Someone drained the blood of a woman in Wisconsin. Now, an unknown predator drains the blood of twelve years old Archibald Lane, leaving a corpse with bites and a few bruises in a Chicago park. FBI agent Jackie Rutledge leads the investigation in which her psychic partner Laurel sense something paranormal at the murder scene.
Law enforcement first focuses on private investigator Nick “Sheriff” Anderson as the predator, but Jackie quickly realizes he is innocent. Instead he offers to assist her and Laurel on the bizarre case in which he and his team add to the paranormal peculiarities. Soon the inquiry leads back to over a century ago.
Because of the paranormal in Chicago, there is an obvious nod to early Dresden, but the respective teammates of Jackie and Nick make for a much different fresh urban fantasy spin. The supernatural investigative story line is fast-paced and contains a strong twist in midstream. The cast is solid as the lead pair and the secondary players are fully developed though more of the highlight film of Nick’s 180 years of existence would have been helpful. Sub-genre fans will enjoy the brisk tour of J.N. Duncan’s Deadworld. Harriet Klausner
The Ale Boy’s Feast
Although the Cent Regus Beastmen have been defeated, the Seers of Bel Amica continue to destroy the beauty of the realm especially with the poisonous Deathweed. Jordam the Beastman tries to bring back the comatose near dead remains of House Abascar especially Rescue the firewalker ale boy as only he can lead them to salvation in the former hidden city of Inius Throan.
Milora leads others from tattered Abascar to the Promised Land Inius Throan. Also heading there is Abascar King Cal-raven who has lost his belief in the Keeper. The monarch’s former tutor Scharr Ben Fray the stonemaster mage tries to keep the true Expanse history from being overwhelmed by revisionists fabricating threads while hoping to see a New Abascar rise from the ruins of the old order. None can make it to the ancient city yet all can make it to the ancient city.
The fourth and final Aurelia’s Thread epic fantasy (see Raven’s Ladder, Auralia's Colors and Cyndere's Midnight) is a great finish to a strong allegorical journey. The Ale Boy’s Feast contains several rotating subplots that Jeffery Overstreet intertwines into a powerful tapestry as the key cast struggles with doubts while praying for a new start. Complicated and convoluted, this is a fitting climax to a fabulous multifaceted saga. Harriet Klausner
Believers Press, May 2011, $19.99
In 2032 Pastor Josh McGuire is in China preaching the Word to underground churches. He is a fervent believer that he rejoices that he converts the people to become children of God. Security forces arrest Josh; Shanghai Security Chief Yang interrogates the Westerner. Calmly Josh feels the Spirit moves him to rid the demon from his tormentor’s body. A dazzled Yang is impressed by what his prisoner accomplished and converts just like his wife as a devotee of Christ.
Josh leaves China for Australia to meet with the missionary who told him that he has visions of going to Yangon in Myanmar. This is the last populated place on earth where the Word has failed to arrive. Josh touched by Jesus and Gabriel knows he must head to Yangon as he believes that is where the Trigger for the second coming will begin. The French president manipulated by Appolyon the demon leads the opposition trying to prevent the Word from reaching Myanmar even if that means millions of believers and non-believers die.
Although the Trigger is an End of Times Revelations thriller, Hon Hoh provides a fresh different interpretation to the final days. Instead of Armageddon occurring near Jerusalem, destruction is global at the same time. When called upon by God to bring about the Second Coming, Josh feels sort of like Moses as the wrong man for the upcoming trials and tribulations; he depends on his belief in the Lord to enable him to achieve the impossible mission. Sub-genre readers will relish Mr. Hoh’s extrapolation of contemporary international relations with a unique but incise interpretation of the Book of Revelation. Harriet Klausner
Mercy Reynolds trusts few people as she knows firsthand how treacherous others are especially towards a “Draman”. Recently, the half air dragon’s single digits were reduced by one when her best friend purebred sea dragon Rainey was murdered in a car incident in which Mercy was a passenger. Her BFF’s homicide is hard enough for Mercy to accept, but the death precluded the rituals needed to enable Rainey to move on as dragons dead at sunrise without the ritual cannot. Mercy knows that if she can find and bring the killers to justice she can perform the rituals for Rainey to pass; five days left and counting to achieve the impossible San Francisco mission.
Damon Ray is trying to do his job of killing rogue purebreds and dramon dragons who break the law. His current assignment has humiliatingly a draman helping him. However, worse is he is attracted to the half-breed while she refuses to back off as she is on a mercy mission for her beloved late buddy.
While Riley Jenson takes a deserved respite, Keri Arthur writes an engaging investigative romantic urban fantasy. Mercy is a terrific heroine whose objective is not vengeance but the purity of enabling her friend to move beyond this realm. Damon is more hard boiled even with his attraction as the audience will relish this paranormal tour of the streets of San Francisco in the second Myth and Magic thriller (see Destiny Kills). Harriet Klausner