Thursday, August 30, 2012

Redlaw Returns in September

Redlaw: Red Eye
By James Lovegrove

Law returns to the darkness on 25th September (US & Can) and 11th October (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-048-1

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-050-4

Available as an ebook

“You fully expect to hear that someone has snapped up the rights to a film version of the book... Well-written, gripping and hopefully the start of a long-running series.” – Sci-Fi Bulletin on Redlaw

“A stonking good read and a refreshing change to the paranormal romance that seems to dominate the bloodsucking genre. Buy it, read it, enjoy it.” – The British Fantasy Society on Redlaw

New York Times best-seller James Lovegrove’s ‘cop of the damned’ returns and he’s on the trail of the ultimate ‘cold case’.

They live among us; marginalised, despised. They are vampires, they are Sunless. And Captain John Redlaw is London’s most feared and respected officer of the Sunless Housing and Disclosure Executive.

The eastern seaboard of the USA is experiencing the worst winter weather in living memory, and John Redlaw is in the cold white thick of it. He’s come to America to investigate a series of vicious attacks on vampire immigrants – targeted kills that can’t simply be the work of amateur vigilantes.

Full of intrigue, visceral terror, and hard-nosed detective work, Lovegrove’s Redlaw rescues the vampire genre from sparkling lovelorn teens and puts them back into a world of horror, blood, and danger!

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Genetics, Weres and Shapeshifters, oh my

T.C McCarthy
Orbit, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316128179

The Subterrene War is over (see Germline and Exogene) and the victors begin a sweep of those Germline genetically engineered female soldiers who refuse to accept termination. Stan Resnick is the best at hunting and executing runaway Germline; so why many celebrate the end of the hostilities, he remains on the job.

Resnick’s current assignment is locating a religiously revered figure in Thailand. He knows how difficult her status makes it for him to even get near her as the government protects her. Stan not only must reach this Germline, he needs to obtain her cooperation in his hunt for Dr. Chen; the scientist allegedly tampering with Germlines' expiration measures to expand the lifespan of these genetically engineered females beyond the protocol of two years. Resnick, Lucy and Jihoon Kim begin their quest while rumors abound that the Chinese-Korean "Project Sunshine" has created much worse engineered monsters.

The third Subterrene War urban fantasy continues the profound look at what a human is and what faith is as the Germline believe they belong to God with their "faith and death" imprint while their creators are atheists (except in a foxhole) whose creations are killing machines in God’s name. The cast is solid as once again Germlines seem real and the even more way out results of Project Sunshine does too. Ironically Kim used to monitor psychos like Resnick who eat and breathe war as the team up to prevent an engineered combat escalation. However, it is the thought provoking questions about organized governments and religions need to kill in God's name as a stairway to heaven for expendable soldiers that make this trilogy a winner.
Harriet Klausner

Willow Rose
CreateSpace, $16.08
ISBN: 9781477662397

In 1983 after completing three years of med school at a university in his home country Denmark, twenty-two year old Christian Langaa is unhappy that his dad arranged with a friend Dr. Kirk for his son to stay in St. Augustine while attending med school there. He would prefer to stay home until he sees the country club opulence he will reside in for the next year and meets Maria the maid who will do his laundry and cooking unlike back in Odense since his mom died. Making it even tastier to the Dane is his host’s daughter Heather and her friends.

Christian, Heather and others go on a trek to show him a live alligator in the swamps. However, he soon finds himself in a deadly situation until a jaguar appears out of nowhere to pull him from the alligators to safety before vanishing. Confused, Christian begins having visions that include his feline rescuers and wondering about the beautiful neighbors who seem to possess supernatural powers. When he meets Aiyana from next door residents, Christopher falls in love but the jaguar haunts him.

The first Daughters of the Jaguar thriller is a terrific romantic urban fantasy starring a male who seems to have it all and knows it. The character driven storyline narrated by the Danish medical student grips the audience from the moment the arrogant Christian finds the swamp too wild for his tastes and never slows down as he learns lessons in humility while obsessing over mysterious Aiyana. Harriet Klausner

Enchanting The Lady
Kathryne Kennedy
Sourcebooks, $7.99
ISBN: 9781402269820

In 1882 London, duchess-of-honor Felicity Seymour is worried that she legally will lose her inheritance as she lacks the magical gifts of her parents; Prince Albert's rule states that no magic equates to no duchy. Lion shapeshifter Sir Terence Blackwell enjoys finding ancient relics, but also is a close friend of the Prince, who asked him to participate in the test of Felicity. She ignominiously fails, but Terence feels something was not right as he experiences a trace of relic-magic in use, which makes no sense.

Terence decides to court Felicity somewhat because he is attracted other; somewhat because he feels sorry for her as she is now a pariah like he is as a shapeshifter; and somewhat because what he believes destroyed her test is too similar to what killed his brother. He needs to know whether Felicity is the user or the victim of dark magic. However, Terence never expected to fall in love with her.

The Relics of Merlin’s Enchanting The Lady is a reprint of a fantastic late Victorian romantic fantasy that casts a magic spell on the audience from the moment the heroine expects to fail her test and never let's go until the final magical revelation. The story line is fast-paced with an underlying paranormal mystery that enhances the prime romantic plot; the fantasy elements provide a unique look at 1882 England as Kathryne Kennedy provides her readers with a wonderful thriller. Harriet Klausner

Monday, August 27, 2012

Fair Game, Fear the Darkness, and Bloodsta: Star Corpsman reviews

Fair Game
Taylor Keating
Tor, Aug 28 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780765365491

The world is a terrible place to live with disease and fighting seemingly everywhere. Game designer River Weston uses her programming skills enhanced by her Fae magic to create the Hollow Man that keeps soldiers and other humans safe during combat. However, the program proves unsafe when it releases a virus that merges with a human virus into an unstoppable super-virus.

At the same time Guardian Chase “Hawk” Hawkins, having spent time on the astral plane, has returned to his body. He and his unit head to earth to destroy technology before technology destroys earth. Hawk also comes for his beloved former cell mate River who has inadvertently escalated the destruction pace.

The third Guardian dark urban fantasy is an exciting thriller that behooves the audience to have read the previous tales (see Mind Games and Game Over). The entertaining storyline focuses on combating a new threat to the decimated earth while initially placing Hawk and River on opposite sides of the save the earth either to technology or not to technology. Readers will enjoy the return of this pair as earth is Fair Game. Harriet Klausner

Fear the Darkness
Alexandra Ivy
Zebra, Aug 28 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781420111378

Having spent much of her life incarcerated by a demon lord, Cassandra the prophetess struggles to cope with the visions that always leave her vulnerable as others want to use her skill for their purposes.

Caine the former drug dealer in his previous life has returned with an obsessive need to keep Cassie safe. He wants his charge, but vows not to act on his desire as Caine fears he would harm Cassie who he knows deserves better. Having needs she never felt before, Cassie refuses to allow Caine to ignore their attraction. When she jumps his bones, he cannot stop her. Soon afterward, based on a dire vision, Cassie, fearing for Caine’s life, runs away from her protector. He follows leading to the Dark Lord’s horde capturing both of them while their allies prepare to rescue them.

