Friday, May 13, 2011

Four from Harriett

Daybreak Zero
John Barnes
Ace, $26.95
ISBN: 9780441019755


Almost a year has passed since Daybreak made itself known, but those aware of its existence remain clueless as to what it is though its purpose appears to be the extinction of the human race. Fusion bombs explode and fourteen EMPs strike the United States causing the massive black-out and billions of deaths. Nanoswarm attacks destroy petroleum products including plastic leaving more people dead. On the moon, a gun appears that shooting rays at earth so that there is no radio or television; Daybreak is behind the assault.

In America much of the land has been devastated by the Daybreak attacks. President Graham Weisband and his provisional Constitutional Government in Olympia, Washington and Cameron Nguyen-Peters of the temporary National Government in Athens, Georgia argue over how to get the country back on its’ feet.. In Pueblo, Colorado, Heather O'Grainne head of the Reconstruction Research Center prevented a civil war (see Directive 51) and hosts conferences for the candidates wanting to become the next president with the Constitution serving as the basis for a new government. She also wonders how the Tribals are linked to Daybreak who seems to be able to kill anyone in opposition at any time.

Daybreak Zero is an exciting thriller starring a force that can either kill or control mankind. The story line contains several mysteries re Daybreak as to how it works and who is the powerful wizard behind the curtain. Readers wonder whether Quislings are selling out the government and consequently the people as some of those insiders remain avaricious power hungry addicts. Although a middle book feel as more questions surfaced and no major ones answered, John Barnes shows his talent as somehow the author continues to pique reader interest in his latest super Daybreak chronicle. Harriet Klausner

Unholy Embrace
Neil Benson
Night To Dawn (NTD), Apr 8 2010, $13.50
www.bloodredshadows.com
ISBN: 9780982679500


Human Frank Thornton and vampire Nessa Harcanu hold hands as they walk together at night in Manhattan. He knows his beloved is a centuries old vampire, but has not witnessed at all what that means until this evening. Werewolves attack them, but Nessa overpowers them; shaking Frank with her abilities.

They met three weeks earlier with both attracted at first sight. Now he needs to know why the assault. Nessa honestly thinks a serial killing demon she hunts sent the horde. He thinks about leaving her, but cannot as he loves her though he wonders if she is using her vampiric enchantress skills to manipulate his desires. Still Frank tells her he cannot convert, but wants to be with her. She explains the demon is not her worst nightmare. Her sire, who she killed back in 1627 after he converted her and sucked dry her husband, left behind a raging predator the “widow” Narice who wants to destroy her for killing the Master; Frank is her Achilles Heel.

This is an exhilarating urban fantasy filled with demons, werewolves and vampires; oh, my! Frank is a terrific human who feels as if he fell through the rabbit hole when he fell in love while Nessa is an honest vampiress who tells him the truth. Although there is too much going on with the lead couple as the demon hunters and as the Narice hunted, sub-genre fans will enjoy this tale of blood and romance flowing on the streets of Manhattan. Harriet Klausner

Green-Eyed Demon
Jaye Wells
Orbit, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316037778


Vampire mage Sabina Kane learns someone kidnapped her twin sister Maisie. Fuming especially with the photo of her battered sister, Sabina vows to rescue her sibling and kick abductor butt. With her demon servant Giguhl and Adam Lazarus the mage at her side, she kidnaps Tanith the Dominae though she intended to snatch Persephone to extract information. However, the Dominae makes a deal with the Queen of the Fairies, leaving a raging Sabina seemingly on the out again.

Still Tanith who plans to rule the vampires provides information that sends Sabina to New Orleans. There she confronts her psychopathic grandmother Domina Lavinia, the vampire queen and her horde of Caste of Nod Undead. Sabina knows only one side might get out breathing; and she plans that to be her with her sister. Voodoo priestess Zenobia and Brooks the changeling drag queen assists Sabina who knows she cannot afford to alienate either of them if she is to successfully overcome her homicidal relative who she assumes is behind the abduction.

This is an exciting Sabina Kane urban fantasy with the return engagement with grandma dearest (see The Mage in Black for their previous family reunion). The somewhat convoluted non linear story line is loaded with action as the heroine does not have a straight path to granny’s house of pain. The discussions between Sabina and Giguhl add jocularity as she fumes over her unwanted feelings towards Adam and he muses over her fuming. Readers will enjoy the Red-Headed Stepchild after an interlude with Tanith heading to grandma’s house. Harriet Klausner

State of Mind
Sven Michael Davison
Bedouin Press, $25.95
ISBN: 978-0966614923


Jake Travissi lived and was willing to die as a Los Angeles Police department homicide cop especially since Andrea and Jade were gone. However, he never expected to be kicked off the force and banned from law enforcement as occurred in 2030 following the Governor Pacheo’s son fiasco. Like an addict going cold turkey he feels cut off from what he needs. Only his two years old Lakshmi and “Auntie” Gene matter. Thus when given a second chance to return to the force, he readily agrees; ignoring the stipulation that he and two other cops will be implanted with the P-Chip. The trio will belong to LAPD, but work for the Department of Homeland Security.

Jake commands the Enhanced Unit field team consisting of himself, Detective Joaquin Parks and Homicide Lieutenant Alexander Koren. He takes orders from Homeland Security Director Sanchez. However as Jake begins to see odd visions, he realizes Sanchez and others envision an American caste system of those chipped and the few controllers of the implanted. Besides fighting his superior and Senator Crennan, Jake battles to control his P-Chip as he no longer can delineate what is his while wondering if Andrea and Jade were real of machine induced.

This is an exciting 1984 futuristic thriller that extrapolates current advances in medical, biological and technological fields to form a vision of a Big Brother society. Although somewhat simplistic in terms of the good and the conspiratorial; the story line is filled with action mostly driven by the P-Chip that helps people control their cravings and addictions, but few understand at the price of giving up control of Live Free or controlled. Jake uncovers the high level conspiracy to change America, but struggles to prevent it from happening as his controller uses the P-Chip to make him dance like a puppet on a string. Harriet Klausner

1 comment: