Wednesday, September 28, 2011


Another test at the VA tomorrow. Details after.

Computer in shop.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Double Dead by Chuck Wendig

Coming to life on 10th November in the UK and 15th in US & Canada

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907519-44-4
$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-41-4

Also available as an ebook

What does a vampire eat during the zombie apocalypse?

Coburn has a problem – he’s just woken up from a five year sleep to find that human civilisation has fallen in the face of the zombie apocalypse. He likes blood. They like brains. So, yeah – problem.

And now he’s starving. So this vampire not only has to find human survivors but must become an unlikely shepherd with a shotgun. After all, a man has to look after his food supply...

A thrilling chase across a zombie-infested America – but with a twist – Double Dead is Chuck Wendig’s fantastically entertaining, blood-thirsty, brain-guzzling debut novel.

As part of Abaddon’s READ ANYTHING campaign, a free preview of chapter one of Double Dead is available for download! Check out the epub version, the Kindle version or the .pdf version now, for free!

“A bloodthirsty ride through zombie-infested Route 66. Chuck Wendig gives horror fans EXACTLY what they need in this slick, cross-genre romp.”
– Wayne Simmons, author of the best-selling Flu and Drop Dead Gorgeous

About the Series

Rotten bone and raddled flesh, shuffling perils and moaning menaces – Tomes of the Dead reimagines the zombie genre not as an endless retread of the same tired themes, but as a prism crack’d, exploring the gut-churning, flesh-biting world of the shambling dead from a new, different and unexpected direction every time – from Roman zombies to zombie gumshoes and zombie romance to ... hell, if you haven’t seen a Romanian Elvis impersonator squaring off against a green-glowing space zombie, then Tomes of the Dead will be a terrifying, fresh-from-the-grave revelation.

One of the three series with which Abaddon Books launched in 2006, Tomes of the Dead is a collection of stand-alone novels that has showcased the talents of a number of brilliant, up-and-coming British and American authors, including Gary McMahon, Al Ewing, Simon Bestwick and Weston Ochse. Double Dead is the thirteenth Tomes of the Dead title.

About the Author

Chuck Wendig is a novelist, screenwriter and self-described 'penmonkey.' He sold his first story when he was 18. After working in the computer and role-playing game industries he began scripting TV and film projects, including a horror film script which won him a place at the prestigous Sundance Screenwriter Lab 2010. He currently lives in the wilds of Pennsyltucky with a wonderful wife and two very stupid dogs.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Enchanting reviews from Harriet

Primal Law
J.D. Tyler
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234346

In Afghanistan, an attack left many in Jaxon Tyler’s unit dead; those who survived were changed into werewolves. They became the Alpha Pack. However, he and his unit of shifters are betrayed by his girlfriend Beryl; he knows he is fortunate to survive while tossing his perfidious lover into the fire.

At NewLife Technology in Las Vegas, Jaxon rescues lab assistant Kira Locke from an assault. She knows something is not right at the lab so she steals samples so that she and her protector Jax can figure out what is happening. As the werewolf and the human work together, they fall in love; but each understands the mission to take down the unknown predatory Chappell comes first.

With a nod to Mandy M. Roth’s Immortal Ops series, J.D. Tyler provides a fabulous first act with the introduction of the Alpha Pack, a military werewolf unit with other specialized paranormal talents. The story line is fast-paced from the opening betrayal and never slows down as the team works on learning who Beryl is allied with. Not all goes well as some members die and others are captured by the enemy. Although Kira accepts things too easily (after an initial short circuit) and acts and reacts over the top of the Stratosphere Casino, Hotel & Tower, fans will enjoy meeting the Alpha Pack. Harriet Klausner

The Twelfth Enchantment
David Liss
Random House, $26.00
ISBN: 9781400068988

Ay sixteen Lucy Derrick eloped with Jonas Morrison, but their running away was never finished though it partially wrecked her reputation as being foolish but not a whore. She believes her aborted elopement destroyed her family. A few years later, her oldest sister Emily died just before her father passed. Her middle sister Martha married Mr. Buckles who rejects having Lucy in his house as he obeys his patroness Widow Lady Harriett Dyer. Lucy lives as the poor relation of her resentful martinet Uncle Richard Lowell and his towering abusive housekeeper Mrs. Quince. She is forced to accept a marriage offer from Mr. Olson, owner of a mill with brutal working conditions.

The poet Lord Byron arrives babbling she must not marry before collapsing. Medical man Mr. Snyder arrives and says he cannot help the cursed Byron; he suggests they consult with Miss Mary Crawford. Lucy and Mrs. Quince visit Mary. The “witch” guides Lucy as she lifts the curse haunting Byron. The strangeness turns weirder as Lucy becomes the foci of a colossal conspiratorial collision between the ancient and modern times. Lucy must find a mystical tome to save her country while two enigmatic males court her.

The Twelfth Enchantment is a strange yet engaging Regency fantasy starring a charming heroine struggling with being the unwanted relative fostered off to an engagement she does not remotely accept when her vision of the world is shattered. The storyline is leisurely paced especially towards the beginning to establish time and place (through Byron) and the laws of Liss magic. Readers will appreciate this twisting coming of age historical fantasy as Lucy Derrick tries to save a world she never knew existed until Byron arrived. Harriet Klausner

Storm’s Heart
Thea Harrison
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242667

Two centuries ago Urien murdered the royal family. Only he failed to kill his niece Dark Fae Princess Niniane “Tricks” Lorelle. After witnessing the atrocities, she fled to the protection of Lord of the Wyrn Dragos. When Urien kidnaps Dragos’ mate, he kills the usurper.

In Chicago where Tricks hides, an assassination attempt on her leads to ancient thunderbird Wyr warrior Tiago Black Eagle sent to protect the new Dark Fae Queen. Each is shocked with the attraction between them. However, she knows she must prove her independence if she is to take the throne that is rightfully hers; and he knows her safety comes before his desire so he must keep her safe while ferreting out the assassin.

The second Elder Races romantic fantasy (see Dragon Bound) is an entertaining tale filled with betrayal and blood feuds that give the story line (even with a stay in GPS Chicago) a sort of Scottish historical Highlander feel. The moderate pace allows the audience to fully dive into the Harrison realm where the supernatural seem natural. Sub-genre readers will enjoy Tricks’ saga summed up by her with her adding the fourth definition of a Queen to the dictionary: “a royal pain in the ass”. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm a Redneck! Are You?

This is not the type of Redneck jokes we hear, this is beautiful.

We have enjoyed the redneck jokes for years. It's time to take a reflective look at the core beliefs of a culture that values home, family, country and God. If I had to stand before a dozen terrorists who threaten my life, I'd choose a half dozen or so rednecks to back me up.

Tire irons, squirrel guns and grit -- that's what rednecks are made of. If you feel the same, pass this on to your redneck friends. Y'all know who ya are.

You might be a redneck if: It never occurred to you to be offended by the phrase, 'One nation, under God..'

You might be a redneck if: You've never protested about seeing the 10 Commandments posted in public places.

You might be a redneck if: You still say ' Christmas' instead of 'Winter Festival.'

You might be a redneck if: You bow your head when someone prays.

You might be a redneck if: You stand and place your hand over your heart when they play the National Anthem.

You might be a redneck if: You treat our armed forces veterans with great respect, and always have.

You might be a redneck if: You've never burned an American flag, nor intend to.

You might be a redneck if: You know what you believe and you aren't afraid to say so, no matter who is listening.

You might be a redneck if: You respect your elders and raised your kids to do the same. Some of you are so old you don't have elders to respect.

You might be a redneck if: You'd give your last dollar to a friend.

You might be a redneck if: You believe in God & Jesus and believe that others have the right to believe in which ever God they believe in as long as their God does not
tell them to kill anyone who does not believe the same as they do!!!!!

God Bless the USA !

Keep the fire burning, redneck friend.


Saturday, September 24, 2011

Three from Harriet

Gears of War: Coalition’s End
Karen Traviss
Gallery, $26.99
ISBN: 9781439183953

It seems like ancient history when the war of the world began, but in fact it is just fifteen years since the Locust Horde came from within to assault the humans (see Aspho Fields). Their objective was total annihilation of all humans. Mankind fought back though billions died as the ruthless enemy made no distinction between soldier and civilian.

The Gears of the Coalition of Ordered Governments (COG) destroy what is left of civilization though they defeated their insidious foe and another powerful adversary at one hellish cost (see Jacinto's Remnant and Anvil Gate). The survivors take refuge on Vectes, a difficult to reach isolated island. As the COG begins to argue, haven turns to hell when the mutilating Lambent begin a deadly assault which explains why the Locust left the underground to fight on the surface. Marcus Fenix and Dom Santiago know a last stand on Vectes is suicide as the polyps make the tickers and berserkers look benign; the only place left for the dwindling few humans are the equally suicidal Wastelands.

The fourth Gears of War tied to the games is a terrific entry as Karen Travis provides a fascinating spin to the military science fiction saga with the motive to the recent global war of destruction. The story line showcases the desperation humanity faces as the remaining two survival choices will remind readers of Joshua playing Tic-Tac-Toe in WarGames as each solution facing humans leads to total annihilation. Although there is somewhat a similar tone to Anvil Gate, fans of the Gears of War universe will enjoy action-packed Coalition’s End as things have gotten dramatically worse enhanced by a major betrayal for the human race. Harriet Klausner

Dark Passages
Kathryn Leigh Scott
Pomegranate Press,$14.95
ISBN: 9780938817833

Farmer Meg Harrison is a vampire who exclusively dines on animal blood; her choice cuts being easy to catch birds of squirrels. Meg goes out of her way to live a human lifestyle which is not hard since Stoker got very little right about her species.

When Meg graduates from high school, she leaves the farm for the city where she plans to be a Playboy Bunny and audition for acting gigs. She is excited when she lands a part on the daytime soap opera Dark Passages. Life is great until Camilla the raging envious witch surfaces with a penchant for casting nasty spells as she seeks the boiled blood of a particular TV star.

This is a fun paranormal historical urban fantasy starring a fascinating young vampire supported by a vast secondary cast and an atmospheric gothic story line; With 1960s icons as an anchor, readers will root for Meg as she battles three centuries old Camilla for queen of the “Dark Shadows” Hollywood Hills as Kathryn Leigh Scott shows her TV roots with this entertaining vampire thriller. This is for vampire fans a must read. Harriet Klausner

Blood Hunt
Shannon K. Butcher
Signet, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234292

She arrived out of nowhere naked in body and mind. Sister Olive took in Hope Serrien who, though she still lacks her memory of her past, now helps the homeless starting with reading auras.

Hope searches for a missing woman. However, in Kansas City, Missouri, her quest is interrupted when she steps into the middle of a Synestrian demon attack; her blood saves Logan Athar the Sanguinar demon fighter. However, as she rescued his body, she ruins his well being because he wants her as his but she can never belong to him. She has no time to adapt to the paranormal as Krag the Synestrian lord wants to drain Hope while Logan vows to protect her. Krag captures the pair whose love for each other is their only hope for escape.

The fifth Sentinel Wars (see Living Nightmare and Running Scared) is a great urban fantasy starring the enigmatic Logan and the woman who saves his life. Loaded with action and with a deeper understanding of the war between the Synestrian and the Sanguinar, Shannon K. Butcher moves forward the overarching theme but also provides an engaging romance that enhances the paranormal story line. Although newcomers will have some problems diving into the world of Ms. Butcher without reading the previous entries, fans of the saga will appreciate this powerful tale. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Time for a Change from Abaddon Books


Abaddon Books introduces a new direction for genre publishing

Abaddon Books is delighted to announce a bold new venue in genre publishing – one where the readers are in charge!

Time’s Arrow will be the latest book from the world’s longest continuously running Steampunk novel series, Pax Britannia. Set in a world where the Victorian age never ended, Pax Britannia is an insane world of high technology and rip-roaring adventure.

The big difference with Time’s Arrow? Each instalment will be published as an ebook and, at the end of each of the first two, readers will be able to vote on where THEY want the story to go. Once all three instalments have been published, they will be bound together into a print edition.

The first part of the book will go live online on October 11th, with the vote for what happens next closing on December 11th.

Merging the best of print and online, Abaddon is proud to engage in such an exciting experiment – one where readers actively have a say in how the book is written.

Jon Green has written titles in the legendary Fighting Fantasy series and created seven of the critically-acclaimed Pax Britannia books for Abaddon.

“Pax Britannia is one of Abaddon’s most established series,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Abaddon Books, “so it seemed like the natural choice for such a unique venture in publishing. This adventure is sure to reach out to new readers while giving established fans a say in the rich universe they have come to love.”
“I am passionate about the whole Steampunk milieu, and the world of Pax Britannia in particular, while my first forays into writing professionally were adventure gamebooks,” says Jonathan Green. “To marry elements of both is a fantastic opportunity for me as a writer and I, for one, can't wait to see how the story pans out!”

About the Series

Pax Britannia launched in 2007 with Unnatural History. A steampunk alternative history set in a late twentieth century in which Queen Victoria – now nearing the end of her sixteenth decade on the throne, and wholly dependent on steam technology for survival – rules over the vastly wealthy, powerful and decadent Empire of Magna Britannia. Airships ply the skies overhead as gentlemen of leisure admire the dinosaurs in London Zoo, while the Empire has extended to the Moon. Across the pond, the United Socialist States of America, loosely allied with the might of Magna Britannia, is home to dreamers, poets, madmen, and heroes, poised to usher in a new era.

The series has included seven books by Jonathan Green, featuring the adventures of Ulysses Lucian Quicksilver, dandy and adventurer and agent of the throne; an omnibus collecting the first three is currently available.

About the Author

The creator of the world of Pax Britannia, Jonathan Green is well known for his contribution to the Fighting Fantasy range of adventure gamebooks as well as his novels in Games Workshop’s world of Warhammer and Warhammer 40,000.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Health Update 2

I had my heart cath yesterday (9-20) and will be returning next Monday for another test and to be scheduled for quadruple bypass surgery. It looks like I will be in the hospital for about a week and then will be home for around four weeks in recovery.

They said it was good thing we caught it as the minor heart attack was a warning of worse things to come. It was not the results I wanted to hear, but better this than the alternative that could have happened.

Posting won’t be as frequent in the coming weeks but I will try to check email every day and stay in touch as best I can. Thanks to all for your prayers and good thoughts. I’m sure they helped.

I'll post the date when I'm sure.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Health Update

A few months ago while having an exam at the VA hospital, the doctor mentioned that I had signs of an infarct and should have an EKG. After the EKG was done, I was asked when I had my heart attack. I told them “never” and they told me I was wrong and I had signs of one and scheduled me for an echo and stress test.

Previously I was seeing a cardiologist and he told me I had valvular heart disease with mitral regurgitation, but it was a common thing and not to worry about it unless I required anesthesia, otherwise I was fine. So I didn’t worry anymore about it until the results came up at the VA.

I had the stress test and the doctor called the next day and said I was being scheduled for a “procedure”. I’m scheduled on September 20 for a heart cath and an internal camera to access any damage that I may have. If stents are needed, they will be done at that time with anything else to follow if necessary.

Everyone tells me this is just a minor surgery and not to worry, but to me no surgery is minor and if you are playing around in my heart it is pretty damn serious to me.

The VA doctor seems to think that this is related to my service in Vietnam and the exposure to Agent Orange there. I already have type II diabetes, hypertension, neuropathy and PTSD from my time there and now this. I’ve been in good spirits, but the closer it gets the more nervous I am.

I’ll post my results on Facebook and the blog and email everyone on the list when I get the results. So just keep a good thought for me.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Chronos Prophecies

CHRONOS PROPHECIES, Tom Ciolli, Kindle, $4.00, 78 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

In CHRONOS, the first book in the series we were introduced to a world ruled by The Mining Syndicate and the battles fought by The Wolverines led by Zach Murphy. It was a battle filled action packed volume.

In this second installment, there are still action packed adventures, but, Ciolli has shifted the story to the fulfillment of the prophecies that have been passed down for a thousand years. Murphy and his team are also instructed in developing their mental telepathy and other powers.

We also see more of the planet where dinosaurs have been allowed to evolve; meet ages old human and Amalthean telepaths; and, are finally told more of how the Amaltheans and humans are linked together.

Ciolli has a grand plan in place for further adventures (at least I hope he does) and I’m sure after reading CHRONOS PROPHECIES, you, too, will want to find out more of the secrets that the two races share.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Cosmic Forces

COSMIC FORCES, The Jake Helman Files, Gregory Lamberson, Medallion Press, $14.95, 388 pages, ISBN: 9781605424088, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Jake Helman is a New York City Private Investigator who seems to attract the more unusual cases. Of course, he is an ex-cop and usually gets leaned on by those on the force when some of his cases leave too many unanswered questions. He has plenty of skeletons in his closet; has triple locks on his safe; keeps a two foot raven as a “pet”; and, is still in love with his dead wife.

In this case, Marla Madigan, wife of the mayor, hires him to find out if her husband is having an affair. While tailing the Mayor to his weekly meeting, he discovers something more sinister afoot that’s smells fishy all the way to Heaven and Hell. Marla goes missing, presumably kidnapped; Jake is targeted; and, a psychic is killed as he follows leads received from unusual sources.

Jake’s investigation goes from surreal to spiritual as he investigates a group of men who will stop at nothing to control the world. His clues and findings range from Seneca Indian legend to pre-Biblical mythos with a very interesting story taking us to a rousing ending.

I’m reminded of the tales of The Shadow, Doc Savage, Manly Wade Wellman, H.P. Lovecraft, and other pulp stories. The creativity and pacing make this a very enjoyable and fast moving novel. There are other Jake Helman adventures out there and I’m sure there are more on the way. I’m sure that after reading this one, you will want to read the others. I know I do.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dancing with Eternity, The House of Caine, and Time and Chance reviewed

Dancing with Eternity
John Patrick Lowrie
Camel Press, $17.95
ISBN: 9781603818100

On Vesper the third moon of Golgotha, the SRS informs Mohandas the actor that his scales are not considered a deduction and therefor he owes the government 4000 DCU. Not having the money, Lizard as the patrons call Mo is stuck in the jungle city of New Spanaway on a backwater world instead of heading to Heaven with the troupe.

At a dive, a woman takes an interest in Mo. He assumes she is a System Revenue Service field agent arriving to collect or a Planetary Tectonics agent ready to kick him off the dole and into the dangerous “Works”. Steel is neither as she offers him a position on her starship F.S. Lightdancer. Though he does not quite understand his duties, he accepts the opportunity to escape paradise. Thus begins the odyssey of Steel and Mo as they head roundabout to the most dangerous sector of the universe Brainard's Planet with stops at Earth, Circe and Eden; their quest is simply to save humanity.

Dancing with Eternity is a complex, cerebral, yet exciting science fiction thriller that extrapolates present day trends to what could be in a couple of millennia. The story line can feel convoluted as the audience learns of the past lives of the protagonists while touring the universe with the pair and the crew. Starting with the first encounter in a dive that will feels like Rick’s Bar in Casablanca, fans who relish something different in their futuristic outer space adventures will want to read John Patrick Lowrie’s entertaining braining up Dancing with Eternity.
Harriet Klausner

The House of Caine
Ken Eulo
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765325426

In 1966 after a decade away, thirtyish Miami herald reporter Rob Martin, accompanied by his friend Larry Campbell, returns to his hometown Millhouse, Connecticut on a short visit while on the way to interview Robert Kennedy. However, he finds his hometown affirms Thomas Wolfe’s belief You Can’t Go Home as Millhouse seems different, edgier and more dangerous.

When Larry vanishes, Rob searches for him unaware of what is going on. The town’s first family Norris and Julia Caine ruled Millhouse like benevolent despots when they were breathers; now vampires they rule the town like it is a large blood bank though they and their loyal human servants selected loser loners. However, some of their bites have turned into undead with no thought of stealth dining as people who will be missed are assaulted. Rob, trying to save his high school sweetheart Elizabeth Arbor, and his best childhood friend Tony Rizzo abetted by a few other humans begin a counterinsurgency.

The House of Caine is an entertaining metaphoric historical vampire thriller that will remind readers of Stephen King’s Salem’s Lot; whereas Ken Eulo’s tale comes across as a historical while Mr. King’s classic is a 1975 contemporary. The story line is filled with action, but at times bogs down with references to the chaotic times especially Vietnam though in fairness the chaos of social reform is the underlying message. While Rob seems inept as a journalist unable to grasp what is going on amidst the corpses, readers will enjoy visiting The House of Caine in Connecticut as Ken Eulo takes his audience on a tour biting tour of a schizoid year.
Harriet Klausner

Time and Chance
Alan Brennert
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765329523

Thirteen years ago Richard Cochrane left New Hampshire seeking fame and fortune as an actor. Now as the last performance of a three month Broadway run of Brigadoon ends, he knows he has come a long way until a voice no one else hears interrupts his performance. He blows his lines. Later the despondent performer learns his mother died. Depressed over her death and his terrible acting, Richard returns home to a lonely existence in New Hampshire.

Thirteen years ago in New Hampshire Rick Cochrane dreams of Broadway, but instead marries the woman he loves. The couple raises a family, but over the years he resents his sacrifice.

As each Cochrane looks at their respective unhappy and unfulfilling life, a switch occurs. Richard the actor occupies the body of Rick the insurance man; while Rick resides in the body of Richard. Both approaches the change with euphoria as they each has a second chance to travel the other path they once rejected.

With nod to Freaky Friday inside the Twilight Zone, Alan Brennert provides a fabulous character driven fantasy that looks deep at choices and their aftermath to the chooser and his or her degrees of connection and separation. Both of the male Cochranes are unhappy with their respective lives so they welcome the switch. The support cast in New Hampshire and Manhattan enhance a thought provoking whimsical tale with deep metaphors starting with Brigadoon. Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 16, 2011

Some Supernatural Reviews

Another Kind of Dead
Kelly Meding
Bantam, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345525772

In her former life Evy Stone was a Dreg Hunter. When she died in a factory fire targeting her, no one expected her to come back to life especially the arsonist who murdered her; but she has with new paranormal skills.

