Autumn: The City
Dunne, Feb 1 2011, $14.99
The pandemic virus was so contagious, over 99% of mankind died in under twenty-four hours. Civilization was over and the few humans to survive had no time to mourn their losses as a few days later the dead began to ruse. Some fortunate people escaped the city (see Autumn) though unsure where to go.
However, not all were able to leave. Those trapped inside the city have little hope as the streets swarm with the walking undead who “live” to rip human flesh apart. Donna York hid under a desk during the brutal first forty-eight hours. Jack the warehouse worker stayed home after he observed oddness on the bus and saw his elderly neighbor. Clare the student meets Jack when she enters his home seeking shelter. Paul hid in the music store where he worked. They begin to meet other survivors like Michael and Cooper. These few unfortunate knows their only prayer is to run a gauntlet through aggressive killers in order to reach an underground military bunker that Cooper says is their salvation; not knowing whether the military remains in control inside of it.
This is an action-packed exciting Z thriller (don’t use that Z word with the Autumn tales) as the few remaining humans trapped inside the city struggle through a deadly path to reach their only chance to survive. The story line is fast-paced with the early chapters before everyone converges displaying some of the fears each possesses of the unknown and more so of the known. Although David Moody never digs deeper into the emotional defense mechanisms mentally deployed to control a wide variety of psychological issues such as survivor guilt and seeing friends and family change into mindless killers, fans will enjoy the escapades of those fleeing for their lives with the Undead everywhere ready to pounce. Harriet Klausner
Tor, Mar 1 2011, $14.99
Bodyguard Celia Graves knows her inner self battles between being a siren by birth and a vampire by mistake. She struggles with managing her new thirst for blood with the emotional fallout from her recent battles with a demon and a siren queen (see Blood Song and Siren Song). On top of all that turmoil she regards herself as human.
However, instead of R&R adjustment to her new skills and a chance to lick her wounds, Celia finds out that an ancient portal closed when Atlantis died is tearing the dimensional barrier asunder. If so demon hordes will invade the mortal world killing and enslaving humans. She needs to interpret prophesies left behind by a dead friend and obtain allies, several prejudiced against vampires and others against her in particular, to reseal the widening gap before it is too late.
The latest Graves urban fantasy (see Blood Song and Siren Song) is a great entry that moves forward on two interacting fronts. The heroine copes poorly with her mental adjustment to the changes made worse by Posttraumatic Stress Disorder while the demons are coming, the demons are coming. Fast-paced and loaded with action, readers will relish Celia’s latest grave crisis when all she wants to be is a human woman and not siren-vampire save the world heroine. Harriet Klausner
Ace, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
Calliope Reaper-Jones has a unique DNA as she happens to be one of Death’s Daughters. She just wants to be a normal New York City yuppie, but with her genetics normal is not a term Calliope expects to ever find.
However even she is unprepared when her sister Thalia united with the Devil commits patricide killing their father Death. Complicating matters for Calliope is she is unsure whether she should grieve or not for her dad or herself as she is now Death. She must accept this position she never wanted starting with the need to kill her new lover Daniel the former Devil’s protégé turned soul-saver; for if she abdicates her duty, chaos has entered the Hall of Death, which will swarm all over the universe including heaven and hell but especially earth. Then she must pay the death debt with the Ender of Death for what occurred to her family especially her widowed mom.
No longer the heir apparent thanks to her sibling, the Reaper Jones must embrace her heritage or watch the universe implode. Fast-paced but filled with humor and pathos, readers will embrace the heroine as accepts Manhattan is no longer home if it ever truly was. Serpent’s Storm is Cal’s fantasy as she with a strong support cast make for a powerful action-packed thriller. Harriet Klausner
Etched in Bone
Pocket, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
He has his feet in three worlds though he wants none of them. Vampire Dante Baptiste is the Fallen maker and the Great Destroyer who wants neither role. However, he wants a future with his beloved FBI agent Heather Wallace who shares his love and anguished tortured soul (if he has one that is) that often teeters towards insanity.
The vampires of nightkind want him as a means to take control of the planet. At the same time, the human Shadow Branch agents seek to control him by using enhanced psychological persuasion of him and if needed his love Heather. Finally the Fallen followers are growing impatient with their leader’s refusal to lead them to the Promised Land as expected by his “offspring for over a thousand years. These three diverse groups hone in on Dante and Heather.
The fourth Maker's Song (see In the Blood, Rush of Wings and Beneath the Skin) is a taut thriller in which the reader continues to empathize with the beleaguered hero and his beloved Fed. Although there are too many subplot start-ups with a horde of new mostly antagonists that make it difficult to follow the Dante (and by association Heather) assaults and where they will lead as Etched in Bone completes the transition of the overarching theme from a paranormal police procedural into a grim urban fantasy.. Still fans of Adrian Phoenix will enjoy stepping into the author’s dark world. Harriet Klausner