Monday, July 30, 2012

Zombies and Vampires

Survivors (Morningstar Strain)
Z.A. Recht
Permuted Press/Gallery, Jun 19 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9781451628821

First seen in Africa, global authorities tried to contain the spread of The Morningstar Strain by quarantining the continent only. The international leaders chose politics over world safety as they ignored US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases expert Anna DeMilio’s suggestion to isolate victims wherever the disease surfaced (see Plague of the Dead). Now billions are infected.

The pandemic is global with the strain turning people into raging zombies. Mankind’s only hope to avoid extinction rests with Anna who has retreated from the growing menace thanks to special agent Mason who rescued her from agent Sawyer and his Reunited States of America military rogue handlers. Sawyer’s orders are to bring the virologist to the Chairman who believes she has the antidote for the disease that is transmitted by bites. Special Forces General Sherman and his unit escort Anna and Mason to a top secret bio-hazard lab in the Omaha area so that the virologist can work on the cure. General Shannon’s friend Commander Harris tries to find them as one of his solders was bitten twice by zombies and proves to be immune to the virus. Sawyer and his army continue their search for DeMilio with no regard to collateral damage.

The third and final Morningstar Strain zombie thriller (see Thunder and Ashes) is an exciting apocalyptic tale as the disease appears to be winning partly because of avarice power mongers with no regard for anyone else. That frailty adds to the creepiness as Z.A Recht emphasizes the Survivors rather than the zombies (who are more in the background) as he makes his key cast seem real while humanity’s existence seems at its end. Harriet Klausner

This Is Not a Test
Courtney Summers
St. Martin's Griffin, Jun 19 2012, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312656744

When her older sister Lily fled from their physically abusive father, she left her younger sibling Cortege High School junior Sloane as his only victim. With mom buried, six months since Lily betrayed her when she abandoned her, Sloane increasingly considers suicide.

Her “To be or not to be” contemplation ends when the world ends. Sloane and five other teens (Harrison, Grace, Rhys, Cary and Trace) are trapped inside the high school prison while outside zombies over run the town. The sextet easily converts the building into a fortress knowing that for now they have plenty of food and water. As they struggle to survive in an oasis surrounded by hell, power fights occur while Sloane thinks of what she will say to lily when they next meet.

This is an intriguing young adult zombie thriller that focuses on staying alive rather than on the nightmare outside the school; ergo the action is limited while how the characters behave during the crisis is the prime storyline. The six protagonists have different personalities though we meet them through Sloane’s melancholic filter or in-fighting; Harrison showcases her lens as the readers learn almost nothing about him compared to the others except in Sloane’s mind he is a weeping non. Dark with a sort of On the Beach (by Nevil Shute) mentality, fans who enjoy a psychological thriller will want to read this fascinating zombie apocalypse now. Harriet Klausner

V.K. Forrest
Kensington, Jul 31 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758255709

Clare Point, Delaware has been home to the Kahill vampire clan for centuries. They differ from ordinary vampires as they die as elders and are reborn as teens with the cycle eternal.Their mission is to save God's humans from the undesirables.

Executioner Aedan Brigid returns to Clare Point for needed R&R after too many battles against evil. At the same time, Jay the monster who returns every half century to disfigure and murder females is back having mutilated a victim that reminds Aedan of what this beast did to his beloved Madeleine centuries ago. He vows this time to end his hunt of three centuries in death; Jay’s or his.

Jay stalks his prey in Rehoboth Beach where barmaid Dallas York and her daughter Kenzie reside. Aedan enters the establishment where Dallas works; and to each is amazement sparks fly when they touch. Dallas has the gift of seeing a person’s past and present life when she touches that individual. She knows Aedan is damned and regardless of how each feels vampires and humans cannot form a relationship. Aedan fears Dallas is Jay’s next selection.

The latest Clare Point Vampires romantic urban fantasy (see Undying, Eternal and Immortal) is an action-packed enthralling thriller focusing on the exploits of a good vampire protecting humanity from evil. Like his clan Aedan has been damned for choosing to remain blood Voracious pagans while rejecting the message of Christianity given to them by St. Patrick in the old country over a millennium and half ago. The Kahill has hopes for redemption by protecting god’s humans. His ability to love grips readers when he connects with autistic Kenzie. Then there is the anticipated High Midnight confrontation with Jay. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, July 29, 2012

General Update

It's been a wild week. My co-worker is going to be out of work for eight weeks after surgery.

Scott has started a new job and has been moving into a new place.

I started Cardiac Rehab three times a week.

I found out about the deaths of some relatives I was not previously notified about.

The Olympics started.

And we are playing around with the dosages of my medications again.

Time waits for no one.

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Hippocampus Press Update

Dear Hippocampus Press customer:

Low stock alert:
Only about a dozen hardcover sets of S. T. Joshi’s monumental biography remain in stock.

New releases:
We have released quite a few new titles since our last newsletter!. All of these are in stock and ready to ship. Please visit our website for complete details, and to order.

FOREVER AZATHOTH: Parodies and Pastiches
by Peter Cannon
H. P. Lovecraft once wrote: “As a rule, I don’t think that a comic or flippant style--or one with much satire--mixes well with the weird.” Peter Cannon has devoted most of his writing career to breaking this rule, usually at the expense of Lovecraft himself. This volume collects the finest and funniest of Cannon’s parodies and pastiches. Our edition contains all the stories in the limited, signed Subterranean Press edition, plus the addition of the novelette "The Madness out of Space."

UNCOMMON PLACES: A Collection of Exquisites
by W. H. Pugmire
This new collection includes all of the original works which first appeared in The Tangled Muse, Wilum Pugmire's highly-limited (and now, out of print) Centipede Press omnibus, together with a number of newly-written and rather disturbing prose-poems that see their first publication here. The title work also appeared in The Tangled Muse, but the author has added 10,000 additional words to it for this edition, most of the new material being a segmented sequel to J. Vernon Shea's "The Haunter of the Graveyard."

by Donald Sidney-Fryer
The Atlantis Fragments: The Novel is to be looked upon as a companion volume to Sidney-Fryer’s poetry omnibus The Atlantis Fragments (Poems). As the author puts it, “the novel and the poetry omnibus are complementary, the later illuminating the novel ‘off-scene’ and the former providing the main story.” So if you’ve already got one, you’ll probably want to have the other. Or buy both together at a reduced rate!

This volume gathers together for the first time the essays and reviews of this pioneer of the genre, mostly long out of print and reprinted here for the first time. Sidney-Fryer covers writers as diverse as Clark Ashton Smith, Ambrose Bierce, George Sterling, Nora May French, F. Marion Crawford, Keith Allen Daniels and Robert E. Howard.

Our review journal for the horror field is back with a new editor and a broadened scope, in its most substantial issue ever. June Pulliam and Tony Fonseca cast a wide net to examine recent releases in TV and film, graphic novels, spoken word and even true crime -- plus reviews of new horror from Stephen King, Michael Cisco and others, plus a significant essay by S. T. Joshi on the “Laird Barron Mythos.”

Plus, updated 2012 editions of two of S. T. Joshi's landmark works, THE ANNOTATED SUPERNATURAL HORROR IN LITERATURE and LOVECRAFT'S LIBRARY: A CATALOGUE.