As she adapts to her new body and learns to use her powers, five people are aware that Evy came back. Her lover-partner Wyatt Truman warns her to trust no one especially the triad as they invaded a lab to take away powerful objects and hybrids but failed to snatch the genius behind the development. He does not trust their agenda. When the compulsive obsessive mad scientist Walter Thackery steals a dangerous object, he begins a chess match in which check will be Evy’s blood.

The third Evy Stone urban fantasy (see As Lie the Dead and Three Days to Dead) is a fun romp due to actions of the mad scientist; a stereotype (but not campy) villain who makes for an entertaining thriller as he is a classic COD freak seeking the heroine’s blood. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the game of life (and death) as Evy with her loving sidekick Wyatt battle traitors in their group and a truly mad scientist. Harriet Klausner

The Diviner
Melanie Rawn
DAW, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756406813

In 611 in the city of Dayira Azreyq during a gala the Glorious Majesty Sheyqa Nizzira has her assassins kill the powerful al Ma’alique family. However, one clan member lives, the profligate Azzad al-Ma'alique who was late due to female issues. He considers his options and concludes fleeing was the best course for now, but vowing revenge when he returns.

He eludes the killers sent by Sheyqa as he reaches the desert. There he is fortunate that the enigmatic nomadic Shagara tribe of mages saves his life and provides him shelter. They protect him from the assassins as he begins his plan for avenging his family though he knows needs time to plan and deploy.

This is an exhilarating prequel fantasy (see The Golden Key) that takes off from the onset. However, the Diviner feels like two books as just passed the half way point of the book, the story line reaches a climatic conclusion. From there a second story line picks up albeit much slower paced though well written. Still readers will enjoy the cost of vengeance to the avenging angel and the innocent collateral damaged victims. Harriet Klausner

His Darkest Salvation
Juliana Stone
Avon, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062022639

Three years ago adversarial jaguar shifters Jaden DaCosta and Julian Castille met and shared an incredible tryst. She recognized him as her mating bond, but he failed to do likewise. He just vanished into thin air like Copperfield performing a stunt.

Jaden is unaware that in combat in Belize sorcerer Cormac O’Hara dispatched her mate into hell where he was tortured for three years. A third party frees Julian and sorcerer Declan O’Hara but also warns the pair that they must shut a portal or lose their souls for eternity. She barely recognizes him while he has no idea who she is except he thinks she may have betrayed him in Belize.

This gritty romantic urban fantasy is an intriguing tale for those who read the previous “Darkest” novels (see His Darkest Embrace and His Darkest Hunger) because of the realistic metamorphoses of the hero after three years in hell and his soul on the line. Although loaded with action and unexpected but welcome twists, the super story line is character driven as the pair team up with plenty of distrust and fears of betrayal to take down an evil sorcerer and his malevolent allies including apparently her family in able to close the portal. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 15, 2011

House of Fear Coming in October

House of Fear
edited by Jonathan Oliver

Unleashed in October

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-06-3
$7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-07-0

Also available as an eBook

Dare you pick up the perfect Hallowe’en read?

Floorboards creek, windows rattle, the wind whistles through the eaves – are you alone in the house? Are you sure?!

The follow up to Solaris’ 2010 critically-acclaimed End of the Line underground railway horror anthology, House of Fear brings the haunted house out of tired cliché and back into the mainstream with 19 short stories from some of the finest writers working in the genre.

Editor Jonathan Oliver brings horror home with a collection of stories from Joe R. Lansdale, Sarah Pinborough, Lisa Tuttle, Christopher Priest, Adam L. G. Nevill, Nicholas Royle, Chaz Brenchley, Christopher Fowler, Gary Kilworth, Weston Ochse, Eric Brown, Tim Lebbon, Nina Allan, Stephen Volk, Paul Meloy and more.

“Jonathan Oliver is the hottest new horror editor to come out of the UK
since Stephen Jones, and I have high hopes for House of Fear”

– Jonathan Strahan, award-winning editor of Swords and Dark Magic

About the editor

Jonathan Oliver is the Editor-in-Chief of Solaris and Abaddon books, the author of Twilight of Kerberos: The Call of Kerberos and editor of End of the Line. House of Fear is his second anthology of horror as editor.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Reviews to catch your interest

The Measure of the Magic
Terry Brooks
Del Rey, Aug 23 2011, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345484208

For five centuries the survivors of the Great Wars (see the Genesis of Shannara saga) lived in peace and harmony. Magic hid their haven from the devastated and lethal rest of the world. However, recently the magical barriers have failed and outside malevolent forces have invaded the valley.

Sider Ament possesses the last black staff of power. He has lived his life protecting those in the valley. Now as he is near death, Sider gives the powerful black staff to young tracker Panterra Qu, the recently chosen Knight of the Word. Panterra must defend the sanctuary against evil trolls though he has no idea how to use the staff. At the same time someone assassinated the Arborlon Elf king with his daughter Princess Phryne Amarantyne accused of patricide. Finally Panterra faces a nameless ruthless killer who lives to take the black staff from the corpse of the current owner.

The Measure of the Magic is an exciting Shannara’s prehistory fantasy, but saga fans must read the previous entry (see Bearers of the Black Staff) to fully comprehend how the magical walls came crumbling down. The story line is fast-paced with Panterra a fascinating protagonist who reminds this reviewer of when a dying Abin Sur “gives” the ring to chosen Hal Jordan (see Showcase comic book 22) as neither feel worthy. Loaded with action, Terry brooks provides a strong entry in his enthralling epic series. Harriet Klausner

Heart Search
Robin D. Owens
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425241387

Avaricious Nivea Sunflower fooled teenager Huathe (Laev) T’Hawthorn into believing she was his HeartMate during his second passage. He failed to realize that thirteen years old Camellia Darjeeling was truly his mate. Her heart was broken that her mate never appeared but she is determined to stay strong.

Years pass until 421 After the Colonization, Widower Laev struggles with rectifying what his late wife did to others. At the same time Camellia runs two delightful popular establishments (Darjeeling’s Teahouse and Darjeeling’s HouseHeart) in spite of her felonious father Guri and her unctuous uncle Takvar trying to abuse and take advantage of her; even attempting to extort funds from Camellia by exposing who they are to her customers. Their respective FamCats bring the HeartMates together, but Camellia distrusts males and Laev searches for stolen family heirlooms that he suspects her family took.

The latest Celta Heart Mate romantic fantasy (see Heart Journey) is a terrific second chance at love between two wary next generation souls. The story line is character driven as Laev knows his “House” has not recovered from his monstrous mistake that has cost his family so much; while Camellia has learned from her father and uncle not to trust men. Fans of the series will enjoy the latest mating as doubting Thomas and Thomasine distrust the Heart Bond. Harriet Klausner

Tempest in the Tea Leaves
Kari Lee Townsend
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242759

Psychic Sunny Meadows relocates from New York City to Divinity, New York where she opens up her shingle as a fortuneteller. She barely is open for business when her first frazzled customer begs her for help. Town librarian Amanda Robbins asks Sunny to read her future. The tea leaves frighten Sunny who calls the police that something bad will soon happen to Amanda.

The cops scoff at her talent until Amanda turns up dead. The police immediately suspect Sunny committed the homicide but struggle with a viable motive though they think the fortune teller is a bit wacky. To prove her innocence she teams up with by the book detective Mitch Stone.

