Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Door Gunner

THE DOOR GUNNER and Other Perilous Flights of Fancy, A Michael Bishop Retrospective, edited by Michael H Hutchins, Subterranean Press, $45, 528 pages, ISBN: 9781596063747, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

So far, I’ve read this fantastic collection of Michael Bishop stories twice (which, including the first time I read them over the years, means some of them are on the fourth or fifth reading), and I have yet to find a bad word in it anywhere, Each word is exactly where it needs to be and is the best word for its context. Michael Bishop is that good, and his stories are memorable and thought provoking. He is one of those writers that will be remembered and appreciated in the future.

I first read Michael Bishop in 1975 with the publication of A FUNERAL FOR THE EYES OF FIRE, and have done my best to read everything he has written since. He is one of the few writers who have been nominated for almost every award in the field, and he has won the Nebula twice (“The Quickening”, 1981 and NO ENEMY BUT TIME, 1982, The Mythopoeic Fantasy Award (UNICORN MOUNTAIN, 1988), The Shirley Jackson Award (“The Pile”, 2008), and a Rhysling Award for poetry (“For the Lady of a Physicist”, 1979).

Every word in this volume is golden. From the Preface by Michael Hutchins and the Introduction by Jack McDevitt to the stories (starting with “Piñon Fall”, 1970 and concluding with “The City Quiet as Death” written with Steven Utley, 2009) and the author’s Story Notes, this collection belongs in every true science fictions fans library. The stories show Bishop’s range of subject matter and growth as a writer; they give us alien worlds as seen by humans and Earth as seen through alien eyes. The writing prompts not so much a sense of wonder as much as a sense of awe at the messages one takes away from reading the collection.

It’s hard to pick a favorite from the twenty five stories presented here. Each elicits varying thoughts and emotions, and I’m sure they will affect the new reader similarly. Stories that hold a special place are “Blooded on Arachne”, “Within the Walls of Tyre”, “The Door Gunner”, “Bears Discover Smut” and “The Pile”. Bishop bears his soul in some of the Story Notes, and several times these brought a tear to my eye, especially the comments about his children, Jamie and Stephanie. In complete fairness, Mike and I have been friends for many years, but the friendship is separate from my role as a reviewer. He is a tremendous writer and the review is solely based on the writing. Don’t let this one get by you. I don’t know of a better way to spend a few dollars to get maximum enjoyment from a book.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Awake At Dawn
C.C. Hunter
St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312624682

This has been a particular difficult summer for Kylie Galen who recently discovered she had previously dormant special abilities inherited from her biological father. However having been adopted she had no one to mentor her on using these powers. Instead she is learning the extent of her new found skills the hard way through trial and error with an emphasis on the latter.

Shadow Falls Camp caters to those with supernatural powers. The counselors try to determine what Kylie can do, but they are concerned as she keeps manifesting new skills at an alarming unheard of rate. A female ghost haunts Kylie; the spirit insists the teen has the ability to save a friend. Kylie is heartbroken that shapeshifter Derek leaves her but upon his return he wants to pick up where they were as if he did not dump her. She has Lucas the werewolf in her life but he demands she prove she no longer thirsts for Derek. Meanwhile a rogue vampire wants her, but she refuses to have anything to do with this killer and an ancient vampire stalks her with evil plans to use Kylie’s skills.

The protagonist is a complicated individual struggling to understand who she is ever since her late dad made an unexpected visit (see Born At Midnight). Her two roommates are a vampire and a witch, but perhaps the heroine’s greatest power is her ability to get along with both of them. Kylie uses her innate abilities to help others though that makes her stand out further as new skills arise leaving everyone in her circle and her to wonder what species she is. C.C. Hunter writes an engaging young adult coming of age urban fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Aloha From Hell
Richard Kadrey
Harper Voyager, $23.99
ISBN: 9780061714320

Lucifer the Fallen Angel has left Hell for Heaven. His abdication fails to eliminate sin as the monotheistic churches claimed it would, but instead leaves behind an even more dangerous power struggle to sit on his former throne.

Avenging Nephilim James “Sandman Slim” Stark recently killed Mason Faim the magician who exiled him to Hell where he became Lucifer’s bodyguard for over a decade. Mason finds he owes his “friend” for sending him to Hell were he plans his new gig to deploy the faithful on an invasion of Heaven. Kissi the demon encourages Mason to take the war to the enemy as his evil essence has plans to take over regardless of who survives the end of days combat.

Stark ponders why God remains on vacation instead of acting to prevent the war that could end the universe. He understands the Lord’s free will doctrine, so expecting no divine intervention; he decides to enter Hell on a Heavenly cause; besides which he prays he can bring his murdered girlfriend back with him if he escapes to Los Angeles.

The third Sandman Slim urban fantasy (see Sandman Slim and Kill the Dead) is a delightful dark humorous noir starring an antihero who will persuade readers that Los Angeles is as hellish of a place as Hell is. The support cast on all sides of the conflict is developed to enhance an exhilarating violently over the top of the Tower of Babel plot. Fans will enjoy Richard Kadrey’s latest contrary satirical spin with his fabulous twisting End of Days. Harriet Klausner

Death Island
Joan Conning Afman
Camel Press, $16.95
ISBN: 9781603818490

In 2020 Congress passed a law that created the ultimate prison for those convicted of capitol punishment offences: a one way ticket to Death Island. No one escapes from this rock as the masses of TV viewers can tell who watch each week this true reality show.

A jury of his peers convicts Danny Manning of being the notorious serial killer Axe Murderer. He insists he is innocent having murdered no one, but he is sent to Death Island for killing five women including his wife Katie. Danny is dropped from a copter along with obese fiftyish financial thief Tom Koranda. He survives the aptly named island for now due mostly to psychopath Martin Sicilia adopting him and an obsession to escape in order to find the real killer; Tom is murdered in less than a week.

Danny’s next door neighbor in Northington, Connecticut Charlie Adjavon believes he is innocent especially when a sixth victim is found in New Haven. She would like to help him, but has no idea how. Besides she believes her husband Reverend Paul is having an affair with her very tall married friend Heather Waverly, but begins to wonder whether her BFF who threw the first stone at very tall Heather is the other woman.

Death Island mixes together an adult Lord of the Flies and Roman Coliseum premises with Survivor rules inside of the Schwarzenegger movie The Running Man. The story line is at its best on the island where plants and animals, especially two legged, stalk. Although suddenly emotional Charlie trying to help Danny (not the retired basketball star) seems over the top of Mount Frissell, fans will enjoy wondering whether the protagonist will escape from Death Island. Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 28, 2011

More From Harriet

Sins of the Angels
Linda Poitevin
Ace, $7.99

When Toronto Homicide Detective Alexandra Jarvis was nine years old her insane mother murdered her father in a violent slashing rage. She is currently working a serial killer case in which the violence at the crime scene reminds her of the violence in her family home on that fatal day. The latest victim had his chest ripped open and his throat sliced while posed in a seemingly ritual way.

Working on caffeine, Alex is unaware that the brutal culprit is Caim the fallen angel who escaped from Limbo incarceration. His motive is Apocalypse now to include the immediate capture of Alex’s soul. Aramael the Guardian Angel teams up with Alex to prevent his brother from ending the world. Neither the angel nor the confused mortal (from glimpsing what looks like wings) is prepared for an attraction that shakes heaven, hell, and earth.

Although not to read on an empty stomach due to extremely graphic murder scenes, Sins of the Angels is an exhilarating serial killer urban fantasy. The investigation and the Armageddon compete for top billing as the two subplots do not fully merge until late. Still sub-genre fans who enjoy a police procedural fantasy will want to read the teaming up of the cop and the angel as she wants to end the terror reign of a vicious serial killer while he tries to prevent the final war between heaven and hell on battlefield earth. Harriet Klausner

Nancy Holzner
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9780441021000

In Boston shapeshifter Victory Vaughn is the only professional demon exterminator in town. After dispatching a particular nasty Peccatum 24/7 sinful demon, with permits Victory and her boyfriend Kane the werewolf lawyer head from Deadtown to her sister Gwen’s house in Needham through check points manned (loose definition) by zombies who accept junk food bribes and humans who accept nothing from the paranormal especially if the guard is a Human First zealot.

Her niece Maria is starting to have the pre-shifting dreams, which alienates the two sisters as one is forced to live in Deadtown while the other resides in the human burbs. Meanwhile Victory worries about her roommate Juliet on the run from The Old Ones and the action of the South End Reaper serial killer has the paranormal and the normal on the edge of vigilante justice and rioting. If that is not enough to take her off her food, Kane becomes stuck in his wolf persona.