Available for preorder now (coming in October 2012):
AT FEAR’S ALTAR by Richard Gavin
Cover artwork and interior illustrations by Harry O. Morris
"Richard Gavin's new collection has some of the finest weird fiction I have ever read, tales that are unique and effective. His sequel to H. P. Lovecraft's 'The Hound' is especially delicious. This is a wonderful book, highly recommended!"
--W. H. Pugmire, author of The Tangled Muse

Thank you for your interest in Hippocampus Press!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Achilles, Redshirts and Kop Killers

The Song of Achilles
Madeline Miller
Ecco, Mar 6 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780062060617

Prince Patroclus’ father King Menoitius is unhappy with his simple wife and disappointed with his only offspring. The lad cannot compete in anything even against younger children. When he is nine years old his father takes him to court Helen the daughter of King Tyndarus of Sparta. Other royals also arrive while King Odysseus of Ithaca suggests Helens elect her mate so war can be averted. Helen selects Menelaus. Back home Clysonymus tries to bully Patroclus who pushes back killing the lad. Menoitius exiles Patrochlus to King Peleus of Phthia where he meets Prince Achilles.

They become best buddies, which angers Achilles’ mother Thetis the sea nymph. When Agamemnon calls for supporters to recapture Helen from Troy, Patroclus and Achilles join the siege. However, Achilles knows his destiny will soon begin to become the greatest warrior ever; as predicted by his mother and affirmed in a warning by his instructor Master Chiron the centaur. Patroclus plans to accompany Achilles when they begin the latter’s Odyssey.

This is not a direct rewrite of Homer's Iliad at least not until the second half of the plot. Instead the engaging storyline fills in the blanks with the focus predominantly on Achilles and Patroclus (which is not a shocker since the latter tells the tale) though all of Homer’s players are involved. In many ways Troy takes a backseat to the loving relationship of the two BFFs while clever Odysseus steals the show. He sums up love and war in ancient mythological Greece with his saying he has a wife that he has not seen in a decade and whom may be dead but if nothing else he prays he spends eternity with her in the Underworld. Harriet Klausner

John Scalzi
Tor Books, June 5 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765316998

In 2456, Ensign Andrew Dahl is euphoric to learn he has been assigned to the Universal Union starship Intrepid to work in the xenobiology laboratory on the journey on Away Missions. Dahl notices that veterans hide whenever the bridge chooses staff to work a mission and that ship Captain Abernathy, science officer Q'eeng and astrogator Kerensky always join these deadly assignments. Additionally, usually at least one of the junior officers drafted for these tasks die while Abernathy and Q'eeng return without a scratch ready for the next assignment and Kerensky though battered joins them.

Dahl and others investigate what is going on when they meet a crew member hiding. He explains that the Intrepid’s enterprises adhere to old scripts based on the principal "to boldly go where no man has gone before"; which means death for support cast who fail to boldly go into hiding.

This is an engaging lighthearted metafiction that obviously satirizes Star Trek. The storyline is lighthearted fun but never quite gels. Still fans who enjoy something different will appreciate the crew’s avoidance mantra as they know on all Away Missions, one of them must die. Harriet Klausner

KOP Killer
Warren Hammond
Tor, June 5 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765328274

In 2789 on planet Lagarto, Juno Mozambe was once a dirty Koba Office of Police cop who was an enforcer for the chief. He loved his wife who finally killed her abusive drug kingpin father before turning to drugs to numb her guilt. When she died, Juno’s life fell apart.

Mozambe decides to destroy Emil Mota, who is using KOP as his personal profit maker. To defeat the influential Mota, Mozambe decides to fight fire with fire. With other dirties, he opens up a hire a thug firm waiting for the moment to end Mota’s stranglehold only to find mangled murders haunting him as his deadly foe sends his dirties to kill Mozambe and his partners.

This futuristic science fiction crime thriller (see KOP and Ex-KOP) is darker than the Big Sleep that places the planet in several weeks of no daylight. Action-packed, fans will enjoy Mozambe’s Dirty Harry twenty-eighth century beat; as he takes the war to the enemy with each side using any means possible as neither man has any concern over collateral damage. Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 23, 2012

Call for Submission

Write with wild Abaddon!

Shared-world imprint celebrates sixth birthday with open call for e-novella submissions

For the past six years, Abaddon Books has been publishing genre-busting novels from break-out authors and in brand new formats.

So to celebrate its birthday this summer, we are is calling for open submissions for our new e-novella series.

Starting later this year, Abaddon will publish a series of brand new e-novellas – and authors can either play in one of our ten shared worlds or create their own!

Whether you’ve an agent or are going solo, whether you’re an established writer or trying to get your first project, we’re interested. Our books are pacy and action-filled, but smart and sharp, with characters that pull you in and challenge you. And our stories are dark, whatever the genre.

Since 2006, we have published almost eighty original novels in ten shared-world series, and have given the world the talented and irascible Chuck Wendig his fiction debut, not to mention the wildly imaginative Al Ewing. It has uncovered Kitschie-nominee Scott K. Andrews, and gave the brilliant Gary McMahon, Pat Kelleher and Toby Venables their mainstream fiction debuts.

If you know Abaddon’s work, you’ll also know what we like. Choose a genre, make it fast, make it tense, make it dark. And make us care about your characters. Make it original! Make us want to come back and see what happens next.

Submissions will be open for the month of September 2012, from midnight BST on 31st August to midnight on 30th September.

For full details on the submissions process, go to

Happy birthday, Abaddon Books - let's make it one to remember!

Michael Molcher
PR Coordinator, Rebellion

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Fantasy and Crime

Everything Zing: Winter
Grant Stone
Tate Publishing, $21.99
ISBN: 9781613466827

On December 24, 1999, George Everest of Manhattan believed in a big spectacular entrance. He just was unprepared for this one when he looked out his apartment window. He was falling rather fast through a colorful spectrum until he stopped and began moving horizontally. Finally he landed on a soft surface after having fallen through the roof of Grand Central Station. However, when he opens his eyes he sees a Christmas pageant with animated figures singing; that is until the tree fell in his chest. George Everest believes in a big entrance and this one was a doozy.

However, his adventures have just begun when he ends up on the Train of Thought until he reaches Ozilline’s cottage on Lake Englehook. There Marnie and Ozilline discuss how the survival of the Imagine Nation Kingdom rests with George because Landon believes his teacher George owns the unexplained hourglass that means only doom. All these Pursesands children wonder how life can pathetically twist to make an adult hold the Key to saving their kingdom from their nemesis.

This whimsical odd fantasy grips the audience from the moment readers feel we accompany George on his mystical journey. Fast-paced and filled with action, fans will appreciate this turn of the millennium adventure as George feels like a sort of Gulliver working a dangerous holiday gig in which two adversarial camps know he is the key to victory or defeat. Harriet Klausner

S. G. Redling
Thomas & Mercer, Jun 19 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612183022

Six years ago, Feno Chemical spilled an experimental lethal pesticide in rural Penn County, Iowa. Many residents of what was then Dalesbrook died and not long afterward the army barricaded the survivors inside a containment zone. Medicine is provided to those quarantined to combat the deadly toxin; the flowery odor of the meds has led to the PennCo Containment Area being derogatorily called Flowertown.