With a nod to Victoria Laurie’s Abby Cooper, Psychic Eye (the early books), Kari Lee Townsend provides paranormal amateur sleuth fans with a fun whodunit. The engaging story line is at its best when the psychic and the cop verbally but warmly argue. With a terrific twisting climax to a well written murder mystery Harriet Klausner psychic reviewer (some will borrow Letterman’s electric skill and change the letters to psycho) predicts readers will enjoy Sunny Meadows’ first case. Harriet Klausner

New York to Dallas
J.D. Robb
Putnam, Sep 13 2011, $27.95
ISBN: 9780399157783

Twelve years ago when current police Lieutenant Eve Dallas was a rookie, she had the instincts of a veteran; one of her feelings impressed upon her was that the man trying to leave a crime scene was the perp. She makes her first collar as predatory Isaac McQueen received life imprisonment for his monstrous abductions of the young.

In the present she sees McQueen in her peripheral vision as he just escaped from Rikers and holds a woman hostage. Eve goes to the apartment where she took the psychopath down; the pedophile torturer, rapist killer plans to take her down this time. The clues lead to Dallas where Eve has bad memories from when she lived there as a child. McQueen kidnaps a young girl and a woman; both he hostage during that first encounter when Eve caught him. Eve with the help of Roarke seek the monster in Dallas and she also meets a woman who looks familiar to her only her mind draws a blank about her identity For the first time since they met, Roarke fears for his wife’s sanity as her past and present crash in Texas.

J.D. Robb refreshes her Eve Dallas futuristic police procedural by having the “… In Death” heroine temporarily relocate to the city she took her surname from, which forces her to use a different crew in support of her; hence the first book without the title prepositional phrase. The heroine struggles with this case because of the déjà vu of her salad days as well as round two with pure evil. As Roarke worries that his beloved’s mind is snapping under pressure, series fans will appreciate Thomas Wolfe’s assertion “You can’t go home.” Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 12, 2011

Skin Dive, The Second Messiah, and Serial reviews

Skin Dive
Ava Gray
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425242148

Ten months ago at the Exeter Facility in Virginia, Taye introduced himself to Gillie. He explains he is an experiment of Dr. Rowan like she is and has little memory of his past. He begins seeing her every day promising to get both of them out of their incarceration soon. Gillie worries about Taye’s safety as she knows his visits are dangerous for him as she had no one see her for a dozen years except Rowan.

Finally one month after they met, Taye gets them out of the lab prison into the big world outside. He knows the Foundation will send their best hunters to retrieve them as she is an incredible healer and he controls electricity. They meet Mockingbird when he warns them of a Foundation team’s trap. He wants them working for him, but the pair agrees to trust no one not even their respective hearts.

Though it pays to read the previous three tales (especially the first two) in this super urban fantasy (see Skin Game, Skin Tight and Skin Heat), the final thriller is a great finish to a strong saga. Fast-paced throughout, readers anticipate the confrontation between Dr. Rowan, Mockingbird and the lead couple as Ava Gray wraps up the prime overarching theme with a strong climax. Harriet Klausner

The Second Messiah
Glenn Meade
Howard/Simon and Schuster,$22.50
ISBN: 9781451611847

In a cave in Qumran near Jerusalem, archaeologist Jack Cane finds a significant Dead Sea scroll that mentions Jesus Christ by name. Jack is almost certain this parchment was written when Jesus walked the earth as it references his travel from Caesarea to Dora where he performed a miracle before being crucified there. Obvious to Jack this man was a false prophet as the two-millennium old document implies there were two messiahs.

Musing over the find he returns from a walk to learn someone murdered the dig director using Jack’s knife; the scroll is missing. Determined to recover the parchment, Jack applies archeological investigative skills. Clues lead first to Syria and then the Vatican where a new charismatic American has been elected Pope. His Holiness plans to open up the archives to let people see the secrets hidden over centuries. While some groups want Jack dead assassinating anyone who assists him on his quest, Israeli police inspector Lela Raul tries to help him recover the scroll. Hidden in the shadows, a puppet master is using them to get the world to know the word of the Second Messiah.

The theme of this interesting thriller is when religion and politics converge; the effect is carnage in the name of the Lord. Jack is a sort of modern day crusader trying to bring the truth out into open; although veracity will shatter Jewish and Christian belief systems. The Pope believes the truth will strengthen the faith of the flock who are divided between radical fundamentalists and agnostics as the Church is left behind. Loaded with action, this fast-paced thriller takes reader on a fascinating journey from the opening discovery to the climatic discovery.
Harriet Klausner

John Lutz
Pinnacle, $7.99
ISBN: 9780786020270

Millie Graff comes home only to find a man inside. This psychopath tortured her for hours before killing her. New York City Police Commissioner Harley Renz takes Frank Quinn of Quinn and Associates to the crime scene. When Quinn sees the victim he becomes irate as he knows her. When Millie was eight she was trapped inside a car about to explode, but Quinn rescued her. Both the Commissioner and Quinn believe a serial killer has just started his gruesome obsession.

After three more murders with the same M.O. the media dubs the serial killer the Skinner because he peels off layers of epidermis from his victims while they are alive. The females have a male’s name written in the bathroom. A good investigation discovers that the names match males who belong to an S&M club that closed years ago. That lead turns into a red herring when Quinn learns the victims testified against the men they thought raped them. DNA proved none were guilty and all were released from prison. The Skinner was accused of rape and intends to kill his accuser; his previous homicides are diabolically planned to hide a tree in the forest. Quinn learns the Skinner works alone except for one murder.

John Lutz provides a strong twisting investigative serial killer starring a brilliant twister predator and a determined hero trying to end the perpetrator’s reign of terror. The villain tosses red herrings at his antagonist (and readers), which adds to the suspense. Fans anticipate a showdown between the evil Skinner who knows right from wrong yet acts as an evil demon who doe not care about collateral damage Quinn who has personalized the chase as an avenging angel. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Soul Thief and others

Soul Thief
Jana Oliver
St. Martin’s Griffin, Aug 30 2011, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312614799

In 2018 Atlanta, Riley Blackthorne knows first hand what it’s like to be the “popular” teen as demons know her by name and as the only female trapper. She, like much of the city, still struggles with recent deadly events as many of her male peers suffered fatalities and crippling injuries in the combat; her boyfriend Simon heals from his injuries and her late dad’s buried remains are stolen by a necromancer.

The residents no longer feel safe from the brutal demon assaults battering the city and what happened to the so-called protectors. The Vatican sends rival Demon Hunters to cleanse Atlanta while the demon Trappers try to figure out who betrayed them. What the newcomers fail to understand is the focus of this activity is the only female demon hunter and the evil targeting her is Grade Five.

The sequel to The Demon Trapper's Daughter, Soul Thief is a complex near futuristic urban fantasy with a beleaguered heroine who is learning that death by demon is easier to accept than death by brokenhearted. The cast makes paranormal Atlanta seem real; for instance demons touring the zoo anchor the paranormal in normal environs. Readers will relish Riley’s struggles to find her dad and to avoid a one way ticket to hell while the two anti-demon fighting groups battle each other in an unhealthy rivalry to be coroneted as the top gun. Harriet Klausner

Darkness Unbound
Keri Arthur
Dell, Sep 27 2011, $7.99
ISBN: 9780440245728

Hybrid Helki werewolf (her mom’s side) Aedh (her dad’s side) Australian Risa Jones has always been able to see reapers. However she never expected a reaper to follow her and accost her with a demand to see her father. Risa laughs at the reaper as she has never met dear misty dad.