The third Deadtown urban fantasy (see Deadtown and Hellforged) is a terrific thriller in which Vaughn’s personal and professional lives deftly intertwine. The fast-paced story line grips the audience but also makes a strong case against a prejudicial society that uses de jure and de facto means to keep a group locked away as second class citizens. Filled with action even when waiting to get through ID card checkpoints, Bloodstone is a terrific taut thought provoking thriller. Harriet Klausner

Matthew Costello
Dunne, $24.99
ISBN: 9780312680077

NYPD police officers Jack Murphy and David Rodriguez work a Brooklyn beat. The global drought and food shortages left the planet on the brink of pandemic disaster; that was until a miraculous manna was distributed. However, soon afterward the feral cannibalistic Can Heads began appearing. Politicians, refusing to accept blame, insisted to the human masses that a survival war between us and them requires patriotic measures. This night the Can Heads attack the two patrol cops; leaving David dead and Jack injured.

Needing to heal, Jack, his wife Christie and their two kids (Kate and Simon) go on Vacation to the Upstate fortified Paterville Family Camp where people eat old fashion real food, drink pure water, and have fun. When Jack helps with preventing a Can Head assault, he is rewardeed with a job offer and a permanent move into Paterville with his family, who all vote yes. However, Jack will soon learn the truth about the miracle of Paterville.

In an already bleak world in which the Yankees are no longer in the Bronx as the Can Heads own the borough, the atmosphere turns brighter in Paterville when soon afterward it drops to its darkest. Readers will think trice about vacationing in idyllic rural areas as Jack and his family learns that Paterville has a nasty side under the glitter of a Vacation oasis as it is the Eagles Hotel California with a gruesome addition. This is a gripping post apocalyptic horror thriller. Harriet Klausner

John Ajvide Lindqvist
Dunne, $25.99
ISBN: 9780312680275

In 2004 Sweden Anders and Cecilia take their six year old daughter Maja from their home in Gavasten to tour the nearby icebound lighthouse off the archipelago Domaro Island. Precocious Maja likes to lead but she vanishes as her parents lose sight of her. The frantic adults search everywhere for their precious child, but fail to find her. The conclusion they make is somehow she fell under the thin but solid iced channel, but no evidence of holes or weak spots are found.

Though they have been an entry since being young teens twenty years ago, their marriage falls apart as Cecilia tries to move on passed her grief while Anders becomes an alcoholic who is unable to let go of his guilt for not watching his offspring closer. Two years since the tragedy, Anders returns to Domaro believing he will find his beloved Maja. Instead he begins to hear whispers of ritual sacrifice by the indigenous islanders including his mother to the nearby sea.

Harbor is a dark thriller in which the audience will wonder whether the sacrifices are to a supernatural being or just superstitious island mythos induced murders. The fast-paced story line is character driven by the seemingly insane Anders, but owned by the villagers; similar in tone to Anthony Shaffer’s The Wicker Man. Though one must wonder why he (and Cecilia) had not thought of what seems to be common knowledge, readers will relish this tense suspense. Harriet Klausne

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Virtue and Vice
Megan Hart
Berkley, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425242988

New King Jarron Bydelay of the Second Province, requests the Order of Solace send him a Handmaiden. The Order assigns Sister Redemption to bring solace to him.

The royal fails to recognize the Handmaiden but she knows who he is. A decade ago, Sister Redemption was Notsah a kitchen maid who was caught stealing by the Captain of the King's Guard Erekon. To escape she ran into the chambers of the then prince who showed her mercy. Erekon recognizes her as the ragged thief and plans to use her to further his agenda with the new monarch. Meanwhile Redemption falls in love with her regal client, but Jarron, who is also in love, has bigger political intrigue issues to cope with than that of his heart.

The latest Order of Solace (see the Pleasure And Purpose three novellas, Selfish Is the Heart and No Greater Pleasure) is an engaging erotic thriller. The heated romance is more of a support subplot as the political intrigue and the unique culture of Hart’s world take center stage. The lead couple is a fabulous pairing of a king and a Handmaiden who were once the “prince and the pauper”. Love may not be enough to keep them together. Harriet Klausner

Pay Me In Flesh
K. Bennett
Pinnacle, $6.99
ISBN: 9780786026241

One year ago lawyer Mallory Caine was murdered. She returned as a zombie but obviously does not smell of rotting flesh as Judge Darnell hits on her though she thinks of him as a potential sick meal and chooses contempt. Mallory knows she must find the person who killed her before she dies again or her missing soul will end up in hell. LAPD has filed it as a cold case.

Her former law school boyfriend who broke her heart years ago Aaron Argula has come home from San Francisco where he works for the Office of the District Attorney. He pays her contempt fine and admits he made a big mistake dumping her and wants to start over, but she has doubts though he is good for her zombie image.

Etta Johnson calls Mallory, Zombie at Law, to represent her granddaughter Traci Ann; Detectives Richards and Strobert arrived to arrest Traci Ann on a murder charge. The evidence is overwhelming that Traci Ann burned to death a cop in his car. Though there is a slight conflict of interest, Mallory defends her vampiric client while Aaron prosecutes the case.

This is an entertaining dark urban fantasy starring a delightful zombie who retained intelligence and her thirtyish looks though she dines on fresh human flesh. The story line is action-packed but with plenty of humor. Using the law to defend a vampire makes for a fun legal thriller as the defense demands night court and challenges the arrest of a corpse. Readers will relish this grim yet jocular opening tale of the zombie lawyer. Harriet Klausner

Must Love Lycans
Michelle Bardsley
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451234506

After a near death experience with mommy dearest, empathic psychotherapist Kelsey Morningstone tries to start over at the Dante Clinic in Broken Heart, Oklahoma. However, her latest problem in counseling patients is that the well endowed hunk is naked. She wants this Damian, but prides herself over no personal involvement especially of the sex kind with a client.

Damian cannot sit still as he struggles with amnesia having been hurt during an incarceration. He also insists he is a werewolf and his shrink is his mate. Still salivating though she thinks Damian is a lunatic, Kelsey changes her opinion when he marks her as his life mate as she discovers paranormal activity in the Sooner State is the norm. As the hero regains his memory, he knows he must protect his beloved as those who captured him still stalk him and now his soul mate.

As the original characters and their offspring have gotten older over the eight years of Broken Arrow time, Michelle Bardsley keeps her saga fresh with a jocular werewolf (and more) entry as readers learn much about the Lycan culture. The story line is fast-paced even with Kelsey in a perpetual state of heat that Damian makes even hotter. As Marisol says “he’s one taco short of a combo plotter” yet Doc loves him. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 25, 2011

Black Friday

No shopping for me. Gonna sleep.
Rest and Recovery on my mind.

Hope everyone had a great Turkey Day and looking forward to the coming Holidays.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Thanksgiving, 2012

Things I’m thankful for this Thanksgiving Day

My wife, Kathy, who has been part of my life since I was 16. Through all the ups and downs, she has been there and pulled me through some hard times. I can never repay her for being on this long, hard journey called life that we have ventured together.

My brother with different parents, Jim Brock, who I met the first day of college and the mold was cast for Operation Enduring Friendship. No matter how hard I try or what I do, I will never be able to repay him for what he has done for me and has meant to me.

My brother, Jon. He is always there for me. He’s always there to talk with and keep me grounded in my family roots. He inherited the best from Mom and Dad and that’s a good thing.

My son, Scott. He is special in more ways than I can name. He has grown into a fine young man and father.

My daughter, Kimberly, who became our Angel before we got to know her.

Robert A. Heinlein – for answering a fan letter from a twelve year old and cementing a love for reading.

Michael Bishop – for being as wonderful a friend as he is a writer.

Jean Goldstrom, my editor - for reading and buying every story I’ve ever submitted.

Peter Horwath, my military brother – without whom life would be even stranger than it is. Thank you for the years of friendship and hard work on the website. Thank you for the honor of being the Godparents to Julie – she has grown into a beautiful, successful woman.

The Broken Soldiers Facebook group – for allowing me to rant when I need to, for their support and understanding (because they have been there).

The Doctors who performed my Heart Surgery, for without them I might not be here to write this.

The Beatles (together and separately), John Fogarty, Jackson Brown, Linda Ronstadt, Sarah McLachlan, Stevie Nicks and the other artists who created the music for the soundtrack of my life.

All of the Publishers, Publicity Directors and Agents, and Writers who have supported Baryon for the last 35 years.

I’m thankful for all of you who take the time to read the reviews and ramblings on the blog and website.

Happy Thanksgiving, 2011

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Anne McCaffrey Takes Flight

Anne McCaffrey (1926-2011)

SFWA Grand Master Anne McCaffrey, 85, died November 21, 2011 of a massive stroke at home in Ireland.

