grader who is ironically two decades later the “Sleeper” (by Roger Zelazny) who cannot allow himself to sleep; he has become a Wild Card like a few other survivors who must unite as the Swarm from space is coming to the Omni.

This is the opening tales from one of the great continuous superhero (and villain) anthologies. Ten of the entries were printed in the original first collection in 1987. There are three new contributions that fit nicely into this extremely dark world; in fact expand on the premise, especially the “Ghost Girl Takes Manhattan” by Carrie Vaughn. Although a couple of contributions feel awkward in terms of the overarching theme as if George R.R. Martin was still experimenting with Wild Aces, none of the entries are poorly written. This is a great return to the beginning of the fabulous Wild Cards Universe. Harriet Klausner

Blood Trinity
Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439155820

As they have done for centuries, the Belador protect humans from the others like demons. However, the Belador are not a tolerant species as half-breed Evalle Kincaid knows s first hand; being a scorned outsider by those she has lived with all her life. In fact, Evalle knows most of the tribe would prefer her dead or locked away as a half-breed is distrustful worthless trash and she more so as her heritage is unknown.

A demon attacks and claims a young woman. With no one else to blame, the tribe points at Evalle as a convenient scapegoat. Now she must prove her innocence knowing a clans person set her up and betrayed the tribe. At the same time Atlanta burns as rumor flies of an ancient powerful magical artifact surfacing. While her former tribe mates chase her in the underground of Atlanta, Evalle must prevent the day of reckoning that will begin the end of days for humans and Beladorans if demons obtains the magical stone before she possesses it and finds someplace safe to leave it.

The opening to the world of Belador is an exhilarating romantic urban (and rural) fantasy that makes this new realm seem real especially the interweaving in Utah and Atlanta. The story line contains several subplots that come together into a delightful cohesive tale though at times can be slowed down with the depth of this realm created by Sherrilyn Kenyon and Dianna Love. Still with a strong cast especially the beleaguered outcast who has to save the world before she can save herself, fans will enjoy this terrific saga. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, January 9, 2011


I've got a perfect day to read, but I'm sitting here watching the actions and reactions to the assassination attempt/massacre that took place yesterday in Tucson.

It is something that shows that there is evil in the world and that no one is safe from unbalanced individuals. I'm one who believes that gun control means hitting your target, but it is necessary to make sure that those who purchase guns go through a stronger background check and need a permit to carry.

My thoughts and prayers are with all the victims and their families. It is also a time to pray for our nation as we go through very trying times.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Interesting Titles

The Fat Man: A Tale of North Pole Noir
Ken Harmon
Dutton, $19.95
ISBN: 9780525951957

For thirteen centuries Gumdrop Coal the elf has worked diligently and loyally in support of his employer, affectionately known by his subordinates as The Fat Man and by children everywhere as Santa Claus. An original, Gumdrop is highly regarded amongst his peers for creating the Naughty List of children who were not nice so receive a lump of coal instead of a toy in their stockings. In fact he became Captain of the Coal patrol elf unit.

Maybe he delivered one coal to many, had too many artificial sweetened cookies or placed too many nasty kids on the Naughty List though all deserved their placement as an advocate of kick-butt tough love, but Gumdrop is fired from his job. He is irate and fuming insisting no one treats Gumdrop like this. The twenty-seven inch elf turns into a renegade to teach parents to raise their children to remain off the Naughty List. However, his descent into the inferno of hell has not bottomed out yet as a parent is shot to death by a Red Ryder BB Gun that contains Gumdrop’s prints. Realizing he is the victim of a diabolical frame, Gumdrop turns vigilante seeking to uncover who in the North Pole communities set him up and why.

This is fun heartwarming holiday Noir starring a tough tiny thug while part of the enjoyment is the allusions to famous Yuletide movies and books. However, it is Gumdrop the rogue elf who makes this a terrific worthy addition to the Christmas repertoire with his nourish investigation into who set him up to take the fall from the front of the sleigh as the top aide to the Fat Man to exile from the North Pole.
Harriet Klausner

Version 43
Philip Palmer
Orbit, $14.99
ISBN: 9780316018944

Quantum Theory of Everything changed everything yet changed nothing. The theory led to advances like quantum teleportation whose odds of surviving with all your neutrinos intact and no additions on the ride has been calculated based on empirical data at less than half. Only the desperate or insane voluntarily take that escape route though selected criminals are volunteered by the government.

