Let Them Eat Stake
Obsidian, Apr 3 2012, $7.99
When the vampires came out in public, humans reacted overall with equanimity. They granted all rights to vampires and the other paranormal species (weres, witches and warlocks) who followed except they must register. Just like humans have restrictions the paranormal do too. For instance, vampires can drink human blood that is given freely but cannot be sold as a commodity. The paranormal species are not a monolithic block as vampires and witches have been enemies for centuries. Clubs and restaurants cater to the paranormal. For instance, Nightlife, owned by Chef Charlotte Caine and her vampire brother Chet, serve "Noir Cuisine" to Nightbloods and Daybloods.
When celeb chef Oscar Simmons quits working a marriage gala, event planner Felicity Garnett begs Charlotte to cater the multispecies wedding of the decade between witch Deanna Alden and Gabriel Renault the Nightblood allegedly from Paris (not Hoboken). Charlotte accepts the job that could make the restaurant a success. Soon afterward, Oscar is dead from what appears to be a heart attack and the groom’s side has begun to disappear. Charlotte realizes her boyfriend Brendan Maddox is related to the Alden family and everything turns sour when someone steals the anti- vampire weapon the Arall. Charlotte seeks the purloined object before she serves rations to the combatants.
The second "Vampire Chef" mystery is a delightful amateur sleuth fantasy that is much darker than its predecessor (A Taste of the Nightlife). The paranormal comes across as normal; especially enhancing that sense of “reality” is the heroine’s egalitarian attitude as she believes all species are equal with each having the good, the bad and the ugly. Readers who want something different will enjoy stopping for something red served up by Sarah Zettel at Nightlife. Harriet Klausner
Back From The Undead
D D Barant
St. Martin’s, Mar 27 2012, $7.99
Human FBI profiler Jace Valchek and her vampire boss National Security Agency chief David Cassius share one “lousy” night together when work intrudes on their office romance. David disappears on a top secret mission while NSA Intel Analysis Unit head Gretchen Petra the Pire mom with a teething fanged baby informs Jace that Aristotle “Impaler” Stoker wants to meet with her. The Impaler who has spent a lifetime avenging the slaughter of humans by the paranormal, is in crime ridden Vancouver where he swears to her he has found a Pire child trafficking ring.
Jace needs to capture the Impaler to fulfill the terms of her legal evil agreement and return to her earth. Accompanied by her golem field partner Charlie and Damon Eisfanger, Jace heads to Vancouver to meet Aristotle. In British Columbia, the evidence points to the Yakuza running the illegal child black market. Jace, with her former lover Tanaka the samurai and Charlie prepare to invade heaven for the heavenly cause of saving the children at the risk of losing her soul.
The latest Bloodhound Files investigative fantasy (see Death Blows) is a great entry as friends and foes do not know how to deal with the heroine’s amusing alien shtick while facing danger. Fast-paced, fans will relish D D Barant’s entertaining thriller as Jace’s graveyard humorous asides enhance an exciting quest. Harriet Klausner
Del Rey, Mar 27 2012, $7.99
Mob boss Sloberg arranged the fire in a locale that he should not have known about unless someone told him. Chess Putnam the Church of Real Truth is a ghost hunting witch who knows by just one look her boyfriend Terrible that he believes she is the stoolie as she and Sloberg’s son Lex were recent bed mates even after she fell in love with Terrible; though now she is a one man woman.
The Church assigns Chess to look into a reported ghost haunting at a Downside school where she meets Lex’s sister Beulah. Chess realizes an unknown adversary is using dark magic at the school. Meanwhile Lex sees this as an opportunity as he wants to help solve the case and offers the addicted Chess free drugs like he did before. Terrible’s boss Bump who is Chess’ dealer directs her to investigate a nasty homicide in which dark magic was the murder weapon.
The latest Downside Ghosts fantasy (see City of Ghosts and Unholy Magic) is a fresh exciting thriller as the heroine struggles to uncover the identity of a rogue practitioner while her relationship with Terrible turns terrible sending her back to drug dependency. Sacrificial Magic is a great entry in a special one of a kind saga as the ghost hunter becomes the haunted hunted. Harriet Klausner
Emperor Mollusk Vs. The Sinister Brain
A. Lee Martinez
Orbit, Mar 5 2012, $19.99
Throughout the solar system and beyond, Emperor Mollusk is perhaps the most hated creature ever with one exception; that inane third planet’s so called sentient species worship the retired former Warlord of Terra. However, the evil genius cannot relax in his retirement due boredom that rivaled his ennui when he ruled Earth.
Meanwhile assassins want to kill him and Venusian Intelligence sends Commander Zala and his guard to arrest Mollusk for crimes against Venusians when he invaded their planet. Realizing the Venusians provide a fascinating scenario, Mollusk cooperates with the arrest, but soon leads his captorrs on a bloody romp as he, his pet Snarg, and his new “allies” follow a trail set up by a brainy sinister enemy who takes no prisoners.
This is an amusing satirical spin on the save the universe science fiction thrillers. The storyline has a 1950s pulp fiction feel, but done so with a humorous wink. Fast-paced and entertaining even with knowing the twisted ending relatively early, fans will enjoy touring the solar system with the obnoxiously superior evil Neptunian emperor and the dedicated Venusian Commander. Harriet Klausner