Thursday, June 23, 2011

Phantom Evil, The Darkest Secret, and Bel-Air Dead

Phantom Evil
Heather Graham
Mira, $24.95
ISBN: 9780778329534

The wife of Louisiana State Senator David Holloway, Regina falls from the balcony of their mansion to her death. The New Orleans Police Department investigates and concludes Regina committed suicide as she still grieved the loss of her son Jacob due to a DUI several months ago.

Adam Harrison sends his special investigative team to New Orleans to look into the Holloway death. The unit is led by Jackson Crow, who used to work for the Fed’s Behavioral Sciences Unit. He, his team of five, and paranormal pragmatic Virginia police officer Angela Hawkins who can detect the supernatural arrive at the Holloway mansion in the French Quarters. Their mission is to determine whether the supernatural was involved in the woman’s fall. Soon they revise the objective to staying alive.

No one writes romantic urban fantasy better than Heather Graham does as she consistently blends suspense with the paranormal. Her latest thriller Phantom Evil uses the disturbing past of people who resided in what appears to be a haunted house with modern day supernatural happenings. Readers will hear the bumps in the night as Ms. Graham provides another powerful New Orleans paranormal romantic suspense thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Darkest Secret
Gena Showalter
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775491

Amun was one of the twelve immortal warriors who opened Pandora's Box eons ago. Like his peers he was punished by absorbing one of the demons Secret as a Lord of the Underworld.

Meanwhile Strider and his demon Defeat capture Haidee, a demon Hunter whose ancestors were massacred by the Lords of the Underworld in ancient Greece. He takes her to the ancient warriors' fortress. There she meets in a cell Amun locked by his peers to keep his demon from manipulating the darkest emotions of his peers while the Warrior still recuperates from travel to Hell and back. Her touch calms the demon inside of Amun, but though attracted to one another, a hunter and a lord are as star-crossed as lovers can be.

This is an intriguing entry with a strong late twist as readers will wonder whether love conquers all includes demons and their hunters. The romantic urban fantasy story line continues to be extremely complex and convoluted so don’t dive in here as it behooves readers to peruse the previous tales. Not for everyone as Gena Showalter does not run away from the transgressions the Warriors have committed with rape and violence.Still fans will enjoy the tale of the hunter trained to kill the demon and his host. Harriet Klausner

Bel-Air Dead
Stuart Woods
Putnam, $25.95
ISBN: 9780399157363

In Southern California, elderly actor Vance Calder dies. He leaves his much younger widow Arrington his stock in Centurion Studios in Bel-Air. Arrington asks her former lover Manhattan based attorney Stone Barrington to travel to Los Angeles to represent her legally, as she battles over who controls the studio. Dropping everything to assist the mother of his son, Barrington makes Strategic Moves starting with reorganizing Arrington's shares; buying more stock for her; and finally forging partnerships with other holders in order for his client to have the controlling interest.

Known for playing hardball Terry Prince, CEO of Prince Investments, wants the choice property where Centurion Studios resides as he knows there is much more to be made from development. When someone murders stockholder Jennifer Harris, Barrington assumes his opponent raised the stakes. With his sidekick Dino Bacchetti having his back, Stone obtains local help as he plays chess with an amoral opponent.

With a twist that includes Ed Eagle territory (see Santa Fe Edge and Santa Fe Dead); fans will enjoy the Stone invasion of Hollywood as the East Coast hipster matches up against a West Coast shark. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Stone arrives in California until the climax as regardless of which coast the hero is in, he retains his usual unconcerned demeanor in the face of danger while also being a chick magnet. Harriet Klausner

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