The planet Belladonna has become the receiving end of the quantum teleportation. The residents are criminally insane or just totally insane. Although the off planet powers normally ignore the human junkyard, the Galactic Police has been notified by Bompasso city Sheriff Heath of a horrific mass killing involving two males and three females as one of the victims is his son Alexander, a clean doctor at City Hospital. Though he knows he is the so called law of this Lawless City, Heath the father demands justice so he needs outside help to catch the SOB murderer. The Galactic Force sends cyborg cop Version 43 to investigate who killed Heath the son, the man’s girlfriend Dr. Fliss Hooper, Andrei Pavlovsky, Jada Brown and Sara Limer. The starting point is City Hospital where Version 43 opens his inquiry with an interrogation of Macawley, an intimate friend of Hooper. Meanwhile several of the local crazies knew the cyborg when he was 100% human and wanted him dead then.

Although Einstein argued about playing craps with the universe, he would have appreciated this strong intelligent science fiction police procedural with a vivid look at a planet used as a dump for exiled humans. Version 43 still makes the tale work with his noir behavior while investigating the mass murders; he proves a cyborg is the perfect cool hand Luke noir detective whether he visits City Hospital, the hologram morgue or the “ballad of Parliament Square. Harriet Klausner

Shotgun Sorceress
Lucy A. Snyder
Del Rey, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345512109

Mage Jessie Shimmer went to hell and back, but succeeded on her quest to return with boyfriend Cooper Marron and his younger brothers (see Spellbent). However, the cost was exorbitant with the visible being the loss of an eye and a hand. However the invisible price is stratospherically higher for the sorceress who killed a Virtus untouchable spirit lord while in Hades; as even making love turns her abode into an inferno, almost like a barbeque pit, as she has come back possessing fire magic.

Jessie expects the Virtus Regnum to assault her as this beast cannot ignore whet she did. However, Miko the mighty has come to Texas to deal with Jessie. Almost upon arrival, Miko creates a giant bubble that engulfs the town and traps Jessie, Cooper, his brother and her spider familiar inside along with the innocent residents of Cuchillo. Step two in Miko’s scheme is changing the natives into zombies. Hell, she needs to challenge Miko if she and the others are to survive.

The second dark Shimmer suburb fantasy is a fabulous entry as everyone will believe in Snyder’s Spellbent due to the cast. Opportunity costs are incredibly laid out as choosing one has second and third order effects on not just the decision-maker. With a strong mentally disturbed cast that runs the gamut of the otherworldly pantheon, sub-genre fans will want to read the gory Shotgun Sorceress. Harriet Klausner

Friday, January 7, 2011

Vampires, Witches and An Odd One

Confessions of a Vampire’s Girlfriend
Katie MacAlister
NAL, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451232595

“Got Fangs? Oregonian teenager Francesca Ghetti is six feet tall and reads minds by touching objects. Her divorced mother is a witch who has dragged Fran to Hungary on a traveling show filled with freaks and geeks. Fran is almost run over by a motorcycle. The driver is a hunk who is actually taller than her, which is what freaks her out. She does not blink when she learns he is Benedikt Czerny, a Moravian Dark One over three centuries old, who believes she will save his soul. When Benedikt demands Fran and his sister stay home while he fights a demon; his American Amazonian prepares to kick demon butt and his if necessary.

“Circus of the Darned”. Teenage psychic Francesca has somewhat adapted to her abilities like summoning the dead and her abnormal lifestyle as a member of the touring Gothefaire. Even for Francesca used to the absurd being the norm, things are more out of control than usual starting with the twelve dead Vikings she brought back to life or her dating a motorcycle riding vampire who is almost three centuries her senior. While mom objects to his bad overbite with dental costs so high; Benedikt insists she is his life-mate, he needs to insure that his beloved GOT FANGS too. However the biggest problem in Francesca's mind is he is a night person and she has a curfew.

