Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Steampunk, Fantasy and More

The Seduction of Phaeton Black
Jillian Stone
Kensington Brava, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758268969

In 1889, Scotland Yard uses Phaeton Black to investigate those cases that defy logic as he is the best at solving the impossible. Known for his sex skills even in the brothel where he resides, Black uses opium and absinthe when the call of the paranormal overwhelms his brain.

A serial killer is stalking London. The predator drinks the blood of his or her victims leaving behind fang marks. Black thinks these murders are tied to the Ripper killings; but that the beast is an Egyptian goddess vampire. While investigating he meets America Jones several times. The daughter of a powerful Cajun witch, America is in London searching for the pirates who stole her sea merchant father’s ships. They team up on both cases as they need each other if they are to survive the supernatural and the natural monsters.

The first Black-Jones late Victorian romantic investigative fantasy is a lighthearted fun thriller that combines a tongue in cheek steampunk venue with an exciting paranormal whodunit. With a nod to Sherlock Homes: "When you have eliminated the impossible , whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth", the Devil and Muss Jones make a wonderful pairing as they battle pirates, mummies, Ripper and the vampire, but their biggest adversary is the Scotland Yard brass. Harriet Klausner

Kate Douglas
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420110029

Lemurian Taron enjoys being an academic, but since the philosopher is partnered with the sentient sword CrystalFire, he must learn to act like a warrior too. He understands he must help the humans near Mount Shasta and his people deal with the demon invasion though CrystalFire feels his scholarly Lemurian is unsuited for combat against the Demon King, who plans his return from the abyss to breach the barriers between dimensions.

In combat with the Demon King, Taron is taken aback by a stunning side effect. Willow the sprite of the mists becomes a beautiful normal sized female though inside her is also Bumper the dog. Meanwhile the Demon King shows his adaptability when he possesses Ed Marks’ body while Eddy and her sentient sword DarkFire are trapped in the Void; a place her lover Dax the former demon knows firsthand and guiltily knows his calling her led to the demon King sending her there. While Dax works on rescuing his beloved human, Taron and Willow begin falling in love as they team up to prevent the Demon King’s diabolical scheme from happening.

The latest DemonSlayer romantic fantasy (see Starfire, Demonfire and Hellfire) is a super thriller that contains two strong prime subplots with each flowing nicely and converging to the delight of Kate Douglas’ fans. Fast-paced and filled with action yet a strong romance, CrystalFire is an entertaining twisting tale. Harriet Klausner

The Slayer
Theresa Meyers
Zebra, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420121254

In 1883, although he was trained from childhood like his siblings (Remington – to follow and Colt – see The Hunter) Winchester Jackson prefers being the sheriff of Bodie, California than fighting vampires and demons. His Vampiric Imperial Majesty sends Lady Alexandra Porter to persuade Winn to work with her in retrieving a part of the Book of Legend that his sire hid decades ago.

Though he has doubts as his mantra has been the only good vampire is a dead vampire who cannot rise from the grave, Winn agrees to join Alexa on her mountainous quest in Transylvania to save her people. With steam gadgets created by brilliant inventor Marley Turlock to assist them on their journey, the pair confronts many adversaries demonic, vampiric; gizmos and mortal, but the most challenging is love.

The second Book of the Legends Chronicles is a terrific steampunk historical romance starring a western sheriff and a vampire battling a variety of paranormal and normal foes. Fast-paced from the moment Winn thinks he is rescuing a damsel in distress and never slows down as the twisting exciting storyline will prove a fan favorite with the only subtraction being the wait for Rem’s entry.
Harriet Klausner

The Job
Cramer Louis Jackson
Outskirts Press, $8.95
ISBN: 9781432784584

Joe’s search for employment has turned into a frustrating full time job as he checks want ads, sends out résumés and shows up for announced vacancies; only to return to his walk up dumpy small apartment unemployed with his self-esteem dropping. After his latest humiliation, he opens the mail, which adds to his debasement with overdue bills.

However, the last letter is from a firm he never heard of, who offers him an interview. Instructions were sent to him by e-mail as this company provides no address or phone number. He goes on line, thankful he did not hock his computer, to obtain directions. Joe arrives for the interview and learns that if he takes the job, Joe Jamieson will no longer exist as he will have a new identity and compensation is one million annual. He agrees to become Zann General Morgan briefs him that his position and new identity ties back to 1947 Roswell and soon finds another perk when he rescues the other selectee Layone from some nasty folks who have other plans for the pair.

There is plenty of action in this thought provoking science fiction romantic novella. The story line starts with a depressed everyman struggling to pay his bills and keep a dilapidated ceiling over his head before the plot moves into an exciting thriller with its Life Energy connection to Roswell. Encouraging people to take a radically fresh look at their options reminds me of my husband’s re-engineering teaching and mentoring position in which he destroyed a zillion paper cups claiming they were not half full or half empty if you slice off the top the cup is filled. The Job is a quick engaging thriller. Harriet Klausner

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