Trouble and Her Friends
Orb (Tor), Feb 1 2011, $15.99
In the future, the “brainworm” technology enables hackers to plug into databases in order to steal information to sell on the thriving gray market. Business is booming for those who plug in but the conservative old guard ``netwalkers''complain to Congress that this outlaw activity needs to be banned. Sometimes you get what you ask for as the Evans-Tindale law bans the use of the brainworm and perhaps much more.
The best brainwormer is Trouble supported by her lesbian lover Cerise. The former fearing a long jail sentence stops using the technology as both women turn legit. Immediately afterward, Trouble just vanishes from heartbroken Cerise’s life.
Three years later, Cerise realizes someone impersonates her Trouble on the Internet; that rogue steals industrial secrets like she and Trouble used to do and also leaves behind a nasty virus. With her job at stake if her dubious past surfaces and with her beloved in trouble, Cerise needs to find her so they can team up to prove Trouble’s innocence and take down the clever culprit.
This reprint of an exhilarating 1994 technological thriller remains a gripping timely tale even with incredible advances in the real world since the original publication as the premise of hackers and Big Brother (and Sister) retains its validity accentuated by the recent classified leaks. Readers anticipate a virtual OK Corral showdown between retired Trouble and her intelligent imitator in Melissa Scott’s engaging tale. Harriet Klausner
A Hundred Words For Hate
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Roc, Mar 1 2011, $14.00
Archangel Remiel of the host of the Seraphim fought on the side of the Creator when Lucifer and his allies rebelled. Although his side won, drenched in the blood of his friends, he witnessed the atrocities angels committed in the name of the Creator. He left Heaven to come to earth. After several millennia as a hermit he hid his angelic persona to live amidst the earthlings; and loved and married a mortal who taught him how to truly be human. Now a widower Remy Chandler, twenty-first century Boston private investigator, fights for the Creator only when he deems it necessary to protect the species he cherishes.
The Sons of Adam are direct descendants of the First Father. Adam is dying after so many millennia; his request is to be buried in Eden. The Sons contact Remy to inform him Eden is retuning to earth. However, the Garden is dying due to something planted by the Fallen; their creations are killing her. A fallen angel seeking redemption, a woman who does know she is the key to open the gates to Eden, Eve’s direct blood descendant Izzy, and Adam’s son Jon work to prevent an apocalypse from occurring. Remy makes peace with the other side of his nature as Remiel fights creatures that will bring hell to heaven and earth.
As with his previous adventures (see A kiss Before the Apocalypse, Dancing on the Head of a Pin and Where Angels Fear to Tread) Remy is a complicated “human” and an even more complex angel. His latest escapade is a multilayered urban fantasy with numerous subplots and diverse perspectives as to the convoluted relationships between the parties of the “golden” triangle. Filled with action, pathos, divine and mortal love and redemption, A Hundred Words For Hate provides an intriguing spin on what the return of Eden means to the respective minions of Heaven, Hell and Earth. Well done Mr. Sniegoski! This tale is absolutely riveting. Harriet Klausner
Ace, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
In San Francisco dark magic practitioner Jessica Alexander wants to hire middling Enforcer Mason and his canine-ifrit familiar Lou. He prefers to say no and wonders how far he has sunk to visit a dark practitioner at her office, but the guitar playing musician needs to pay the rent and fix up his truck. Thus he considers Jessie’s paying gig to locate Jackie who stole something from her. Besides as Jessie knows, the chief of the enforcers Victor orders Mason to accept the job, but to report back to him as a spy.
Mason and Lou search for Jackie turns twisted when they learn the heart of the matter is an arcane spell book that contains incantations to open portals to other worlds. Dark and Light practitioners including Mason covet having such power. However, as Lou reminds his partner, absolute power corrupts the soul while the pair struggle in and out of one incongruity after another wondering what lethality Jackie is actually deploying.
The fourth Dog Days urban fantasy (see Unleashed and New Tricks) is a terrific tale that grips the audience once Mason and Lou agree to investigate as to the whereabouts of Jackie. The story line is fast-paced and filled with action, though the jocularity is somewhat abated compared to the previous novels especially with the climax. John Levitt has four aces in a row with his excellent Dog Days saga.
Mists of Velvet
Heat, Feb 1 2011, $15.00
Annwyn is the Otherworld in which most mortals are unaware of its existence. Those few who do know of the realm are descendent of the Otherworld denizen.
One of these individuals with the blood of his great- grandfather a Sidhe royal who abdicated for love, Rhys MacDonald owns Velvet Haven night club that caters to the paranormal. When he learns of a major magical menace threatening to destroy the Otherworld, he ignores the taboo of mortals forbidden in Annwyn and races through a portal in his establishment. However, upon entering the Otherworld, he is captured but liberated by Bronwyn the shapeshifting goddess who rescues from death the male she believes is her soul mate, having seen him in her visions. As Rhys falls in love with his savior, he must prove a worthy warrior to save her and others against the Dark Magick that engulfs Otherworld.
The second Immortals of Annwyn (see Velvet Haven) is more a quest fantasy with a strong romantic subplot enhancing the save the realm story line. Filled with plenty of action from the moment the hero leaves his border sanctuary on a rescue mission, fans who prefer more fantasy than romantic interludes will want to join the hybrid warrior (a support player in the previous tale) as he risks his life to save the world of his beloved and his heritage. Harriet Klausner