Raging Ellie Cauley is sick of brown water and dwindling supplies. Her best friend Bing believes there is an avarice conspiracy to exploit what is going on in Flowertown, but Ellie is uninterested as she only wants to stay high and make love with her Army sergeant boyfriend Guy. However, she cannot ignore what is happening when people die in a bomb blast and vanish via an underground railroad. Ellie finds evidence that supports Bing’s contention, but is unsure whether Guy is her friend and ally or a mole spying on her and the other quarantined. As she begins to uncover what the outside plans for the Flowertown imprisoned, she remains hesitant as to what she should do even as her rage explodes and she finally takes a stand.

Fans who relish an exciting cautionary conspiracy thriller in which it is nearly impossible to figure out what is going on inside and outside the fence will want to read until S.G. Redling’s first published work. The suspenseful storyline grips the audience starting with the eerie front cover and never loses that hook until the final confrontation. The cast seems plausible as paranoia, self-pity and anger are prime traits of the residents while the premise also works reminding readers of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy. Flowertown is a taut tale. Harriet Klausner

The Family Corleone
Ed Falco
Grand Central
ISBN: 9780446574624

The Great Depression has left most people ruined. However, one of the most thriving market businesses is fuelled by the Prohibition that has led to crime families making a fortune selling bootlegged liquor. However, the social experiment since the end of WWI has been repealed by 1933. The crime families will compete for control of other illegal activities as their government sponsored great profit maker comes to an end.

In New York, Don Vito Corleone worries about his children’s future. His three youngest kids (Michael, Fredo, and Connie) attend school while his adopted son Tom Hagen goes to college, but alienates lunatic Luca Brasi. However, Vito is upset with his oldest offspring seventeen year old Sonny. He wants Sonny to become a businessman, but his son prefers the old fashioned violent way to affirm he is next in line to run the family business. The Don knows his son is too ragingly violent to head the family though he lectures him to know when to use your heart instead of always your gun or fists. Meanwhile in the boroughs, Corleone’s enemy Giuseppe Mariposa teams up with Emilio Barzini and Phillip Tattaglia to destroy the family.

This is an engaging Godfather entry that takes place when Vito is a relatively young Don with small children and a volatile teen. The key is that the personalities that make up Mario Puzo’s saga remain consistent as for instance Vito uses the Teddy Roosevelt mantra to “speak softly and carry a big stick…” Fans will appreciate Ed Falco’s strong entry, which hopefully leads to more 1930s prequels. Harriet Klausner

The Wrong Man
David Ellis
Putnam, Jun 14 2012, $26.95
ISBN 9780399158285

After class, paralegal Kathy Rubinkowski heads to her SUV to go home when someone shoots her in her head. Detective Frank Danilo and Mona Gregus arrest Iraqi war veteran Tom Stoller who is incoherent and apparently homeless in spite of an address. Stoller was found with the murder weapon and Kathy’s purse near the homicide scene. The cops get a confession out of the mentally unstable Stoller.

Tom’s Aunt Deidre Maley observes in court attorney Jason Kolarich destroy the testimony of a key prosecution witness in a murder case. She pleads with him to defend her nephew as public defender Bryan Childress is leaving the office. He agrees though the trial is in a few weeks and his client wants it over so a continuance is unlikely. As he goes over the evidence and talks with his client, Jason begins to believe Tom confessed to a horrible event in Iraq not to the killing of Kathy. He finds proof that Kathy was assassinated because someone wanted to end her inquiry into a terrorists’ money trail.

The third Jason Kolarich legal thriller (see The Hidden Man and Breach of Trust) is an exciting tale that is at its best in the courtroom and in client-lawyer meetings. The attorney defends an individual suffering from PTSD triggered Disorganized Schizophrenia who mumbles okay though he apparently has no idea what he responds to. When the case turns into an improbable thriller, the storyline remains fast-paced but loses some of its freshness of defending a person whose sanity seems unlikely. Harriet Klausner

Friday, July 20, 2012

Colorado Shootings

May God grant peace and solace on those families who have victims in this senseless crime against humanity.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Assorted Genre Titles

Shadow Blizzard
Alexey Pehov
Tor, $26.99
ISBN: 9780765324054

Shadow Harold the thief seeks the horn to prevent the awakened Nameless One Dark Lord from destroying Sial. His journey has been marked by the deaths of comrades in arms as they fight the forces of the Dark Lord, but though he would prefer to return to the shadows of thievery, Harold remains resolute in his quest to obtain the horn by breaching the impregnable Hrad Spein, a place no army, even that of wizards, has entered. If he and those allies who live and have not betrayed him (yet) reach the dark underground palace, only Shadow Harold alone, as the Dancer in the Shadows can complete the journey.

Even if Harold obtains the horn and escapes Hrad Spein, he knows he remains behind enemy lines with orcs hunting him to recapture him. However, Harold cannot think that far ahead as war explodes in Sial. Before he can take the horn, he still has to confront deadly hindrances entering and leaving Hrad Spein; obstacles that have destroyed every fool trying to steal the artifact.

With a nod to the Lord of the Rings, the Shadow Chronicles of Sial epic fantasy (see Shadow Prowler and Shadow Chaser) is an engaging trilogy as the third entry is a taut thriller that never abates the tension until the anticipated final confrontation between good and evil. Shadow Blizzard contains greater tension than the previous novels as the jocularity that seemed out of place with so much death and destruction is virtually nonexistent. Harold is terrific as he deals with immense pressure as he expects his destiny is death, but remains steadfast on his quest as he knows in the end he must go it alone. Harriet Klausner

The River Witch
Kimberly Brock
Bell Bridge, $14.95
ISBN: 9781611941234

Thirty years old Roslyn Byrne’s charmed life ended with the crash. Her career as a professional ballet dancer on the Atlanta stage ended and while healing at her mom’s house, she gave birth to a stillborn.

Worried about her daughter’s inability to move past her grief, Rosalyn’s mom pushes her to spend a summer healing on Manny's Island; Georgia just off St. Simon’s. Rosalyn rents a house from the Trezevant family. Their tweener daughter Damascus adopts the grieving Roslyn by introducing her to gators and hoodoo magic as the ten years old knows loss too with her mom dead. As Roslyn’s past and that of the Trezevant family become known due to the river where the dead rest, the former dancer begins to heal.

The gothic atmosphere makes for a strong character driven tale of people struggling with grief. The support cast is solid especially ephemeral cousin Nonnie and patriarch Urey. However, this haunting whimsical tale of soul healing belongs to the Sea Isle with its magical music by the riverbank and the two females; each barely coping with their respective losses until they meet. Harriet Klausner

Terminal Point
K.M. Ruiz
Dunne, Jun 19 2012, $25.99
ISBN 9780312681555

Two and a half centuries have passed since the global nuclear war eradicated much of the population. The planet has not recovered from the radiation battering. However, one thing remains the same from the pre-war; a small group of wealthy "registered" as the five generations of throwback purebred humanity World Court led currently by Nathan Serca rules over the short lived Stryker force psions who possess psi skills.