This Guardians of Eternity paranormal romance (see Bound by Darkness) is a super thriller starring two Weres dealing poorly with their relationship while confronting the Dark Lord’s malevolent minion. Fast-paced, series fans will enjoy the battle between the forces of good (including stars of previous entries, which behooves newcomers to read previous books first) and evil as the Dark Lord appears on the brink of crossing into this dimension. Harriet Klausner

Bloodstar: Star Corpsman
Ian Douglas
Harper Voyager, Aug 28 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061894763

The Salvationists colonized Bloodworld in the Bloodstar system as a perfect hell where the fundamentalist group can suffer penitence for mankind’s sins. However, the enigmatic Qesh make initial contact on this hostile volcanic planet when they attack the fanatics who are divided whether to fight the demons or except punishment.

Humans first learned about the existence of the nomadic Qesh several decades ago, but found very little information on these migratory race who devour planets. The interstellar Fleet Marine Force sends Bravo Company including the Black Wizards to Bloodworld to battle the hostile Qesh. Black Wizards Navy Medic Elliot Carlyle has not completed his training when he sent with the Black Wizards to Qesh where the rookie with no combat medicine experience becomes the salvation or extinction of mankind.

This is an excellent futuristic military science fiction as Ian Douglas provides several fascinating societal issues inside of an action-packed thriller. Readers will ponder over the prejudice against reanimated humans, the rights of an outside the mainstream religious sects’ right to sacrifice conflicting with the greater society sent to protect them, and first contact complexities. Elliot is a terrific protagonist who struggles to do his job and the right thing; though that at times seems impossible. Readers will appreciate the opening Bloodstar salvo that combines a fast-paced tale with thought provoking concepts. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Battle for Chronos

BATTLE FOR CHRONOS, Tom Ciolli, $3.99, Kindle Edition, 125 pages, ISBN: 9781450797924, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

This is the latest addition to Ciolli’s Chronos Series that tells of man’s fight to free themselves from the grip of The Syndicate and learn from the Amalthea to gain more knowledge of their telepathic powers. As their training develops, they also learn that The Prophecy has predicted their victory.

In this episode of the adventure series, we have time travel, genetic manipulation, guerrilla tactics on land and massive space battles – space opera at its best. As usual there is plenty of action from Zach Murphy, who seems to be destined by The Prophecy to be the savior of both races.

Along the way there are some western style gunfights, saving the damsel in distress, discovering weapons from the past that can only be operated by the humans of today.

Tom Ciolli has written another rousing adventure. It leaves me with some unanswered questions about the motives of the Amalthea, but even though this is listed as the final volume, they may be answered in forthcoming additional adventures.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Acquisition announcement

Acquisition announcement:

Morgan signs up for Blood and Feathers sequel

COMING IN JULY 2013: Blood and Feathers: Rebellion by Lou Morgan

After the critical success of Blood and Feathers, Solaris is proud to announce that it will be publishing the sequel to Lou Morgan’s storming debut next year.

Blood and Feathers: Rebellion
picks up the story after the heavens-shattering events of the first book.

The final war between good and evil is being waged, with Alice and Mallory trapped in the middle.

Morgan’s debut was roundly praised for its genre-busting take on angels and demons, adding a fresh new voice to the industry with a book that is violent and incisive, acerbic and witty. Sarah Pinborough said, “Dark, enticing and so sharp the pages could cut you, Blood and Feathers is a must-read for any fan of the genre”, while Philip K Dick award-winner Michael Marshall Smith described it as “a hell of a ride, but heaven to read: eerie, compelling and very funny”.

Blood & Feathers was such a strong debut and such a unique take on one of the oldest stories there is, that I was very keen to work with Lou again,” said Solaris editor-in-chief Jonathan Oliver. “I'm delighted to welcome her back to Solaris and I can't wait to read the further adventures of Alice and Mallory.”

The synopsis for Blood and Feathers: Rebellion reads:

“This is a war. The war. There is no stopping; no getting out. You're in this – just like the rest of us – to the end.”

Driven out of hell and with nothing to lose, the Fallen wage open warfare against the angels on the streets of our cities. And they're winning.

As the balance tips towards the darkness, Alice – barely recovered from her own ordeal in hell and struggling to start over – once again finds herself in the eye of the storm.

But with the chaos spreading and the Archangel Michael determined to destroy Lucifer whatever the cost, is the price simply too high; and what sacrifices will Alice and the angels have to make in order to pay it?

The Fallen will rise. Trust will be betrayed. And all hell will break loose.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Press Release

Helix Wars

By Eric Brown

The Helix ignites on 25th September (US & Canada) and 11th October (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-047-4

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-049-8

Available as an ebook

“Brown is at the height of his powers. Very nearly perfect.”
– Stephen Baxter on Helix

“SF infused with a cosmopolitan and literary sensibility... Accomplished and affecting.” – Paul McAuley on Helix

Eric Brown is returning to the vast cosmos of The Helix in a blazing sequel from Solaris!

The Helix is a vast spiral of ten thousand worlds turning around its sun. Aeons ago, the enigmatic Builders constructed the Helix as a refuge for alien races on the verge of extinction. Two hundred years ago, humankind came to the Helix aboard a great colony ship, and the Builders conferred on them the mantle of peacekeepers. For that long, peace has reigned on the Helix.

But when shuttle pilot Jeff Ellis crash-lands on the world of Phandra, he interrupts a barbarous invasion from the neighbouring Sporelli – who scheme to track down and exterminate Ellis before he can return to New earth and inform the peacekeepers.

Eric Brown is widely acknowledged as one of the defining voices in British SF – enter the mind-bogglingly vast universe of The Helix and discover a world beyond even the scale of Arthur C. Clarke’s Rama or Larry Niven’s Ringworld.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Dead Mann Running Excerpt

REBIRTH sounds great, doesn’t it? Sounds like hope, possibility, spring. Nope. It’s more like that poet T.S. Eliot said, April is the cruellest month.

Not that the rest of the year’s much better. Take November for instance. Take it on a boring night as a fat rain fell, the drops thick and icy cold, but too lazy to turn to snow. I was slumped in my ratty recliner, getting ready to watch Nell Parker, a dead stripper I’d had an unusual relationship with, on the tube. Sure, I could’ve shut it off, but there’s nothing like seeing the face of someone you want to forget every day on TV.

She’d gotten the gig partly as blowback for the Chak Registration Act; chakz, short for charqui, or dried meat, being the preferred term for us zombie-types. Thanks to an undead-riot caused by a pal of mine, an awful lot of livebloods died. Jane and Joe average didn’t like that much, so some pretty Draconian laws were passed. As a nod to the bleeding hearts worried about chak rights, a “good” dead person was given a talk show.

Nell was better than good, she was perfect—smart, pampered, and nothing missing. Her skin was white and silky smooth, not the usual rough gray, her black hair straight and shiny. Oh, they had to work at it. I read the studio was kept below sixty to ensure rot didn’t set in. But best of all, Nell was also the only chak with eye color, green, no doubt to match her benefactor’s last name, he being billionaire pervert Colby Green. He and his powerful buddies loved chakz any way they could.
Despite the fact that TV was a definite step-up from pole dancing at Green’s private

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orgies, Nell never seemed to appreciate it. She tried to look harmless, knowing that the whole point was to show that all chakz weren’t a threat, but there was always a hint of disdain in those emerald eyes. It made me feel like she was looking at me.

