Jane Goes Batty
Michael Thomas Ford
Ballantine, Feb 1 2011, $14.00
In Brakeston, New York owner of Flyleaf Books, Jane Fairfax now understands being careful what you wish for as you may get it. She has raged for years as her Austen books and their rip-offs sell without her receiving a royalty check having written them two centuries ago before Byron changed her into a vampire. Adding insult is that her last manuscript as Jane Austen, Constance, was rejected a zillion times. That has changed as Kelly Littlejohn of Browden Publishing of New York buys the rights and Constance is a colossal bestseller.
The world wants more from Jane Fairfax bookstore owner and bestselling author. She struggles with concealing her vampire condition and her birth identity though Byron tries to mentor her. Jane fears another biting engagement with a jealous Bronte. Meanwhile a suspicious editor believes the plot was stolen from a lost Bronte novel. Hollywood and groupies have invaded the small village, and her boyfriend Walter’s mother Miriam arrives expecting Jane to convert. As the writer struggles with a new novel after not writing for centuries, she also wonders whether a vampire can be Jewish, Miriam carries a big stick.
The second Jane the contemporary vampire tale (see Jane Bites Back) is an amusing satire that spoofs the Austen sub-genre including the novels by Michael Thomas Ford. The story line is fast-paced as Jane fears she will be exposed as a modern day fraud, a biting vampire, a great Regency author or simply batty. With references to literature that are fun, the Austen crowd will enjoy her escapades as she now knows the tsuris of what she now hopes is fifteen minutes of fame. Harriet Klausner
Rising Tides: Destroyermen
Roc, Feb 1 2011, $25.95
WWII USS Walker Navy destroyer Captain Matt Reddy leads his crew to Hawaii. They and his new friend New British Imperial Navy Commander Jenks face a difficult task of rescuing two women from a traitor. For Reddy and Jenks the abductions are personal as Nurse Tucker and Princess Rebecca are the victims. However, their effort to obtain help from the Honorable New Britain Company fails. The pair realizes the New Britain Company is dishonorable and must be destroyed before a velvet coup d’etat occurs. Reddy also must forge the Grand Alliance with the New British Empire; though he loathes the latter’s slavery policy as an inhuman abomination.
The pact with the Empire angers the displaced Holy Dominion colonial Spaniards. Worshippers of a blood sacrificial form of Catholicism, they vow to slaughter Matt and his crew. Meanwhile Reddy’s junior officers are delegated to having responsibilities that lead to unfortunate and in some cases avoidable deaths. The leaders learn under this under the baptism of fire, but face the moral aftermaths of sending people to die.
As the war remains heated in this parallel Destroyermen universe, the officers of the USS Walker obtain a taste of decision making in combat when they know they will send young people to their deaths. Adding to that gut wrenching horror is inexperience leads to errors compounding the deadly count. Eisenhower understood this when he ordered D-Day knowing thousands of young men would never go home and as president carefully used the military something his successors never learned. Besides the anguish of sending people to die even for a worthy cause, Taylor Anderson provides an incredible battle at sea that will have readers in awe rereading it and ponder nature’s involvement in the war with the destruction of Talaud Island. Harriet Klausner
Pocket, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
For twelve centuries William Killkenny was a dragon. However, recently he regained what he thought was lost forever; he has become human again (see Moonlight Warrior).
In Maine, single mom River Run Nursing Home Nurse Maddy Kimble raises her troubled younger brother and her nine years old daughter Sarah. William likes Maddy but she rejects his efforts for them to date as she considers him uncouth after he threatened to spank her and he was naked when he kissed her in front of the town. Desperate and out of the human dating business for twelve hundred years, William asks her elderly patients for advice. Maddy watches in amazement as the arrogant beast acts so gentle and caring towards her patients and daughter. However, having one bad marriage already Maddy has major doubts about a courtship especially with a hunk concealing who knows what from her; especially one born in 1047. William believes his time as a beast cost him his heart though he risks his new found mortality protecting Maddy from a magical attack.
The latest Midnight Bay romantic fantasy continues the whimsical saga with a delightful tale as William the grouch dragon has become William the desperate human. Readers will appreciate this humorous yet poignant thriller as the former grumpy soul warrior woos the reluctant damsel in distress (initially from family problems until the magic attack) while he obtains illegal citizenship papers including an authenticate birth certificate dated 1977. Harriet Klausner
Harper, Dec 28 2010, $7.99
Genevieve “Evie” Scelan knows she faces growing troubles, but not sure what she can do about it. She took possession of the horn of the Wild Hunt without permission and had the audacity to use it though she did it for a good cause (unless you are a Damn Yankee fan – aside from this former Bronx resident); the Fiona Cabal prevented the Red Sox from winning the World Series for decades (see Wild Hunt). Lately, Evie feels lethargic struggling to do anything. Although not exactly sure, she believes her feebleness started when she rescued Nate from the quarry spirit. Finally her critical sense of smell that made her the Hound and a major part of who she is has vanished without an olfactory trace.
Evie knows time is running out on her. In two months the Wild Hunt will come after her as she owes a soul debt to an essence that she thinks of is more it than a strange species. She must learn what is happening to her, why and how to reverse it or face dire consequences when the collector comes for her. A desperate Evie begins looking inside herself and at her family for answers
The third Hunt Red Sox nation urban fantasy (see Spiral Hunt) is an engaging thriller as the heroine learns the cost of her recent success. Fast-paced, readers will be enthralled with this action-packed yet character driven tale as Evie has lost much of her other sensory prowess at a time when the bill collector demands remittance. Harriet Klausner