Friday, September 28, 2012

A MAGICal Anthology

An Anthology of the Esoteric and Arcane

Edited by Jonathan Oliver

25th October (UK & Canada)
30th October (US & Canada)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-053-5
$9.99/$12.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-054-2

Available as an ebook

Time Traveller’s Wife author leads the way in magical anthology

Audrey Niffenegger, author of the international best-seller The Time Traveller’s Wife, leads an all-star line-up for an anthology of tales which is guaranteed to leave you spellbound!

Magic brings together some of the UK and America’s most exciting authors to produce a collection of esoteric and arcane stories that will enthral and chill – the perfect read for Halloween and the long autumn evenings ahead!

From the otherworldly visions of Conan Doyle’s father in Niffenegger’s ‘The Wrong Fairy’ to the diabolical political machinations of Dan Abnett’s ‘Party Tricks’, this fresh new anthology of magical short stories has been edited by Jonathan Oliver, critically acclaimed editor of The End of The Line and House of Fear.

Fourteen extraordinary writers have formed their own particular coven for this collection of supernatural tales: Audrey Niffenegger, Sarah Lotz, Will Hill, Steve Rasnic and Melanie Tem, Liz Williams, Dan Abnett, Thana Niveau, Alison Littlewood, Christopher Fowler, Storm Constantine, Lou Morgan, Sophia McDougall, Gail Z. Martin, Gemma Files and Robert Shearman.

About the editor

Jonathan Oliver is the editor-in-chief of Solaris and Abaddon books and the author of Twilight of Kerberos: The Call of Kerberos. Magic is his third anthology for Solaris.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Interesting titles

Woodcutter’s Grim series Volume II
Karen Wiesner
Whiskey Creek, Sep 2012
ISBN: 9781105200663

“Moonlight Becomes You.” Lawyers Heather Rowe and Lance Shaussegeny have a one night stand before he leaves for his home Woodcutter’s Grim, a place he explains to her he will never be able to leave. Their tryst results in her giving birth to Gavin, a child with strange traits. He wishes his mate would come to him and believes she would not turn to his rival Eddie Underwood. When Gavin becomes ill Heather searches for Lance to help their son. Enthralling

“Bewitched.” The stranger seemed to come out of nowhere. Glynnis Shaussegeny is stunned by her attraction to Aric Sayer and him to her. However, her family is cursed so Glynnis plans on avoiding Aric; unaware that he has a terrible secret that he knows should make him avoid her. Exciting

“One Night of Eternity.” Gavin Shaussegeny knows how the family curse is deployed, but does the unthinkable when he cheats on his wife Marnie. He regrets his transgression as he loves his wife, but knows his tryst has activated the curse in which he will repeat his sin forever unless Marnie truly in her soul forgives him. Creative and poignant

“Beauty Is The Beast.” In an attempt to end his family curse, Ransom Shaussegeny turns into a werewolf trapped inside the beast. Tess Moore is the beauty he falls in love with, but deep in his heart believes she could never love a monster like him. Heartwarming.

The second Woodcutter's Grim anthology contains four excellent paranormal romances in which members of the cursed Shaussegeny family meet their beloved mates. Each tale is loosely based on a fairy tale as Karen Wiesner provides fresh adult renditions in a fabulous collection. Harriet Klausner

A Kingdom's Fall
Douglas R. Brown
Rhemalda Publishing, Aug 1 2012, $15.99
ISBN: 9781936850556

In their thirst for oil for their war machines, the ruthless Tek invaders brutally devastated Epertase and annihilated Lithia. Taking advantage of the chaos of the crippling victory, Gildonese King Fice annexes land with his goal to become the ruler of the kingdom of Epertase. Besides his army, Fice uses his uncanny otherworldly talent to sway others even enemies to support his royal claim.

Epertase Queen Alina finds her nation has no time to heal from the invasion as a revolt from within has split the kingdom. Alina barely survives assassination attempts from allegedly loyal trusted advisors and supporters. Her only hope for her country resides with the hero of the Tek War, Rasi the former Epertase warrior turned anti-war farmer.

The second Light of Epertase military fantasy is a superb thriller that grips fans (especially those who read the exciting Legend's Reborn) from start to finish. Once again Douglas R. Brown makes a powerful case that war is hell and should never be glamorized especially by armchair chicken hawks who send others to die. Mindful of Harold of Wessex having fought a powerful enemy force just before the Battle of Hastings in 1066 (see, readers will relish the action-packed A Kingdom’s Fall. Harriet Klausner

The Annals of the Omega Project
Thomas A. Cahill
EditPros LLC, Jun 24 2012, $19.95
ISBN: 9781937317034

University of California, Merced Physics Professor Ken O'Neal flies from Sacramento to Denver musing how he already misses his wife of thirteen years Jill who remained behind due to a seminar. On the flight he appreciates the flair and attention attendant Michelle Kolberg gives to everyone on board. Twenty-four years old Michelle likes people even as she muses over whether she is the only virgin flight attendant. However, she suddenly sees herself though his eyes and likewise he sees himself through hers. Both are stunned by this telepathic connection and begin to search for other sensitive souls.

The pair creates the Omega Project at Merced. However, their good intentions come to the attention by Covens who employ mind control to feed off the brains of telepaths. When the brain of student Bonny is assaulted, war explodes between the benign Omega and the ruthless Covens led by Emil who kills without a thought while the wild card is Gypsies.

The key to this exciting good and evil battle is that in war innocent pawns die as the not pure Gypsies learn the hard way. Each side is 200 proof of either pure goodness or vile evilness; as the bad guys have centuries of experience and no moral compass while the heroes suffer doubts and guilt. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate these two adversarial visions of telepathic use. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Tamed. Girlof Nightmares, and Primal Possession reviews

Douglas R. Brown
Rhemalda Publishing, Jan 26 2012, $13.99
ISBN: 9781936850709

Bernard Henderson found his pet project on Sandalil Island off Costa Rica. He and his mercenaries catch one male though they lose part of the crew and kill other tribal members. He and his surviving team take him back to the States to begin a breeding program. Now he sells wergs as popular pets that he insists are safe and loyal to their owners in spite of these tamed animals more commonly known as werewolves. His WereHouse firm struggles to keep the supply equal to the demand.