The show itself was bullshit, fluff designed to make LBs feel better about imprisoning us. Not that I blame them for that. If a chak gets too depressed, they go feral. That’s kind of like going postal, but only if George Romero directed it. Thanks to the new laws, any chak who could speak or write had to take a monthly emotional stability test. Pass, and you’re free to enjoy your second-class citizenship for another month. Fail, and they put you in a concentration camp until you do go feral. Then they safely destroy you. They’re not clear on how they do the destroying. No one likes watching sausages getting made, or burned.

On the plus side, we all get free cell phones. Not that many of us know how to use them. In theory, they can be used to track us if we go AWOL. In reality, the guard, a volunteer group composed mostly of testosterone types who used to spend their weekends chopping us up with machetes, is charged with chak control, and they don’t like sharing with local law enforcement. It’s moot in my neck of the woods. Fort Hammer doesn’t have the equipment to track anything. All in all, not so much Big Brother as his big, dumb, inbred cousin.

To be fair to Nell, she tried to branch out. She’d done a series of interviews with no less than ChemBet’s head of R & D, Travis Maruta, the man who made zombies real. A mousy guy you wouldn’t think had it in him to swat a bug, let alone change the world, he went on about how hard he and his wife Rebecca were working to improve the human race even more.

The way I heard it, Rebecca was a second-rate chemist, but a first-rate dominatrix. She’d gotten Travis into some kinky shit that made Colby Green look like a virgin. I doubted either of them gave a damn about anything except getting each other off.

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But there are lies, and then there are damned lies. The former would be something no one believes, like if I were to say Nell Parker meant nothing to me. The latter would be a whopper, like my execution. When that needle pierced my soft pink skin, I thought at least nothing worse could happen. It wasn’t the first time I was wrong, but it was the last time my skin was soft or pink.

When DNA evidence threw out my conviction, I was subjected to ChemBet’s patented, self-perpetuating, neo-magical, electrostatic Radical Invigoration Procedure, RIP, for short. I came back with dry skin, brittle bones, sixty percent of my IQ, and none of my photographic memory. And they said I was one of the lucky ones.

Now my memory’s like an old dog without a leash. It either lies around doing nothing, or winds up eating things it shouldn’t. When I thought Nell betrayed me by going back to Green, it reminded me of what an angry guy I’d been when I was alive. After that, I started thinking she was better off without me. I contented myself with stalking her on TV, but that night, she came on without the fake smile and barely able to speak.

“Dr. Travis Maruta,” she finally managed, “was found dead yesterday in his ChemBet laboratory, apparently from a self-administered overdose of an unknown substance. It was November twelfth, the eighth anniversary of his invention of the RIP…”

Some chakz would find the news satisfying; others say that real death was too good for him. Some would be too decayed to have an opinion. Me, I was thinking, Suicide? Maybe the whiny son of a bitch finally realized what he did.

Big picture, I couldn’t care less. Sure, I wished he’d killed himself before he came up with the RIP, but blaming Maruta for my problems was like blaming Henry Ford for car accidents. When they switched from Nell to a “real” newscaster, I got bored, turned the set off, and took to watching the shadows on the floor.

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I was doing a pretty good job thinking nothing, when a knock came at the door. Answering was Misty’s job, my assistant, but she was out with Officer Chester O’Donnell, a boy toy she’d met while I was in jail. When the knock came again, I remembered it might mean money, and that was in short supply. Business, never booming, had gone downhill since the camps opened. Mostly, I’d get some chak hoping I could help him or her cheat on their next test, which I couldn’t. Misty ran a little memory class that made more than I did, and she hated charging.

But, seeing as how you never know, I shambled into our so-called reception area. The bottom half of the door wobbled from a third rap.

“Who is it?” I asked.

No answer, but the next knock came faster. With a grunt, I opened the door.

No one was there. Not even a raven squawking nevermore. A cold, wet gust of wind slapped my face and set a loose bit of cheek-skin wobbling. I should’ve had Misty sew it, but the cold weather, while it helped me keep, made me lazy, like a reptile. At least the building was rotting faster than I was. The three story walk-up lost half a wall last week. The rooms across the hall were no longer habitable. A chak or two downstairs were the only other occupants. You get what you pay for, and the landlord stopped charging rent when the building was condemned.

I started thinking the knock was a loose board about to fall, but didn’t see any new leaks. And then I looked down.

Six inches from my feet sat a weathered briefcase, cracked and dented as my loafers. But that wasn’t the first thing I noticed. That’d be the hand gripping the handle. As usual, an arm was attached, but after that, nothing. No head, shoulders, knees, or toes, just briefcase, hand, and arm.

There’s a knock-knock joke in there somewhere, but I don’t know what it is.
As I stared, the hand let go of the case, raised its fingers and wobbled the tips as

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if feeling the empty air. It regripped the handle and squirmed, stub first, dragging itself and the case inside. It crawled through the front room and into my office, leaving a thin trail on the floor. I thought it was oozing the gray stuff chakz have on their insides, but a closer look told me it was rainwater mixed with street grit.
At the center of the office floor, it stopped, like it was expecting me to join it.
I wondered if I’d fallen asleep in the chair. Chakz are tough to kill. Knife wounds, gunshots, even the loss of a limb or two, won’t stop us, but our pieces, unless it’s the head, don’t generally get around on their own. Still, I’d seen a walking skeleton and a laughing skull, so I didn’t think it impossible. There was a lot about the radical invigoration process no one knew for sure.

I stuck my head out and looked down the hall, in case it was some joker with a remote. Livebloods don’t bother with me, and the only chak I knew warped enough to pull something like this was Jonesey, and he’d been shipped off to the camps after failing his last test, stupid bastard. We tried to help him study. Well, Misty did, I wasn’t speaking to him on account of he was the one who caused the riot. Maybe, like Nell, he was better off. He’d already gone feral once, until I slapped him out of it. You can do that sometimes.

Other than the wind, and the rain pouring from the gaping ceiling holes to the mottled floor, there was nothing. No second arm, no torso, no legs or head that’d fallen behind.

I closed the door and turned back, half expecting my guest to be gone. It wasn’t. It was still there, rapping its fingers on the case like an impatient salesman.
Comfortable that it wasn’t going to bite, I stepped closer for a better look. Its skin didn’t look chak-gray, but my sense of color isn’t great at night. It wasn’t thin. It had muscles, legit, not baby-smooth like a bodybuilder’s. The fingers had less character, but they were thick, rugged. A workingman’s arm, if I had to guess. It kinda reminded me of my father’s arm, a thought that added tothe scene’s dreamlike feel.

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Christ, I hadn’t thought about Larry Mann in ages. I wouldn’t say he was a violent man. If I did, I was afraid he’d hit me. But that was crazy. The arm couldn’t be his. Its fingers were intact. Dad lost the top halves of four digits when he fell into a circular saw. He was so drunk he didn’t even notice they were gone until he reached the hospital.

The rest of him left us about a year after that. Mom tried to lie about it. He’d been a drill sergeant, so she told me he’d signed up for Special Ops, but I saw the papers marked dishonorable discharge. I figured he was out on the streets somewhere, missing his fingers more than he missed us.

