Angel of Darkness
Kensington Brava, $14.00
Keenan the Angel of Death stalks Nicole St. James as he has for weeks waiting to collect her soul as he has done countless times over several millennia. The moment he has anticipated is at hand with a vampire attacking Nicole. She pleads with him to save her life; though he knows he cannot. Keenan kills the vampire instead of the human female he is attracted to.
For failing to complete his mission, Keenan is exiled as a Fallen. He searches for her over the next six months and finally “of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks” (Casablanca) into this dive he drinks away his depression. He remains wanting her though he knows she is now a vampiric fledgling, but Keenan is unaware that Nicole is wanted for murder. Nicole wants her savior, but is unaware that if Keenan completes the kill he regains his former angel essence. Meanwhile besides NYPD, a horde of the paranormal and hunters of the paranormal stalk the pair
The first Fallen urban romantic fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring a beleaguered pair as seemingly everyone in the Big Apple wants to take a bite out of both them. Fascinatingly, neither of the protagonists acts with typical human morality although Nicole is a recent convert to the other species. With too many adversaries cluttering the overall exciting but dark story line, sub-genre fans still will enjoy Cynthia Eden’s opening entry. Harriet Klausner
Down the Darkest Road
In 1990, fortyish interior decorator Lauren Lawton and her sixteen year old daughter Leah move to Oak Knoll, California to escape the horror of Santa Barbara. Four years ago, her then sixteen year old daughter Leslie vanished. The police suspected photographer Roland Ballencoa, but found no proof he abducted the teen. Not long afterward, Leslie’s father Lance committed suicide. She is still an emotional disaster and unable to help her other child so Lauren decides to escape the horrid tragic scene.
However, only a few months in their new town, Lauren sees her worst nightmare is there too. Ballencoa has come to Oak Knoll. Trying to protect her younger daughter from this psychopath, Lauren learns the horrible meaning of déjà vu.
The third Oak Knoll investigative thriller is a taut but obvious (even with an interesting twist) tale in which the pioneer days of forensic science play a key cornerstone of storyline (as it does in its predecessors - Deeper Than the Dead and Secrets to the Grave). Fast-paced, fans of the series will enjoy this entertaining cat and mouse novel even knowing the direction Down the Darkest Road that Tami Hoag takes us. Harriet Klausner
NAL, Jan 3 2012, $9.99
Haden Black first entered teenage Theia Alderson's life in her dreams. They met in person at school in Serendipity Falls, California. She fell in love with Haden and proved her feelings when she gave up everything for him as she entered the Under realm to bargain for his life (see Falling Under).
Now she is back in Serendipity Falls a changed young woman having survived incarceration and much more in the Under. However, she has also come back with the same lethal craving that her beloved suffers with. She learns how strong her Haden is as, feeling like a heroine addict, control of the hunger is impossible yet he does it; so Theia knows she must do so. However, when students at their high school become ill from an unidentified disease, Theia fears Haden is the cause. While she struggles with her need and her fears that her beloved has Fallen Under, his past has arrived in Serendipity Falls with plans to destroy her mentally by destroying her loved ones.
The second Under early teen romantic fantasy continues the escapes of two intriguing individuals in love, but unsure whether they should remain together as each believes he is bad for her. The stalker enhances the dilemma facing Theia, as her choices are limited to be with him or not to be with him when her heart chooses the former and her brain says the latter to avoid horrific consequences to others. Although some of the support cast feels out of place, readers will enjoy the deadly triangle. Harriet Klausner
Medallion, Feb 1 2012, $9.95
After being bitten by a vile vicious vampire, the good Savior vampires save Lily Fielding by preventing an infection from destroying her town. They enroll Lilly in the Afterlife Academy of Exceptionally Dark Arts. The lowest of the food chain as a Sister, Lily dreams of becoming a Savior.
Two decades later, the tyro graduates Is still a Sister. Her assignment along with her classmates Alice and Cara are to identify the Vamplayer and the female he plans to victimize in order to make friends with the latter before the former can take control of the target. The three Sisters covet becoming a Savior though this mission is not expected to bring them closer as this is a minor task in Raven Roost, North Carolina in which a blog entry sends them to the Nightshed Conservatory for exceptional Girls and Boys. Lily thinks the intended mark is Bianca and the Vamplayer is Tristan; her two Sisters hook up with the endangered student. However, routine proves a false assumption when the two Sisters are tempted by a super bad Vamplayer with plans to convert the school and villagers to be slaves, and Lily the Third Sister is occupied by her attraction to Zander.
Teenage fans of Rachel Caine and Rachel Caine will appreciate the fresh Fischer vampire mythos. Lily is courageous and foolish, which leads to readers wondering whether she can triumph over the evilest Vamplayer she has ever confronted and worse her heart. Vamplayers is a fun paranormal thriller. Harriet Klausner