Columbus, Ohio Fire Department emergency medical technicians Christine Alt and Billy are on call one day when a loose werg assaults them. Billy vanishes while badly cut up Christine goes to the hospital. The werg’s blood entered her system through her mouth so Christine begins to change, and now knows the truth about WereHouse’s commodity; Henderson and his crew stalk her.

Tamed is a fascinating, action-packed urban fantasy that grips readers from the opening scene off Costa Rica (mindful of Jurassic Park’s locale) and never slows down until the final confrontation. Along the way, Douglas R. Brown provides strong societal messages on consumer protection against the big bad capitalist werewolves and their advertisers who can sell dreck as the outcome of healthy nutrition to people, the prevention of animal and human cruelty. Although the entertaining storyline turns from a fresh take on the werewolf mythos into a more standard hunt theme, readers will enjoy werewolves as pets. Harriet Klausner

Girl of Nightmares
Kendare Blake
Tor Teen, Aug 7 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780765328663

Six months ago on mortal time, Anna Korlov dragged the lethal Obeahman through a portal to Hell she opened. Thus she saved the lives of her former boyfriend teenage ghost hunter Cas Lowood and his friends Thomas and Carmel, but sacrificed herself as to accomplish the feat of yanking the monster into Hell she had to go there too (see Anna Dressed In Blood).

Grief enhanced by survivor guilt and her sacrifice has Cas unable to accept Anna’s death. Cas believes his Anna deserves heaven, but fears she is trapped for eternity in Hell unless he can rescue her but has no idea how. Adding to his sense of trepidation is he sees and hears Anna when he dreams and even when he is awake. Persuading Thomas and Carmel to assist him, Cas begins a quest to free his Anna even though that means he will “march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause” (The Impossible Dream).

This sequel is a great horror thriller that deploys a radically different approach from the bump in the night Anna Dressed in Blood; as this time the storyline simmers with atmospheric psychological tension as Anna comes across (through Cas’ filter) frightened instead of infantry brave. Cas holds the tale together with his obsession that has his BFFs fearing for his emotional state and readers wondering whether he is projecting as a defense mechanism his fears about Anna leading to his seeing her. This is a deep thriller that fans will appreciate.

Harriet Klausner

Primal Possession
Katie Reus
Signet, Sep 4 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451237781

Residents of serene Fontana, North Carolina are shocked by the hideous activity of the Anti-Paranormal League. The APL has invoked a campaign of hate crimes against the paranormal and terrorist attacks against human civilians who live in harmony with the supernatural residents of Fontana.

The APL target human December McIntyre for her acceptance of shifters although she still struggles with what one of them did to her sibling and with her attraction to Liam Armstrong; he realizes at first sight she is his mate. Knowing she needs protection from these home-grown terrorists, December turns to the shifter pack number two Liam. As they fall in love, Liam risks his life to keep his December safe.

The latest Moon Shifter romantic urban fantasy (see Alpha Instinct) is a superb take that makes the paranormal seem normal through the actions of the APL and several local allies. Action-packed, readers will empathize with December as her traumatic memory of what a shifter did to her family and other fears of their kind battle with her love and feeling safe with him. Katie Reus writes a wonderful winning thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 24, 2012

Thieftaker, Master of Darkness, and Wicked Business reviews

D.B. Jackson
Tor, Jul 3 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765327611

In 1765 Boston Ethan Kaille the thieftaker conjures spells to track stolen goods for a fee. Abner Berson hires Kaille to locate the brooch stolen from his murdered daughter Jennifer.

Ethan, assisted by his familiar a ghost garbed in medieval armor, works the case. They start with Jennifer’s corpse that shows no signs of physical trauma but Ethan detects magic performed by a sorcerer much more powerful than the thieftaker. Kaille finds clues that tie the unknown conjurer to rebellion, something he prefers to avoid after spending time in a penal colony for his role in a mutiny though he supports the concepts of the Sons of Liberty who he meets. As he digs deeper, Ethan deals with his thieftaker’s rival Sephira Pryce who will use any means to eliminate the competition.

This is an exhilarating opening act of a wonderful pre-Revolutionary War historical fantasy starring a wonderful hardboiled detective who prefers brains to brawn. The vernacular, real events like the reaction to the Stamp Act and other details of life in Colonial Boston enable armchair readers to believe they meet notables like Samuel Adams. Although the use of Latin in conjuring feels too gimmicky and distracting, fans will enjoy the entertaining Thieftaker. Harriet Klausner

Master Of Darkness
Angela Knight
Berkley, Aug 7 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780425247938

Based on a prophecy, werewolf mage Miranda Drake believes she is the only one who can prevent her alpha father Warlock the werewolf sorcerer from killing King Arthur and destroying Avalon. While Warlock rallies the werewolf hordes to his cause, Dire wolf William Justice the cop is despondent that he failed to stop his enemy’s Machiavellian maneuvers that have the werewolves prepared for war.

William vows to keep Miranda safe though she makes it clear to him she does not want another abusive alpha in her life after years of being on the receiving end from similar werewolves especially her father. Though Justice and Drake are attracted to one another, they need to trust and rely on each other in order to interpret the enigmatic prophecy before Magekind becomes extinct.

The ninth and final Mageverse fantasy (see Master of Dragons) is a great finish to an excellent saga. Fast-paced and loaded with action including heated lovemaking, fans will appreciate the final confrontation (turning T. S. Eliot’s "The Hollow Men" upside down), as the Knight Mageverse world ends not with a whimper but a bang.
Harriet Klausner

Wicked Business
Janet Evanovich
Bantam, Jun 19 2012, $28.00
ISBN: 9780345527776

In Salem, Massachusetts Diesel informs pastry chef Lizzy Tucker that his cousin, Gerwulf Grimoire has a lead on one of the seven stones of SALIGIA that each contains a deadly sin. He also says that Harvard University English Professor Gilbert Reedy was tossed off his fourth-floor balcony with a hand print on his neck that most likely belonged to Wulf.

