Monday, February 7, 2011

Captive Spirit, Eternal Flame, and What the Night Knows Reviewed

Captive Spirit
Anna Windsor
Ballantine, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345513892

The Dark Crescent Sisterhood defeated their archenemy the malevolent Legion (see Bound by Light); the cost of victory was exorbitant. Earth Sibyl Bela suffers from survivor guilt as her compatriots in the Triad are dead. Feeling she has no time to grieve, Bela decides to create a new Sibyl team of four not three.

Bela feels fortunate to meet Water Sibyl Andy right away. That is followed by two more Sibyls Camille and Dio joining them. The quartet sets up in New York City where they come across the Rakshasa ancient tiger demons growing in strength and currently battling NYPD Detective Duncan Sharp. He is already possessed by his wanted for serial murder former friend’s soul and is now infected by these dangerous paranormal killers. Bela takes Duncan with her and her new team in case she must insure he does not go evil; if he does she will kill the cop she cherishes.

The latest Dark Crescent Sisterhood urban romantic fantasy (see Bound by Shadow) begins a new arch starring a sibyl suffering from post traumatic stress disorder compounded by survivor guilt syndrome and a cop allegedly possessed by a serial killer. The storyline starts a bit slower than usual as Anna Windsor introduces the fearsome foursome to each other. Once done, the quartet meets the cop as the tale accelerates into a fast-paced action thriller. Bela who played second fiddle in the “Bound” trilogy makes Captive Spirit a strong entry as she must decide whether to kill her apparently possessed infected soul mate. Harriet Klausner

Eternal Flame
Cynthia Eden
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758242136

In New Orleans, Night Watch Zane Wynter rescues a female from a fiery death; he was unable to save the other occupant vampire serial killing demon Henry Jacobson who he came to arrest. Zane kisses the vamp’s bitch he rescued. His mistake was not realizing who and what she is as she took out a malevolent demon and destroyed the evidence. Using an ambulance she leaves the murder scene.

Zane’s boss Pak believes an Ignitor set this flame and several others that killed the supernatural. Pak assigns Zane his best bounty hunter who can handle the fire to capture the serial killing Ignitor. Abashed as he was duped, Zane goes after Jana Carter who flees for Baton Rouge. Zane actually feels sorry for Jana; as he shares a similar horrific upbringing being forced to kill to survive as a half-breed demon-human child. However, he will do his duty. Instead he joins her flight from a deadly secretive cartel whose goal is the genocide of all monsters. What neither knows is that the group wanting them dead has plans to use Jana as a weapon of mass destruction to murder the Others before killing her.

This is an exhilarating Others urban fantasy (see Eternal Hunter) as two obstinate individuals play a deadly game of cat and mouse unaware that in the shadows lurks a deadlier predator manipulating both of them in a bigger game. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action from the first scream of help by the vamp’s bitch and never slows down as the couple must trust one another to watch their back or die, which may happen anyway. Although the romance feels more of a sub-genre requirement that is forced into the plot; readers will enjoy the gender war of survival between the Ignitor and the Night Watch enforcer. Harriet Klausner

What the Night Knows
Dean Koontz
Bantam, $28.00
ISBN: 9780553807721

Providing no explanation afterward as to why he committed the atrocity, fourteen year old Billy Lucas simply butchered his family. Homicide detective John Calvino knows Billy’s case hits too close to home. Two decades ago serial killer Alton Turner Blackwood slaughtered John’s family and three other families; only John survived by shooting the maniac who was in the midst of a deranged ritual.

John has always feared that Blackwood was possessed by a malevolent spirit who the cop believes has not finished the job. His fear is not so much for himself, but for his wife and their three children. John visits the teen at a psychiatric ward, but as soon as he leaves his family members especially his preadolescent kids begin to feel haunted. John knows time is running out for him to prevent history from repeating itself; perhaps his only reliable ally though he has doubts of the existence and the loyalty is Willard; his family’s deceased dog.

This is an exciting horror thriller that grips the reader with the same high level o Michelle Beattief suspense that Dean Koontz always achieves. The behavior of the four Calvino family members in some ways reflect the inane behavior of a teen-slasher movie, as each conceals what is happening to them from each other. With a nod to the OK Corral, fans will enjoy the supernatural battle between Calvino and the evil essences from beyond even as Mr. Koontz sets up a potential sequel. Harriet Klausner

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