McCaffrey is best known for her long-running Pern series of SF novels and stories. She was the first woman to win both the Hugo and the Nebula Awards, with “Weyr Search” (1968) and “Dragonrider” (1969) respectively. Pern novel The White Dragon (1978) was the first hardcover SF novel to make the New York Times bestseller list. Many of the later books in the Pern series were written in collaboration with McCaffrey’s son Todd. In all she authored or co-wrote more than 100 titles, beginning with first novel Restoree (1967).

Her other works include the Freedom series, the Doona series (with Jody Lynn Nye), the Dinosaur Planet series (with Jody Lynn Nye and Elizabeth Moon), the Crystal Singer series, the Brain & Brawn Ship series (with Margaret Ball, Mercedes Lackey, S.M. Stirling, and Jody Lynn Nye), the Petaybee series (with Elizabeth Ann Scarborough), the Talent series, the Tower & Hive series, the Acorna series (with Margaret Ball, Elizabeth Ann Scarborough, and various other authors), and the Coelura series.

Anne Inez McCaffrey was born April 1, 1926 in Cambridge MA. She attended Radcliffe College, graduating in 1947, and worked as an advertising copywriter while directing and performing in stage productions. She married H. Wright Johnson in 1950, and had three children. She divorced Johnson in 1970, and moved to Ireland, where she opened a stable and began raising horses.

Her many honors include being named a SFWA Grand Master (2005); induction into the SF Hall of Fame (2006); and a Robert A. Heinlein Award (2007).

Medical Update

Sorry to have been away but was in the hospital in Decatur. Went to the Clinic in Rome, send to the ER and admitted on Thursday. Had a massive staph infection that the first round of antibiotics didn't touch. Basically three different pockets of staph deeper than expected. Reopened incision and put me on massive IV antibiotics. Am now home on Bactrin and a Home Health Nurse checking on me for three weeks. I feel better but my chest looks like the chest buster from ALIEN just escaped.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Book News

The Afterblight Chronicles: Blood Ocean

by Weston Ochse

Released on 16th February in the UK and 14th February in US & Canada

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2
$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-87-2

Also available as an ebook

In a world reduced to ruin by all-consuming plague, one young boy embarks on a mission of revenge after one of his friends is found dead … harvested for his blood!

Kavika Kamalani is a Pali Boy on Nomi No Toshi, the floating city. The post-plague heir to an ancient Hawai’ian warrior tradition that believes in overcoming death by embracing one’s fears and living large, Kavika’s life is turned upside down when one of his friends dies – and he sets out to find the killer.

When he is kidnapped and subjected to a terrifying transformation, Kavika must embrace the ultimate fear – death itself. It is the only way if he, his loved ones, and the Pali Boys are to survive.

This stand-alone title is the latest pulse-pounding story of post-apocalyptic survival in The Afterblight Chronicles series from Weston Ochse – a writer who pulls no punches.

“Weston Ochse is an artist whose craft, stories and voice are so distinct and mesmerising that you can’t help but be enthralled.”

– Dani Kollin, Prometheus Award-winning author of The Unincorporated Man


11/22/63, Stephen King, Scribner, Nov 8 2011, $35.00, ISBN: 9781451627282, Harriet Klausner.

In Lisbon Falls, Maine, Al Templeton, owner of Al’s Diner, discovers a temporal portal that enables a traveler to go back fifty-three years to September 9, 1958 at 11:58 a.m. Each time a person enters the time hole, they go to that same moment, but no matter how long they remain in the past, they return to the present having lost only two minutes while history is altered.

High school English teacher Jake Epping tests Jake’s theory, but when he returns he finds his previously healthy friend dying from lung cancer and admitting he has gone back in time trying to prevent the JFK assassination. With no family to speak of, a lonely Jake agrees to complete Al’s mission though he assumes Oswald did not work alone. Jake tests the concept by intervening in the family of a night student of his who faced a tragedy back in 1958. He soon learns history prefers to return to the original reality though he tries to prevent 11/22/63 from happening.

This is an engaging time travel thriller in which Stephen King makes a strong case that Oswald worked alone, a key element in the plot for conspiracy believer Jake to accept. The story line is action-packed with the changes in history such as cigarette smoking attitudes cleverly devised. Part of the fun is debating the possibility of the changes being reasonable as Mr. King provides an entertaining tale.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Time's Arrow


Less than a month left for readers to vote on next installment of novel

Readers now have less than a month to vote on the direction the exciting new novel from Abaddon – Time’s Arrow.

In a unique experiment, readers themselves will get to decide on the fate of our hero Ulysses and where the Time’s Arrow story will take them.

Time’s Arrow is 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.

Time’s Arrow
puts the reader in charge and merges the best of print and online. Each instalment is 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.

In the next thrilling installment of Time's Arrow, Black Swan, our hero – wanted by the French Police for murder – will battle his way across Paris, from the Louvre to Notre Dame, in order to prove his innocence. But how that happens is up to the reader to decide.

Votes are closing on December 11th:

“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!”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

More Reviews

One Grave at a Time
Jeaniene Frost
Avon, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783197

Fabian the friendly ghost introduces his buddies to his peer Elisabeth. She explains that in 1489 when she was twenty-seven years old, a magistrate and Heinrich Kramer accused her of witchcraft; though she was not a witch only a midwife, the zealous lunatic burned her at the stake. As a ghost she spooked his horse which led to the “Hammer of Witches” being tossed to his death. However, the story does not end there as Heinrich became a ghost who over the centuries every Halloween when he gains a body he continues his inferno homicides. She wants to execute this vile ghost.

Cat agrees with Elisabeth’s assertion that this abomination needs total extinction as Kramer selects three females to haunt as a ghost before he tortures and kills them when he obtains his annual body. Cat and Bones work up a plan to destroy the medieval ghost and his human sidekick, but also still must deal with her dead Uncle Don hanging around at the Lasting Peace Cemetery in Garland, Texas and Jason Madigan’s plans for them and their team.

One Grave at a Time
continues the fresh exciting adventures of Cat and Bones. This time in the Jeaniene Frost Night Huntress urban fantasy realm, the protagonists work on killing a dead spirit as well as her Uncle who remains on This Side of the Grave. As always in this strong series, there is plenty of action while Cat evolves further as now she is full “blooded” vampire. Readers will want to join the dynamic duo as they cope with the good, the bad and the ugly ghosts and Jason.
Harriet Klausner

The Hour of Dust and Ashes
Kelly Gay
Pocket, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451625479

Atlanta Detectives Charlie Madigan and Hank the Siren earn R&R after their successful confrontation with the Sons of Dawn in the Underground. Charlie wants to spend time with her daughter Emma and her sister Bryn, but the battle may have been won, but the war remains heated.

The two sleuthing partners have information that implies the addictive “ash” enables the otherworldly to possess the human host, which has led to deaths that some say are homicides and others insist are suicides. To Charlie she fears for Bryn who is addicted to ash and acts as if a dead Sons of Dawn zealot possesses her. Mysterious Alessandra suggests Charlie seek the sylphs since there is no exorcist is in town. However as she tries to prove her worthy of the sylphs, she realizes in order to save her sister she must go to hell and back; next stop is Charbydon which is easy to enter and impossible to leave.

The third Charlie Madigan urban fantasy (see The Better Part of Darkness and The Darkest Edge of Dawn) is an exciting thriller as the beleaguered heroine and her partner (along with another ally) struggle to save her sister as time runs out. Filled with action inside of the complicated Kelly Gay world, fans will enjoy this strong entry as Charlie makes decisions that she loathes to do knowing the likely outcome of what she chooses. The Hour of Dust and Ashes is an excellent character driven tale. Harriet Klausner

So I Married a Demon Slayer
Kathy Love, Angie Fox and Lexi George
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758263155

“Hot!” by Kathy Love. Wannabe photographer Charlie Brown joins the mailroom of At Hot! Magazine with hope to show his work to the professional staff. However, he is unprepared for the dynamics of a demon CEO, a mailroom of undercover demon slaying Feds, and supermodel Ava Wells whose soul belongs to the devil and whose heart belongs to Charlie.

“What Slays In Vegas” by Angie Fox. In Vegas Damien the demon slayer targets the employer of hybrid succubus Shiloh. Instead the slayer and the succubus break a prime taboo when they end up married.

“The Bride Wore Demon Dust” by Lexi George. Sweet Home Alabama native Bunny the librarian is irate when demons controlling guests wreck havoc on her wedding. Her new husband is a slayer, but she is not one to sit idly by while he throws out the unwanted gatecrashers.