Risa soon learns that a soul stealer is trying to open the gates of hell. She knows she must prevent this from happening and learn what the key to the gates mean. She is stunned when the reaper insists the soul stealing Aedh is her sire. Soon with seemingly the entire paranormal population trailing her, Risa turns to her aunt “Riley Jenson for guidance and Lucian the Aedh for assistance and more to prevent hell’s gate from opening.

This Dark Angels tale begins the next generation Riley Jenson Guardian urban fantasy with a strong tough female whose mission is to save the world. Fast-paced, readers will be swept along side of Risa as she struggles to keep hell’s gate closed and strop the soul stealer. Readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller starring a new heroine in the Jenson universe. Harriet Klausner

Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Oct 4 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756406929

Valdemar has Companions shaped like horses but are much more as they can talk to their riders, can create magical spells, and intelligently defend against enemies. Mags was an orphan who was rescued from the slavery of the mines and was chosen by the Companion Dallen to be his Rider. Right now, the teammates work for the King’s Own Herald Nikolas in a blighted neighborhood.

Nikolas pretends to be a pawn broker and Mags is his deaf mute son. They search for anyone who abetted the assassins when they failed to kill Mags or the King. The head Herald figures out that the throwaway children living in a dumpy apartment had contact with the four killers who were killed. Mags learns what the children know and Nikolas shuts him out of the case. The lad finds out more assassins plan to kidnap Nikolas’ daughter who is the love of Mags' life.

The third Collegium Chronicles (see Intrigues and Foundation) continues the coming of age fantasy saga of Mags, Bardic Trainee Lena and Healing Trainee Bear with the emphasis on the rookie Herald. The exciting story line contains a partial cliffhanger as the readers know who deploys the assassins but not why. The key cast is fully developed with background interwoven into the plot as for instance Mags is almost obsessed with a need for information about his parents; this anchors the Mercedes Lackey world of Valdemar. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 10, 2011

by New York Times best-seller
James Lovegrove

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-04-9
$7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-05-6

Also available as an eBook

Policing the damned!

Marginalised rioters smash up their filthy ghettos in the heart of London; an underclass long dispossessed and reviled. But these aren’t hoodies and chavs, these are the demons among us, the strigoi ... vampires.

It takes a special kind of ‘community policeman’ to bring law to the dark streets of the vampire ghettos. Captain John Redlaw is that man.

London’s most feared and respected officer for SHADE – Sunless Housing And Disclosure Executive – Redlaw must try and keep the peace as the strigoi slums erupt and angry humans overreact with violence of their own.

A fascinating world where vampires and humans live side-by-side, but not happily, Redlaw is the latest from the New York Times best-selling author of the hit Pantheon Trilogy: The Age of Ra, The Age of Zeus, and The Age of Odin – prepare for 2011’s most striking new take on the vampire mythos.

As part of Solaris’ on-going READ ANYTHING campaign, Redlaw will be available as an eBook in multiple platforms on the same day as the print version hits the shelves.
“Lovegrove has become to the 21st Century what JG Ballard was to the 20th...”
– The Bookseller

About the Author

James Lovegrove published his first novel at the age of twenty-four and has since written more than 35 books. He has been shortlisted for numerous awards, including the Arthur C. Clarke Award, the John W. Campbell Memorial Award and the Manchester Book Award, and his work has been translated into 15 languages.

For all press enquires please contact Michael Molcher
Phone 01865 792 201 • Email

Friday, September 9, 2011

Andy Rooney Says, at Least that is what I was told

Andy Rooney said on '60 Minutes' a few weeks back:

'I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America; and see what happens...Jesse Jackson
will be knocking down your door.

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, which is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE ?

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

I have the right 'NOT' to be tolerant of others because they are different, weird, or tick me off.

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling; it is the Law of Probability.

I believe that if you are selling me a milkshake, a pack of cigarettes, a
newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave the
countries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours.

I think the police should have every right to shoot you if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word 'freeze' or 'stop' in English, see the above lines..

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document and open to their interpretations.

I don't hate the rich; I don't pity the poor.

I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television. That doesn't stop you from watching them.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue
to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building.

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid and say 'NO!' when necessary.

I think tattoos and piercings are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me French fries!

I am sick of 'Political Correctness.' I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa. Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe .
I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.

And if you don't like my point of view, tough...


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Read Anything


Ever wanted to read something different but didn’t want the world to judge you by the cover of the book?

Spaceships, wizards, hooded swordsman – we love them all. But it’s not the cover, it’s the insides that matter. So, Solaris and Abaddon books are here to tell you that you can READ ANYTHING.

The revolution in eReaders gives you, the reader, the freedom to read whatever you want – fantasy, science-fiction, horror, urban fantasy, Steampunk, historical action, ANYTHING. They’re perfect to explore genre fiction you never knew even existed!

The READ ANYTHING campaign from Solaris and Abaddon Books aims to do away with judging a book, or rather its reader, by its cover. At last, content shall be king with whole new worlds of genre publishing opening up to readers.

Solaris and Abaddon Books are two of the freshest genre publishers in the UK today, producing books that transcend lazy genre clichés. Explore the Steampunk world of Pax Britannia on your iPad, the terrifying sink estate of The Concrete Grove on your Kindle, or soaring SF epics such as The Recollection and The Kings of Eternity.

Solaris and Abaddon don’t just release eBooks – we want to provide new and exciting material for readers. Both imprints will:

• publish every new book as an eBook on multiple platforms on the same day as it sees prints

• publish the first chapter of every new book online, for free, ahead of publication

• publish selected future titles exclusively as eBooks

• introduce new ways to share eBooks with your friends and family.

“The world of genre fiction is as rich and rewarding as anything produced by the publishers of ‘literature’,” says Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of both Solaris and Abaddon Books. “At Solaris and Abaddon we are committed to providing great fiction in a format to suit the reader. Now with the READ ANYTHING campaign you can jump into the world of genre without worrying what your fellow commuters will think.”

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Undead and Undermined, The Plain Man, and Zombies Sold Separately reviewd

Undead and Undermined
MaryJanice Davidson
Berkley, $25.00
ISBN: 9780425241271

After spending less than an hour in frozen July 3015 and a side trip to Hell and a visit with mother dearest Lucifer, Betsy Taylor and her half-sister Laura the Antichrist return to present day St. Paul where they agree they must somehow fix the time line to prevent what they witnessed in the future. Nutso vampire Marc-Thing follows the siblings back from the thirty-first century. Betsy knows she needs to read the Book of the Dead without going insane; thankfully she has a deal with Satan allowing her to peruse the Book in exchange for watching Satanist movies with Laura.

However, her shoes lead her to even crazier scenarios. The strangest being awake in a Chicago morgue as plastic bagged Jane Doe 291. Back at the mansion in St. Paul, Betsy compares notes with Eric and others to understand what is going on as no one is quite like they were before her time traveling ended on a slab. That is until she realizes someone in the future wants Betsy Taylor dead before she can become the powerful Queen of the Vampires.

The magnificent muddled middle book in the time altering miniseries (see Undead and Unfinished for the opening act) is a zany frolic that contains the consistent restraint of self indulged yet caring in her insane way Betsy. The excessive superego with a muted edge as she has seen in her future Betsy has gone too far with her selfishness. Over the top of the Metrodome, fans will relish the second thriller in the changing Taylor landscape as the jocular story line is fun urban fantasy at the usual lunatic pace expected from MaryJanice Davidson. Harriet Klausner

The Plain Man
Steve Englehart
Tor, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765324993

Many people thought Cheney ran the country during the Bush 43 presidency. However, that would be far from the truth. Instead the FRC cabal was in charge as Bush and Cheney were their puppets. With the election of Obama, the FRC had a few months to keep their power in place by strategically planting operatives in key federal positions. Seemingly as of June 2009 the right wing cabal succeeded.