They learn the late professor spent two decades in search of the Luxuria Stone that contains the sin of lust. Lizzy and Diesel accompanied by Carl follow clues found in a Romantic Era book of sonnets that leads them into the Boston catacombs, the Brahmin and the government while Wulf and his loyal follower Hatchet track his cousin and the tracker waiting to snatch the prize once they find it. Neither rival is aware that lurking in the shadows is Anarchy.

The second Lizzy and Diesel urban fantasy (see Wicked Appetite for gluttony) is a fun lighthearted romp. The storyline is fast-paced as the two teaming "Unmentionables" seek lust before Wulf obtains it. The Evanovich trademark jocularity seems off and distracting; still fans will enjoy touring Boston with Lizzy, Diesel and Carl as our guides. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Seawitch, Two Weeks Notice and Biting Cold reviews

Kat Richardson
Roc, Aug 7 2012, $24.95
ISBN: 9780451464552

Over a quarter of a century ago, the Seawitch set sail with four passengers and one crew. The vessel never returned to the marina nor found; until now. Twenty-seven years after the yacht vanished, in a Grey fog the Seawitch returns to the same dock in the Sound that it left from, but with no one board and in terrible condition.

The insurance company hires Harper Blaine the Greywalker to investigate the “ghost ship.” Seattle Detective Sergeant Rey Solis leads the police inquiry. She is pleased that she will work with Solis who may be uncomfortable with the “creepy” that seems to come with Blaine cases, but always is professional. They jointly explore the Seawitch; Harper and Solis find ritual symbols written in blood. He focuses on what appears to be a murder while she follows clues that are as insidious but also arcane.

The latest fabulous Greywalker investigative urban fantasy (see Downpour) is a fabulous at sea “locked” yacht ghost story that hooks the audience from the moment the diverse detectives meet at the dock and never slows down as they work their respective cases. Spellbinding throughout, readers will relish this entry as the Greywalker and Solis, who is slightly less stressed with the creepy, follow the clues to what happened to five people on board the Seawitch. Harriet Klausner

Two Weeks Notice
Rachel Caine
Roc, Aug 7 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464620

Serving in Iraq as a soldier, Bryn Davis learned she handled corpses without her stomach betraying her so as a civilian she obtains the position of Funeral Director at the Fairview Mortuary where her boss Lincoln Fairview IV and his thug Freddy killed her. However, Pharmadene security chief Patrick McCallister revives her using the firm’s top secret drug Returne. To obtain future daily doses of Returne, Bryn acquiesces to work for McCallister (see Working Stiff).

The FBI takes control of Returne while Bryn works at the Davis Funeral Home. She and Patrick begin seeing each other romantically and in supporting a Returne group to help users adapt. However, when the chemical zombies including her sister Anne start to vanish, Bryn fears the Feds are behind the activity, but will do anything for her next dose controlled by the FBI to extort favors and to find and rescue Anne.

The second Revivalist urban fantasy is a strong chemical Zombie thriller as the Working Stiff heroine finds her ultimate undying loyalty is to the government; no group manipulates the pharmaceutical “free” market more than the Big Pharma-Fed complex. Readers will enjoy this action-packed thriller starring two caring protagonists swimming in a sea of Federal and Pharma sharks. Harriet Klausner

Biting Cold
Chloe Neill
NAL, Aug 7 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451237019

In Chicago, Cadogan House vampire master Ethan Sullivan’s return has Cadogan sentinel Merit rejoicing though wary of her feelings (see Drink Deep). However, the Merit has bigger concerns than the turmoil inside her heart as she learns her former best friend Mallory seeks the Maleficium; if misused it would free evil upon an unsuspecting world.

Ethan and Merit head to Nebraska where the ancient tome is safely stored. However, though aware of Mallory’s misguided magic, neither vampire realizes that anti-vampire Tate wants to possess the Maleficium so he stalks Merit. At the same time the powerful Greenwich Presidium plans a coup to take over Cadogan House.

The latest superb Chicagoland Vampire urban fantasy (see Twice Bitten and Friday Night Bites) relocates the storyline from Chicago to the Great Plains as betrayal and duplicity leave the master and the sentinel in peril. The storyline is fast-paced from the moment the heroine learns what Mallory intends and vows to prevent this pandemic horror from occurring and never slows down as she and her “sire’ struggle to keep the nightmare from happening while others prefer the alternative. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Bared Blade, Elfhome and Earth Unaware Reviewed

Bared Blade
Kelly McCullough
Ace, Jun 26 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007676

In Tien, Zhan Aral Kingslayer sits in his office in the Gryphon’s Head Tavern with his best (and only) friend and secret partner Triss the shade in his shadow, musing how far he fell when his Goddess of Justice and the Downtrodden Namara was assassinated. He was a Blade of Namara delivering justice to affluent and impoverished alike. Now he earns a living as a jack of all shadow trades to clients beyond the fringe of society which is a step up from where he was one year ago when he became a Broken Blade with a price on his head.

Two women enter the tavern; one is very tall and muscular while other a lithe dancer. When Cobble Runner Shadow Lieutenant Boguin offers money to do both of them, Triss, acting out of character, insists Aral intervene, which he reluctantly does as he tells the officer they are with him. Stel and Vala order Aral to leave them alone. Almost immediately afterward, a magical assault hammers the Gryphon’s Blade. The four survive though bystanders and assassins do not. Attracted to Vala who reminds him of his former fiancée Jax, Aral and his Shade find themselves in the crosshairs of a battle for an artifact.