Whatever. The arm wasn’t in any position to say who it belonged to, or what it wanted. Maybe if I got it a pen? I stepped behind my desk and pulled open the top drawer. Outside, the hiss of wheels on wet asphalt mixed with the rushing rain.
I don’t know how the arm could’ve heard it, maybe it felt the vibrations, but like a demented cross between snake and monkey, it let go of the case, righted itself at the elbow, sprang to my desk and bounded over to the windowsill. The fingers felt frantically along the glass, down to the wood. It was trying to open it, to get away.
“Wait!” I shouted. Like it could hear me. What could I follow that up with?
Don’t jump! You’ve got so much to live for!

I tried to grab it, but it punched a pane, shattering the glass and a good chunk of rotten wood. With a rubbery twitch, it tumbled into the gray. I snatched at the air. The wind sent bullets of rain into my face. I leaned out of the hole it’d left and looked down at wet trash, a rusted Dumpster, and puddles.

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THROUGH the broken window, I heard a warm, familiar chuckle. It was Misty, laughing good-naturedly at a taxi driver’s joke before closing the passenger door. Chester had sent her home by cab again.

November wind and water bitch-slapped the unpaid bills on my desk. The briefcase sat on the floor like a lottery ticket begging to be scratched. Whatever was in it might solve my money troubles. There could be a reward for returning it. But something told me to stay away, not even think about it.

Tough luck about the thinking. When I was ripped they gave me a new set of clothes and a pamphlet. The clothes didn’t fit and the pamphlet wasn’t good for much, but it did warn that chak bodies could be unpredictable. My left knee, for instance, shivered without warning. Lately, it was thinking I couldn’t control. The tired wheels turned in my homicide detective head, but I had no idea how to put the brakes on.

When Misty walked in half a minute later, I was back in my chair. She looked good; meat on her bones, verve in her movements. She was a world away from the starving addict who used to think she could pass for a chak. But everything comes with a price. In this case, it was her increasingly annoying optimism.
Hair and clothes damp, she shook the rain from her umbrella. “What am I going to do with you?” she said when she saw me. The smile on her face kept her from looking disapproving. “You’ve been sitting there feeling sorry for yourself since I left, haven’t you? Moping.”

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“Mostly. How was the date? Bowling again?”

She leaned the umbrella against the wall and worked the buttons on her thrift store overcoat. “Don’t change the subject. If it wasn’t for you passing that test, I swear I’d be sleeping with that sledgehammer next to my cot again, waiting for you to go rabid.”


“Don’t tell me what word to use. You think there’s a difference?”
“My mouth can’t foam. And don’t you tell me you trust that government questionnaire. Not after they took Jonesey.”

Her face went a little sad. She’d liked Jonesey, too. “You said yourself he tried to eat you in an alley.”

“He got better.”

“You’re also the one who told me once they go, it’s only a matter of time.”
“Something I heard on TV.”

“Watching your girlfriend again? The one you won’t speak to even though she got you out of jail?”

“I heard that a long time ago. Good Morning Fort Hammer, I think.”
She hung the coat on a stand and came closer, which didn’t take much. My office, the front room, the half bath, and the walk-in supply closet she used as a bedroom would all fit in a stretch limo.

She gave me a somber once-over. “Your memory’s getting better.”

“Because you drill me every day.”

She slapped my shoulder. “Every other day. You know that.”

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“It’s a fucking game, Misty. Passing doesn’t make me safe any more than failing made Jonesey dangerous. Look how many idiots get driver’s licenses. That’s a test, ain’t it?”

“You are one big dead baby, Hessius Mann. I’m trying to hold on to hope here, that’s what keeps it from happening, right? Or do you enjoy acting like a piece of furniture? I can’t even feel comfortable going out with Chester for a few hours with you…” Her voice trailed off.

She had more energy and I was getting slower. We’d become a bad combination. That much was obvious even to me.

“About the boy toy, I’ve been meaning to tell you…”

“He has a name,” she said. In a huff, she turned her back, walked off and grabbed a towel.

“So do I. He ever use it, or is he still calling me it?”

I was trying to be nice, but couldn’t manage it. I could say chakz have trouble with emotions, but really, I was being an asshole.

“He’s working on it. It’d help if you’d talk to him. Even nod at him.”

I could see from a mirror that she’d scrunched her face, sending rainwater from her hair down her cheeks, into the towel. The smile she came in with was gone. Great, now I’d ruined her evening.

I raised a hand to slow her down. “That’s what I’m trying to say. I think I misjudged you two. I mean, I thought he needed sex and you needed a favor. Maybe that’s how it started, but, it doesn’t look that way anymore. You’re still going to meetings, and more often than not, you look… happy.”

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The smile came back in a flash. I didn’t know whether to feel good or bad about it.
“So I have your permission to date him now, Dad?”

“No, but he’s got a salary and a real place. If you wanted to leave…”

When she turned back I finally noticed that the ice green blouse she wore looked new. She wasn’t unhappy again, but she was serious. “And what would happen to you if I did? We’re in this together, remember? How can I think about moving out when all you ever do is… what the fuck happened to the window?”

I was wondering when she’d notice.

“Oh, that. An arm punched its way out.”

“Your desk is soaked.” She rushed toward it with the towel and nearly tripped over the briefcase. “And what the hell is this?”

A few drops of rain fell from her to the case.

“The arm dropped it off before it jumped out the window.”

She laughed, and then stopped. “Seriously? Have you been drinking? Can you drink?”
“I can go through the motions.”

She looked back down at the case. “What’s in it?”

“Don’t know.”

“You didn’t open it?”

“If I did, I’d know.”

She lifted the case and plopped it on my desk, mushing a few soggy bills in the process. “What if it’s a job, something to work on? Better yet, something that pays.”
Before I could answer, she flipped the latches.

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“Misty, don’t…”

It opened easily. Whatever was inside bathed her in a quiet blue light.

“Fine. Have it your way, Pandora. What’s in it?”

She twisted the case away. “You want to see, get off your leathery ass.”

“Misty…” I groaned and shifted, planning to get up. I wasn’t fast enough. She picked up the case and headed toward the front room.

“Now you have to walk for it. Shamble for me, zombie-man.”

“Don’t play with that thing! What if it’s poison? Remember the nerve gas?” She stopped. “And if there’s any fingerprints, you’re ruining them.”

Gently, she put it back on the desk where I could see. Inside, it was mostly foam, the edges stained a sickly brown from the dirt and water that’d seeped in. In the center were two glass vials, each nearly filled with a clear, bluish liquid. The streetlight outside the window had given them the glow. We stood there staring like we were watching an interesting movie.

Misty broke the silence. “You really think it could be poison?”

“Doesn’t matter what I think. It is what it is. Best guess? Drugs. Drugs is always a good guess. A stash swiped off a dealer by a stupid chak who didn’t get away in one piece.”

“Wasn’t there a chak living down the block that was just a head, torso and arm?”
I prodded the foam. “No arms. One leg. Vernon Gray. They took him to the camps a month ago after he tried to fill out the test with his foot.”

She gave me a look. I knew what it meant. “Yeah, I remember some things.”