These three lighthearted paranormal romances star male demon slayers and the females who possess their hearts. The story lines are emaciated even considering these are novellas, but the lead characters in each entry brings marital bliss to the tales. Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 14, 2011

Some Unusual Reviews

Simon Toyne
Morrow, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062038302

Near Ruin, Turkey, high on the side of a mountain is the Citadel Church where the Sancti monks guard "the Sacrament" as the sect has done for millennia. Brother Samuel escapes from a cell in this oldest known abode still in use. He climbs a ledge and leaps to his death while civilians and the media catch his suicide.

American newspaper reporter Liv Adamsen is shocked to learn the dead monk learns that her phone number was found etched onto a leather strap inside Samuel's stomach. She realizes that Samuel is her brother who she lost contact with years ago when he abruptly vanished. Needing to understand why he disappeared to become a monk and killed himself, Liv travels to Ruin. She and others will find out that the Sancti will kill to protect the “Sacrament”.

This exciting Brownian thriller hooks the reader from the moment Samuel begins his escape from the Sancti knowing there is only one way out and never slows down as the religious sect risk all to keep the secret safe while the outsiders demand the truth. Fast-paced with several stunning twists, readers will wonder whether the monks are truly evil as they die for the Sacrament; just like Jews did to save Torahs from the Nazis. Harriet Klausner

The Dog Who Knew Too Much
Spencer Quinn
Atria, $25.00
ISBN: 9781439157091

Autumn suggested Anya Vereen asks always broke private investigator Bernie Little to accompany her to parents' weekend at Big Bear Wilderness Camp, where her son, Devin, is a camper. Anya fears her former husband Guy Wenders will cause a stink at the event; so she hopes having Bernie with her will keep the louse in line. As he needs money, he and Chet accept a gig that he prefers to avoid as he loathes the mountain air although his partner looks forward to the smells.

When Devin disappears from the Big Bear Wilderness Camp, Bernie, Chet and wilderness guide Turk Rendell search for the missing child in what looks like a parental abduction. When Turk is murdered the Laidlaw clan enforces the law arresting Bernie. Chet continues to investigate with only trusting Suzie, who smells good, to assist him.

The fourth Chet and Bernie mystery (To Fetch a Thief and Thereby Hangs a Tail) is once again a superb whodunit as the canine provides a unique perspective on human and canine culture. Chet works the case alone and Dog Gone It makes an entertaining sleuth. Meanwhile criminal Dylan McKnight, the former boyfriend of Bernie’s sort of girlfriend Valley Tribune reporter Suzie Sanchez and a puppy that looks like Chet add depth to an exciting canine criminal caper. Harriet Klausner

The More the Terrier
Linda O. Johnston
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425243794

Dante De Francisco owns national HotPet Stores. He hires Lauren Vancouver to be the director of HotRescues no kill animal shelter. The complex will be one of the biggest of its kind once construction is completed. When Lauren’s former mentor, Mamie Spelling, frantically calls her; Lauren is concerned and rushes over having not seen her friend in a long time. Lauren is appalled at the condition of Mamie’s house, and poor quality of the animals from overcrowding as if this is a run down ghetto. Mamie fears she faces prison time for animal cruelty; something that would not have occurred if Bethany Weber, CEO of The Pet Shelter Network, had not tried to blackmail her.

Bethany made a lot of enemies inside the industry with practices including blackmail and extortion of other shelter owners. The police believe Mamie killed Bethany as she had the motive and the opportunity having been at the victim’s home when the latter was dead. Other evidence condemns Mamie further. Lauren does not believe her mentor would kill, so she doggedly investigates the homicide; unaware the killer watches her every move.

The second Pet Rescue Mystery (see Beaglemania) is an exciting cozy that sub-genre readers, especially animal lovers, will enjoy. Dante and his lover Kendra make cameo appearances that connect this series to the author’s Pet Sitter amateur sleuth novels. There are plenty of suspects as the victim was almost universally loathed. Although having an amateur sleuth investigate the murder of a queen of mean while the killer observes her actions is an overly used technique, readers still will enjoy the entertaining The More the Terrier. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Reviews of Vampires and more

In Memories We Fear
Barb Hendee
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464224

Many vampires remain in hiding afraid to come out in the open out of obedience to the first commandment that thou shalt not kill a human though thou can dine on one. Thus vampires remain concealed so they can take human blood with impunity by erasing the encounter from the mind of their prey.

Eleisha offers a safe haven for her Undead peers to reside in once she finds them. Portland based vampire lovers Eleisha Clevon and Philip Brante and Wade Sheffield the human try to find the lost vampires and bring them to their new home. Elisha adheres to the first rule and mentors others to do likewise. When she finds a lost soul she tries to persuade him to move to the sanctuary but Jeremy wants to kill him just like he committed genocide on his own race. His desire is to drink and kill those he drinks from. They learn of an apparent feral rogue vampire killing humans in England. The trio travels there where they meet centuries old Maxim living in a forest with no memory of human skills. She wants to bring him in safely, but Julian wants him dead.

The Vampire Memories urban fantasy novels (see Blood Memories and Hunting Memories) is a strong series that enable the audience to believe that vampires live amongst us in places like London and Portland. Elisha and Philip are an interesting pair of lovers as he is her protector but he becomes frustrated with her obstinacy that she can save Maxim who he believes should be executed. Barb Hendee provides a spellbinding vampire thriller with a touch of romance and a lot of intrigue as the undead rescue squad disagrees on what to do with the latest Lost Vampire found.
Harriet Klausner

Dead Alert
Bianca D’Arc
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758247339

Although zombies ripped his skin, Green Beret Lieutenant Sam Archer survived the conversion infection due to an experimental vaccine. With the zombie threat somewhat muted, at Fort Bragg, unit Commander Matt Sykes (see A Darker Shade of Dead) assigns Sam to go undercover as a pilot at Praxis Air; Sam is to investigate whether the charter airline is trafficking in the black market sale of the zombie virus to foreign interests.

Pilot Emily Parkington co-owns Praxis Air. She loves her airline with a passion. The newcomer assumes she is party to the moving of questionable cargo though he prays not as he is attracted to her. When he is exposed as an agent, Sam, trusting his heart, turns to Emily for help to end the illegal zombie virus trade. Emily is stunned with what she learns as Praxis is her life.

This is an exhilarating romantic urban fantasy (see Once Bitten, Twice Dead) though the threat has diminished due to the anti zombie virus drug. The story line is fast-paced as the lead couple fall in love while fighting an insidious scheme to use her charter to spread the virus elsewhere. Like Sam, readers will wonder how the heroine could not know what is going on her airline even accepting she did not want to know. Readers will agree Wichita will never look the same after reading this entertaining thriller. Harriet Klausner

Spirit of the Wolf
Vonna Harper
Kensington Aphrodisia, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758242266

In Oregon, ranch owner Matt Yaye grieves the loss of his friend Santo who along with his wife Addie took him in under their wings. Cat Alward trains horses and people to ride them. When Matt and Cat first met in a bar, they could not keep their hands off one another. That attraction remains intense though neither wants to explore why.

Meanwhile the Fish & Wildlife Commission has begun repopulating the desert area with wolves in an attempt to balance the shaky ecosystem. The Feds are unaware that the packs are led by angry Ghost Wolf, the spirit of a Paiute Indian who wants to kill all the whites who have destroyed the land. As Ghost Wolf sends his wolves to attack of humans while Matt, Cat and others hunt the alpha.

Spirit of the Wolf is an exciting erotic romantic fantasy built upon a Native American legend. Although the story line is at times difficult to follow with abrupt changes, readers will enjoy the adventures of Matt and Cat as they deal with something they don’t quite believe exists, raging Ghost Wolf. Harriet Klausner

Cosmic Storm
Dom Testa
Tor, $16.99
ISBN: 9780765321114

For a year the spaceship Galahad carries hundreds of teens fleeing a dying earth. The crew heads to the Eos star system where two earth-like planets exist. The plan is to colonize the new world. However the trip through the earth’s solar system so far has proven dangerous and difficult as the teenagers have run into a series of trouble. Some like the asteroids was expected though worse other problems arise including sabotage from within and aliens from without were not anticipated by the adults who sent them into space as a last hope to save humanity (see The Dark Zone and The Cassini Code).

Now there is a leadership gap since Council President Triana without consulting others entered a wormhole that closed with her inside. The space travelers need to hold an election to replace her as the assumption is dead or alive she is not coming back soon. Council member Gap is the favorite. However, a second candidate emerges dividing the crew at a time a lethal cosmic storm strikes the Galahad whose radiation shields are failing.