To escape the dying planet that he cedes to the psions, the gene trash and his son by leaving for the Mars Colony of the Pure, Nathan hides his psi powers. His traitorous son Lucas has joined a rebel syndicate of former Strykers led by Threnody Corwin. She and her team hope to save the world for the humans while the World Court wants them dead so they can continue to exploit psi and human. However, Threnody is unaware that the Pure Lucas and his warhounds are of her kind.

The second Strykers Syndicate futuristic post-apocalyptic thriller (see Mind Storm) is an exciting gory military science fiction thriller that continues the blood and guts flow as the countdown to earth’s demise is running out. Fast-paced and loaded with feral action, the storyline never digs deep into what any of the prime three surviving groups think re a dying planet except tor the World Court leaving behind what they wrought as they reject accountability. Still fans who enjoy blood and guts will want to read Terminal Pont as mankind’s reign is through. Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 16, 2012

Military Fantasy, Urban Fantasy, and Romantc Fantasy

The Danger That Is Damian
Lisa Renee Jones
Sourcebooks, May 1 2012, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402251627

GTECH Renegades soldier Damion Browne keeps reminding himself to remain focused on his current mission in the war against the Zodius. Instead the woman in the bikini keeps distracting him.

His assignment goes wrong, but Damion escapes with the bikini woman Lara Martin. He takes her to his apartment where he is stunned when he realizes she is a female GTECH. He is unaware she is one of a newly engineered super woman soldier Serenity whose mission is to end the Renegades. Although he soothes her headaches and has her heart pumping, Lara’s customized brainwashing is to destroy her beloved who has doubts about his beloved’s loyalty.

Once again with a nod to Captain America, Lisa Renee Jones provides a great romantic military fantasy. The action-packed story line grips the reader from the moment Damion’s mission fails and never slows down as readers will wonder whether love can supersede intense brainwashing. Fans will enjoy this Project Zodius (see The Legend of Michael) as the two adversarial groups of Super Soldiers bring a deadlier female element into the war. Harriet Klausner

Lethal Rider
Larissa Ione
Grand Central, May 22 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780446574501

Thanatos the Horsemen of the Apocalypse Death rages over what has happened to him. For centuries this Lord of Deliverance knew he must remain sexual abstinent to prevent his Agimortus seal from breaking. An ancient prophecy claims that his offspring will save the world so two of his Horsemen siblings (Ares and Limos) drugged him so that Aegis Guardian Regan Matthews could seduce him in order to become pregnant (see Immortal Rider).

Feeling date raped and betrayed Thanatos abducts Regan in order to make her his sexual prisoner. However, he finds an obsessive compulsive disorder individual filled with remorse and eight months pregnant. Stunned Thanatos realizes the baby is his Agimortus and the fourth Horseman Pestilence, whose seal was broken (see Eternal Rider), hunts them for he knows killing the infant will fuel the Apocalypse.

The third Lords of Deliverance romantic urban fantasy is a superb apocalyptic thriller that grips the reader from the moment Thanatos realizes he has been betrayed and never slows down until the final confrontation. Though it helps to have read Immortal Rider as the drugged seduction occurs as a secondary plot; that is not necessary as this fast-paced story line filled with betrayals can be read alone; while setting up the Ione apocalyptic mythos final doomsday confrontation. Harriet Klausner

The Taken
Vicki Pettersson
Harper Voyager, Jun 12 2012, $13.99
ISBN: 9780062064646

Five decades ago Griffin Shaw private investigator was murdered. His gig is collecting the souls of murder victims like Nicole Rockwell who in spite of a crushed larynx tells him she is a photographer not a hooker who due to the movie Ghost distrusts him to Take her soul to Everlast. Unable to resist a crying female; he breaks the rules and allows her to change her clothing; allowing Anas of the Powers angels to claim the soul. Griff’s efforts to prevent the theft angers Anas who clips his wings and returns him to life in a skin of sin.

Nicole’s friend Las Vegas reporter Katherine “Kit” Craig arrives as Griff flees. Kit and Nicole were working on a child prostitution ring. Meanwhile Griff figures since he is being punished by the heavenly powers, he will investigate the cold case murders of himself and his wife Evie. However, he is given one last chance to regain his heavenly status: he must collect the soul of Kit Craig whose guilt and obsession to avenge her friend’s death has her facing death. Falling in love Griff cannot deliver though it means damnation.

This is an engaging romantic urban fantasy as Vicki Pettersson deftly exaggerates the traits of the hard boiled 1950s detective with a soft boiled heart and the go into hell for a story reporter (Rosalind Russell in His Girl Friday). The paranormal hierarchy contains a uniqueness that is two-sword as the premise enables the reader to understand Griff’s “sin” and the universe he works, but the complexity of the Pettersson pantheon also slows down the storyline while never explaining his “fickleness” between Evie and Kit. Still this is an entertaining paranormal as two souls defy heaven. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 14, 2012

New Tarzan Novels Coming Soon


Open Road Will Publish Ebooks of Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy and Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior

Ebooks Will Be Released This Fall in Celebration of the Centenary of the Publication of Burroughs's Original Tarzan

(New York, NY — July 13, 2012) Open Road Integrated Media, a digital publisher and multimedia content company, announced today that it will digitally publish Andy Briggs’s Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy and Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior in the US this fall in celebration of the centenary of Burroughs's original Tarzan. The titles go on sale on October 16 and will also be available in print from Open Road on the same day.

Briggs said: “As a child, watching Tarzan on TV was pure escapism—an opportunity to be transported to mysterious Africa. A place that was a million miles from the drab city I lived in. Discovering there were twenty-six Tarzan books, written by Edgar Rice Burroughs, fueled my imagination further and inspired me to become a writer, creating exotic stories of high adventure. However, I never even dreamed that I would be able to take Tarzan’s reins and relaunch him for a whole new generation. But now, as we celebrate the iconic hero's one hundredth birthday, I am doing exactly that: letting Tarzan live again for new fans and old warriors. Once again, we can all escape into the wild.”

Tim Travaglini, Director of Children’s Acquisitions at Open Road said: “Andy brings a tremendous amount of passion and excitement for Tarzan to every page of these novels and has recreated one of fiction’s greatest characters. We are excited to work with him to bring his twenty-first-century reboot to a new generation of digital readers.”

The ebooks will include an illustrated biography of Edgar Rice Burroughs and the history of Tarzan, and Open Road will produce marketing videos centered on Briggs and Tarzan that will be syndicated to content partners.

The Tarzan centennial will be celebrated at San Diego Comic-Con International (July 12–15, 2012), and featured on the cover of and inside the Comic-Con program guide received by more than 130,000 attendees, and on panels both yesterday and Saturday. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Inc., will host the Dum-Dum centennial celebration (August 15–19) in Tarzana, California, which will feature Jane Goodall as the guest of honor, author Andy Briggs, actors who have portrayed Tarzan on the screen, and a host of other guests.

Andy Briggs is a screenwriter, graphic novelist, and author. He has written for movies such as Judge Dredd and Freddy vs. Jason, as well as Foreverman for Spider-Man creator Stan Lee and legendary producer Robert Evans. Andy went on to work on Warner Bros.' Aquaman while simultaneously landing an eight-book deal with Oxford University Press for and His graphic novels include Kong: King of Skull Island, Ritual, and Dinocorps.

Briggs joins Open Road’s growing catalog of young adult authors such as Jean Craighead George, Virginia Hamilton, Andrea J. Buchanan, Caroline B. Cooney, and Lois Duncan.

