Sunday, April 22, 2012

The Unseen, The Kingdom, Spellcaster, and Fair Coin Reviewed

The Unseen Heather Graham’ Mira, Mar 27 2012, $24.95 ISBN: 9780778313298 In 1835 in San Antonio, someone brutally murders a woman in room 207 of the Longhorn Saloon. One year ago in the same location as the nineteenth century homicide, another woman was apparently killed, but her body vanished. One month ago, battered dead young female bodies begin to appear all over city; some disappeared a long time ago. Texas Ranger Logan Raintree leads a task force of paranormal law enforcement operatives investigating the murders. While he communicates with the dead, on his team is U.S. Marshal Kelsey O’Brien who sees the past. She is staying at the Longhorn where the 1835 and last year homicides occurred. The pair combines their extrasensory perception skills to obtain clues from the deceased in order to end a serial killer’s reign of terror. The Unseen is an exciting paranormal police procedural starring two dedicated individuals with special talent and San Antonio. The city comes alive during The Texas War of Independence and in the present; especially vivid is the Alamo. Although the gory killings somewhat diminish the frightening level, fans will enjoy Heather Graham’s entertaining ghost story. Harriet Klausner The Kingdom Amanda Stevens Mira, Mar 27 2012, $7.99 ISBN: 9780778312772 Amelia “Graveyard Queen” Gray is renowned for her talent to restore lost respect to neglected cemeteries. Luna Kemper hires her to repair Thorngate Cemetery in Asher Falls, South Carolina at the foothills of the Blue Ridge. She soon learns there are two Thorngate cemeteries. The original one is below locally named Bell Lake, found on maps as the Asher Reservoir; the other was once called Asher Cemetery. Amelia also feels drawn to a remote concealed but reverently kept grave in woods near a cave. She senses evil throughout the dying rural town that lost everything when prominent Pell Asher sold his soul for the reservoir. However, Amelia is uncertain whether what she feels is caused by the irreverence towards the dead or by her growing consciousness of her past. One thing she decides is to help the dead rest easy and mend the broken souls of the town; but first the Restorer needs to know what has caused the slow death of Asher Falls. The second chilling Graveyard Queen thriller (see The Restorer) is a great urban fantasy that makes ghosts feel real alongside of predatory breathers. The story line is fast-paced and loaded with action that grips the reader from the moment she meets the grandson of still living Pell, Thane Asher, who says the dead want to not be forgotten. Sub-genre fans will appreciate this dark yet somehow hopeful tale. Harriet Klausner Spellcaster Cara Lynn Shultz Harlequin Teen, Mar 27 2012, $9.99 ISBN: 9780373210503 Four months ago in Manhattan, Vincent Academy students Emma Connor and Brendan Salinger broke a centuries-old curse that haunted them when he risked his life to save her from an evil student (see Spellbound). They have become a happy couple. However, their little Upper east Side Eden has serpents. Emma’s witch mentor Angelique seems upset whenever she hears Brendan’s name. His mother pressures him to end his relationship with the Jersey orphan. Finally Angelique senses an unknown adversary stalks Emma while somehow revealing inner secrets of the couple in order to force a wedge in her relationship with Brendan. This foe plans to dine on her blood to gain her untapped power unless Brendan and Angelique can put aside their differences to keep her safe. Spellcaster is an exciting teen romantic urban fantasy with a strong cast who makes the paranormal seemingly normal. Initially breezy with cute (don’t say that world to Brendan) young love, the storyline turns dark as a nasty powerful malevolence begins preying on the lead couple. Readers will enjoy Cara Lynn Shultz’s sensational Spellbound story. Harriet Klausner Fair Coin E.C. Myers PYR, Mar 27 2012, $16.95 ISBN: 9781616146092 Summerside High student sixteen-year-old Ephraim “Eph” Scott stayed a little later than usual at the school hoping to talk to Jena Kim. He came home to find his mom unconscious after taking pills and alcohol. He wakes her but she says he is dead as she saw his body. Eph dials 911. Hospital employee Mrs. Morales, whose twin daughters are in Eph’s English class, informs him that a boy who resembled him carrying his library card was hit by a bus. His mother was shown the body. Eph looks at the belonging given to his mom of the dead person. He finds his library card and a commemorative quarter stamped Puerto Rico 1998. He soon learns flipping the coin while making a wish will grant whatever you ask. Coping, Eph wants two things: his mom to be a better parent stating with going cold turkey and Jena the geeky brain to reciprocate his attraction. Excited, he tells his best friend Nathan who obsessively wants to use the coin and will do anything including kill to possess it as Eph’s simple wishes have a monstrous butterfly effect on him and several degrees beyond his social circle. Using hyperbolic teen stereotypes and chaos theory, E.C. Myers provides a terrific young adult science fiction tale. The coin’s impacts are not always positive as Eph learns you get what you wish for. Readers will enjoy this teenage twentieth-first century version of the early twentieth century horror thriller The Monkey’s Paw by W.W. Jacobs. Harriet Klausner

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