The Measure of the Magic
Del Rey, Aug 23 2011, $27.00
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
Robin D. Owens
Berkley, Aug 2 2011, $15.00
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
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
Putnam, Sep 13 2011, $27.95
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