“So, what’re you going to do about it?”

DEAD MANN RUNNING by Stefan Petrucha 12

“Me? Not a damn thing. Cops would never come here, but you could call Chester. Then it’ll be the police’s problem.”

Her eyes narrowed.

“What? You want me to taste it?”

“You’re a detective. You could try, you know, detecting.”

“I am! Handing it over to the cops is the smart move! Stop being so damn cheery and get realistic. It’s a briefcase with two glass vials. What else am I supposed to detect? I could yank the foam out and see if there’s anything underneath it, but if the blue stuff is dangerous some of it could get loose.”

She crossed her arms. “That case was brought to you for some reason. Are you really going to just give it away?”

“Why not? If a bullet’s got your name on it, does that mean you shouldn’t duck?”
She turned away. “Have it your way. I’ll call Chester.”

We were stuck in a stupid dance, but I didn’t know how to get out of it. I didn’t want to drag her down, but I didn’t want her dragging me up.

As she went into the front room to get her cell, I couldn’t help looking at the vials again. Unmarked, clear glass, real thick. Could be from a high security lab or a dollar store. Damn.

A frigid blast turned me back to the window. I grabbed the towel she’d left on the desk, balled it up and stuffed it into the broken pane. The effort gave me a view of the roof across the alley.

Something moved.

It was probably a shadow, but I shuddered just the same. If I were the melodramatic
DEAD MANN RUNNING by Stefan Petrucha 13

type, I’d say it looked more like a figure that’d been watching, and now it’d seen enough. After all, an arm had just brought me a present. Who knew what else was out there tonight?


“...a must-read for urban fantasy fans.”
– Starred review from Publishers Weekly

Visit the Dead Mann Running web page.

BUY Dead Mann Running from Amazon

BUY Dead Mann Running from B&N

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Acquisition announcement

Acquisition announcement:

COMING IN AUGUST 2013: Phoenicia's Worlds by Ben Jeapes

Solaris is delighted to announce that it has acquired Phoenicia's Worlds, the latest novel by SF writer Ben Jeapes.

Set on mankind’s sole colony outside of our solar system, Phoenicia's Worlds sees two brothers caught up by fate as the future of their world hangs in the balance.

It will be published in August next year and will continue Solaris’ proud reputation for publishing challenging, boundary-pushing science-fiction that focuses on strong characters to bring new and endlessly inventive worlds to its readers.

“Ben is a writer whose work I have admired for a while,” said Jonathan Oliver, editor-in-chief of Solaris. “His novels as a YA author show fresh takes on the SF genre and are exciting and engaging. It's a delight to bring him to Solaris for his first adult novel. Ben is destined to become a significant name in the field.”

It is Jeapes’ first book for Solaris and follows his previous novels: His Majesty’s Starship, The Xenocide Mission, Time’s Chariot and The New World Order.

The synopsis for Phoenicia's Worlds reads:

La Nueva Temporada is Earth’s only extrasolar colony ­ an Earth-type planet caught in the grip of a very Earth-type Ice Age. Alex Mateo wants nothing more than to stay and contribute to the terraforming of his homeworld. But tragedy strikes the colony, and to save it from starvation and collapse Alex must reluctantly entrust himself to the only starship in existence to make the long, slower than light journey back to Earth.

But it is his brother Quin, who loathes La Nueva Temporada and all the people on it, who must watch his world collapse around him and become its ultimate saviour.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Paranormals and Doctor Who

Hex Appeal
P.N. Elrod (Editor)
St. Martin's Griffin, June 5 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312590727

“Retribution Clause” by Ilona Andrews. Frost giant cousin of Saiman (see Kate Daniels), Adam and his partner Siroun enforce a life insurance retribution clause to assassinate anyone who killed their client.

“Bigfoot on Campus” by Jim Butcher. Bigfoot hires Dresden to find his son because he fears his offspring is in danger.

“Holly's Balm” by Rachel Caine. Holly the witch resurrected Andy (see Strange Brew) but now works a paranormal serial killer case.

“Snow Job” by Carole Nelson Douglas. Delilah Street, Paranormal Investigator, reluctantly assists her enemy Snow by entering the Inferno Hotel and Casino.

“Outside the Box” by P.N. Elrod. Hard boiled (female Vampire Files’ Fleming) Mars the witch works as a Company field operative who, along with her partner Ellinghaus the vampire, go after a fledging to bring the newbie back to headquarters.

“How Do You Feel” by Simon R. Green. In the Nightside, Walker informs Dead Boy that his death thirty years ago was deliberate.

“There Will Be Demons” by Lori Handeland. Summer the fairy met Jimmy the dhampir because they hunt Nephilim (see the Phoenix Chronicles).

“Cherry Kisses” by Erica Hayes. The Demon hires Lena the troublemaker to obtain an amulet in Hell (see Shadowfae Chronicles).

“The Arcane Art of Misdirection” by Carrie Vaughn. In Vegas, Julie the blackjack dealer watches a man and then a woman win every hand; magician Odysseus Grant tells her how (see Kitty Norville).

These are nine entertaining entries from each of the contributors’ urban fantasy sagas that fans of the respective series will enjoy. For the most part, newcomers will struggle with understanding the specific laws of magical physics. Harriet Klausner

All That Falls
Kimberly Frost
Berkley, June 5 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425250907

Etherlin music muse Cerise found her power died apparently with the death of her boyfriend rock star Griffin. Cerise believes that she can regain her lost abilities and learn how Griffin died and why if she can find his missing book of music.

Her inquiry leads to frost fallen angel Lysander who has the music book. Lysander behaves with one end in mind; redemption so he can go home. He scoffs at the mortal muse’s efforts to take the tome from him while he refuses to explain to her his seeming obsession to keep the book. However to their respective chagrin, Lysander and Cerise fall in unwanted love even as she continues to try to coax him into giving her the book, unaware how dangerous this tome is.

This exciting romantic fantasy is a great thriller that is summed up by the heroine in the first sentence “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Fast-paced from the moment Cerise challenges the fallen angel and never slowing down, fans will relish returning to the urban fantasy realm of Kimberly Frost (see All that Bleeds).
Harriet Klausner

Shadows of the Past
E. A. Jensen
Outskirts Press
ISBN: 9781432787967

In Grabenberg, New Jersey, someone murders a ware-tiger. Other grisly assassinations of paranormal follow. The Occult and Paranormal Investigation Agency (OPIA) head Alfred Moore knows only one person could do the job, but besides getting his former best agent Kirsa Heinrich to agree, he has to persuade her surrogate father and the Vampire Council to allow her to leave Germany to come home to work the horrific serial killing case.

Kirsa, who fled the States following the murders of her parents during a nasty inquiry, goes back to Grabenberg. There she looks at the clues and concludes the Church of Light cult who killed her parents and other paranormal is behind the gruesome assaults. The Vampire Council assigns Shadow Ayden O'Brian to keep Kirsa safe as his handlers and he know the Church has targeted Kirsa as their number one enemy; likewise she classifies the Church of Light as her number one enemy too.