The second Fallen Blade fantasy stars an interesting hero with an irreverent, self-deprecating attitude as he no longer has a purpose to live. Ironically, Aral and Triss struggle to help the extremely competent females who come to their aid as often if not more than they do for them. Fans will appreciate the magnificent McCullough mythos as the BFFs learn the mantra the road to Shadowside is paved with good intentions. Harriet Klausner

Wen Spencer
Baen, Jul 3 2012, $24.00
ISBN: 9781451637830

An orphan from Pittsburgh, Tinker knows the second order effect of her actions left 60,000 Steeler (and Pirate) residents isolated in the Ghostlands rather than Pennsylvania. Tinker’s cousin Orville “Oilcan” Wright notices a young female Stone Clan elf drumming with olianuni sticks in front of a soda machine in the train station. He warns her that Pittsburgh has become dangerous, but Merry the elf insists she has a letter to give to the Earth Son. Oilcan informs her that the Earth Son is dead. He escorts her to the Stone Clan embassy where Thorne Scratch tells him to keep her safe. She soon joins the Naekanain band of mixed breed musicians.

At the same time Tinker’s mate, Wolf Who Rules Wind invites former slave, Oni hybrid leader Tommy Chang and his brethren to join the Wind Clan as Beholden. Tommy distrusts the Windwolf’s motives, but Jin Shoji the Tengu freed from captivity by Tinker suggests the Wind Clan leader offers the Oni a seat at a special table. As he considers what the Tengu says, Tommy searches the forest for oni.

The latest Elfhome fantasy widens the super Spencer world as other species like the purebred stranded humans, the Tengu and the hybrid Oni take the lead from elves; even the featured elves focus on other clans besides the Wind Clan in this entertaining story line. The prime subplots are the coming of age of Oilcan and Tommy as responsibility for the well-being of others makes you mature rather quickly. Character driven by racism triggered by a history of hostilities including genocide, fans will enjoy meeting the other species as major change has come to the Ghostlands with many preferring the pre Tinker status quo. Harriet Klausner

Earth Unaware
Orson Scott Card and Aaron Johnston
Tor, Jul 17 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765329042

An extended family affair, the mining ship El Cavador travels deep inside of the Kuiper Belt. When an object is detected decelerating, the crew knows this is a visit by a vessel from outside the solar system. On an asteroid, they debate what to do with Victor Delgado insisting they warn everyone. Captain Concepcion questions who while the leaders proclaim no one as they fear claim-jumping corporates.

Corporate miner Lem Jukes tests a machine that breaks down an entire asteroid into its various molecules. He chooses the locale where the El Cavador is, but starts with a sneak attack on that ship. Several days later, Victor and others finally fix the prime systems but lack communications to warn the imminent invasion by aliens. While on Earth, Captain Wit O'Toole seeks the best of the best from the military to join the U.N.-backed Mobile Operations Police.

This prequel to the Ender’s Game outer space thriller is an exciting tale that fans will enjoy though it covers the same time, space and theme as Marvel’s Formic War saga. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with plenty of action as the aliens attack as do the corporates. Fans of the series will enjoy reading the events of what led up to the Enders Game though if you read the comic books the plot comes across as déjà vu with more depth. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

BSFA Nominated OSAMA arriving in Paperback



By Lavie Tidhar

Coming on 9th October (US & Canada) and 11th October (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-076-4

$9.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-075-7

“A strange, melancholy and moving reflection, torquing politics with the fantastic, and vice virtuosically versa.” – China Miéville

“Not a writer to mess around with half measures … brings to mind Philip K Dick’s seminal science fiction novel The Man in the High Castle.” – The Guardian

One of the most significant genre books of the year, Lavie Tidhar’s highly-praised and BSFA Award-nominated novel Osama is being published in paperback in October.

The outspoken and controversial Israeli-born author delivers the most exciting, daring and sensitive, fictional engagement with the post-9/11 era. Tidhar was in Dar-es-Salaam during the American embassy bombings in 1998, stayed in the same hotel as the Al Qaeda operatives in Nairobi, and narrowly avoided both the 2005 London, King’s Cross and 2004 Sinai attacks – all of which has informed this vital book.

The critical reception of Osama has been nothing short of astonishing – making it a must-read novel for both genre and mainstream readers. With his unique perspective, Tidhar has crafted a book that is vital, intriguing, and a truly matchless insight into the way 9/11 has shaped our world view.

In an alternate world without global terrorism, a private detective is hired by a mysterious woman to track down the obscure creator of the fictional vigilante, Osama Bin Laden...

His identity slowly fragments as he discovers the shadowy world of the Refugees, ghostly entities haunting the world in which he lives. Where do they come from? What do they want? Joe knows how the story should end, but is he ready for the truths he will uncover... or the choice he will have to make?

About the Author

Lavie Tidhar grew up on a kibbutz in Israel and has since lived in South Africa, the UK, Vanuatu and Laos. He is currently resident back in London. He was nominated, variously, for a World Fantasy Award, a BSFA Award, a British Fantasy Award, a Sidewise Award, Israel’s Geffen Award, the Airship Award, and the Sturgeon and Campbell Awards.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Blood Rider Book Trailer

Check out the book trailer for BLOOD RIDERS (On-sale 9/25), New York Times bestselling author Michael Spradlin’s brilliant steampunk novel about an ancient tribe of vampires terrorizing the frontier territories of the Wild West.

Vimeo HD vid:

James Rollins, New York Times bestselling author of The Devil Colony , writes that “Michael Spradlin’s BLOOD RIDERS lives up to its name. Here is the history of the Old West written in blood and laced with dark humor, all set against a backdrop of ancient evil and a struggle for survival. So strap on your six-shooter and saddle your horse, you’re in for the ride of your life.”

In BLOOD RIDERS, Civil War veteran and former Captain Jonas R. Hollister has spent the last 4 years behind bars. His crime: claiming that it was a band of blood-sucking creatures that slaughtered eleven soldiers under his command during a patrol watch in the Wyoming Territory.

Hollister is destined for a lifetime of hard labor until the detective Allan Pinkerton arrives at the jailhouse demanding his release. A group of Colorado miners has been gruesomely massacred and rumors of “blood drinkers”—vampires—are running rampant throughout the Wild West. With his freedom on the line and a golden opportunity to regain his credibility, Hollister agrees to track down and destroy the ancient tribe of vampires.

