Avon, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
Using his pyrotechnical mental skills, Offspring Eric Aruda killed two CIA agents using a thought to set them on fire and shot another. Trained government assassin Fonda Raine is assigned to kill Eric. Using her projection skill she manages to get close to him, but finds committing the act difficult because he is not the cold blooded killer she expected and murder in cold blood is not an easy task for most people.
Making matters more complicated is when someone with more firepower than all of the Offspring surfaces as a killing machine. As they team up to end this predator, Fonda also realizes all she thought she knew about the Offspring is questionable as he is nothing like the dangerous psychopath she thought although dangerous fits. Still a killer stalks the Offspring and seems to have high level government support.
The fourth Offspring romantic urban fantasy (see A Touch of Darkness, A Perfect Darkness and Out of the Darkness) is loaded with dangerous action starring two seemingly enemies falling in love. Part of the fun comes from the heroine’s projection skill that initially has Aruda wondering if he suffers hallucinations from the beautiful vision that comes and goes in a blink. However, the keys to this great entry are that the overarching theme moves forward and stunning depth is added to the Rush realm. Burning Darkness is an exciting thriller. Harriet Klausner
Death’s Sweet Embrace
Harper, Jan 25 2011, $7.99
Snow leopard shifter Kit Jordan left the medical examiner’s office as she mourns the death of her brother Dyan. She obtains a teaching position at NYAPS where she plans to meet her twins she was forced to give away after giving birth to them years ago. A pariah with her pride, Kitt feels alone.
Meanwhile the father of her twins Raven Matokwe is wanted by the law. Still he works for Oberon on investigations. Their current case is particularly horrific as a serial killer somehow paralyzes teenage shapeshifters and while they still breathe rips out their hearts in what appears to be a ritual of sorts. The investigation brings Raven and Kitt back together trying to end the reign of terror of a psychopath.
The second Dark Brethren urban fantasy (see Night’s Cold Kiss) retains the foreboding atmosphere even with a romantic subplot of a darkened world in which sentient species battled for over a century to be at the top of the food chain. The prime plot is a desperate investigation to end the reign of terror of a serial killer. Vivid, don’t eat while reading Death’s Sweet embrace as sweet is not quite the adjective to describe this dark thriller. Harriet Klausner
Pack of Lies
Laura Anne Gilman
Luna, Jan 18 2011, $14.95
In New York City, a mob of humans assaults the mortal companion to a ki-rin. When the dust settles, all the attackers are either dead or near death. Bonita Torres of Private Unaffiliated Paranormal Investigations (PUPI) leads the inquiry into the deadly incident at a time when anger is high between the humans and the fatae and the Casa Nostradamus members refuse to talk to cops.
At the same that Bonnie and her team scrutinize the deadly scene, she and her boss Benjamin Venec struggle to control their attraction for one another. Each wants the other, but both understand a non professional relationship between a superior and a direct reporting individual is trouble.
The second Paranormal Scene Investigations urban fantasy (see Hard Magic) is a terrific “Electric Apple” police procedural that comes out of the gate at full speed and never decelerates as the PUPI team struggles with the magical community closing its ranks to outsiders. The Gilman’s Gotham comes across as real due to little things like Pink Floyd while Bonnie is a super lead investigator and her teammates on the case (Pietr and Sharon) add depth. Readers will enjoy astute Bonnie’s first person account as she has come a long way since her college days, which she will remind readers were seemingly just yesterday. Harriet Klausner
March in Country
Roc, Jan 4 2011, $24.99
It is February of the fifty-sixth year of the Kurian invasion with most of earth subservient to the conquering vampiric Kur. However, the Kur risk nothing as they never go out seeking the human energy that sustains them. Instead they send their combat laborers the Reapers who drink the victim’s blood and sends back bring back the needed Vital Auras via a form of telepathy to their Kurian master.
There remains a strong resistance movement in the United States that has led to a battle for the land between the Ohio and Tennessee Rivers. The Kur want it captured while Major David Valentine wants to establish free human communities in Kentucky. David knows the Golden Ones would love to settle in the lush land. Thus the Major and some allies journey to the Midwest where the group resides, but the dangerous trip proves futile. The Golden ones choose to honor their loyalryy pledge to the Baron. Even if he can find a way for the moral group to remain loyal to their oath and relocate to the Promised Land, Valentine knows the Kurian Order awaits them on the treacherous trek back as do other murderous human Quislings and outlaws.
The ninth Vampire Earth science fiction thriller is an exciting tale filled with action and new revelations re the various sentient species. Readers will be able to picture an America mostly captured by the outsiders with pockets of resistance. David is a real American hero who risks his life in order to kick the ETs out of his country and preferably out of the solar system. Though it behooves the audience to read the previous series entry (see Winter Duty) as the concept of a Kentucky freehold begins there and is not reiterated here. Fans of the saga will enjoy this entertaining entry. Harriet Klausner