Shadows of the Past is a strong urban (actually mountainous) fantasy in which the paranormal behave somewhat normal though have different abilities than humans. The cast is strong as readers will believe these otherworldly species exist. Kirsa is an engaging heroine while Ayden is a dedicated Shadow. Although the egomaniacal prime villain behaves over the High Point of the Kittatinny Ridge, fans will appreciate this superb paranormal Garden State conspiracy thriller. Harriet Klausner

Doctor Who: Shada: The Lost Adventure by Douglas Adams
Gareth Roberts
Ace, Jun 26 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780425259986

Doctor Who’s friend, Time Lord Professor Chronotis, has retired to Cambridge University. He assumes his eccentric elderly peers will not notice someone living amongst them for a few centuries or so. Although he knows better, Chronotis took mementos of his time traveling days; all of which is junk except The Worshipful and Ancient Law of Gallifrey tome.

He unwittingly compounds his error when he thinks boys will be boys so he lends this powerful arcane to post-graduate student Chris Parsons. Like most males his age, Chris figures he can score with the females by using The Worshipful and Ancient Law book though he would not mind his peer Claire Keightley as his first pick; he is unaware of how dangerous this artifact is. Time Lord Skagra knows the tome is in 1979 Cambridge so on platform shoes he heads to the university town with plans to grab the tome so he can dominate the universe and as a by-product eliminate his opponent Doctor Who, who he expects will go there too. Who with Romana and K-9 arrive in Cambridge circa 1979.

Novelizing a Douglas Adams’ script that never was filmed, Gareth Roberts provides a great Dr. Who adventure. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with whimsy from the moment the audience meets Skaga who at five concluded not only God did not exist but a vacancy did and he was perfect to fill it. The Adams’ trademark satiric comedy of the hyperbolic absurdity continues from there to Chris who borrows one of the deadliest forces in the universe to pick up girls. Series fans will relish Shada as Dr. Who and his associates take on the Time Lord who would be God. Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 17, 2012

Baryon 124

Baryon 124, the Summer issue has been sent to Pete for posting on the website. Word files have been sent to the publishers and authors. If you would like to get a copy, just drop me an email and I'll send you one.

Hope all of you are doing well.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Harry Harrison Passes

"Soylent Green is People!!!"

Harry Harrison, who wrote MAKE ROOM, MAKE ROOM on which this was based has died at age 87.

Its a rough week for the fantasy, science fiction and comic fields.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Press Release

The Concrete Grove Trilogy:

Beyond Here Lies Nothing

By Gary McMahon

Horror returns 28th August (US & Can) and 13th September (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-020-7

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-021-4

Available as an ebook

Gary McMahon returns to the Concrete Grove, the ‘sink estate’ where nightmares are all too real…

Marc Price arrives on the estate to research a book about the “Northumbrian Poltergeist,” an infamous case from the 1970s. As Marc teases out the suppressed details of the story, he finds himself drawn to a woman whose young daughter went missing years ago during a spate of child abductions. Then the scarecrows appear, their heads plastered with photographs of the long-missing and the dead…

A door has been opened and a presence is about to step through. It is up to Marc to put the ghosts to rest and unravel fact from fiction.

McMahon’s Concrete Grove series is a spine-tingling contemporary horror trilogy merging ancient horrors with modern themes of deprivation and social despair. Join him as he closes this stunning trilogy with with a very different kind of ‘broken Britain’.

“…will send your senses reeling as McMahon ramps up the scare factor along the way - 8/10” – Spooky Reads on Concrete Grove

Monday, August 13, 2012

Adam Niswander Passes

My friend Adam Niswander, who has bee in hospice care at the Phoenix VA Hospital has died. He will be missed and my heart is heavy as we had grown closer during his last few months.

Say hello to all the folks who were waiting on you!!

New Reviews from Harriet

Supernatural: Rite of Passage
John Passarella
Titan Books, Aug 14 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781781161111

Tora arrives just after a violent thunderstorm hits Laurel Hill, New Jersey. Wearing a bowel hat and carrying a cane, he begins his carnage with three diligent experienced roofers falling to their deaths. He follows that up with a man on a ladder cutting his artery and three veteran parachute divers splatting the ground. Soon major deadly accidents come next.

Supernatural Hunters Bobby Singer and Sam and Dean Winchester are in Upstate New York taking out the three deadly Yerakides Harpies sisters. Following that mission, they head to Laurel Hill to deal with a paranormal psychopath. They inform the police that the recent deadly accidents and explosions are caused by amoral thieves planning a major series of robberies. However, as they work the case, the trio realizes they are not dealing with the Avengers’ Steed, but with a powerful Japanese demon who thrives on lethal emotional chaos.

The latest super Supernatural adaptation (see Fresh Meat) occurs between TV Season 7, “Time for a Wedding” and “How to Win Friends and Influence Monsters”. The storyline is fast-paced even before the three hunters arrive to challenge Tora as the harpies’ segue is exciting though Lucifer’s appearances are becoming weary. Tora with his demonic pleasure in what he has wrought while having a diabolical outcome in mind brings a fresh evil to John Passarella’s strong thriller. Harriet Klausner

Born to Bite
Hannah Howell, Diana Cosby, and Erica Ridley
Kensington, Aug 28 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780758273437

“Never Been Bitten” by Erica Riley. In 1830 England, Lydia Breckenridge hires Ellie Ramsey to prove that Martainn “Cain” Macane is a vampire. They dance and he goes to take a nip, but she bites him instead. Cain is shocked by her action and more so when she vanishes with no one remembering seeing her except Cain.

“Dark Secret” by Hannah Howell. In 1514, orphaned Murdina Dunbar learns she has a cousin Adeline who took a bairn and fled into the hills to be with the MacNachton clan. However, she finds no new clues so she stops at Dunnantinny Keep to earn money as a maid and seek new information. Laird Sir Ranald Dumfries directs Murdina to spy on guest Sir Gillanders Baldwin who he thinks is a MacNachton demon. Unable to resist Gillanders kisses her and believes she is his mate as he stalks Ranald for killing his cousin

“Highland Moon” by Diana Cosby. In 1297, healer Rowan Campbell flees from men calling her a witch. She helps a man trapped inside of a stone circle. Aedan MacGregor says he is a poisoned vampire who needs to drink her blood, which she reluctantly allows. Tasting the blood, he knows she is his mate. Aedan tells her he will protect her though he has a traitor to catch. They make love and he is stunned when she glitters as if she is fey.

The entries are entertaining historical vampire romances though the thin storylines are similar with an innocent female unaware of the existence of vampires and sensitive lead males assisting them with their transition. Harriet Klausner

How to Lose a Demon in 10 Days
Saranna DeWylde
Kensington Brava, Aug 28 2012, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758269157

Grace summons Caspian a crown prince of Hell. He calls her witch and she calls him demon as they strike a deal in which she offers him sex his style and he deals with her problems caused by her former boyfriend violent Russian mobster Michael who legally gained custody of her son Nikolai.

As they team up to send Michael and his demon defender Ethelred on one-way tickets to hell, the witch and the crown prince find the sex heavenly. Grace and Caspian begin to wonder if there is any future beyond the bloody contract while dealing with his heated boss, her bewitching family, the avenging spirit of a hooker, and the Russian mafia.