Title descriptions:

· Escaping a dark secret, Robbie Canler joins an illegal logging team in the Congo jungle. Now they're under siege from a sinister force. When the daughter of the camp's boss, Jane Porter, goes missing, they assume bloodthirsty rebel soldiers have kidnapped her. In Tarzan: The Greystoke Legacy, Robbie sets out on a rescue mission—unaware he is being watched . . . Are the rumors of a feral man raised by wild apes true? And if so, can the mysterious untamed savage be trusted to help them?

· In Tarzan: The Jungle Warrior, a baby gorilla is snatched from its family by the world's most infamous hunter, and Tarzan will stop at nothing to track him down. Meanwhile, Jane tries to learn more about Tarzan's past, and must decide whether reuniting him with his lost Greystoke family is the right thing to do. But Robbie has ideas of his own. He has formed a plan that will get rid of Tarzan for good, and keep the secrets of his own past safe.

About Open Road Integrated Media

Open Road Integrated Media is a digital publisher and multimedia content company. Open Road creates connections between authors and their audiences by marketing its ebooks through a new proprietary online platform, which uses premium video content and social media. Open Road has published ebooks from legendary authors including William Styron, Pat Conroy, Alice Walker, James Jones, and Pearl S. Buck.

About Edgar Rice Burroughs

Edgar Rice Burroughs (September 1, 1875–March 19, 1950) was an American author best known for his creation of the jungle hero Tarzan and the heroic Mars adventurer John Carter. Tarzan first appeared in the story "Tarzan of the Apes," which was published in the pulp magazine The All-Story in October 1912, and then in twenty-five sequels by Burroughs, a handful of authorized works, and innumerable works in other media. One of the best-known literary characters in the world, Tarzan has been portrayed by more than twenty-seven actors in more than eighty-nine movies—in addition to TV shows—the first being the 1918 silent film, which was one of the first motion pictures to earn one million dollars.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Three Ladies

Home From The Sea
Mercedes Lackey
DAW, Jun 5 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756407278

In Edwardian England, magic has faded from the minds of most people while psychic powers are thought to be evil. In Clogwyn, Wales, Mari Prothero’s father Daffyd does not blink when going out in storms to fish in his coracle as he always comes home regardless of the fury of the torrent with a boatload filled with the catch.

On her eighteenth birthday, Daffyd tells his daughter that the first Prothero made an arrangement with the clan leader of the Selch (a seal who can turn into a human and vice versa).

A Selch and a Prothero would copulate and give birth to twins and the Selch and one of the twins would return to the sea. Mari is so furious she makes her own deal with the Selch clan leader leader Gethin. He would send some Selch to court her and another to teach her to use her powers as a Master Water Elemental. Master of Masters Lord Alberscroft sent two psychicals Nan and Sarah to help Mari from the enemies who want her dead.

With a nod to the Nordic tale East of the Sun and West of the Moon, the latest Elemental Masters historical fantasy (see Unnatural Issues and Reserved for the Cat) is a thrilling tale due to the brave heroine who will fight for those she cherishes and to keep what is rightfully hers. She possesses the protection of Puck, a Power who used to be worshiped as a god. Nan and Sarah (see Wizard of London) with their respective bonded birds enhance the tale of a world in which magic is becoming a forgotten force. Harriet Klausner

Where There’s Smoke
Karen Kelley
Sourcebooks, $14.99
ISBN: 9781402263866

In 1959 Destiny Carter died and went straight to hell. Vetis the demon informs Destiny that she must destroy the soul of a mortal in one week before she can achieve demon status; she does not want to know what failure denotes. Vetis sends her back to earth.

In Fort Worth, Texas near the stockyards, Destiny enters the Stompin’ Ground bar where she chooses lonesome cowboy Chance Bellow as she assumes he is an easy mark. Chance the nephilim has waited in the dive for the demon apprentice to arrive so he can show her what she failed to read in the fine print of her deal with Vetis. However, from the first smoldering touch, Chance and Destiny are so hot for each other; hell seems to have frozen over. As they fight for control, they fall in love, but there is no room for such a wasteful mortal emotion in hell.

This is a fast-paced urban fantasy romance starring two enticing paranormal engaged in a holy gender war. Although the ending seems too simplistic for the protagonists' journey, this somewhat tongue in cheek lampooning of capitalist religious dogma will have fans cheering for the rookie demon and the heavenly hybrid to light their respective fire. Harriet Klausner

Kiss of the Goblin Prince
Shona Husk
Sourcebooks, $6.99
ISBN: 9781402262067

Amanda married in a registry office. Three months later she was a pregnant widow. Now Amanda Coulter is a single mom raising an asthmatic daughter Brigit with love. At her sister-in-law Eliza Coulter’s wedding to Roan King (see The Goblin King), Amanda and Brigit meet his brother Dai, a noted scholar.

Dai, like his sibling, survived his Druid millennia banishment in the Shadowlands by his compulsion for knowledge. Now he finally has returned to the human Fixed Realm where his magical experiments over the centuries have the Birch Trustees watching him carefully. The best man and the matron of honor are attracted to one another. However, his actions to keep Roan and other family members safe lead him believe he is unworthy of her; while she knows Brigit comes first in her heart.

The second Shadowlands romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale of two people who believe love is not enough to cement a permanent relationship. The storyline is at its best when it stays in the present; when the scholar looks back at his deeds against Rome and in the Shadowlands, the storyline loses momentum as those segues are well written but come across as unnecessary. Still fans will enjoy the love story of the goblin and the mom. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Press Release

New series by Tomes of The Dead: Double Dead and Blackbirds writer to debut in 2013

Don't look up. Don't send your prayers skyward. Because the gods aren't in the sky. They're here. All of them.

After publishing Chuck Wendig’s debut novel Double Dead, in 2011 Abaddon Books is proud to announce that it is set to publish a brand new title from the inimitable author of Blackbirds.

Gods and Monsters: Unclean Spirits
, the first title in a brand new shared world series, will debut in summer 2013 with Wendig’s characteristically sharp, take-no-prisoners style sure to win him even more fans.

Exiled to Earth, the gods now walk amongst us, bringing with them their children and their servants and their monsters. Their power is a mere fraction of what it once was, but even a mote of divine magic is awesome - in the truest sense of the word.

Cason Cole knows this firsthand. He's been serving the gods for the better part of a decade, their leash fastened tight around his neck. But when his most recent divine master gets killed - a thing Cason didn't even know could happen - he finds himself once more a free man. All he's got left is a burning need for vengeance against the very gods who forced him to kneel, but he'll soon discover that getting revenge against the gods is no easy feat. He'll have to put his life, love, sanity and soul on the line. Will he pay the cost? How priceless is his wrath?

Wendig’s is an utterly unique voice in contemporary urban fantasy – fresh, visceral, and witty. Gods and Monsters promises to unleash more invigorating hell upon his unsuspecting characters…

“I enjoyed working with Chuck on his debut novel, Double Dead, hugely,” said Abaddon editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver, “so the intention was always to continuing working with him. To be able to launch a brand new Abaddon series with Chuck at the helm is very exciting. His writing is witty, punchy and entertaining as hell. A perfect fit for what promises to be a brilliant new series.”

