Morrow, Mar 8 2011, $19.99
In the Carpathian Mountains lives an immortal race of blood drinkers. These eternal Carpathians face several crises that have the species nearing extinction. There are few females and no new child has been born alive in ages. Humans with their superior numbers hunt Carpathians as soulless beasts. The assertion has support as the male must find his soulmate within a few centuries or turn into blood sucking vampires; some recognize the emotional void when they lose the ability to see colors and choose suicide.
Prince Mikhail Dubrinsky despairs for himself and his people as he is on the brink of lunacy. His emptiness overwhelms him so he wants to shut down the emotions; still he holds back his anguish as his people need him as their moral anchor. He wonders if he totally lost it when he hears a female telepathic voice in his head. Mikhail finds the woman psychic Raven Whitney the serial killer hunter. He knows who she is to him so he abducts her. Using mind-sex to make it with his virgin, Mikhail begins to win the heart of his savior. He has little time to persuade her that they are life mates as a serial killing monster hunts Carpathians with species cleansing the objective.
“The Author’s Cut Special Edition” reprint of the original first Dark Carpathian romantic fantasy (released in 1999) includes over a hundred pages removed from the initial publication. These include sexual padding but also provide deeper insight into the Carpathian culture. Mikhail is a wonderful lead character with his mental roller coaster while Raven proves his equal as his soul savior. This life mate team must prevent the genocide. Reader of the twenty-one books series will enjoy the revised alpha thriller with its marvelous underlying premise while newcomers will find this is an excellent way to enter Christine Feehan’s Dark. Harriet Klausner
How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf
Simon & Schuster, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
Mo Duval-Wenstein drives from Leland, Mississippi to Grundy, Alaska; population of 2,053. She left behind a broken engagement and a concerned mother who has flooded her cell’s voice mail with a zillion “call me” messages that she deletes each night without listening to them. She needed to get away so she leased the Meyers’ place for a year. Her first person to greet the Lower Forty-eight transplant is Yosemite Sam AKA Nate Gogan the lawyer.
Her abode smells of dead fish as the last residents were weekend anglers. At the Blue Glacier Saloon, Mo meets owner Evie DuChamp who tells her as long as they don’t offer her meat they are harmless. She also meets Cooper Graham who scoffs at a southerner surviving in Alaska. He conceals from her that from his first sniff he knows who she is to him. Soon afterward, Mo is taken aback when a naked Cooper with an animal trap locked onto his ankle limps onto her porch. He is a werewolf, who fears he is the serial killing wolf murdering people. Mo refuses to believe her alpha life mate is a psychopath even in animal form so he risks her life to prove her assertion.
This jocular Alaskan romance places a dysfunctional werewolf pack whose alpha has deserted them and a Mississippi Delta woman into the middle of Northern Exposure. With culture clashes that make Fleischman seem like another Native Alaskan instead of a New Yorker, How To Flirt With A Naked Werewolf is a zany tongue in cheek lampooning of the sub-genre. Filled with sassy southern sensitivities and wacky werewolf wanting, fans will enjoy “Nice Girls Don’t” marry dead men with fangs in places like Leland or Half Moon Hollow, but in Alaska tongue out of cheek lycanthropes make better lovers. Harriet Klausner
Putnam, Mar 17 2011, $24.95
Police Inspector Kari Vaara now works homicide in Helsinki since his wife Kate detested living in his hometown. Kari has a lot on his plate with his pregnant wife only weeks away from giving birth after miscarrying last year. He is hurting mentally over the Sufia Elmi case that left his face scarred and physically from headache from a three-week long migraine with the end nowhere in sight. Worse than the headache is his new partner Milo who is a certified genius with a Dirty Harry gunslinger perspective. New to homicide, his office peers wonder if he will break solving a homicide. There hasn’t been an unsolved homicide in decades
Kari gets a chance to prove them wrong when he is assigned the torture murder of Lisa Filippov whose lover is arrested for killing his married mistress. His superiors order Kari to find evidence to hang the lover and look nowhere else, but Kari instead notices anomalies that lead him to believe the Finnish government is protecting the husband, influential Russian businessman arrogant Ivan Filippov, abetted by his mistress, who he believes likely committed the murder
His other inquiry also has high government visibility as Germany demands the extradition of Finnish World War II hero Arvid Lahinen to stand trial for war crimes allegedly committed in Northern Finland. The Interior Minister demands Kari proves the hero is innocent so he cannot be deported; nothing condemning the hero is acceptable.
Lucifer’s Tears is a super Finnish police procedural that quickly immerses the reader into the exciting story line. The audience learns much about Finnish society today and explosive events not found in history texts about Finland’s role in WWII. Kari is a fascinating protagonist with personal issues and whose first two Helsinki investigations have big brother government telling him the acceptable outcome. Harriet Klausner
Putnam, Mar 22 2011, $25.95
Joe Pickett is happy being home in Saddlestring, Wyoming with his beloved wife Marybeth and their daughter instead of being the Wyoming governor’s point man. The only person who resides in the county that he dislikes is his mother-in-law Missy, who just married her sixth husband multimillionaire Earl Alden. However he is missing and she demands her game warden son-in-law find him.
Joe arrives at the ranch and quickly finds a body in a wind turbine. He climbs the ladder and identifies the corpse as his latest father-in-law. Sheriff McLachlan orders him down as he knew this was a crime scene before her got there due to an informant’s tip. He arrests Missy, but Joe believes she is being framed as the informant is her ex husband Bud Longbrake who lost his ranch to her when she divorced him. Marybeth begs Joe to investigate, which he reluctantly does. He quickly learns everyone within Earl’s scope wanted him dead. That is enough for Missy to be not guilty in court, but Marybeth wants her mom proven innocent.
This complex mystery with its strong casting is what fans expect in the Pickett investigative series as C.J. Box provides another terrific tale. The story line is personal because Joe and Missy detest one another, but both love Marybeth. Readers will enjoy Cold Wind as the hero works a case trying to prove his number one enemy is innocent. Harriet Klausner
Zondervan, Feb 24 2011, $14.99
In the African Republic of Dhambizao, civil war between the government military and the rebel Ghost Soldiers force thousands to flee. Dr. Paige Ryan of the Volunteers of Hope relief sets up a temporary refugee camp to provide medical care and some sustenance; knowing temporary can be decades.
The Ghost Soldiers attack an American mountain climbing expedition. Dt. Ryan and her team rescue some of trapped climbers. However, one of those rescued brings to camp a highly infectious disease. Ryan, pilot Nick Gilbert and her crew desperately try to obtain vaccines but the Ghost Soldiers refuse to allow anyone to leave the encampment even for humanitarian reasons unless their demands are met. American diplomat Paul Hayes negotiates between the government and the Ghost Soldiers as time is running out for those inside the camp.
The second Mission Hope thriller (see Blood Ransom) is an exciting tale driven by a cast used to tragedy yet remains hopeful. The negotiations are not easy as everyone has a stake they can lose in the outcome. Readers will enjoy the courageous efforts of Ryan and her beset team of volunteers, and the daunting work of Hayes and Gilbert, but the taut story line belongs to the three groups (government, Ghost Soldiers, and the refugees) of people of Dhambizao who put faces and complexities to the deadly crisis. Harriet Klausner