The teenagers run the gamut of personalities, but need cohesiveness during a major crisis compounded by Triana’s vanishing leaving a leadership gap at a critical moment. However the election between frenemies divides the crew during a crisis but also allows the teens to worry less about their leader. Gap believes his opponent runs to get back at him for dumping her. There is plenty of action though more inside the vessel than the previous journeys from earth, but it is the strong characterizations that fuel Cosmic Storm as a fabulously exciting science fiction thriller. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 12, 2011

More Reviews

Erin Kellerson
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420118964

The Shadowman as a dark fae resides in the Twilight between mortal life and the Afterlife. As a watcher he cannot enter either locale. He diligently remains at his lonely outpost as an observer who can watch but not leave.

However though a shadow fae, he is still a man. When he falls in love with human Kathleen O’Brien he would move heaven and hell for her. She reciprocates and becomes pregnant carrying his hybrid daughter. When Death comes for her even as she gives birth to Talia whom she cannot hold, Kathleen vows to find a way back to the two loves of her life while her weeping sister Maggs vows to take care of her newborn niece. However, their breaking of the rules with their forbidden love and his trespass rips an opening in the veil allowing evil creatures to enter realms banned to them.

The third dark fae Shadow romantic urban fantasy (see Shadow Fall and Shadow Bound), Shadowman is a superb thriller as the refreshing different look at the paranormal laws of physics makes for an entertaining read. Fans will learn a lot about Shadowman obsessed with love and the woman he cherishes who obstinately refuses to blithely cross over as she fixates over remaining because she needs to be with the fae and hybrid she loves with all her soul. Shadowman will be on the short list of best romantic urban fantasies of the year. Harriet Klausner

Resistance: A Hole in the Sky
William C. Dietz
Del Rey, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345508430

In 1948, the alien Chimera landed in Russia. A year later Europe is overrun. By 1952, 160 million Americans are dead with survivors living underground. In July 1953, the President of the United States, former Undersecretary of Agriculture, Tom Voss and a small unit are in New York. They need to take out a tower that cools down the atmosphere enabling the ruthless adversaries to acclimate and escort Russian expatriate Dr. Maliken to a safe house as he has created a vaccine against the Chimera toxin that either kills humans or turns them into monsters.

In Deep Home, Colorado, Alvin Locke hires former Army Lieutenant turned runner Joseph Capelli to escort him to his sister’s home in Haven, Oklahoma. Considered a traitor for assassinating hero Nathan Hale, Capelli believes he did the right thing as his mentor was turning. However, Hale is inside his mind making Capelli believe he is a head case. Capelli, his dog Rowdy and Locke begin a suicidal journey in which the chimera, their human monsters and humans are lethal.

In the Lucky Buckle Mine, Colorado, inmate 26301 has a plan to rescue other convicts trapped inside a cave in. Her overseer Boss Cooper takes her to the top gun vicious Brewster who tells Inmate Susan Farley to see him after she finishes her rescue mission. Farley plans to kill him and escape.

The novelization prequel to the Resistancetm 3 videogame is a terrific alternate historical thriller that obviously ties to the game, but reads like an independent novel with three major subplots. Besides the clever post-apocalyptic landscape filled with destruction, there is romance that brings hope. Loaded with action, game fans and other readers will relish the Resistance. Harriet Klausner

Real Vampires Don’t Wear Size Six
Gerry Bartlett
Berkley, $15.00
ISBN: 978-0425241356

In Austin, the Vampire Council wants vampire Glory St. Clair to leave town as she has caused issues for the secretive species. First her Vintage vamp’s Emporium puts a light on vampires and worse a demon possessed her. Ancient vampire Damian “Casanova” Sabatini, brother to Glory’s BFF recently married artist Florence da Vinci, offers her a chance to redeem herself. Since the shapeshifter Rafe Valdez has moved out of her place but not before her angry boyfriend Jeremy Blade ended their relationship, Damian suggests she mentor a rookie vampire like she did rock star Israel “Ray” Caine.

She agrees to take on Penny Patterson though her first impression of the scowling brilliant female makes her want to leave Texas. Meanwhile Lucifer wants Glory and her special blood collecting souls for him in exchange for a size six figure and Ray needs her to help him deal with addiction. Finally there is Jeremy and a killing goddess for her to deal with.

Although the heroine’s centuries’ old obsession over her weight has become a bit weary, fans of the real Vampire adventures of Glory (see Real Vampires Have More to Love) will enjoy her latest Texas tornado as she is the epicenter of paranormal tsuris. The fun tongue in cheek story line is loaded with action from the visits of Lucifer, Damian, Ray and Penny to Glory hoping to start anew with Jeremy. Harriet Klausner

Lisa T. Bergren
David C. Cook, $9.99
ISBN: 9781434764294

For years teenagers Gabriella and Evangelia Betarrini accompanied their parents on archeological digs. However recently the pair has seen the ruins in their original state as they have traveled back on the River of Time to a few years ago in which they saved their father’s life (see Waterfall) and to 1332 Siena, Italy (see Cascade).

Gabi loves Lord Marcello Forelli and Lia loves Captain Luca Palmucci. As such the Betarrini family of four returns to 1333 Siena in which the war continues even with Rossi exposed as a traitor and Marcello now a member of the Nine. The family from the future also knows the plague is coming soon to Siena and the rest of the Italian Peninsular. If they find their men alive, Lia and Gabi have decisions to make about their future; if not they consider going back a year to intervene.

The final tale in the entertaining young adult River of Time allegory is a superb entry as decision time is upon the teens. The story line is cleverly anchored in the past with little things like when dad tries to understand how and when his pacifist wife became a warrior and his first awkward meeting with Marcello. There are also big events from the annals of history as well. The cast is strong especially the three prime couples and Father Tomas as Lisa T. Bergren provides a suspenseful taut thriller in which she makes a case that time flows like a river gently soothing even when turning into a Cascade or a Waterfall, but that same mild flow can become violent when it turns into a raging Torrent. Harriet Klausner

Friday, November 11, 2011


Hope everyone has a good Veteran's Day.

Thanks to all of you who have served or are currently serving.

You are all Heroes to me.

Thank you for your service!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

November 10 reviews

Doing better day by day. Still not reading much, but hopefully that will change soon.

Mark of the Rose
Kate Pearce
Signet, $6.99
ISBN: 9780451234520

In 1537 lady-in-waiting to Queen Jane, Widow Verity Llewellyn is at Richmond Palace, the court of Henry VIII. She fears her Queen is dying, but her brother Jasper the Druid vampire slayer ridiculed her feelings. With him away healing from injuries, she protects the monarchs from rogue vampires. She sends a note asking for help from her excommunicated cousin Rosalind for help; because of her grandfather’s shunning of her relative, she sends it through mutual acquaintance Rhys Williams a slayer healing from a vampire ambush at Rosalind’s home. Neither pregnant Rosalind nor her husband Christopher Elias (see Kiss of the Rose for their story) can go as he must keep their special six year old son safe while she is growing.

Meanwhile Vampire Council representative at the King’s court Christopher’s brother Elias affirms to Verity the queen is dying. Rhys arrives at court to forge an alliance neither desires but explains to the tyro slayer that it is him or no one. To save the queen and the child she carries, they must uncover who is serendipitously drinking her royal blood. While hoping to not make obvious their sleuthing, they fall in love.

The latest Tudor Vampire Chronicles historical romance is a fabulous investigative thriller as the lead couple follow clues while also falling in love. As in the previous entries (see Blood of the Rose), the alternate Pearce world seems real as the author deftly creates a King Henry VIII realm filled with Druid slayers and vampires. Readers will enjoy this complex political deadly saga as Kate Pearce provides a taut sixteenth century whodunit. Harriet Klausner

My Soul to Take
Tananarive Due
Washington Square (Pocket), $13.00
ISBN: 9781439176146

In 2016 California, Clarion World Health Corporation public relations director John Wright persuades retired musical superstar Phoenix Smalls Harris (see Joplin’s Ghost) to let him in her house to talk. When he realizes she is alone he lectures her for allowing a stranger into her home. He explains his employer (Immortal) Fana Wolde wants the singer to heal the world through music rather than just the firm’s incredible drug Glow that comes from the blood of immortals. Whereas much of the world has legalized Glow’s use, the United States refuses claiming terrorist ties, but many insist the pharmaceutical industry thrives on the sick not the healthy.

A mother of a seven year old son, Phoenix agrees to perform as she still does a rare concert to raise money and awareness like she did for Haiti. She is willing because she knows people are suffering from the Praying Disease that Fana's fiancé, Michel deployed on an unsuspecting world. This Immortal believes humans must become extinct to fulfill the Book of Revelation’s Apocalypse. Only Fana and her Life Brothers can stop the Immortal she is destined to marry, but his kill rate far surpasses their heal rate.