"Wendig is ferociously inventive and effortlessly sharp"
– Richard Dansky, author of Beloved of the Dead and Firefly Rain.

"A bloodthirsty ride through zombie-infested Route 66. Chuck Wendig gives horror fans exactly what they need in this slick, cross-genre romp"
– Wayne Simmons, author of Flu, on Double Dead.

Monday, July 9, 2012

More from Harriett

Circle of Cranes
Annette LeBox
Dial, $16.99
ISBN: 9780803734432

Travel agent Lao from Fuzhou arrives in the remote mountain village of Cao Hai, China. He explains to the townsfolk that he escorts people to the Gold Mountain – America for a fee of fifty thousand dollars, which is an investment as the villager who goes with him will send home a fortune. To ease the fee, he offers a migrant loan, which the leaders accept. They choose thirteen years old Zhu Suyin to go over her objection.

Zhu, who is connected to the village cranes, and her fellow young female passengers cross the ocean on a terrible too crowded ship that appears ready to sink at any moment. In New York City, the girls work fourteen hour-days in a horrific Chinatown sweatshop without wages. Suyin, who has the magic of the Crane Sisterhood, fears she is the last one and if she fails at her mission to save the Crane Queen the magical crane women will become extinct.

Targeting tweeners, this is an entertaining contemporary fantasy that focuses on the horrid working conditions of young illegal migrants from China. The fantasy elements are fun while insight into China's ethnic minorities enhances the tale although the diversity of these different groups is lost behind the dumbing down Chinese stereotype Miao. Based on real human trafficking news, Circle of Cranes is a profound tale that looks at an inconvenient aspect of illegal immigration ignored by those in power except when an incident occurs. Harriet Klausner

The Night Sessions
Ken MacLeod
PYR, $17.95
ISBN: 9781616146139

By 2012, most people have turned their backs on organized religions following the Middle East Faith Wars culminated with nuke strikes at Megiddo. Politicians who seek office avoid any mentioning of religion as the Second Enlightenment has ripped religious posturing from politics though there remain millions of fanatics around the globe.

In Edinburgh, a bomb blows up a small church killing the Roman Catholic priest. St Leonard's Police Detective Adam Ferguson and his sentient robotic aide Shulk investigate the bombing murder. As other incidents occur, he realizes terrorist acts against the maligned mistrusted minority most likely by militant atheists are occurring. However, the evidence soon points to the sinister return of the God Squads trying to reignite the End of Days that never happened during the Faith Wars Armageddon.

This is a great police procedural science fiction that condemns people (especially politicians who send someone else’s child off to war) for invoking God on their side as a rationale for war. The inquiry is terrific as it not only relates a strong whodunit but uses the inquiry to provide insight into the near futuristic world of Ken Macleod. Although the climax is acceptable albeit weak compared to the storyline’s journey, readers will appreciate this action-packed thought provoking investigative thriller. Harriet Klausner

Lance of Earth and Sky
Erin Hoffman
PYR, $17.95
ISBN: 9781616146153

Captain Vidarian Rulorat desperately opened the gates between worlds (see Sword of Fire and Sea). Now he faces the second order effect as elemental magic is no longer dormant as it had been for centuries. As a consequence of his action, many powerful people like his best friend Ruby died. War between Qui and his homeland Aloria has exploded since leaders in both nations believe the balance of power shifted due to the magic explosion.

The Aloria Emperor orders Vidarian to lead the sky ships in battle against the Qui and to train the demoralized Sky Knights to ride beasts that shapeshift. However, he has two missions besides keeping his country somewhat safe. First he wants his beloved fire priestess Ariadel back in his life and he needs to learn to control his new magical skills. However, Vidarian theorizes the real threat to his empire and their enemy comes from the powerful Alorian Import Company.

The second Chaos Knight fantasy is an engaging thriller that has less action than its predecessor but also provides much more insight into the Hoffman mythos. Although the world contains little freshness, this fast-paced tale will remind readers of the Raymond E. Feist’s Riftwar saga as Vidarian’s struggles with the moral implications of what he wrought. Harriet Klausner

The Immortal Rules
Julie Kagawa
Harlequin Teen, $18.99
ISBN: 9780373210510

The plague changed the food chain as humans became cattle while vampires took over the top rung. Inside the walled vampire dominated cities, people like seventeen years old Allie Sekemoto live at the outer Fringe as a food source at night while in the day they are scavengers who better be careful especially if they venture into the Inner City as quislings will sell a peer out to their Masters. Outside the walls are the brutal hybrid Rabids who thrive on human flesh.

While Allie was scavenging for food, a Rabid assaults her. Kanin the vampire gives Julie a choice between dead and undead. Though she loathes vampires, Julie chooses life. She vows to retain her humanity while Kanin mentors her on vampire society. Julie joins human refugees seeking asylum on the mythical island of Eden, but hides her vampiric nature from the wary travelers. On the dangerous trek though the devastated Rabid land, Julie falls in love with Zeke, but fears telling him the truth.

The “legend” of the Blood of Eden teenage saga begins with a strong paranormal romance in a fully developed dystopian world. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment Julie escorts readers around the city and never slows as the band of adventurers run into all types of danger and obstacles. With a nod to Hiero’s Journey (Sterling Lanier), Julie is a terrific heroine who keeps the exciting thriller focused as she, her mates and the appreciative audiences travel the lethal Kagawa world. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, July 7, 2012

A Potpourri of Reviews

Lost Everything
Brian Francis Slattery
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765329127

Sailing up the Susquehanna River towards Harrisburg, filled with remorse for his actions and regret for not being there for his son Aaron, Sunny Jim searches for his offspring with little hope of finding him. He thinks about his sister Merry siting by a window in the family home with a gun wondering if she is alive and he wonders about Aline. Everywhere he and his companion Reverend Bauxite, whom he met in devastated Baltimore, look, they see destruction like the collapse of the Market Street Bridge and corpses. The violent storms brought America to its knees with pandemic destruction. Those with power cling to it at any cost while those without join a side or die immediately as civil war is heading everywhere.

No one including Sunny Jim escapes the militia. They are following him up the Susquehanna ravaging the land and killing or scripting anyone in their way. Sunny Jim and Reverend Bauxite steal supplies from the army. Whereas the two weary travelers continue their watery road trip, they see death wherever they go; the army brings death wherever they go. If they catch him and the Reverend they will kill them.

This ultra-dark apocalyptic future thriller is fast-paced with an America no longer on the Eve of Destruction (P. F. Sloan). There are three prime settings (The River, The Highway and The House) that rotate perspective but share in common the death of the Unites States. Although the names of characters seem too whimsical with all the doom and gloom and musical lyrics distracting, fans will appreciate this grim saga mindful of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. Harriet Klausner

Shawntelle Madison
Ballantine, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345529183

Natalya Stravinsky suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder that is so severe her former werewolf pack insists they suffer from her excessiveness so they banish and avoid her. Five years ago her lover Thorn Grantham made love with her for the last time though he promised their long distance relationship would work. As time moves on without him, her OCD has worsened. No longer on the other side of the Hudson, Natalya resides and works in her hometown South Toms River, New Jersey selling antiques to meticulous paranormals. Her only solace comes with her holiday ornament collection.

