Friday, June 8, 2012
Shapeshifters and more
Bear Meets Girl
Kensington Brava, $14.00
NYPD Detective Lou “Crush” Crushek the polar bear shifter wakes up after eating too many shots of Jell-O pieces made with alcohol only to find a she-tiger in the bed with him. Smith Wolf Pack (New York) Marcella “Bare-Knuckles” Malone is a hockey player known for her belligerent style. Whereas he turns red, she smirks.
Cella blackmails a mortified Crush to pretend to be her boyfriend so her family leaves her alone. He investigates a serial killer who is murdering the punks he planned to get locked away. She investigates the predator hunting her species. They team up in a bare knuckles relationship as the pride of New York, the bear and the tiger fall in love.
The latest amusing kick tail Smith Wolf Pack and Friends romantic urban fantasy (see Big Bad Beast) is an engaging police procedural starring two opposites in demeanor falling in love; though at first both would rather be dead. The storyline makes the shifter species seem genuine but also has too many subplots detracting from the main bare knuckles crush plot. Still fans will enjoy a visit to the world of the Laurenston mythos. Harriet Klausner
The Shape Of Desire
For over a decade Maria Devane has loved Dante Romano and believes with all her heart that he loves her too. She accepts that he holds back his feelings out of fear that he would lose control of the beast and harm his Maria; especially when he has no control over his monthly change into the beast. Dante also fears the animal is taking over his soul as he spends longer time as a beast and wanders wider areas.
Although Maria knows she sees her mate through rose colored glasses, she believes he would harm no one. However, she becomes fearful that the animal has won when brutal assaults by a feral beast begin occurring in nearby parks. She needs to report him to the law, but her heart has been shattered as if claws ripped it into strips.
This is a great urban romantic fantasy as love seems not enough for this couple struggling with an increasingly dysfunctional relationship which also makes shapeshifting seem genuine. The protagonists are magnificent as each goes through their customized version of grief as if they buried what they have had for the last fifteen years. The mystery of the attacks engages the reader further as Maria knows all the evidence points to Dante, which leaves her in hell as Sharon Shinn provides another super paranormal thriller. Harriet Klausner
In London, the parents, friends, clan and servants of Prudence suffer from the wrath of the terrible two’s. Making matters more difficult for others the toddler can “borrow” the supernatural powers of people by touching them until her soulless mom releases the stolen skills. That is why her parents, Alpha of the Woolsey werewolf clan Lord Conall and Lady Alexia, use mostly drones as servants as well as their friend vampire Lord Akeldama, who actually adopted the baby to help. Still the doting mama and papa relish their domestic lunacy.
The Queen of the Alexandria Hive orders Alexia to come to her city. Knowing you never refuse a royal summons, Alexia, Conall, Prudence and actress Ivy Tunstell head to Egypt by steamer. However, in Egypt the God-Breaker Plague has erupted. The mysteries of the summons and the plague pale compared to how the world’s worst actress Ivy is an overnight sensation as the most popular actress in the British Empire.
The Parasol Protectorate Victorian fantasy ends with a great globetrotting fast-paced thriller. Once again, Gail Carriger combines humor with tense action while tying up the major threads from the previous entries in the series (see Soulless, Changeless, Blameless and Heartless). The females are superb while Conall looks foolish as he remains doubting Thomas (after all that has occurred including three years of marital bliss, you would think he would trust his wife). Still Alexia and her troupe provide a strong final curtain performance. Harriet Klausner
Del Rey, $16.00
Professional Simon Faller begs Badlands Facility Director Administrator Gayle Keller to not make him do the mission as he is very afraid. Faller has seen first-hand what prisoner Chairman Hori “Caine” Michaelson can do to his enemies. Keller is scared even knowing that Caine is held in check by the Studio, but tells Faller their roles is to get Caine to try to kill them than those outside the facility. The two frightened men visit Caine in his cell. They inform him that the Board rejected his proposal on access to the Overwold in exchange for amnesty. Instead they counter with a fried brain wiring or accepting the oily elixir that insures total loyalty. With no real option especially after seeing what happened to a dedicated follower of his, he takes the chemical.
However, everyone underestimates the ruthless Caine; as he understands acting is to build off the sh*t that motivates you. His allies enable Caine to escape to the Overwold’ which he once saved from genocide by the ruling elite of Earth. Caine begins a time and space odyssey that will either bring him what he lost or eradicate the universe.
The latest Caine speculative fiction thriller is a gory yet intelligent and entertaining tale. The storyline is convoluted as time proves liquid (as Matthew Stover notes) with this entry in the Act of Atonement saga coming before, during and after the events of the previous novel Caine Black Knife; to further complicate matters, incidents that were real at one time vanish as if they never happened. Readers will appreciate this exciting complex thriller while wondering if the universe ended would anyone notice. Harriet Klausner