The latest thought provoking African Immortals thriller (see Blood Colony and The Living Blood) is a powerful poignant tale as mortals with immortal allies battle for their existence with other immortals. The story line is globally loaded with action, but character driven by the key players as well as those caught in the crossfire. Readers will appreciate this tale with clever ties to Joplin’s Ghost as Tananarive Due will receive plenty of deserved accolades for her insightful exciting war of species cleansing in the name of God. Harriet Klausner

The Urban Fantasy Anthology
Peter S. Beagle and Joe R. Lansdale (Editors)
Tachyon, $15.95
ISBN: 9781616960186

The Urban Fantasy Anthology is divided into three sections: Mythic Fiction, Paranormal Romance and Noir Fantasy. Each contains an introduction essay defining the section and several stories.

In his essay on Mythical Fiction, Charles De Lint defines the category as having mythological and supernatural beings in modern day society. His entry “Make a Joyful Noise” stars a shapeshifting Native American spirit helping a depressed ghost. “On the Road to Egypt” by Jeffrey Ford has Jesus, smoking a camel, and a companion traveler stopping at MacDonald’s for a burger and shake.

Paula Guran defines Paranormal Romance as key characters possessing special powers; females typically kick butt. Suzy McKee Charnas’ “Boobs,” stars a teenage girl dealing with the changes of her body due to being a werewolf in puberty. “Farewell, My Zombie” by Francesca Lia Black’s protagonist opens with that Attitude when she asks what to call a female investigator if a male is called a private dick. Two lovers, one recently reanimated, star In “She’s My Witch” by Norman Partridge.

In defining Noir Fiction, Joe R, Lansdale states not to categorize tales as a “club”, but instead makes the case that the Noir is the link not the fantasy/paranormal background. His short contribution “On the Far Side of the Cadillac Desert with Dead Folks” stars a bounty hunter working with the reanimated dead.

The essays are interesting attempts to define three subcategories, but come across more like a Venn diagram. The collection includes nineteen reprints and one new tale ("Talking Back to the Moon” by Steven R. Boyett). The anthology is fun to read with no clinkers, but few are excellent; as Ms. Guran says novels are the prime method of Paranormal Romance. Harriet Klausner

Bound by Night
Amanda Ashley
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420104455

Drake the vampire purchased Wolfram Castle four centuries ago. Although he has modern devices like an IPOD and better facilities to stay at he never modernized the rundown castle; he comes here when he needs quiet time alone.

After her parents died, Elena Knightsbridge moved in with her Aunt Henrietta, her Uncle Alfred and her cousin Lucinda. Henrietta has since died and Lucinda eloped. She fears her uncle who has been caressing her and insists they marry as they are not blood related. Elena flees to the haunted castle as ghosts are better than her uncle. Elena falls asleep on the couch. Drake knows a human female is inside. He tastes Elena and decides her blood is sweet. While Alfred searches for his niece, Elena wakes up in a bed near naked. Later she meets Drake who invites her to stay. Elena asks Drake to marry her in name only and he accepts her proposal. His brother Stefan informs him their sire demands he return to the Fortress for the first time in centuries. Drake tells Elena she will be safe at the Fortress though he will be punished as vampires do not marry humans.

The Ashley vampire world is fascinating though with today’s social networking I have doubts a community of human sheep and drones could be hidden from society though one could argue cults do that very well. The lead couple is a solid pairing even with her being a victim of her uncle, her host, and her husband’s family. The support cast is excellent as the sheep are unsure what freedom is. Although the lead couple pulls several Houdini tricks to stay out of trouble too easily, readers will enjoy Bound by Night. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Rebellion Press Opens Digital Store

‘My god, it’s full of books’: new Rebellion publishing store opens

Rebellion Publishing is proud to announce the opening of its brand new digital store – giving you the pick of the freshest genre writing available at the click of a button.

Everything from SF to horror and fantasy to urban fantasy will be available direct from our Solaris and Abaddon Books imprints for the first time, and in both ePub and mobi formats – perfect for anyone with a Kindle or eReader.

You can visit the new store at

The ideal one-stop shop for the 21st century reader, the Rebellion Publishing store offers digital downloads for all our titles with competitive prices, special sales and promotional offers – it’s the perfect place to stock up with winter warmers for the festive season.

Offering Steampunk, SF, fantasy, urban fantasy and horror, the site is easily navigable and each book is categorised in multiple ways. Alternatively, in search of a new read with a strong female lead? Or maybe a good anti-hero? Find what you want quickly with our ‘popular themes’ sections.

And to kick off, not only is there 10% off of all ebooks but, inspired by the lingering chill of Hallowe’en, for this week only all the novels in our Tomes of the Dead zombie series and the Infernal Game series are just £2 each!

“The Rebellion Store is your one-stop digital shop for all that very best in genre,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon Books, “and a great place to find bargains.”

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Reviews for You

The Mandel Files
Peter F. Hamilton
Del Rey, $19.95
ISBN: 9780345526359

“Mindstar Rising”. England like the rest of the world struggles to adjust and rebound from the insidious effect of global warming. In that environs Greg Mandel was once a member of the elitist Mindstar Battalion whose soldiers gained telepathic abilities through implanted glands. His enhanced intuition skill told Greg the time to leave the unit. Event Horizon CEO billionaire Phillip Evans hires Greg to investigate why a successful orbit operation is suddenly losing money. Phillip’s granddaughter teenage heiress Julia Evans believes amoral financier Kendric di Girolamo and vicious former country leader Leopold Armstrong are behind the failure.

“A Quantum Murder”. Two years later Julia Evans assigns Greg Mandel to investigate the brutal murder of Dr. Edward Kitchener. The professor worked at Events Horizon researching quantum cosmology. Julia explains the crime scene was the somewhat paranoid former Cambridge professor’s locked lab at Laudne Abbey. Greg learns that the Physics peers of the deceased envied his reputation as the twenty first century Newton, but who killed him and how remains difficult to resolve.

These reprints of early 1990s futuristic investigative science fiction thrillers remain fun tales that seem timely with the trends in economics, politics, technology and global warming in circa 1990 extrapolated to 2030 or so as much of what Peter F. Hamilton predicted remains on the path he expected. The story lines are entertaining although the endings seem weak while readers will wonder why the last tale Nano Flower is not included (apparently it will be in a volume 2), these Mandel thrillers are enjoyable (now near) future whodunits in the Hamilton world.
Harriet Klausner

Lord of the Vampires
Gena Showalter
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618668

In Elden, the Blood Sorcerer conducts a bloody coup killing the nation’s rulers. He made two critical mistakes when he failed to prevent the dying king from sending to his offspring an obsessed need to avenge their deaths; and the queen using her last breath of power sends their four children into hiding so they could buy time to complete her husband’s vendetta. Thus the Blood Sorcerer failed to kill the Crown prince Nicolai and his three siblings (Breena, Dayn and Micah).

Two Kingdom of Delfina princesses capture Nicolai who they turn into their sex slave. He uses magic to call out for help. In Oklahoma, scientist Jane Parker recovers from a car accident that killed her family. She “hears” Nicolai’s plea when she finds a tome by her door and reads it. She arrives but looks like the evil royal he killed. Nicolai plans to use Jane to escape but leave her behind. However he finds he cannot leave the intelligent woman behind even as he laments she may be the death of him.

The first Royal House of Shadows is an exciting romantic fantasy in which the paranormal supersedes the romance. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Jane enters the Nicolai universe without blinking. Although her humorous commentary fails to fit in with the sex slave themes (his and hers), fans will enjoy the Crown Prince of Elden’s tale while waiting for a sibling starring in Jill Monroe’s series entry. Harriet Klausner

The Shadow Wolf
Bonnie Vanak
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618675

The Draicon Council has incarcerated shadow wolves on Shadow Island out of fear of the sub-species skill to turn invisible. Megan Moraine knows she cannot raise her two younger seven years old twin cousins (Jillian and Jennifer) from a prison cell; so using her invisibility power, she escapes with her young relatives.

Draicon Council Enforcer Gabriel Robichaux hunts escapees. Known for killing runaways as much as bringing them back to lockup, he stalks the three female shadows. However, his reputation for assassination proves false as he tries to take Megan and her wards to a safe house, but someone inside his support cell betrays Gabriel and the three females.

The latest Draicon wolf romantic urban fantasy (see The Immortal Wolf) is a terrific thriller due to the traits of the fearsome foursome while on the lam. Gabriel and Megan are falling in love, but most significant to both of them is getting the youngsters to safety. The twins make the tale as they are frightened but intrepid. This is an exciting entertaining read.