Their only opposition comes from alchemists like timeless mortal Max August and Pam Blackwell. Max obtains reliable information from his computer hacking guru Dave that two of the nine heads of FRC (Michael Sainan and Diana Herring) are attending the Wickr festival in Arizona for a forbidden tryst. His plan is for him and Blackwell to use honey to get one of the leaders to betray the others. However, the FRC has a different scheme to force obedience as they understand domestic terrorism being behind much of it. They plan to blow up a nearby nuclear waste facility as a warning to those in the new Administration and concealed alchemists to obey; if millions will die so be it.

The latest August political urban fantasy (see The Point Man and The Long Man) is an entertaining thriller that will remind readers of Steve Englehart’s comic book work on Doc Savage. The story line is faster than a speeding Superman as time is running out on mortal Max and his sidekick. Although the villains seem interchangeable, fans will enjoy the battles in Arizona and on a mystical plain, and the references to the Matrix of modern America. Harriet Klausner

Zombies Sold Separately
Cheyenne McCray
St. Martin’s
ISBN: 9780312946432

In Manhattan Nyx the hybrid Drow-human Night Tracker suffers from nightmares that seem real. Meanwhile as her team has two new recruits replacing those who died in combat (see Vampires Not Invited), she and her unit visit a horrific mass murder site. Something ripped apart body parts thrown everywhere and that unknown beast masticated leaving teeth marks as if dining on the flesh. Nyx knows what the monsters are, having met them when she was five years old and they killed her older brother.

As more brutally murdered bodies appear, Nyx finally meets the gruesome enemy, Zombies. However, she never moved passed her childhood trauma and is unable to fight. Her superior and former lover Rodan wants to remove her from team leadership, but she angrily accuses him of dissing her. She goes to discuss zombies with her father King of the Otherworld Drow who gives her insight to repel the undead invasion though she may be too late to end the infestation at a time when a supreme sorcerer threatens Earth.

The latest Night Tracker urban fantasy is an exhilarating thriller as the heroine struggles with two major adversaries and her personal childhood bogeymen being one of them. When the story line focuses on either the Zombie invasion or the Otherworld Sorcerer power surge, the tale is superb. When the story line focuses on Nyx’s romantic interludes with NYPD Detective Adam Boyd and new team member Colin the dragon, the novel decelerates as these subplots feel intrusive when time is running out on the Big Apple. Still sub-genre fans will enjoy Nyx takes Manhattan. Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 5, 2011

Greed by L Ron Hubbard

GREED, L Ron Hubbard, Galaxy, $9.95, ISBN: 9781592123698, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is another volume from the “Stories from the Golden Age” and is presented in the style and format of the pulps of the past. This volume presents three adventures and each is accompanied by illustrations from the period. For those who are unfamiliar with the pulps and their place in the history of science fiction, this is the perfect way to get a taste and experience it for them.

“Greed” is the story of an Earth divided that sees greed as the reason to explore space and colonize the stars. It is the story of one man’s desire to gain a fortune and reunite the planet, no matter what it takes.

“Final Enemy” tells of finding remnants of an alien race and exploring the known universe to find them before they find us and wipe us out. When the alien race is discovered it turns out to be an exciting revelation.

“The Automagic Horse” is the story of a movie mogul seeking a way around the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals from shutting down a film with a dangerous stunt. On top of that, they have to come up with a plan to raise capital to stay under budget.

The interesting and unusual tales from Hubbard who never met a genre he couldn’t create a story for. Be on the lookout for this and other volumes in this series of “Stories from the Golden Age”.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Writers of the Future

L RON HUBBARD PRESENTS WRITERS OF THE FUTURE, VOLUME XXVII, Edited by KD Wentworth, Galaxy, $7.99, 546 pages, ISBN: 9781592128709, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Every year we get to read a collection of the new voices that have been picked as the best entries in the annual contest by a panel of best-selling and extremely knowledgeable judges. We are also treated to the best art as chosen by the cream of the art world. This year’s edition lives up to the standards set by the preceding volumes. Many of the previous contestants have gone on to best-selling careers and I’m sure some of the names in this volume will be added to that list.

To me, there is more to this year’s volume than just good writing, interesting characters and settings. There is an underlying thread of passion for the art. I’m reminded of Gordon Ramsey talking about having a passion for cooking rather than going through the motions just doing a job. The writers in this volume show their passion and I hope they maintain this level in their future endeavors.

Jeffrey Lyman opens the volume with “The Unreachable Voices of Ghosts” - a story of spacers trying to capture a black hole in order to strike it rich or die or even fall in love. “Maddy Dune’s First Spelling Bee” by Patrick O’Sullivan is a fun read about a most unusual contestant in a most unusual “spelling bee”. “The Truth from a Lie of Convenience” by Brennan Harvey gives a lunar conspiracy that will go to any effort, including murder, to keep under wraps. Ben Marks’ “Unfamiliar Territory” gives us space salvage, rookie spacers, and pirates; all with good characters and emotions.

Other stories feature warfare, immortality, floating cities, and other staples of science fiction but given a different light or twist that shows the field is in good hands. This is another worthy volume and stands tall with the previous volumes. This is recommended reading. You won’t be disappointed.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

How Firm a Foundation bby David Weber

How Firm a Foundation
David Weber
Tor, Sep 13 2011, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765321541

The leaders of the five year old Charisian Empire has won many battles at sea against the much bigger Church of God Awaiting that declared Emperor Cayleb, Empress Sharleyan and their supporters as heretics. The hero of the naval warfare, Cayleb understands the impact of the enemy’s religious terrorism and the diabolical isolation scheme, but is unsure what his small nation can do to end the reign of terror.

Besides an insidious propaganda campaign that excommunicates critics, the Church deploys assassins to kill the empire’s leaders and anyone on the Safehold mainland supporting Charisian. The Inquisitors torture anyone to send the message to those who consider allying with Charisian. In that scenario as the cruel foe tightens the knot around the island, the cybernetic avatar of long dead Merlin believes the answer lies dormant underneath Zion’s Temple in the heart of the Church of God Awaiting.

The fifth Safehold science fiction thriller (see By Heresies Distressed and A Mighty Fortress) contains the usual military warfare but at much smaller scale due to the reign of terror campaign. The story line also focuses on the social and political issues facing those in opposition to the Church. Safehold focuses on a theocracy that brutally stomps on individual rights. The fear of freedom that Charisian represents is violently opposed by religious dogma that what the Church does is Godly even sacrificing the innocent. Cayleb remains a strong hero though still somewhat Harrington-light as he is more confortable at war than at running a country. Readers will relish David Weber's latest powerful condemnation of those who equate their church is the state; or oligopoly dictating society. Harriet Klausner

Friday, September 2, 2011

Burn the Night, Dark Awakening, and Lord of Shadows reviewed

Burn the Night
Jocelynn Drake
Harper Voyager, $7.99
ISBN: 9780062087980

The Naturi have broken free of eons of incarceration to walk the earth again. Their insane Queen Aurora plans a suicide mission to avenge their race by starting a two front war with the other paranormal species and with the humans. Her sisters Nyx and Cynnia know the cost will be extinction of their race so they agree a coup d’état is needed. The rebellious princesses need the support of Aurora’s exiled consort Rowe to cement their precarious position amongst their people.