This reprints the two tongue-in-cheek young adult adventures of Francesca the Amazonian psychic written as Katie Maxwell. The cast in each tale, whether they are normal, supernatural, or hybrid in-betweeners, make for a fun time. However, this omnibus edition belongs to kick-butt Francesca whose action-packed escapades will be enjoyed by the targeted audience and long-toothed readers; while writing as Katie MacAlister has brought Francesca back in a delightful adult adventure (see In the Company of Vampires).Harriet Klausner

Mystic Witch
Mark All
ImaJinn, $14.00
ISBN: 9781933417707

In Atlanta, the funeral of Gram last week led Bailey Campbell to think back to the Incident that changed her family dynamics with the death of her father murdered by evil sorcerer Bern Emmerich over two decades ago. Her mother cut her off from her Gram and raised Bailey to live a normal life; void of magic. Nearing thirty, Gram’s odd will especially the coda has shaken Bailey’s soul.

At work late at night, something attacks her only bud Juan who screams for Bailey to run. Instead the Bailey Temper flares as she confronts faceless creatures. Apparently evil Emmerich has escaped captivity and is coming for the daughter who he blames for his two decade imprisonment in an alternate reality. His plan is to use her to bring his hell to her earth. Bailey obtains a mentor in warlock Frank Demming, who admits he has kept an eye on her over the years as he expected her to play a pivotal role when Emmerich returned. As she trains for the war of magic, she wonders if her teacher is her soul mate, ally or a perverted foe while Atlanta burns.

The Mystic Witch is an exciting character driven urban fantasy although the theme of the battle between the light and dark goes back to Beowulf. Fast-paced, the dark seems too powerful for the innocent light (loosely mindful of an adult version of the movie The Seeker) since the heroine even suffers from “homophobic” fear of the sight of blood. The key to this enjoyable winner take all thriller is the third party Demming as the audience ponders whether he is teaching his beloved student effective magical processes or if he is a sick pervert abusing her before allowing her adversary to use her. Harriet Klausner

Odd Is On Our Side
Fred Lentz, Dean Koontz and Queenie Chan (illustrator)
Del Rey, $10.99
ISBN: 9780345515605

Halloween in Pico Mundo, California has fry cook Odd Thomas concerned as he fears there is much more afoot than just trick or treaters. Something does not feel right; which is odd for a person who communicates with Elvis and helps restless spirits with their needs before they move onto their next resting spot.

As Odd struggles with his gut insisting that something evil is coming and his spiritual advisor Elvis unable to help him, he turns to girlfriend, Stormy Llewellyn. She encourages him with her at his side to investigate the horde of bodachs appearing; always an omen of a horrific event to come shortly.

The second graphic comic rendition of an Odd Thomas novel (See In Odd We Trust) is an engaging rendition but lacks the freshness of the original tales as fans already know what occurs to whom. Still the illustrations by Queenie Chan are fun to follow for readers who will compare her version to our imagination; as in my mind she captures Thomas’ essence and somewhat Stormy, but Elvis still needs to be found. The story line is entertaining but is no match to the novel while the addition of twenty odd additional pages following the story seems more like padding. The apparent targeted young newcomers will enjoy Odd is On Our Side. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Press Release

The Trials of Trass Kathra
by Mike Wild

20th January 2011 • £7.99 (UK), ISBN 978-1-907519-64-2
20th January 2011 • $9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN), ISBN 978-1-907519-65-9
Also Available as an eBook

“Child of Trass Kathra... welcome home!”

One year after Kali Hooper defeated the Pale Lord, Bastion Redigor lives on in the body of Jakub Freel. The mysterious entity known as the Hel’ss, meanwhile, moves closer to Twilight, welcomed as the herald of their ascension by the Final Faith. Only Kali and her friends know the deadly reality of what this will bring, but they have been declared outlaws, hunted by the Order of The Swords of Dawn.

So begins Kali’s penultimate adventure, a quest far beyond the Stormwall to the mystical Trass Kathra, the Island of the Lost. Here she will suffer the trials of the Four to discover the true nature of Twilight’s gods and her own shocking origin in the chaotic depths of the Thunderflux.
Kali Hooper is dead, and this is the beginning of the end...

