Sunday, February 6, 2011

Supernatural Stories, Vampires, and Dragons, Oh My

The Other Side
J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, Ruth Ryan Langan and MaryKay McComas
Jove, $7.99
ISBN: 9780515148671

“Possession in Death” by J.D. Robb. In 2060, NYPD Lieutenant Eve Dallas takes Father Lopez home when elderly Hungarian Gizi runs in front of her car. She begs the warrior cop to save her Beata. Eve’s team arrives to find a cold corpse of Gizi though a stunned Eve has just spoken to the deceased.

“The Other Side of the Coin” by Mary Blayney. In 1810 Bettina tells her husband Harry he is having an affair; he denies it. Bettina makes a wish on a coin as does Harry. Their wishes are granted as each wears the shoes of the other having switched bodies.

“The Dancing Ghost” by Patricia Gaffney. In 1895, spirit investigator Henry visits Massachusetts where house owner Angeiolina insists the ghosts of a dancing ancestor and her cuckolded husband occupy her home.

“Almost in Heaven” by Ruth Ryan Langan. At the Copper Creek Country Club, Vanessa and Ted throw an engagement party for their daughter Christina and her fiancé Mark. Vanessa and Ted leave to go home with their six years old son Tyler who suffers from Autism, but the brakes fail killing them. Mark pressures Christina to marry him. Christina delays the marriage to stay with Tyler. The deceased couple soon learns the shocking truth.

“Never Too Late To Love” by MaryKay McComas. Thirtyish accountant M.J. wants her late mother’s house torn down as she plans to sell the property. She finds inside the ghosts of her late mom and two aunts. The three sisters cannot leave until they find what they lost, but none know what they lost.

Each tale is a solid well written fun entry using a different plot device or setting making the anthology fresh in spite of the novella format not lending itself to character development. Harriet Klausner

Night of the Vampires
Heather Graham
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373774869

During the Civil War as the Northern and Southern armies fight, an insidious threat to both uses the fog of combat to kill soldiers from both camps. Vampires are dining on humans.

At an infested prison, Texas Sheriff, Cole Granger and two allies are destroying the infection when a lightning fast woman appears in their midst. Half breed Megan Fox works for Robert E. Lee in an effort to exterminate the non human half of her gene pool, vampires. She also seeks to find her brother Cody who is one of Cole’s two anti-vampires associates. Cole is attracted to Megan but distrusts her until President Lincoln sends them to Harper's Ferry to find the grave of the vampire child who apparently started the current epidemic. However, to bring peace to the child, they must endure the all night attacks from the vampires, but to do so each must trust their heart not their head.

The key to this exciting historical romantic fantasy is the matter of acceptance that vampires exist and had a role to play in the horrors of the war. With that premise, Heather Graham presents a strong saga as his love must overcome his instinctive bias against vampires, even half breeds; and she must trust a purebred with what is left of her soul. If not, this pair will die before the night is through. Readers will appreciate this strong Civil War drama as the paranormal elements are cleverly intertwined in the story line. Harriet Klausner

Day of the Dragon
Rebecca York
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425238189

Although the shapeshifter Ramsey Gallagher defeated his enemy twin Vandar the psychopathic half-dragon half-vampire, he paid quite a cost. Ramsey apparently lost his skill to shift into dragon form as well as other innate abilities like mentally rolling the dice.

In Las Vegas, however that does not prevent him from seeking more information about his unknown heritage. As such he intends to attend a lecture presented by Dr. Madison Dartmoor on her findings in an ancient Italian tomb located near the site where he was found by himself as a small child. However, a nasty assault on the excavation site leads to the presentation being cancelled. While deciding what next Ramsey stops an attack on Madison. He feels a need to keep her safe from her overwhelming enemies who want her dead.

The latest super “Moon” romantic fantasy (see Dragon Moon) looks deep at the good twin after he defeated his bad seed brother as the winner suffers a form of paranormal post traumatic stress disorder with his psychological consequences as nasty as the physical. Yet even with a profound look into the second order effects of the epic sibling battle on Ramsey, Rebecca York provides plenty of action as for the first time he considers risking his heart with Madison, the woman he cherishes more than his soul. Harriet Klausner

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