The Botticelli Affair
Traci L. Slatton
Telemachus Press, $14.99
In 1483 John Bolingbroke became a vampire. On Christmas Day 1652, John changed when he followed a prostate into a church leading to his valuing humans. Five decades ago, a capricious God thought it would be humorous to play with John by giving him a half soul so he can feel desire, regret and remorse like a human does.
In the basement of MOMA, John hides while listening to a powerful vampire coven needs Robert Cambridge to give them a lost Botticelli. To force his cooperation, they plan to kidnap his daughter former art forger Laila. Just before Robert vanished, John promised him he would protect the red haired amazon Laila whose paint strokes remind him of an old friend from centuries ago Buonnaroti. He meets her at MOMA when she conducts a tour he joins. He claims to be a collector who saw her dad. While vampires chase John and Laila in Europe, they search for Robert whose life is in danger and so is the missing Botticelli.
The Botticelli Affair is a superb romantic urban fantasy thriller that vividly takes readers on a tour of the Metropolitan, and museums and galleries in Europe. The protagonists are a fabulous pairing as he is attracted to her like no one in over five centuries and she is a kick butt Valkyrie on a mission to save her father, the painting, her beloved hybrid and her soul. Like Traci L. Slatton did with the entertaining complex Immortal, she paints a cerebral action-packed vampire tale of danger in the international world of art. Harriet Klausner
When adults die, they almost always enter the Light. However some children alone for the first time are afraid to step into the Light. Instead they go to Never, a place similar to the cities and towns they resided in when alive but the skies are perpetually dark and the Lost ghosts roam eternally with abilities that work in both dimensions. The Lost are linked to a Rider who protects them from the evil Walkers, the dead who reject and curse the light.
Lately more Walkers are capturing the Lost, whose youthful innocence they feed on. The first Rider Piotr lost one of his children so he and other Riders who also have some wards meet to safely discuss what to do. Wendy is a Lightbringer who sends the spirits she sees into the Light. She and Piotr meet, and to their amazement they can touch and feel each other. Malevolence in the form of the White Lady enters Never with the ability to enhance the power of the Walkers who owe her absolute loyalty or else. Her target is Wendy who she threatens top destroy by manipulating Piotr; Wendy loves him, but knows she belongs in the Light bur she come up with a plan to save him before the Dark takes him.
Lightbringer is a superb unforgettable young adult romantic urban fantasy filled with a strong venue that will have readers believing in the McEntire mythos. The relationship between the star-crossed protagonists adds angst and ardency to plenty of action. With nods to the Ghost Whisperer, readers will appreciate the war over the souls of Piotr the Lost First Rider and Wendy. Harriet Klausner
The Third Section
Decades of relative peace across Europe ends in 1855 as the Crimean War has ignited. In Moscow, Tamara Valentinovna Komarova is stunned by a particularly vicious homicide at a time when combat has made death the norm. The brutal murder is the first of its kind since the Napoleonic Wars.
In Sevastopol, like his father did years ago (see Twelve), Dmitry Alekseevich Danilov leads a Russian army against the French, but unlike his dad he also faces their allies the British. However, he soon realizes another foe who was his dad’s worst nightmare and thought dead three decades ago (see Thirteen Years Later) still live to terrorize people. Vasiliy Innokyentievich Yudin and other Oprichniki use the hazy chaos of war to bare their monstrous fangs.
The third Russian nineteenth century fantasy is an interesting entry anchored in time and place by the Crimean War. The story line lacks the freshness of its predecessors mostly because so much was revealed in Thirteen Years Later turns this thriller into a middle book. Still the tale engages the audience who want to follow how Jasper Kent ties The Third Section mythos to real history. Harriet Klausner
In Biddlecombe, England a few years ago, tweener Samuel Johnson and Boswell the dachshund prevented the demon Mrs. Abernathy AKA Ba’al from opening The Gates of Hell. She craves revenge for her humiliating defeat at the hand of the mortal child and his mortal dog and her demotion by the Great Malevolence who rules Old Nick’s Place.
Nearly blind Samuel asks Lucy Highmore for a date before his friend Thomas Hobbes tells him he asked the letter box out. The opportunity has finally arrived after a few years of impatience for Mrs. Abernathy to claw the punk who thwarted the invasion. The Large Hadron Collider has been reactivated allowing Mrs. Abernathy the energy to pull Samuel and Boswell, Police Constable Peel and Sergeant Rowan, Mr. Happy Whip the ice-cream man, and the performing troupe of Mr. Merryweather’s Dwarves into Hell where she has him on her home turf where her allies the Infernos wait no longer. Once again, Mrs. Abernathy underestimates her young opponent who has a contingent of supporters brought from earth accidently by the demon and one friend Nurd the hapless demon on his side.
This is a whimsical young adult lighthearted fantasy filled with satirical and slapstick humor competing for top billing against the encroaching evil darkness. Fast-paced and loaded with jocularity as puns are everywhere, readers will enjoy the rematch between the powerful demon and her Infernals vs. Samuel and his retinue because at stake is two realms. Harriet Klausner