Mira the Fire Starter and her lover Danaus the vampire slayer prepare for the final battle of the great Awakening even as the mortals remain ignorant of the horror that is beginning. The winged shapeshifters flood the skies while Mira’s focus remains divided since her father the God of Chaos wants to use her and Jabari her former mentor plans to kill her. Their only hope resides with Natui traitors who swear they want peace though Mir does not trust Nyx who has tried to kill her.

The climax to the super Dark Days saga series (see Pray for Dawn and Wait for Dusk) is a great ending. The action-packed story line rotates viewpoint between Mira and Nyx as an emphasis that situations make strange bedfellows. Readers will relish this series due to a strong cast in which necessity is the mother of alliances and adversaries (mindful of American relationships with Hussein). Harriet Klausner

Dark Awakening
Kendra Leigh Castle
Forever, $7.99
ISBN: 9781609418373

A war between the immortals would devastate all sides yet combat seems imminent between the known bloodlines clans in the United States. Ptolemy Queen Arsinoe needs a human female seer who can lift the enemies curse and insure victory for her side. She assigns outcast Vampire cat-shifting Tynan MacGillivray to not return without the seer.

Eight futile months later, In Tipton, Massachusetts Ty meets finds Lily Quinn a psychic of sorts who assumed vampires were in books and movies only. Ty figures he will easily charm the mortal to accompany him, but changes plans when someone tries to assassinate her. He knows he brought the adversary to her. However, he has no time for guilt or for her refusal to go with him. As they flee, he realizes he is attracted to her and would give up his Immortal life to keep his Lily safe even as he notices she possesses the mark of a vampire unlike any of the clans.

The first romantic urban fantasy Dark Dynasties thriller is a superb fast-paced tale that grips the audience from the moment the lead couple meets in New England and never slows down until the final confrontation. Kendra Leigh Castle cleverly transports the Highlander historical clan disputes into a modern age vampire clan disputes. Lily is stunned with a sudden awakening while Ty is even more bewildered as he learns that love and desire are eternally more powerful than blood. Harriet Klausner

Lord of Shadows
Alix Rickloff
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781439170373

In 1815 in Ireland, Lady Sabrina Douglas leaves her feuding clan following the murder of her father to live at a cloister where the otherworldly Danu sisterhood has hidden the hybrid fae-human for seven years. Sabrina has become Sister of High Danu, studying the underworld, protecting and hiding the Others and also working as a healer.

A severely scarred male washes ashore in a near death state. She heals the body of man who suffers from amnesia, but feels a need to help him recover his memory and heal his soul. The Abbess names him Daigh MacLir who begins to recover his memories; as he does he feels an incredible out of control rage and has superhuman skills. Sabrina and her patient share past life memories as they fall in love, but fear they have done so futilely before. Yet Daigh risks all even his relationship with his beloved to defeat the evil that owns his soul because his Sabrina deserves no less from him

The second Heirs of Kilronan paranormal Regency romance (see Earl of Darkness) is an engaging tale with a mystery involving the haunting of Daigh. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the healer and the scarred male meet and never slows down as evil must be confronted. Although the use throughout the novel of a series of fragmented phrases enhance the foreboding dark atmosphere, this technique also makes the sentence structure feel off kilter; for instance the description of the rectory as seen by the lead male. Still fans will enjoy Alix Rickloff’s latest entertaining Douglas clan saga. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Dick Francis's Gamble, Dry Ice, and Quinn reviews

Dick Francis’s Gamble
Felix Francis
Putnam, $26.95
ISBN: 9780399157479

After breaking his neck when he was a jockey, Nicholas "Foxy" Foxton became a financial advisor at Lyall & Black a small but profitable investment firm. Also employed by the company is Herb Novak. The pair attends the Grand National when someone shoots Novak while Foxton stands next to him. Foxton does not know what the killer looks because he looked at the gun when the murder occurred.

Foxy is shocked to learn Novak named him estate executor and a beneficiary. He realizes Herb had a scam going on with internal gambling using his British credit cards to enable people in the United States to go on line to place bets. Pondering what he should do, Foxy decides he needs to identify the gamblers to end the betting scheme and locate the money Herb hid so he can pay off the estate’s debts.

A client informs Nicholas that an investment brought to the attention by one of the Lyall & Black advisors is bogus as the so called bulb factory in Bulgaria is nonexistent. Foxy investigates the legitimacy of the claim, but someone tries to kill him. Running for his life though unaware why Herb’s assassin wants to kill him, Foxy’s lover Claudia has been diagnosed with cancer.

Talk about a chip off the old block, Felix Francis provides a winning thriller that his late father will be proud of. Filled with action and tense twists and red herrings, Nicholas holds the story line together as he is there for his lover and when danger stalks him, he goes to extraordinary lengths to keep his beloved Claudia safe as he does the unexpected. Harriet Klausner

Dry Ice
Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson
Tor, Aug 16 2011, $24.95
ISBN: 9780765324726

Central east Antarctica is the location for TESLA (Terrestrial Evers Southern Land Array). Scientists work on cutting edge projects. Flint Argo Chemical established the facility for benign purposed and future profits. Narcissist sociopathic genius Greg Simpson, who designed TESLA, runs the place. Flint knows how to control weather, which he can customize to the client’s request to help grow crops.

TESLA is his baby and his ego insists he is the only who can run the installation. When Flint executives realize Simpson has gone rogue and is responsible for horrific weather over the past few years, they replace him with Tess Beauchamp. He hates her because she refused to accept his abuse when she was his intern; instead she walked out on him. Before Simpson leaves the facility, he changes TELSA’s computer programming so that an earthquake devastates Mexico City, killing millions and tsunamis to murder millions more. Neither Tess nor the other scientists can break into the system to prevent more calamities from occurring while the President plans to bomb the facility into oblivion.

This is an exciting thriller filled with so much action that readers will have no time to catcher our breaths. Ironically, the most fascinating character is insane Simpson, whose lack of remorse is mindful of Vader from the New Hope movie. Other players are solid like the first Hispanic female POTUS who has few options when it comes to TESLA and Tess risking her life to save millions. Bill Evans and Marianna Jameson write an enthralling thriller that grips audience who will not complain about the weather anymore. Harriet Klausner

Iris Johansen
St. Martin’s, $27.99
ISBN: 9780312651213

Forensic sculptor Eve Duncan stays with her lover FBI Agent Joe Quinn as he struggles to survive stab wounds in the intensive care unit of the hospital following a confrontation with killer Paul Black who remains on the loose (see Eve). While Eve holds Joe’s hands, she reflects back to when they first met years ago on a child killer case in which her seven years old daughter Bonnie was abducted and assumed dead by all except her. Obsessed over bringing Bonnie home dead or alive, she risked her life then and has many times since.

Eve’s adoptive now adult child Jane flies in from London; Catherine Ling meets her at the Milwaukee Airport where she explains how her search for her son began the events that have Joe in ICU. Black insisted that Bonnie’s biological dad John Gallo killed his offspring; which Gallo never denied as he is unsure though he wants to believe he would not harm his child. Gallo remains free seeking proof in the Bayou that he did not murder Bonnie while Catherine Ling pursues him.

The second exciting Duncan personal suspense thriller rotates the related but not quite linked exhilarating subplots as if the well written book contained novellas since much remains nebulous with the audience anticipating the upcoming Bonnie tale to tie the saga together. Fast-paced even when sitting in a hospital room, fans will relish the middle novel as the key players converge in what so far is a great saga. Harriet Klausner