“Unashamedly pulp, reminding me of the work of such genre
greats as Michael Moorcock and Edgar Rice Burroughs.”
– San Francisco Book Review on Engines of The Apocalypse

About the Series

Twilight of Kerberos was Abaddon’s fifth shared world, launching with Matthew Sprange’s Shadow Mage in February 2008. Rocked by war and religious schism, Twilight is a fantasy world like no other, a land girt by impassable mountains and impenetrable storms, dimly lit by a distant sun and dominated by great Kerberos, an azure gas giant that fills the sky...

Or is it? To some, Kerberos is a god. To others, another world. Its nature is a mystery, and uncovering its secrets – as, it is whispered, the Elder Races strove to do before they were wiped out – is sure to rock the world of Twilight to its core.

The series has featured four authors, following different central characters in an overarching plot: Matthew Sprange’s Lucius Kane, shadow mage and thief; Mike Wild’s Kali Hooper, adventuress and archaeologist; Jonathan Oliver’s Silus Morlader, a fisherman with a terrible heritage; and David McIntee’s one-off Gabriella DeZantez, holy warrior of the Final Faith. The Trials of Trass Kathra and the upcoming ninth book, The Wrath of Kerberos, weave the different stories together towards a thrilling conclusion in the tenth book, Children of the Pantheon, due out in 2012.

About the Author

Apart from dabbling occasionally in publishing and editing, Mike Wild has been a freelance writer for many years, by way of work as diverse as Doctor Who, Masters of the Universe and Starblazer. The Trials of Trass Kathra is his seventh novel.

For all press enquires please contact David Moore or Ben Smith
Phone 01865 792 201 • Email

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Press Release

The Black Chalice
by Steven Savile
17th March 2011 • £7.99 (UK), ISBN 978-1-907519-66-6
15th March 2011 • $9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN), ISBN 978-1-907519-67-3
Also Available as an eBook

“Lift the cup to your lips and drink of me. Finish what you began.”
Hear and attend the first tale of Thomas Malory’s The Second Book of King Arthur and his Noble Knights...

Son of a knight and aspirant to the Round Table, Alymere yearns to take his place in the world, and for a quest to prove his worth. He comes across the foul Devil’s Bible – said to have been written in one night by an insane hermit – which leads and drives him, by turns, to seek the unholy Black Chalice, the Devil’s own grail. On his quest he will face, and overcome, dire obstacles and cunning enemies, becoming a knight of renown; but the ultimate threat is to his very soul.

“Steven Savile’s prose is lovely, the story thoughtful, gripping, and even charming... one of the most seriously creepy pieces it has been my pleasure to read.”
– Charles de Lint on Remember Me Yesterday

About the Series

Uncovered in the parish church of St. Barbara and St. Christopher in the summer of 2006, the Salisbury Manuscript (British Library Add. MS 1138) is the only extant copy of Sir Thomas Malory’s The Seconde Boke of kyng Arthur and also His noble Knyghts, apparently written at Thomas Caxton’s request after Malory’s release from gaol. Deep controversy surrounds the book, which is claimed by some to be a contemporary forgery, possibly written by Caxton himself. In March 2010, Rebellion Publishing announced that it had secured exclusive rights to publish the modernisations of the stories...
Abaddon’s eighth shared world, Malory’s Knights of Albion will regale our readers with totally original stories set in King Arthur’s time, exploring the stories of the less well-known knights – like loyal Sir Alymere – or telling previously-unknown events from the lives of beloved characters close to Britain’s greatest king.

With courage and courtesy close to its heart, the series promises to deliver the best of heroic, chivalric adventure, often with a dark or surprising twist.

About the Author

Steven Savile has written almost thirty novels and short story collections, including The Hollow Earth, Temple: Incarnations, Laughing Boy’s Shadow, Houdini’s Last Illusion, Angel Road, and the graphic novel Fragrance of You (with artist Robert Sammelin). He was a runner up in the 2000 British Fantasy Awards, a winner of a 2002 Writers of the Future Award, and nominated twice for the Scribe Award, in 2006 (for best novel adaptation) and the 2008 (for best young adult novel).

For all press enquires please contact David Moore
Phone 01865 792 201 • Email