Michael P. Spradlin is the author of the New York Times bestseller It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Zombies!, as well as several children’s picture books, the novels and manga volumes in the Spy Goddess series, and the Youngest Templar novels.

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Home on Kindle

THE HOME, Scott Nicholson, Haunted Computer Books, Kindle $3.99, 352 pages, ISBN: 9781452461908, reviewed by Jim Brock.

There is a supernatural element in THE HOME but the true horror is the damage we humans can inflict on one another in the interest of power and greed and such. In this case, a scientist seeks the god-like feeling of repairing the minds of the emotionally damaged young children who live at the home, Wendover, in state custody. His work is funded and abetted by a shadowy organization known as The Trust. They seek to control the power of the side effects of the brain shocking treatments – ESP, mind reading and other enhanced mental abilities.

When young Freeman Mills comes to Wendover, the wheels of resolution begin to turn. Freeman’s father was a sadistic scientist who pioneered the “treatments” now being perfected at the home. His experiments on his son left Freeman with an unusual mental power. His sadism towards his son and his murder of the boy’s mother left Freeman with a long list of mental disorders. Father and son are re-united at Wendover. And, oh yes, there are ghosts in the machinery.

Barry and I had a good friend in college who had grown up in a church-supported children’s home. There is a lot of emotional damage done to children even in the most well-intentioned homes. When you add in the intentional infliction of pain and death and the most vulnerable of victims, children, the horrors are profound.

I have been a Scott Nicholson fan since page one of THE RED CHURCH. With each book he has shown continued imagination and use of language. With THE HOME, he has cemented his position, along with Bentley Little, as one of the most consistently good horror writers being published today. //This is currently in development as a feature film, so read the book and and be prepared for what’s coming.//

Friday, September 14, 2012

A Banschhe, Widdershins, Fantasy, and Urban Fantasy

Before I Wake
Rachel Vincent
Mira, $9.99
ISBN: 9780373210619

Twenty-nine days ago, sixteen year old Kaylee Cavanaugh, the bean sidhe banshee’s final soul scream was for herself when she was stabbed to death by an incubus math teacher (see If I Die). She has become a reaper working in the reclamation department for Madeline collecting souls. Her boss brought her back hoping a banshee reaper can end the serial soul stealing of an unknown thief. Her dad knows she is dead and she has a new boyfriend Tod the two and a half years old dead reaper at her side as well as Styx the netherworld Pomeranian guard dog.

Now Kaylee faces her greatest challenge yet when she returns to high school pretending to be alive as her death was local headline news. Madeline assigns her to recapture a soul taken by a rogue reaper at the doughnut shop as a training exercise. Kaylee rushes to the doughnut shop where she meets Thane the reaper who killed her mom thirteen years ago. He wants Kaylee dead, and was sent to hell by Rod. Using her banshee skills, she takes the soul to Madeline and with seconds to spare makes it to Eastlake where her former boyfriend Nash is. Now she balances life at school with collecting souls and uncovering the identity of the soul thief who makes the war personal.

The latest Soul Screamers young adult urban fantasy (see My Soul to Keep and My Soul to Save) is a great entry with a stunning climax. Fast-paced from the moment Kaylee faces Thane over the soul of the doughnut shop owner, fans will appreciate this super entry as Rachel Vincent continues to shake up things in the world of Kaylee Cavanaugh. Harriet Klausner

False Covenant
Ari Marmell
PYR, $16.95
ISBN: 9781616146214

In Davillon, Adrienne Sati escaped the mean streets thanks to a benefactor only to return to the mean streets as a thief thanks to the minor God Olgun (not one of the revered 147) sharing her skull. Now known as Widdershins, she knows she was lucky to survive the serial killer nightmare over six months ago (see Thief's Covenant). She and her deity agree to go straight so they try to earn a living working at Genevieve's tavern.

While the pair fails at bar-keeping, a malevolence hunts the nightlife of the city. Widdershins and Olgun return to what they are good at: thieving. However, they uncover a diabolical dark magic plot. The powerful Church distrusts her after the death of their Archbishop. The Guard distrusts her after what happened to Constable Henri Roubert. The Thieves' Guild distrusts her after she left them twice before. Only Guard Major Bouniard seems to be her ally but neither Widdershins nor Olgun trusts the orphan’s attraction to him. If they survive an irate noble who wants her dead; the mortal-deity combo has a night time engagement with an evil serial killer.

Widdershins returns in an exciting entertaining investigative fantasy in which the strong city presence anchors the otherworldly elements. Readers would assume the lead protagonist is schizophrenic, if not for the occasional magic, as she and her guest hold amusing satirical discussions on redemption, death and love. Though there is purposeful stereotyping of secondary players that sets the tone of the Church, the aristocracy, the Guard and the Guild; high school age and older fans will enjoy touring the underbelly of Davillon with the squabbling jocular hosts.
Harriet Klausner

Hunter and Fox
Philippa Ballantine
PYR, $17.95
ISBN: 9781616146238

The Caisah massacred the Vaerli so long ago it has become almost a myth. However, the Caisah’s Hunter, Talyn knows better as she was once a proud member of the Vaerli before she sold her soul to the beast that murdered her people and still rules the world.

The Caisah’s mistress Kelanim fears Talyn’s influence on her lover so plots to destroy her “rival”. At the same time, Finn the teller of tales and Talyn meet. They are attracted to one another, which each realizes is unrealistic and dangerous. Meanwhile, Talyn’s lost brother Byre seeks a means to remove the curse on the Vaerli. Soon all will converge shaking the foundations throughout the Conhaero.

