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

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