Thursday, June 2, 2011

New Elizabeth Bear, Pamela Palmer, Casey Daniels, and Joy Fielding

Elizabeth Bear
Spectra (Random House), Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780553591095

Having wandered through space seemingly forever on Jacob’s Ladder, the Jacobites are euphoric having finally found a habitable planet. However, the travelers are stunned when they find a human race beat them to the orb. This species of humanoids have been surgically “right minded” emotionally. They seem even more extraterrestrial than some of the alien races they met during the odyssey (see Dust and Chill).

The humans on the planet and those occupying Jacob s Ladder refuse to negotiate. Instead each side opposes comingling. War is imminent only to have enemies from within Jacob’s ladder attack from inside the craft.

This is a great finish to the strong trilogy as the cultural difference between the Jacobites and the right minded is further than Pluto is from the sun. Elizabeth Bear looks deep into those riding inside of Jacob’s Ladder as they have reached their Promised Land, but like Joshua at Jericho face a major occupant dilemma, but unlike the Old testament, the crew is divided. To a lesser degree fans will learn of the right minded society. War between these two humanoid groups seems imminent.
Harriet Klausner

Hunger Untamed
Pamela Palmer
Avon, Feb 22 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061794711

Hawke and Tighe are caught in a spirit trap with no way to escape without external help. Kougar knows one person who can free the two trapped Feral Warriors; the one person he does not want to ever see, a woman who betrayed their love. However, he pleads with his former mate, Ariana Queen of the Linas to help them.

Ariana conceals something from the male she has cherished from afar for over a millennium even when he turned his back on her as they come from two different races. She would like to help his beleaguered friends, but is unable to do so though a frustrated Kougar assumes she is just being spiteful. Instead she knows that in spite of their being soulmates, she and her beloved must never reconcile or else the darkness will accelerate the pace engulfing this realm.

The fifth Feral Warrior romantic urban fantasy (see Passion Untamed, Desire Untamed, Obsession Untamed and Rogue Untamed) is a super tale filled with action yet driven by the lead couple as each knows it is not easy being in love with someone from the other race. The story line is fast-paced from the moment a frantic Kougar begs his soul mate to save his comrades and never slows down as the heroine struggles with a dilemma between her desires and her responsibilities. Fans will relish this strong Untamed thriller. Harriet Klausner

A Hard Day’s Fright
Casey Daniels
Berkley, Apr 5 2011. $6.99
ISBN: 9780425240564

On August 14, 1966 Lucy Pasternak and some friends went to see the Beatles perform. She is proud of her audacity when she ran on stage, eluded the security guards and kissed Paul. After the show Lucy leaves with her friends by train, but never makes it home.

That night is the last time anyone seen Lucy until cemetery guide Pepper Martin sees her on the same train she rode forty-five years ago. The underground voodoo railroad lets it be known that Pepper is the person to turn to if she needs help for her spirit to finally be at rest. Pepper knows she has to get involved with a ghostly whodunit as Lucy demands she find her body and bury it. At first Pepper doesn’t want to be involved bur she changes her mind when she learns her best friend and mentor Ella was the teen friend who failed to help Lucy get home. Pepper wants to make things right for Lucy, but the inquiry into the missing body proves precarious as an unknown adversary wants the case to remain cold and tries to kill those like Pepper who are intruding.

A Pepper Martin paranormal amateur sleuth is always a fun read as the heroine solves problems for those with a Tomb with a View. Like the Ghost Whisperer she helps earth bound spirits resolve what keeps them from moving on to the next level. However, she is unable to tell anyone ever since her former boyfriend ridiculed her when she confessed that she is the Chick for the Dead. Her current investigation is a shade more personal than usual as the secondary cast especially her “Watson” enhance another delightful urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Now You See Her
Joy Fielding
Atria, Feb 22 2011, $25.99
ISBN: 9781416585312

Two years ago in a boating accident in Georgian Bay near Toronto, her daughter Devon allegedly drowned, but her body was not recovered. That tiny hope keeps fifty year old recently divorced Canadian Marcy Taggart unable to find closure as she and Devon last saw one another in a regretful scenario; thus the bereft mother clings to and prays for a miracle that her Devon purposely vanished.

Instead of her silver anniversary with Peter, he found solace with another woman, as their marriage ended when Devon disappeared. Thus instead of going with Peter as planned; Marcy travels to Ireland alone to temporarily escape from her mind-numbing grief. In Cork while on a guided tour, she sees a girl she believes is her Devon. She begins a quest to find the girl, but someone ransacks her hotel room followed by warning to leave or else. However, this is her daughter so she refuses to quit her search for the girl who may be Devon.

At times over the top of Knockboy, Marcy’s desperation and intense feelings of guilt and regret make this a powerful thriller as her need for closure leads her into all sorts of sinister trouble. Her new companions add eccentric entertainment but fail to add to a mother grieving the loss of her daughter. Marcy’s quest leads to a taut tale of danger, but it is her personal tension ripping her soul apart that turns Now You See Her into a great read. Harriet Klausner

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