Although the theme of a ruthless vicious ruler and a small band of courageous opponents is an old fantasy theme, the constantly changing Conhaero landscape in which a mountain can become lake in an instant adds some freshness to an engaging storyline. Readers will have mixed feelings toward Talyn who regrets selling her soul to the devil in order to survive while Finn brings hope and secrets; and Caisah and Kelanim are stereotypical evil. Although much of the tale sets up the Ballantine mythos and realm, fans will enjoy this opening act while looking forward to future escapades in this shifting world. Harriet Klausner

In The House Of The Wicked
Thomas E. Sniegoski
Roc, Aug 7 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780451464569

Remiel the seraphim archangel fought on the Creator’s side in the civil war against Lucifer’s rebel army. Although his side won, he no longer could abide living in heaven after the atrocities that followed after brother fought brother to the death on the battlefield. Thus Remiel becomes Remy Chandler, Boston PI, and in love with a mortal woman who died leaving him a grieving widow who understands Lord Alfred Tennyson’s immortal words: “'Tis better to have loved and lost; Than never to have loved at all.”

Remy is also very fond of Ashley Berg who he treats like a beloved daughter. When she disappears, Remy vows to find her to bring her home. He learns a sorcerer kidnapped Ashley as an expendable pawn to bring the seraphim to him; he schemes to steal Remy’s power and life force in order to become an immortal. Remy is uninterested in the games of Algernon Stearns and Konrad Deacon who drained life forces immediately after Hiroshima; instead he would go to hell to rescue his Ashley, but at what cost as the ensuing battles could leave humanity extinct.

This is a powerful Remy Chandler urban fantasy (see A Hundred Words For Hate) as someone he trusts with his life is loyal to Lucifer; thus the Prince of Deceivers uses his mole to trick Remy into going down wrong paths (leading to twisting subplots). The exciting storyline effortlessly switches back to Deacon’s past in WWII and afterward enabling the readers to observe the odious antics of an evil individual planning his coup. House of the Wicked is a terrific fantasy that will thrill readers. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Some Interesting Reviews

Romeo Spikes
Joanne Reay
Gallery, Aug 14 2012, $25.00
ISBN: 9781451674446

Once a leading neurophysicist, who researched molecular telomeres that control longevity, Dr. Agnus Day lost his mind when his daughter died. He vanished only to reappear in a coma at a horrible murder scene. Now he resides at Morphic Fields Penitentiary where he suffers from Geschwind syndrome, which leaves him out of control of his mind and body as he obsessively is compelled to write down the “violent, inhuman visions” that haunt him. He is unaware what he sees ties back to the Tormenta demons whose sustenance is devouring the predetermined life not used when a mortal commits suicide, which these beasts “encourage” in their human form.

Homicide Detective Alexis Bianco soon learns about the Tormenta and their adversarial human protectors the Chiro Scuro when she meets Lola who effortlessly places her in a chokehold to get her attention. At the same time these demons are extremely active in anticipation of the arrival of the dark messiah Mosca; while knowing that the arrival of their champion means the Sinistra angels’ Moera will follow. All will converge on Morphic Fields Penitentiary where a mad researcher sits on death row while his avaricious shrink sees fame and fortune.

This is an extremely complex opening act of the powerful paranormal thriller that grips readers from start to finish. In some ways the various organizations competing for top gun can prove confusing as there seems to be a Cecil B. De Mille size cast. Though a glossary or “family tree” would have helped, fans will appreciate this superb supernatural that brilliantly brings angels and demons into the contemporary world in which the good go insane, the bad are mortal protectors and the ugly are demons and often angels. Harriet Klausner

Goddess in the Middle
Stephanie Julian
Sourcebooks, Jul 1 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9781402251535

Many, many centuries ago, Amity Monroe was Munthukh the Etruscan Goddess of Health. Now she lives in Pennsylvania working as a medical aesthetician in Reading Hospital. Amity learned a long time ago to avoid loving relationships as that always leads to hurt so she focuses on her job where she also uses her diminished deity powers to reduce a patent’s pain in order to enhance healing; but that always leaves her weakened at a time a when Charun the underworld god hunts the goddess population; sex refurbishes her strength.

She and her best friend trauma nurse Jill Doyle are at Kelly’s Corner where two Etruscan men want her. Werewolf-witch cousins Rom and Remy Caneglosi knows the demon who killed their family wants Amity. They are stunned when she comes over to them offering to buy them a drink and much more. As they team up to kill a demon, their attraction grows.

The third Forgotten Goddesses erotic romantic urban fantasy (see What A Goddess Wants and How to Worship a Goddess) is an exciting paranormal that works due to the vile villain. The sex scenes are well written and hot, but also unrealistic as danger stalks her. The three fascinating protagonists carry baggage as she knows love hurts and struggles with how far she has fallen while the cousins blame themselves for what happened to their family. Readers will enjoy this heated Etruscan triangle. Harriet Klausner

The Coldest War
Ian Tregillis
Tor, Jul 17 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765321510

The Soviet Union is winning the Cold War against Great Britain. By 1963, only the warlocks keep the Soviets from annexing the British Isles; however it is just a matter of time before the superpower crosses the Channel as each time a British wizard dies, the power balance shifts in favor of the Soviets.

Meanwhile, twins Gretel and Klaus were once Nazi experiments who became Soviet research specimens. Now with Gretel using her precognitive skills, to guide them while Klaus uses his super strength to break impenetrable barriers, they escape. Their destination is British secret agent Raybould Marsh as she has visions of him. Marsh and mage Will Beauclerk are caught in Milkwood while the Eidolons threaten both sides in the Coldest War.

Though this ends up as a middle book with no conclusion, readers will appreciate this strong alternate historical fantasy. Ian Tregillis cleverly captures the Cold War paranoia and anything goes attitude including collateral damage (that Neocons apparently still cling too like a comforting blanket) with Marsh beginning to question whether the end ever justifies the means. Gretel makes the storyline work as her twisting plot deploys. Readers will enjoy the second Milkweed Triptych (see Bitter Seeds) as the world spins on its axis or does it. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Science Fiction, Fantasy and Zombies

An Officer’s Duty
Jean Johnson
Ace, Jul 31 2012. $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007690

Powerful Space Force Navy psychic Ia can slip in and out of the time streams and see centuries into the future. Knowing that three hundred years from now, a near invincible enemy enters the galaxy destroying everything in their hunt for energy, Ia finds only one time line in which the destruction of the Milky Way does not occur. Thus she enlisted in the military when she turned eighteen as the first step towards insuring the one positive outcome happens (see A Soldier’s Duty).

