Saturday, June 30, 2012

A Potpourri of Reviews

Under Suspicion
Hannah Jayne
Kensington, $7.99
ISBN: 9780758258946

In San Francisco Underworld Detection Agency’s only human Sophie Lawson starts to report to her superior that three of her clients failed to make their appointment with her, but stops when she learns her new boss is Vlad LeShay as he is the latest vampire promoted to top management by Dixon Andrade. She decides to check up on Mrs. Henderson the demon and two teenage children, but finds blood and destruction at their home. Nauseous she calls fallen angel Alex Grace who is on his way to Buffalo

No one at UDA seems interested in the Henderson case or the fact that more demons have disappeared as Sophie fears paranormal ethnic cleaning. However, when someone tries to kill Sophie, her stiff necked guardian Will, peers and management finally take notice.

Jayne’s third adventure as the only human at UDA (see Under Attack and Under Wraps) is a fun tale though the non-reaction by the heroine’s peers seem unlikely and over the top of the Twin Peaks. The heroine is her usual mix of angst and West Coast shtick as she investigates what is going on amongst the supernatural beings. Fans will enjoy her escapades as she becomes the target of sinister adversaries. Harriet Klausner

In Dreams
Robert Logan
The Peppertree Press, $25.95
ISBN: 9781614930907

In the Boulder, Colorado area a serial killer murders victims using the same M.O. as a psychopath employed over four decades ago. BPD logically assumes a deranged copycat killer has surfaced.

Near Boulder, Magnolia Creek Middle School history teacher Jack Corbitt undergoes an experimental cancer treatment though the eight previous cases leave him wary. A byproduct of the life-saving technique enables the patient to open a portal to the past where he communicates inside the head of Chronicle beat reporter Maggie Roper, who is investigating the serial killings that occurred forty-one years before Jack receives his treatment. They team up as he begins to realize that the present day killer has the same skills he has and has made contact with a psychopath to commit the identical homicides.

With a nod to the movie Frequency, In Dreams is an exciting psychological suspense that uses telepathy to “merge” that the past and the present. Fast-paced, readers will feel Jack’s sense of foreboding as he fears once his treatment stops his paranormal skill ends too. Robert Logan provides a fabulous thriller. Harriet Klausner

Steven Brust
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765333063

After serving as a top rate assassin for the House Jhereg Vlad Taltos has fled for his life. He sneaks into his hometown to visit his family, but runs into dangerous imperial captain Khaavren of the Phoenix Guards.

Vlad has found the Tiassa singed feline silver statue that he plots to use in a con. Khaavren seeks the magical statue as the Empire plans to deploy it against their enemy the Jenoine. Meanwhile the Jherg schemes to employ the statue as a means to trap and punish their renegade former employee.

There are three interconnected subplots in the latest exciting Vlad thriller (see Iorich). There are the hero’s activities countered by Khaavren point of view re similar events. Finally, there is an interlude involving Vlad’s estranged wife Cawti. The cat and mouse encounter between the protagonist and the star of the 1990s tale The Phoenix Guards is a witty intelligent contest. The Cawti segue gives some insight into her dysfunctional relationship with her husband, but detracts from the prime chess match between two grandmasters. This Taltos tale is overall terrific as he competes against a worthy opponent. Harriet Klausner

Dog and Dragon
Dave Freer
Baen, $14.00
ISBN: 9781451638110

Seventeen years has passed since Fionn knocked down the South-Eastern tower that contained the void (see Dragon’s Ring). Over that time, paramatter has mixed with real matter.

The Earl of Carfon and Guardian of the Southern Marches Lord Alois demands the young woman identify herself even as he tries to kill her. Her screams lead to other men arriving at the anteroom who tackle Alois. With some of his guards dead outside the room, Prince Regent of Lyonesse Medraut ap Corrin asks the female who she is. She says she is called Meb but her true name is Anghared. Stunned Medraut has doubts until Alois states she used magic to get inside the impenetrable walls of Dun Tagoll. Meb points out her screams saved the prince’s life from Alois.

Medraut wonders if Meb is the prophesized Defender. She is taken to meet the Mage Aberinn, but he and Medraut are frustrated and confused with how she suddenly got inside the castle. At the same time, Fionn the black dragon and Dileas the sheepdog search for Scrap, the name they have given Meb as they head towards Lyonesse.

The second Lyonesse dragon fantasy is an action-packed thriller that grips the audience from the opening scene in which Meb cannot explain her arrival or how a window, which became a wall, reverts back to a window. From that entreating hook, the story line moves out nicely on two fronts as Meb tries to stay alive while Aberinn believes she is the enemy, and on the dangerous trek by Fionn and Dileas. Fans will feel dace Freer soars with this exciting tale. Harriet Klausner

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