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

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