The brutal Long Island pack attacks Nat’s New Jersey pack. They demand that Nat be handed to them or else. Thorn returns home to lead his pack at war while some members prefer to acquiesce to their bellicose foes’ demands. Thorn, still attracted to Nat, rejects appeasement and objects to a wizard making his intentions clear re Nat; while she finds allies in a strange place.

Filled with humor, Coveted is a fun romantic suburban romantic fantasy with a cast of neurotic and psychotic paranormals from several species (mindful of the movie Gun Shy taken place in the Burbs with otherworldly creatures). Nat is a terrific protagonist whose OCD brings uniqueness to the kick tail heroine. Although her past with Thorn distracts from a great main storyline, fans will root for Nat and her zoo crew as they struggle to overcome their phobias at a time she is under attack from without and within. Harriet Klausner

Lies and Omens
Lyn Benedict
Ace, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007508

Recently some of the Magicus Mundi otherworldly creatures have assaulted offices of the Internal Surveillance and Investigation government agency. The stunner is that the attacks have been coordinated in group waves as these monsters are notorious loners. The ISI agents and the Magnus Mundi are in mortal and immortal combat.

Though Miami based private investigator Sylvie Lightner is the first choice of those needing sleuthing amidst the Magicus Mundi in crowd, this is not her fight especially after what she recently caused in her city. Sylvie’s neutrality in the ISI Magicus Mundi war changes when the latter threatens people she cherishes. With close allies, Sylvie, using her sorceress powers, searches for the diabolical genius who has consolidated the Magicus Mundi monsters into a cohesive fighting machine.

The latest Shadows Inquiries urban fantasy is an exciting action-packed thriller. Fast-paced, the protagonist remains an interesting lead character although her powers have grown immensely. Less detecting and more superhero than the previous entries (See Gods and Monsters, and Ghosts & Echoes), fans will enjoy Sylvie Lightner investigator of the paranormal. Harriet Klausner

Fevre Dream
George R. R. Martin
Bantam, $7.99
ISBN: 9780553577938

In 1857, Captain Abner Marsh once ran a thriving steamboat business on the Mississippi. However, an unprecedented freezing of the great river left his Fevre River Packet Company destroyed. Abner still owns one dilapidated vessel as he limits his work to the Illinois River with his reputation the only reason he still has customers.

Extremely ashen looking Joshua York offers a partnering deal with Abner that is way above the value of the latter’s firm. Joshua admits his remittance is exorbitant, but insists he can afford this as a sort of hobby so he can captain a steamboat filled with his “guests” while Abner would run the business and pilot the ship. They build a steamship The Fevre Dream launched in New Albany heading down the Mississippi to New Orleans. However, Joshua conceals from his new partner that he is a vampire with a dream of his species ending their hunting of humans as he invented an elixir that eliminates the craving. Damon Julian, his bloodthirsty horde and his human lap dog Sour Billy Tipton prefer the traditional way of vampiric dining.

This is a reprint of an entertaining horror thriller released a decade before A Game of Thrones was published. George R.R. Martin provides an intriguing vampire historical thriller as two diverse groups fight for their vision of the future. The key cast is solid as each believes strongly in something they cherish; for the vampire rival leaders it is tradition vs. modernization, and for the captain it is Life on the Mississippi (by Mark Twain). Harriet Klausner

Thursday, July 5, 2012

The Witch Theif, A Wolf's Heart, The Prophet, and Captivated

The Witch Thief
Lori Devoti
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618835

A century and one year ago Amma the witch stole a chalice from its guard dragon shifter Joarr. She left the Chalice Keeper trapped in his dragon form in a room in which he could barely move slightly. She traded her booty to a dwarf.

In the present Joarr needs the chalice to save his race from a deadly plague that kills the fledglings. Joarr captures Amma’s spirit inside a lantern. He demands she tell him who she sold the chalice to or else. Like she did with the princess who stole her spirit, Amma plans to remain patient and in hiding from her frustrated captor who considers burning her and the lantern. Rike arrives accusing Joarr of losing the chalice as disaster has struck their race as he explains the young are dying including his son. The possessor of the chalice leaves a note to the dragons to meet this unknown individual if they want it back. Joarr knows he must venture into the lair of their enemy; Amma comes out of hiding and joins him.

This is superb romantic fantasy starring two strong protagonists who make the world of Lori Devoti seem real. Fast-paced from the moment Amma tricks Joarr and never slowing down, fans will enjoy this engaging tale as the heroes fall in love but partial redemption (each knows they cannot bring back those who died) is what they seek. Harriet Klausner

A Wolf’s Heart
Vivi Anna
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618828

Hybrid vampire- wolf shifter Elise LeRoy the Oscar winning Otherworld actress receives a threatening letter signed by blood drops. She knows not to ignore the unpleasant note. Nouveau Monde police inspector Gabriel Bellmonte the Lycan is assigned to keep Elise safe.

Fifteen years ago they were in love but he failed to keep her safe from a violent attack. Still he knows he loves her and would die for her. She never got over him either but his guilt over failing her rivals the strength of his love for her. Still he knows he must remain focused as someone nasty stalks his beloved.

This is a wonderful second chance at love urban fantasy starring two lead characters with a past that still haunts both of them. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the heroine deals with her odious co-star during a shoot and never slows down until the final confrontation as Gabriel risks his life to keep Elise safe. Though the villain seems obvious, fans will enjoy this entertaining paranormal romance.
Harriet Klausner

The Prophet
Amanda Stevens
Mira, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778313397

Amelia “Graveyard Queen” Gray is renowned for her talent to restore lost respect to neglected cemeteries. A prime reason she is adept at what she does is her secret skill, seeing ghosts. As a child her dad gave her four rules to strictly adhere to when dealing with ghosts; but during her travels Amelia has smashed each of them (see The Restorer and The Kingdom).

She vows to obey her father’s admonition. However, this proves difficult when the dead cop pleads with her to find his killer. Clues take Amelia to the darkest evilest sector of Charleston and to haunted police detective John Devlin who haunts her heart. Soon Amelia’s good intentions to undo any damage she may have caused between the realms of the living and dead forces her to choose between her love and her dad’s rules.

This is a superb dark urban fantasy as readers learn more about who Amelia Gray is. Action-packed but character driven, fans will relish the trek into Stevens’ world as a beleaguered heroine finds mending what she wrought a seemingly impossible task even without considering her feelings towards Devlin as Amelia’s soul is at risk if she does nothing, fails or succeeds. Harriet Klausner

Lauren Dane
Heat, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425247365

For almost a year, the Imperium imprisoned and tortured Hannah Black. She barely survives by constantly repeating who she is. Still they nearly break her as her hope to escape diminishes over the long captivity. Federated Universes military officer Vincenz Cuomo liberates Hannah.

She begins the mental and physical rehabilitation while Vin and his lover Julian Marsters encourage her. As Hannah heals she becomes their lover too. Refusing to hide in the shadows, she joins her two men on a mission to an outlying lab where she proves her worth by decrypting code that warns them war is about to heat up even as she learns who her rescuer truly is.

