The Fallen: Raziel
Pocket, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
Allegra “Allie” Watson wrote sassy biblical murder mysteries. However her career as a novelist ends when she dies in a bus accident.
Because of her saucy biblical tales, Allegra is slated for hellfire. However, Raziel, one of the twenty-Fallen that Enoch with bias mentioned, violates the afterlife operating procedures. Instead of guiding her soul to her final destination, although unsure why he reacted like he did as he has ferried countless lost souls, Raziel changes her destination saving her from eternal damnation. He is injured in the process. Sparks fly between this blood drinking Fallen and the damned he temporarily rescued. His peers take the pair to safety in Sheol. However by doing what he did and what the other Fallen did for the condemned duet, they enable God's last remaining archangel Uriel the “unfallen” to break the millennia old armistice sending the flesh eating Nephilim swarm to attack Raziel and the other Fallen.
Although the opening acts take a bit of adjustment to understand who’s who and what is going on in the Kristina Douglas pantheon, fans will believe it is worth the time as the story line turns into a fast-paced angelic war with an intelligent obvious jab at the hypocrisy of organized religions. Cleverly designed so that heavenly decree is deigned by bureaucrats, fans will enjoy Raziel’s (and Allie) tale as the Nephilim led by one who takes pride that he never fell attacks the Fallen using the rescue of a condemned as the excuse for open war. Harriet Klausner
Bantam, Jan 25 2011, $15.00
Century old vampire Raylene “Cheshire Red” Pendle is a thief who steals valuable items. The cops assume the brazen crook is a man as she does nothing to change their bias. Instead, the Seattle resident lives sort of alone with a couple of street people in an abandoned warehouse where she hordes much of her values.
Blind wealthy vampire Ian Stott hires Raylene to steal top secret government documents detailing inhuman black-op military experiments on vampires and other illegal aliens. Their testing on Ian took away his eyesight. She kills an intruder before going to Atlanta to follow up on a clue to another experiment victim. Raylene meets the brother Adrian, a former SEAL turned drag queen with no obvious place to tuck in his lower head. However, her inquiry takes a nasty spin as she learns Project Bloodshot still exists even if officially it was shut down years ago. This group’s private sector backer also has goons ready to turn anyone into a test tube especially those making inquiries.
This is an enjoyable urban fantasy made fresh by the interesting support characters who provide insight and action while also lampooning the sub-genre. The experiments are somewhat unique with the military tests on vampires, but will remind readers somewhat of Lora Leigh’s Breed series. Raylene is a kick butt loner who finds herself working for a sightless vampiric client with a humongous drag queen as a sidekick while the Men in Black and a scientific lunatic give chase; what more can a reader want from the cast? Although nothing major is wrapped up, Cheshire Priest opens Chesire Red with an exciting tale. Harriet Klausner
Treachery In Death
Putnam, Feb 22 2011, $26.95
In the summer of 2060, NYPSD Eve Dallas assigns her partner Peabody to look into the death of a shopkeeper by apparently stoned young men. Detective Peabody takes them down and puts them in the cage. Eve tells Peabody she did well but she was a bit slow in physically fighting them knowing it was her first time for the detective to take the lead. Peabody know to get in shape she must exercise three days a week.
While Peabody showers after a workout in the police gym, two cops enter the room. She overhears Chief of Illegal Squad Lieutenant Renee Oberman and her subordinate Detective William Garnet discuss crimes they are going to commit including murder. Peabody tells Dallas who wants to take out the pair and other corrupt officials under Renee’s control, but has to be careful as she has no idea who the others are.
As expected from J.D. Robb, the great author has written another fabulous futuristic police procedural. Much of the fun is watching Eve, who loves her job, work a case as even when it comes to internal affairs she diligently seeks clues to support the truth. Recurring characters add to the sense of continuity and enhance the suspense (Roarke brings the romance) as Eve obstinately leads the internal affairs inquiry. Harriet Klausner
Autumn: The City
Dunne, Feb 1 2011, $16.99
In a matter of minutes people fall down and die without any apparent cause. A few days later, many of those who died start walking; aimlessly shuffling as mindless decaying corpses. Almost one hundred percent of the population died from the unknown cause; those who revived have one goal to kill the survivors even if that destroys their bodies.
On the outskirts of the city those humans still living make their way to a college building that seem relatively safe enough to keep the walking dead out of their retreat for now. Weeks pass and supplies are dangerously low as the haven has become a prison. Foraging outside is extremely dangerous since the walking dead have started to regain their cognitive skills. An underground bunker is filled with soldiers. They go outside to see what the world looks like. One of the group is separated from his comrades and finds his way to the survivor hideaway. They hope the soldier will take them to the military bunker. He agrees, but they ponder how to cut though hundreds of thousands of walking dead who want them dead ad who encircle their building.
Although this fabulous urban horror thriller clearly enables the audience to know what the monsters are, David Moody never uses the Z word nor is there much blood and gore. The key survivors including the soldier are interesting as their lives have turned upside down with survivor no longer a reality TV show but a way of life in this terrific Byzantine story line. Harriet Klausner