This is an amusing erotic paranormal romance although the horde of characters requires a scorecard to decide who is on whose side as the cast can overwhelm the plot; hell it is hard to tell who is real or a demon Memorex moment. The twisting storyline is fun while there is also a serious undertone involving violence against women. Fans will enjoy the skin ripping banter between the demon and the witch as we learn “Faust never got laid.” Harriet Klausner

Friday, August 10, 2012

Press Release

No Man’s World:

The Alleyman

by Pat Kelleher

Battle resumes 9th October (US & Canada) and 11th October (UK)

$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-025-2

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-024-5

Also available as an ebook

“Abaddon are onto a real winner with this series.”

– Total Sci-Fi Online

“Meticulous historical detail, with a pulse-pounding pulp plot.”

– Red Rook Review on Black Hand Gang

It’s been four months since the Pennine Fusiliers vanished from the Somme and found themselves stranded on an alien world.

The Tommies have been surviving on this bizarre planet populated by lethal foliage and hostile human-like insects while desperately trying to find a way back to Blighty.

In The Alleyman, while Lieutenant Everson tries to discover the true intentions of their alien prisoner, Lance Corporal Atkins and his Black Hand Gang are on the trail of Jeffries, the diabolist responsible for their predicament. And above it all, Lieutenant Tulliver of the Royal Flying Corps soars free of the confines of alien gravity, where the true scale of the planet’s mystery is revealed. To uncover the truth, however, he must join forces with an unexpected ally.

A blazing mixture of genre-shattering SF, meticulously researched history, and powerful storytelling, The Alleyman is the third in this enthralling and exhilarating series.

Other books in the series:

Black Hand Gang 9781906735845 (UK) 978-1906735357 (US & Canada)

The Ironclad Prophecy
9781907992155 (UK) 978-1907992162 (US & Canada)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

A New Poem from Adam Niswander

Blowing By
Adam Niswander

(A Farewell to my friend Gordon Walker
whose journey is now done)

We do not know why we connect with some
And call them “friend.”

Here, in this place where death is not a stranger,
We could be cautious,
We could hold back
We could avoid the risk of caring.

Those who came here
Are pilgrims on a journey
That began a lifetime ago,
And who arrive here at a final destination,
Pause for a while,
Then step beyond.

We know what lies ahead
For each and all.
Yet we open up,
And let the edges touch.

We share the wonder
And the dread,
And allow ourselves to feel.

There is a spirit of adventure in the best of them,
A reluctance to surrender and let go,
We share a taste for life that has not grown stale,
A need to touch and feel one last time
Before strength has gone for good.

We all know why we came here,
And we share the anticipation,
But even we,
Those who are so close,
Do not know which journey will be long,
Which journey will be short.

So we live the moments,
Savoring each bite of life,
Storing all the nourishment we can.

We see the humor,
The cartoons we make just being people,
The Joke of following the rules
When the rules no longer matter,
Laugh at the exasperation of rebellion,
Weep as instants slip away.

We fight against the dark,
The pain,
The unknown.

We hear voices echoing in the hall
Of those who passed this way before.
We briefly peer beyond the curtain
Before we cross,
Sometimes seeing things that others don’t.

There is quiet strength,
And noble dignity,
And heroism.
But all surrender in the end.
No strength can last against relentless dark,
And noble dignity must fail at last,
And heroism—the strength to stand one’s ground
While faced with the unknown—unflinching
At last must fade.

The fight is done,
And death victorious.
But now
The adventure starts anew
Reluctance has no place
For here we leave “what was” behind
And welcome “that which is to be.”

One journey’s end,
And finally becoming.

Copyright 2012 by Adam Niswander and The Baryon Review

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

School’s Out Forever

by Scott K. Andrews

Class is dismissed September 13th (UK) and September 18th (US & Canada)

£10.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-026-9

$12.99/$14.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-027-6

Also available as an ebook

It’s not easy being a kid. But when almost everyone and everything you knew is dead, school may be the only thing keeping you alive.

With most of the world’s population now wiped out, the surviving pupils of St Mark’s School for Boys and Girls must defend themselves against cannibalistic gangs, religious fanatics, a bullying prefect with a taste for crucifixion, and even the remnants of the US Army.

Mixing Lord of the Flies with The Hunger Games, School’s Out Forever is the latest omnibus from The Afterblight Chronicles. Scott K. Andrews’ St Mark’s Trilogy books are a visceral, terrifying trio of stories that brings a new twist to the post-apocalyptic dystopia – all viewed through the eyes of children.

With the first in the series already optioned for a movie with Multistory Films, this new omnibus collects the complete trilogy and is packed with strong characters, action, and a truly killer concept.

“Youthful idealism conflicts with jaded experience, and the characters are frequently forced to balance ruthless efficiency with utopian optimism… A lot of provocative discussion sneaks in under the cover of machine gun fire.” – Pornokitsch on Kitchsie Award Finalist Children’s Crusade

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Press Release

Book Three of The Outcast Chronicles:


By Rowena Cory Daniells

The trilogy draws to a thrilling close on 28th August (US & Can) and 13th September (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-014-6
$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-015-3

Available as an ebook

‘Well-drawn characters, a ruthless streak to the plotting, weighty themes... pleasingly complex’
– SFX on Besieged

‘Exile is an excellent continuation of an intriguing series and Daniells is quickly becoming a must-read author... I wanted to pick up the final volume in the trilogy immediately.’ – A Fantastical Librarian on Exile

For three months this summer Solaris has brought you Rowena Cory Daniells’ epic new fantasy trilogy – and now the consummate storyteller brings The Outcast Chronicles to its shattering conclusion.

For hundreds of years, the mystics lived alongside the true-men, until King Charald laid siege to the mystic’s island city and exiled them. Imoshen, most powerful of the female mystics, was elected to lead her people into exile. She faces threats from within, from male mystics who think they would make a better leader. And her people face threats from true-men, who have confiscated their ships. They must set sail by the first day of winter. Those who are left behind will be executed.

But once they set sail, they face winter storms, hostile harbours and sea-raiders who know their ships are laden with treasure. But Imoshen knows full well that the mystics cannot run for ever. They need somewhere to call home. They need... Sanctuary.

The thrilling end to this trilogy is another web of golden fantasy from Daniells in a series that will keep fans of George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb or Gail Z. Martin enthralled.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Homestead by James A Moore

HOMESTEAD, James A. Moore, Cemetery Dance, forthcoming, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Sometimes I wonder if James Moore has multiple personalities. He is able to write the stories featuring Jonathan Crowley in all of the gory bloodspilling detail. Then he can create the smoldering Lovecraftian Mythos of DEEPER and now with HOMESTEAD he gives us the psychological terror that comes from discovering what happens when repressed memories become exposed to the light.

Kathy Erinson has moved her family back to the family farm that she left as a child after her best friend, Mickey, and five other children disappeared and they were never found nor was anyone ever arrested for the crimes. Even today, she keeps close watch on her children.

In her spare time, she likes to draw but her latest work seems to be drawing themselves as the missing children’s faces are appearing in her work. When Mickey disappeared, Kathy searched for him on her own for weeks until one day she stopped and she can’t remember why.

Kathy begins to revisit sites from her past and re-opens an old barn that had been locked up since she was a child. As she follows the path she searched as a child, memories begin to come back and her memory, although dim and distant becomes clear.