Ia returns to her heavyworld home, Sanctuary, in order to insure the safety of her family and makes sure her brother wins the lottery at a time when religious disputes begin to turn hostile. The money will be used to for Sanctuary to survive one of the wars in which her home world plays a pivotal role. Ia plays a role in a series of armed conflicts with her goal to save billions of lives if every step in the time stream happens. Ia is a part of the Blockade Patrol keeping the amphibian race the Saliks blocked up in their sector. However, she knows they plan to break through the blockade; she must prevent this from happening because if they succeed her efforts to follow that one time stream ends in the earliest stage.

Known for her romantic fantasies (see the Sons of Destiny), Jean Johnson continues to display the width of her talent with her second exciting Theirs Not to Reason Why military science fiction thriller. Fans of Honor Harrington will appreciate heroic Ia who gives up the life she wants and the man she loves to prevent a futuristic galactic wide catastrophe, which, if unimpeded, would occur after she is dead. Fast-paced with terrific battle scenes and deep characterizations, Ia brings a sense of urgency to this deep tale. Harriet Klausner

The Unraveling of Wentwater
C.S. Lakin
Living Ink Books, Jul 16 2012, $14.99
ISBN: 9780899578927

In Wentwater, village matriarch Arlynna begins the naming ceremony of the baby just born to Iris when Ursell, the banished marsh witch, arrives. Ursell proclaims that the unnamed infant will unravel Wentwater one thread at a time until by the time she is eighteen the village will be no more. Before leaving Ursell tells them to exile the mother and put the babe to death. The superstitious frightened villagers make the parents leave and set the cottage on fire with the babe inside.

All who were witness remain haunted by the incident. Now seventeen years later, Teralyn, from the science-based Heights, arrives at Wentwater with her lap harp to play at a festival. She meets Iris’ two sons Justyn - who left for the Heights and Fromer - who stayed in the village. She and Fromer fall in love, but an angry jealous Justyn makes a deal with Ursell that leads to The Unraveling of Wentwater vanishing one word at a time; only Teralyn is capable of stitching it back one word at a time over seven years, but that final word is jarred from her reach.

The fourth Gates of Heaven fantasy (see The Land of Darkness and Map Across Time) is a terrific allegorical drama based on the premise that one needs to "Be careful with your words - they have consequences!" With a reverse Sleeping Beauty theme and biblical references on wisdom, passion and faith, fans will appreciate this timely tale of two siblings and the harpist, as sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can harm you too. Harriet Klausner

21st Century Dead: A Zombie Anthology
Christopher Golden
St. Martin's Griffin, Jul 17 2012, $15.99
ISBN: 9780312605841

This nineteen story anthology follows up on The New Dead with a solid collection based on the premise that death and resurrection is an everyday Z day occurrence. All the entries are well written with no clinkers, but only a few provide freshness (only so many ways you can walk the dead). The best tale is “How We Escaped Our Certain Fate” as Dan Chaon explores the zombie grief cycle starting with the perquisite of love. Exciting “Parasite” occurs in the Robopocalypse world of Daniel H. Wilson. Home, hearth and zombies are a major theme of several contributions like Chelsea Cain’s “Why Mothers Let Their Children Watch Television”, “All the Comforts of Home: A Beacon Story” by John Skipp and Cody Goodfellow, “Couch Potato” by Brian Keene and Mark Morris’s “Biters.”

Vampires, Jack the Ripper and Psychics

The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires
Molly Harper
Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451641837

In Half-Moon Hollow, Iris Scanlon runs Beeline a vampire day-time concierge business. Her clients ask her to take care of just about anything, which she does for a nice fee. Because of her variety of gopher tasks, Iris is an expert on vampirism, something she considers TMI especially for a church goer (at least on the Big days) like her.

She brings welcoming flowers and the contract to her newest client Mr. C Calix. Only he lies on the floor looking pale. He drank poisoned donated O blood. She refuses to give him her blood but provides him two tampered proof sealed bottles. Cal pleads with the daywalker to find him a hiding place while he works on who wants him dead-dead; Iris does for a fee. To her chagrin she is attracted to her acrimonious customer as Iris refuse to break her no fraternization rule.

Though the locale is the same as the Jane Jameson urban fantasy saga (see Nice Girls Don't Bite their Neighbors), The Care and Feeding of Stray Vampires is a new offshoot series. This amusing romantic frolic stars a business minded human and an irritable vampire; who prove that only love can resolve the paradox of an irresistible force meeting an unmovable object. Harriet Klausner

David L. Golemon
Dunne, Jul 17 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780312580803

In 1887 the British Empire hire American scientist Lawrence Ambrose to create a means to change a civilized person into a berserker war machine. In 1888, Jack the Ripper murders his last victim. At the same time, Robert Louis Stevenson visits Scotland Yard with information on the Ripper’s identity that he connects to his Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde model, American chemist Lawrence Ambrose. Queen Victoria ended the project and ordered the secret execution of Ambrose who escaped with his notes.

In present-day Mexico, American government top secret Event Group geologist Sarah McIntire leads a team investigating caves where Pancho Villa allegedly stored his weapons. Anaconda the drug lord sends his vicious army to attack the geologist. They abduct Sarah. The Event Group sends a rescue team led by Colonel Jack Collins that uses information from General John “Black Jack” Pershing’s 1916 Mexican raid. However they are unaware that Anaconda has Ambrose’s notes and plans to use them.