Bonus story: Darkness of the Wolf. For killing his Alpha, Guy Laurent was imprisoned for life in the Savage Kingdom Zoo. Phoenix offers him his freedom if he escorts Brianna the young Draicon girl and her guardian Kayla Morris to the youngster’s pack. He accepts the job while wondering why Kayla ignores her Draicon background. As the adults fall in love, neither loses sight of keeping their young charge safe from insidious enemies. This reprint of an e-byte novella is a fun Draicon urban romantic fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Alan Peter Ryan
Cemetery Dance, Oct 2011, $35.00
ISBN: 9781587672330

Married couple Edwin and Henrietta, are on another of his get rich quick schemes in which she dutifully tags along. This time they sail up the Amazon River floating parallel to the shore. On the vessel with them are natives and Crown who persuaded Edwin to go after the Slave Tree which means sailing further into the dark unknown than anyone reported has traveled on the river. Civilization in terms of a small outpost has been left far behind.

Edwin explains to his skeptical wife that Crown insists the Slave Tree grows creatures that they can control as slaves though these abominations have blood that is green and flesh that feels like fiber. She fears her beloved spouse who displays physical signs of stress has been conned by their enigmatic charismatic partner. Crown orders Henrietta to find a way to keep these creatures alive. Every pod Crown opens produces one of them. Edwin dies and Crown vanishes, which leaves it to Henrietta to find a way to keep the oddities alive so she can sell them as slaves and make a fortune; that is if she can return to civilization. She believes if she can not figure out a way to keep them alive she dies.

Alan Peter Ryan writes a dark atmospheric allegorical horror thriller in which the river and the jungle it flows through take on a sort of supernatural presence; mindful of Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness. The tension is thicker than the nearby rain forest as readers anticipate something bad happening to the travelers especially the married couple as nature is violent and non discriminating whether it is race, gender or mentally competent. Adding to the eerie sense of doom is the audience never quite learns what The Slave Tree is; only what it can do. Harriet Klausner

Monday, November 7, 2011

More Reviews and Health Update

Good Doctors visit today. Everything healing on schedule. Hopefully everything will be back to normal soon.

Blood Bound
Rachel Vincent
Mira, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312550

The four friends (Liv, Anne, Kori and Elle) swore an oath to never ask one another for help because if requested, the one asked would be compelled to do anything to accomplish the mission. Now despite the written pact Anne burned the document so she can make Liv Warren the bloodhound tracker locate the killer of her late thirty-four year old Asian husband Shen Liang; father of their five years old daughter Hadley.

Liv the lone wolf has no choice due to that childhood blood oath, on which refusal means horrible death. When Hadley goes missing she has a more endearing reason to investigate. Liv and her former boyfriend Cam Caballero team up on the hunt in which his agenda is to learn why she ended their relationship.

Blood Bound is superb first romantic urban fantasy investigative thriller as Rachel Vincent creates a fascinating dangerous world in which people are Skilled or Unskilled. The story line is fast-paced but held together by dynamic Liv whose convicted history impacts her big time today with the oath, her relationship with Cam, and her insistence she is not a blood splatterer anymore. Readers will enjoy the new paranormal Vincent world as fascinating Liv escorts fans around the deadly bloody landscape. Harriet Klausner

Low Town
Daniel Polansky
Doubleday, $25.95
ISBN: 9780385534468

Of the Thirteen Cities, Rigus is by far the grandest. However, while that magnificent city shines, a suburb Low Town is the diametrically opposite with violent crime and rampant drug addiction and prostitution on every block corner of the rundown precinct.

Low Town
is run with an iron fist by the distrusting Warden. He was once a hero during the Great War only a few years ago and was a member of the Black House police before he was disgraced and sent into exile. An addict Warden has even nastier rivals that he keeps at bay because he expects the worst in people. The Warden has one ally of sorts in Crane the magician. When kids in his precinct disappear, the Warden wants to ignore them. However, the first corpse he discovers alarms him and forces him to ally with his former law enforcement compatriots the Black House to insure a proper investigation occurs.

Although somewhat difficult to delineate the recent past with the present, Low Town is a gritty post-apocalyptic investigative noir starring a vicious antihero. The dystopian story line is at it best during the inquiry that besides providing a good murder mystery enables readers to picture the slummy precinct and understand the helplessness of the impoverished. This is an engaging first tale as Daniel Polansky paints a draconian future. Harriet Klausner

The Magic of Recluse
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765331120

The world is torn between order and chaos. On the island Recluce, order rules to the absolute degree superseding individual liberties. Teenage Lerris bounces between undesirable ennui and unhealthy questioning. His skeptical interrogation for truth has the Brotherhood black wizards believing he has the potential of becoming a high level wizard or otherwise permanent exile.

Though doubting his skills, he accepts the mission of learning the chaos in the worlds outside of his homeland. Lerris leaves the island content for war ravaged chaotic Candar where in Freetown he is pronounced as a rogue wizard subject to assassination. Antonin the white chaos wizard tries to kill the stunned teen, but he escapes using his black order magic. Justen the grey wizard mentors the lad but he flees when he learns the grey wizards steal souls. He reaches Fenard where he becomes an apprentice to an ailing incompetent but kind woodworker Destrin and takes over making the business successful for his teacher and the family. As his skills develop, Lerris knows he must go home.

This is a twentieth anniversary reprinting of the first Saga of Recluce fantasy. The story line holds up well as the Modesitt magical system remains logical between the whites of chaos, the black of order and the greys of chaos and order. The coming of age adventure stars a young hero who learns life lessons in accountability and responsibility for others. Although an anticipated final wizards’ duel between Lerris and Antonin never quite achieves the expected level, fans will appreciate the opening act of order vs. chaos vs. order-chaos. Harriet Klausner

Body of Sin
Eve Silver
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373775927

The Underworld god Sutekh brutally killed his youngest son soul reaper Lokan Krayl who allowed his father to torture and kill him to keep his daughter Dana safe. Lokan’s stunned three brothers (Dagan, Alastor and Mal) diligently worked to bring their sibling’s lost soul back into his body (see Sins of the Heart, Sins of the Soul and Sins of the Flesh). They succeed, but though alive Lokan remains trapped inside of purgatory.

Dana’s other parent Bryn Carr fears for her daughter’s life. She, like Lokan did with her, hid her paranormal skills from him. Now she needs Lokan to protect Dana from her vicious paternal grandfather. Bryn enters purgatory to escort Lokan through the 12 Gates to earth.

The latest Otherkin “Sin” fantasy continues deftly to deploy the Egyptian mythology that is the base of the superb saga. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Lokan fails to escape purgatory and never slows down. The engaging tale works with multiple subplots pushing to conclusion the overarching theme; whether it is the present in which his siblings work on freeing their soulmates, he and Bryn team up; or the past look at when the lead couple met. Although the romance takes a back seat to the action, fans will enjoy the final brother’s epic tale. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, November 6, 2011


Reviews from Harriet

Zone One
Colson Whitehead
Doubleday, Oct 18 2011, $25.95
ISBN: 9780385528078

Now known as Mark Spitz, he wanted to live in Manhattan after witnessing the lifestyle of his Uncle Lloyd vs. the boredom of his parents who proved reincarnation exists having done the numbing drill for the zillionth time. He assumed law school was the ticket to New York, New York though his grades were lacking; selling high end coffee to the rich and wannabes is not the way to swim to the gold. Instead the Last Night Plague became his avenue as he joined the clean up crew and became known as Mark Spitz of the Omega Unit.

On orders from the government VIPs in a safe opulent green zone in Buffalo, the army reclaimed Zone One, everything below Canal Street. The leaders push the American Phoenix Rising renewal highlighted by the upbeat song Stop! Can You Hear the Eagle Roar? Spitz and the other Omega Unit civilian volunteers conduct a dangerous building by building search for the infected living dead in Zone One. Three days of search and destroy has left Spitz on the brink of lunacy; that will be dubbed by the psychology department as Post-Apocalyptic Stress Disorder.

Using the zombie craze as a means, Colson Whitehead writes an intriguing brilliant satire that lampoons Manhattan and by default America. The story line focuses on volunteer exterminator Spitz who over three days goes from gung ho to burn out. Timely with the recent debt fiasco, assault on public workers to pay political tabs and the middle class financial depression, this terrific complicated American allegory is summed up by the protagonist’s father: “things will be even worse than they are now." Harriet Klausner

Sunrise of Avalon
Anna Elliott
Simon & Schuster, $16.00
ISBN: 9781416589914

Former High Queen Widow Isolde and her intrepid protector Trystan the mercenary are in love and marry in secret following efforts to keep his brutal sire, the Cornwall King Marche from becoming the High King of Britain (see Dark Moon of Avalon). Because of his shame of his ruthless father’s heritage and his own activities as a solder, Trystan keeps some of himself apart from his beloved. She, in turn, fails to inform her beloved that she is carrying his child.

