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

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