James A. Moore has written a tale that makes the reader shiver as it is brought to a conclusion as Kathy’s memory returns with a chilling conclusion to the tale. This is another winner from Moore and another terrific story from his horror filled trunk of tales.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Paranormal, Urban and SF

Judgment at Proteus
Timothy Zahn
Tor, June 5 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765322135

Recently Quadrail investigator Frank Compton and Bayta have found startling evidence of a nefarious genocide plot to wipe out the twelve civilizations tied to the interstellar train system. Frank and Bayta believes the bellicose Shonkla-raa race, a genetic offspring of the Filiaelians, thought extinct a million ago has set in motion a plan to destroy the Quadrail and the races who thrive from this interstellar rail.

They head to Proteus Station where Frank is accused of murder at a time he needs to focus on the clandestine war. However, on the bright side his enemy the Modhri joins the resistance to the Shonkla-raa. Failure means racial obliteration with billions dying.

The latest action-packed Quadrail space adventure (see The Domino Pattern) is an exciting science fiction thriller filled with twists. The storyline is fast-paced though there is a sense of déjà vu while the villains spend too much time talking like Blue Dog from the Laredo TV show (“I'm gonna kill that Ranger”). Still fans will enjoy riding the rails across Timothy Zahn’s galaxy as increasingly extinction seems probable. Harriet Klausner

Blackhearted Betrayal
Kasey Mackenzie
Ace, Jun 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007652

Boston PD Chief Magical Investigator Marissa Holloway takes a leave of absence from her investigations into paranormal crime. Instead Riss needs to help her mother deal with in fighting factions amidst the three branches of the Sisterhood of Furies who knows they must show no favorites while serving all Deities.

However, Riss is unprepared with what she sees as the Furies’ hostilities appear on the brink of a civil war that would devastate everyone. More disconcerting to Riss and her mother is the Deities are openly squabbling too. The Triad of Deities order Riss, her mother and the Megaera to investigate whether an army of chaos is being forged to destroy the oversight balance as part of a coup d’etat.

The third tremendous Shades of Fury urban fantasy (see Green-Eyed Envy and Red Hot Fury) is a fabulous thriller as the arcane realm is falling deep into dangerous combat. Though somewhat a stereotypical UF kick butt female, Riss keeps the super exciting storyline focused as she risks all to uncover an inconvenient truth while the doomsday clock ticks closer to Armageddon. Harriet Klausner

The Unholy
Heather Graham
MIRA, June 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780778313496

Alistair Archer and Jenny Henderson are walking in the tunnels under the defunct Claymore Illusions special effects studio and the still running Black Box Cinema. Out of one of the classic sets from the 1940s a hand with a knife slashes the starlet. The police suspect only Alistair of murdering Jenny as there is no evidence to prove anyone else was down there though he insists the culprit looked like Amun Mopat, an evil priest from the Sam Stone tableau.

FBI Agent Sean Cameron, who used to work for Alistair’s father Eddie the genius behind the special effects studio, investigates what looks like an open and shut case. Eddie recommends to Sean that his employee Madison Darvil might be helpful with his inquiry. Eddie and Madison share in common the ability to communicate with ghosts and an attraction to each other. As she fits in with him and his team, they search for the real killer of Jenny Henderson.

This Krewe of Hunters romantic urban fantasy (see The Evil Inside) is an enjoyable investigative mystery due to a strong case and fun references to the 1930s and 1940s film noirs like Madison getting assistance from Bogart’s ghost. The storyline is fast-paced as the Krewe and Madison seek clues to the identity of the killer using any available source. In some ways the nostalgic trip down cinema history steals top billing from the lead couple and his team; as Bogie might say "Here's looking at you,” Krewe. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Vampires, Dragons and Angels

Vacation With A Vampire
Michele Hauf, Lisa Childs, Kendra Leigh Castle
Harlequin Nocturne, June 19 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885497

“Stay” by Michele Hauf. In Paris, after helping a friend by donating vampire blood Lucian Bellisario needs a human to replenish his drained supply. He chooses an American tourist possessed by his dead lover’s ghost.

“Vivi and the Vampire” by Leigh Castle. Underground city Terra Noctem vampire King Justin goes on vacation so his staff can have a respite. There he meets and falls in love with vampire slayer Vivi Martin.

“Island Vacation,” by Lisa Childs. For four years CPA Patricia Reynolds has had no time off from E. Graves Financial Planning, but recently she won her office vacation lottery so is off to an unknown island for two weeks of regaining her tan. Roarke Monterusso has waited four years to avenge the death of his cousin Rick at the hands of Piper aka Patricia, but now she is coming to his island where he will confront her with his brand of justice; he just never expected it to be desire.

These are three fun vampiric romances starring engaging protagonists. Harriet Klausner

Dragon’s Curse
Denise Lynn
Harlequin Nocturne, June 19 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885503

While her nineteen year old brother Carl lies in a hospital bed, the sorcerer who threatens him forces his older sister and guardian Ariel Johnson to do his bidding. Reluctantly Ariel, who would do anything for Carl ever since their parents died five years ago, goes undercover as a landscape architect to gain access to changeling Cameron Drake’s Appalachian resort after being terrorized by a dragon at one of his other properties on the Isle of Mirabilus.

Cam’s beast recognizes his mate, but his human side distrusts Ariel who works for his family’s deadliest adversary. Ariel feels caught between a rock and a hard place as she is attracted to the man she must betray if she is to save Carl.

This is a terrific romantic urban fantasy as the danger and dilemmas make for taut suspense. Cam is a strong hero who feels schizoid as his beast instinctively wants his mate and will risk their lives to keep her safe; while his brain knows she is a minion of his evil enemy. Readers will enjoy this tense thriller as love is a handicap for Ariel and Cam. Harriet Klausner

Wicked Nights
Gena Showalter
Harlequin HQN, Jun 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN 9780373776986

The cops arrested Annabelle Miller for mutilating her parents though she knows it was not her, but the winged monster who marked her as his. She was sent to the Moffat County Institution for the Criminally Insane especially since she sees and hears monsters that doctors over the next four years insist are her delusional imagination. Currently Dr. Fitzpervert humiliates her with plans to rape her.

The Deity is cold towards his angelic commander Zacharel and his troops whose desire to kill demons has led to unacceptable collateral damage to the species they are charged to protect. He warns Zacharel to change or be decommissioned by the loss of his wings; as military excellence without compassion is how the enemy fights. Though he understands logically what the Deity says including the threat, Zacharel feels nothing towards the humans until he meets insane Annabelle Miller as Fitzpervert prepares to assault her. However, Annabelle makes it clear she trusts no one human or otherwise even this warrior who claims to protect her.

The first Angels of the Dark romantic urban fantasy lives up to the series title as this is a grim exciting thriller. Zacharel’s tundra heart has left him and his unit on the brink of wingless banishment, but the human melts his internal polar cap. Annabelle is fabulous as an angry distrusting soul who has met the vilest demons and the ugliest humans; so she is not shocked that her first angel is a nasty uncaring paranormal. Fans of the Lords of the Underworld will appreciate this ultra-dark tale as Zacharel finds a heart that seemed nonexistence from his first appearance in the Darkest Secret. Harriet Klausner