Marche and his allies Saxon King of Kent Octa of the “Bloody Knife" and the High King Madoc begin a terror campaign to destroy the opposition. Trystan tries to serendipitously subvert their unholy alliance. Isolde pleads with Madoc to withdraw for the good of the nation, but he informs her Octa captured his son Rhun. Lord Marche recaptures Isolde and demands a second marriage of political convenience as they were briefly married last year and he is unaware she is wed to his son. She and Rhun escape leading to his sire attacking the Saxons in the Battle of Britain.

The final Trystan & Isolde Arthurian mythos (see Twilight of Avalon) is an exciting complicated (at times too convoluted) thriller as betrayal, treachery and broken alliances are the norm. Politics makes strange bedfellows with human hostage being the choice of the times. Although readers will want to smack Trystan on the head for his inability to fully accept Isolde’s love of him, fans of Anna Elliot’s saga will enjoy the outcome of Arthur’s legacy determined by “helpless” women. Harriet Klausner

Where Demons Fear to Tread
Stephanie Chong
Mira, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778312475

In West Hollywood, yoga instructor Serena St. Clair, the tyro angel, enters Devil’s Paradise nightclub. Her celestial mission to protect the soul of notorious Nick “It Boy” Ramirez starts with getting him out of the local hot spot. However, the club’s owner Julian Ascher intercepts Serena before she can retrieve her wayward celeb.

Julian is the most powerful demon in Southern California; his mission is to eradicate Nick’s soul. He bets the angelic rookie into coming with him for a week in Las Vegas with the stakes being Nick’s soul that he currently possesses. In Sin City, Serena struggles with the temptation of the enemy that would cost her soul while Julian struggles with the same enticement that would redeem his soul.

This is an entertaining romantic urban fantasy starring beloved enemies who distrust one another partly because of the taboo attraction. The story line is fast-paced but rather thin with no twists as the plot follows what the audience anticipates will occur during the initial encounter in Devil’s Paradise. Still fans will enjoy the trek Where Demons (and angels) Fear to Tread. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Solaris Rising

Two of the biggest names in contemporary science fiction – Peter F. Hamilton and Alastair Reynolds – have spoken about their work in a fresh new anthology of SF from Solaris.

The authors of the Night's Dawn Trilogy and the Revelation Space series are both included in Solaris Rising – the first in an exciting new series of anthologies set to reaffirm Solaris’s proud reputation for producing high quality SF.

"Original fiction anthologies are the lifeblood of SF, the proving ground for new ideas and themes, as well as a great place to discover new writers,” Alastair Reynolds. “Solaris Rising fills a vital need, and I'm very pleased to have been a part of it."

In a book full of boundless variety, energy and imagination, award-winning editor Ian Whates gathers the most accomplished writers in the genre including Ian McDonald, Paul di Filippo, Stephen Baxter, Adam Roberts, Pat Cadigan, Eric Brown, Alastair Reynolds and Peter F. Hamilton.

"When Ian asked me to contribute to this anthology and showed me the other names involved I never hesitated,” Peter F. Hamilton. “Even though my story isn't quite SF in the true sense, I'm still pleased it managed to get in there."

Bizarre futures, gritty other worlds and strange realms, Solaris Rising exemplifys the diversity and innovation that continue to make science fiction the most thrilling genre there is.

Solaris Rising (edited by Ian Whates)


£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-08-7 $7.99/$9.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-907992-09-4

Friday, November 4, 2011

Press release

Babylon Steel

by Gaie Sebold

Your fantasies fulfilled on 27th December (UK) and on 5th January 2012 (US & Can)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-37-7

$7.99 (US & Canada) ISBN 978-1-907992-38-4

Also available as an eBook

Ex-sword-for-hire Babylon Steel runs the best brothel in the city. She’s got elves using sex magic upstairs, S&M in the basement, a green troll cooking breakfast in the kitchen, and she’d love you to visit, except…

She’s not having a good week. The Vessels of Purity are protesting against brothels, her girls are disappearing, and if she can’t pay her taxes she’s going to lose her business. Despite giving up the mercenary life, when the mysterious Darask Fain pays her to find a missing heiress, she has to take the job. And then her past starts to catch up with her in other, more dangerous ways.

Babylon Steel sees the start of an exciting new fantasy series. Witty and fresh, debut author Sebold delivers the most exciting take on the fantasy genre in years.

"A unique and richly realised setting, a vivid cast, a plot that coils and divides and fakes and deceives...

Ingenious, gripping, and full of pleasures on every level. Exceptional."

– Mike Carey, author of NYT Best Seller The Unwritten and the Felix Castor novels

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gonzo Steampunk Alternative History

Powell’s new ‘alternative history, gonzo cyberpunk’ novel picked up by Solaris

Solaris is proud to announce it has commissioned the next book from one of the most exciting new voices in science fiction, Gareth L. Powell.

Ack-Ack Macaque will be published in January 2013. Based on a short story published in 2007, the author describes the story as ‘a fusion of alternate history and gonzo cyberpunk’.

In a world where France and Great Britain merged in the late 1950s, Powell has crafted an environment where nuclear-powered Zeppelins encircle the globe, electronic ghosts stalk the living, and a king lies dying; a world in which a half-brained woman struggles to solve a deadly riddle in order to regain her stolen soul, and a monkey sets about killing as many online gamers as possible, in order to avert Armageddon.

With the scale of Iain M. Banks and the intrigue of Alistair Reynolds, Powell’s The Recollection was published by Solaris earlier this year and brought a stunning breath of fresh air into epic science-fiction – an astounding novel about both personal human relationships and their place in the vastness of time and space.

“It’s a real thrill to discover a great new voice in SF,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris. “I was utterly blown away by Gareth’s The Recollection and Ack-Ack-Macaque will show again how diverse and incisive a writer Powell is.”

“Gareth Powell is going to be a major voice in SF” – Paul Cornell

“Just the way SF should work”
– Warren Ellis on the Ack-Ack Macaque short story

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Cubiale 7

Having already conquered the world of roleplaying games, one of the most dynamic RPG publishers in Britain is now advancing into the world of fiction.

Cubicle 7 is pleased to announce the forthcoming launch of its new fiction imprint – Cubicle 7 Fiction.

In cooperation with the established and successful Solaris and Abaddon Books imprints, Cubicle 7 Fiction will publish between three and five novels and anthologies a year based upon its terrific science fiction, fantasy, and speculative properties.

The first title will be Sarah Newton’s far future adventure, Mindjammer. The novel and its universe can be explored at the new website

Mindjammer will be released in ebook format late this month, with a release of physical print edition to follow. Additional titles will be announced in the months to come.

Cubicle 7 has already earned a stellar reputation thanks to the quality of the RPG games, which range from aliens and trans-humans to vistas of a far-flung future and Steampunk dystopias peopled by Frankensteinian monsters. Its stable of imagination-fuelled intellectual properties has inspired and driven numerous roleplaying game lines.

“With Solaris, Abaddon, and Cubicle 7 all under the Rebellion umbrella, we have a great opportunity to expand the scope of our settings,” said Dominic McDowall-Thomas, CEO of Cubicle 7. “We’re in a great position to take advantage of the expertise and resources of an established publishing house, and we can bring our properties to life in a way that supports the games but also allows the fiction to stand on its own.”

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Theme Planet

Theme Planet by Andy Remic

Blazing into action on 8th December in the UK and 29th November in US & Canada

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-907992-10-0

$8.99 (US & Canada) ISBN 978-1-907992-11-7

Also available as an eBook

It’s better than sex! It’s better than drugs! If you haven’t been sick yet, you soon will be...

Welcome to Theme Planet, an entire alien world dedicated to insane rides, excessive hedonism and dangerous adventure - the No. 1 destination for fun-seeking human holidaymakers galaxy-wide!

Amba Miskalov is an Anarchy Android – beautiful, merciless and deadly. Sent to Theme Planet on a dangerous assassination mission, Amba stumbles upon a plot to undermine and destroy Earth’s all-powerful Oblivion Government – and its Ministers of Joy. Will Amba remain loyal to her creators and tormentors, support the enemy – or just annihilate them all?

The writer behind the popular Combat K novels returns with a new series set in the world of The Anarchy – another blistering SF journey that fans will love and new readers will find full of action infused adventure!

“Hard-hitting, galaxy spanning, no-holds barred, old fashioned action adventure.”

– The Guardian on War Machine