The latest Phantom Corps entry (see Insatiable and Mesmerized) military romantic science fiction is an action-packed thriller (in space and on the bed) starring an intriguing ménage a trois. This exciting tale contains a fast-paced plot from the opening rescue, sexual interludes, and fabulous twists including a late stunner. Series readers will be Captivated by the Relentless trio who battle a repressive vicious adversary who is after the blood of especially one of them. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4, 2012

Happy Birthday America!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Witches, Vampires, Urban Fantasy and Magic

In The Company Of Witches
Joey W. Hill
Berkley, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425250846

Mikhael Roman the Dark Guardian arrives at the brothel on the southern plantation house run by Raina the witch and hybrid succubus. The enforcer pursues Isaac the incubus, who stole something from Lucifer. Feeling obligated Raina protects Isaac though she is a bit perturbed that her prefect hemline was burned in the battle with the hunk Mikhail and that People Magazine may not make house calls.

Mikhael believes Raina's loyalty is misplaced as Isaac has a long rap sheet culminating with his latest stunt that has Lucifer steaming. As the Dark Guardian tries to persuade the witch to release her ward into his custody, both are troubled over their attraction to one another as each understands that can only lead to trouble. Still Mikhael tries to balance his work with his love for Raina and by extension her “family” of demons who feed off the energy emitted by customers without them paying the ultimate price which would be bad for business.

The second witch romantic urban fantasy (see Something About Witches) is a wonderful exciting gender (and species) war between two beloved enemies. Fast-paced, the cheeky Raina and the determined Mikhail argue, fuss and kiss in a delightful amusing erotic tale in which love conquers all; at least amongst the paranormal. Harriet Klausner

Deadly Is The Kiss
Rhyannon Byrd
Harlequin HQN, $7.99
ISBN: 9780373776801

Ashe Granger the Formyndare warrior of the Deschanel vampires is resolute when it comes to performing his mission to protect mankind. The only crack in his determination is his destined mate Juliana Sabin who is locked away with her family in an isolated impenetrable prison for crimes of treason. However, Ashe conceals his need to rescue her from his peers and the Council with an out of sight almost out of mind tenet.

His resolve implodes when Juliana arrives in London to beg him to help her. She explains an unknown individual enabled her to escape incarceration though the Wastelands. Furthermore, Juliana insists she and her family are innocent of the sedition charges and that someone wants them dead before they can prove they did not commit acts of treason. Desperately wanting to believe her, Ashe knows he is biased, but rationalizes if she is telling the truth, a dangerous conspiracy is brewing.

The first “post” Primal Instinct fantasy romance (see Rush of Darkness and Rush of Pleasure) is an exciting thriller that focuses on the Deschanel vampire cultures. Though it helps to have read entries from the previous series to better understand the Byrd mythos, this is a fast-paced action-packed tale starring destined mates investigating a deadly truth. Harriet Klausner

Royal Street
Suzanne Johnson
Tor, $14.99
ISBN: 9780765327796

As Katrina begins its assault on New Orleans, Gerry St. Simon the city Sentinel orders Junior Wizard Sentinel Drusilla “DJ” Jaco to leave the city, which she does. As the storm loses its fury, the aftermath has left a wrecked region as more than the levees were breached when the border with the Beyond crumbled too.

With her mentor having vanished, the Congress of Elders directs DJ to return to New Orleans because all hell is walking the streets. Upon her return, Jean Lafitte tries to kill her, but Alexander Waring an FBI terminator arrives to dispatch the pirate for now. DJ thinks her new partner has the body of an Adonis and the brain of an anchovy as he comments she looks more like Glinda than Merlin. As she searches for her teacher, a serial killer haunts the already devastated city while the enemy from Beyond grows in power forcing DJ and Alexander into seeking strange bedfellows as allies.

Royal Street is a great urban fantasy that uses Katrina to create a breach between realms. DJ’s tour of the city shows more than just the cost in lives and property as psychologically New Orleans seems down for the count. The movement of paranormal species from Beyond into the city is deftly handled as DJ, Alex and others find themselves in a fight against a powerful essence who uses the no longer Big Easy as a springboard for power while the elders (mindful of classic Green Lantern silver age comic books insist on adhering to the rules (the means vs. the end argument).
Harriet Klausner

Glamour in Glass
Mary Robinette Kowal
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765325570

In 1815, newlyweds Jane and David Vincent travel to Blinche, Belgium on a working honeymoon paid for by a glamour commissioned by the Regent. The couple plans to compare magical glamour techniques with a colleague of David, M. Chastain and create a glass container to hold glamour inside.

However, their idyll collapses when David ignores his new wife and excludes her on a paying gig. At the same time Napoleon returns from Elba, trapping visitors in France and its neighbors like Belgium. Feeling isolated, Jane wants to go home alone, but soon finds herself in peril and David is locked away as agents of Bonaparte want to deploy the Vincents (and other adepts) magical skills in the pending battlefield.

The second Glamour regency fantasy (see Shades of Milk and Honey) is a charming espionage thriller starring an unconfident heroine who still thinks of herself as a plain-looking twenty-eight years old jealous of her beautiful sister Melody's looks; so she expects to lose her husband to a real glamorous woman. The exciting storyline continues to provide details to glamour application methodology, but less of the science and more of the practical. Combining an unsure female lead with Napoleon back in town, fans will be spellbound by Glamour mage Mary Robinette Kowal.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, July 2, 2012

Blind Shadows

BLIND SHADOWS, James A Moore and Charles R Rutledge, Arcane Wisdom, $49, limited to 150 signed and numbered copies, 300 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

I’m more impressed with the writing of James A Moore with each new book of his that comes into my library. He has also had some marvelous collaborations and this one is no exception. This may be the best of all and I’m ready for a sequel or three featuring the characters I met in this Gothic Georgia tale.

Sheriff Carl Price calls his friend, Wade Griffin - a sometime private investigator, to the scene of a murder outside the town of Wellman, Georgia. The victim is a friend of theirs and has been ritualistically killed with stakes through his eyes and genitals, lashed to a St Andrews’ cross and embellished with strange characters carved into his body. The worst thing about it was that he was still alive when it took place.

Wade takes pictures of the carvings and seeks help from Charon, who runs the local magic shop and has knowledge of many arcane subjects. Sheriff Price follows his investigation by questioning Merle Blackbourne, the patriarch of a clan well known for meth making and other lawless pursuits.

Charon uses her computer skills and knowledge to track down an expert in the arcane and she and Wade visit him to gain more information. Carter DeCamp aides them in translating parts of the symbols, but does appear to know more than he lets on.

The backstory of the history of the area and the Blackbourne family make for interesting reading and give an historical feel to the events of today and make it more real to the reader. Moore and Rutledge do a delightful job in the creation of the setting and for those of us who live in Georgia can almost pinpoint where the events take place.

Meanwhile Sheriff Price receives a clue, but is attacked by Frank Blackbourne, a mountain of a man who has supposedly been dead for over twenty years. Other strange things begin to happen and the story gains speed and begins to move at a breakneck speed as stolen cars, missing people, the Old Ones, and interdimensional beings enter the puzzle.

Moore and Rutledge have created a marvelous tale that would find a home in the tales by Lovecraft or Manly Wade Wellman. It is a story of re-opening gateways, human sacrifice, the return of the Old Ones, and plenty of action.

Don’t let this one get away. There are only 150 available and it should sell out quickly. Check out the specifics at