The latest suspenseful Event Group thriller (see Legacy) is an exciting action-packed tale that deftly links Ripper to the contemporary war on drugs. Though the villain and hero are stereotyped, fans will enjoy this engaging entry filled with action and a thrill seemingly around every corridor and cave. Harriet Klausner

All Seeing Eye
Rob Thurman
Pocket, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781451652222

Ironically Jackson Lee muses that as a psychic he never saw it coming when he was fourteen years old and he touched the dusty pink shoe in his family’s yard. The shoe belonged to his five years old sister Tess who told told him she was murdered. Due to him his family is massacred as well leaving a traumatic Jack left in the Cane Lake County Home for Boys, definitely not for the good. There he meets bookworm Charlie Allgood.

Years later, Jack becomes a carny psychic until he takes out his own shingle as the All Seeing Eye for hire. He keeps people at a distance except for his assistant and adopted sister Abby, and Houdini the dog. Fed Hector Allgood tells Jackson that Charlie, who died ten months ago, told him about his friend’s skills. The SOB blackmails the psychic into working for him on solving Charlie’s murder and on an experiment that turned violent. Charlie sense déjà vu as he expects his life will radically change just like when he touched Tess’ shoe.

This is an exhilarating twisting paranormal thriller starring a troubled soul who struggles with his psychic skill, his knowledge of his sister’s death and his belief he caused the follow-up massacre. Fast-paced, readers will relish All Seeing Eye as the traumatized protagonist knows you can go home because the truth will never set you free from truly leaving home. Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 10, 2012

Tad Williams, Kira Brady and Tracy O'Hara reviewed

The Dirty Streets of Heaven
Tad Williams
DAW, Sep 4 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780756407681

Though ostensibly Bobby Dollar is an angel, he understands sin first hand from his travails on that wicked oasis planet earth as he has tasted most if not all of the seven deadly sins. Bobby is a defense attorney advocating for the placement of souls as Heaven and Hell debate the merits and demerits of a lesser being in judgment. He trusts neither side as Heaven works in mysterious ways with hidden agendas and hell is like a dog catcher. A newcomer sent from Heaven makes Bobby feel as if the rookie is from internal affairs with his unrelenting questions. In fact the only person he believes tells him the truth is the Countess of Cold Hands and he is unsure whether lust is filtering her responses.

However, recently things have gone terribly wrong when souls vanish prior to their judgment. Hell lies and Heaven obfuscates as the advocate tries to learn the truth. At the same time a monstrous Babylonian demonic avenger stalks Bobby with plans to dine in his soul.

This is a wonderful fantasy in which heaven and hell are not good and bad but filled with gray matter. Bobby is terrific as he recognizes that both sides in the eternal war are collectors with Hell more open with their BHAG than Heaven is. With an exciting investigation and an end of days feel to the storyline, The Dirty Streets of Heaven is a serious version of Albert Brooks’ Defending Your Life but with the Rip Torn advocate telling the tale of life in the afterlife bureaucratic judicial system at a time when all hell (or heaven) breaks out. Harriet Klausner

Hearts Of Darkness
Kira Brady
Zebra, Aug 7 2012, $6.99
ISBN: 9781420124569

Norgard assigns Hart the mercenary werewolf to obtain a necklace. He watches the grieving human, alleged wearer of the necklace when Hart notices the ancient adversaries nearby. He muses over the bloody war between the self-proclaimed human protectors Kivati and the Drekar while detesting both sides but feeling the latter are honest in what they want.

Nurse Kayla Friday flies from Philadelphia to Seattle to identify the body in the morgue; her pregnant sister Desi lies dead on the slab. Stunned Kayla begins to do something that has Hart warning her to stop before she dies. He demands she give him the necklace he claims she stole from his employer while shocked that she is human. Hart finds the card of nasty Kivati Raven Lord Emory Corbette amongst Desi’s final possessions. He tells her to run back to Pennsylvania, but his advice proves too late when Rudrick and his thugs enter the morgue. Soon they are teaming up investigating her sibling’s murder, seeking the necklace and falling in an uneasy love that shakes the Aether.

This is an exciting romantic urban fantasy that has a horde of diverse paranormal running wild in the streets of Seattle. Fast-paced, sub-genre fans will enjoy this thriller from the moment Hart tells Kayla to run and never slows down to even a walk as Kira Brady provides a fabulous first act. Harriet Klausner

Sin’s Dark Caress
Tracey O'Hara
Harper Voyager, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061783159

The three NYPD cops at the murder scene are not feeling very well as the homeless victim was ripped open like a can of corn to remove the baby inside of her. This is the second horrific homicide in two weeks. Detective McManus asked magic expert Dr. Bianca Sin the Forensic witch to look at a symbol. When she does, Bianca becomes sick as she realizes the Dark Brethren seal is on the alley wall.

She calls shapeshifter Oberon DuPrie with the news the worst that could happen has begun. He and the team race to the murder scene. War is coming in which the paranormal species and the humans will take enormous losses, but must unite or face even worse as evil is on the march. Bianca understands this as she opens her locket to meet her familiar Kedrax the dragon who warns her dark magic plans to enable the Dark Brethren to cross over.

The latest Dark Brethren urban fantasy (see Death’s Sweet Embrace and Night's Cold Kiss) costars a nasty malevolent being who uses magic to impregnate chosen “fallen” women and then guts them to take the baby from them; this evil has great plans to bring hell on earth. Bianca, Oberon and the crew investigate in hopes of preventing the pandemic threat from happening. Their inquiry allows the audience to learn more about the secretive witch clans and to a lesser degree vampires and shapeshifters. This is a winner in the O’Hara mythos as time is running out on earth. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I have a story in the new Halloween Anthology from Whortleberry Press. Check it out at

Saturday, September 8, 2012

E Novella from Kim Harrison


Digital Novella from Bestselling Author Kim Harrison

Provides Creepy Prelude to Forthcoming Short Story Collection

“For there were no more lovers left alive/ No one had survived” – lyrics to a song from the eponymous British electro-pop band Pet Shop Boys – a handful of words which lend mournful tenor to the spine-tingling short story by top New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison. “Pet Shop Boys” (e-ISBN 9780062237682), now available as a digital short from Harper Voyager for $0.99, gives a bone-chilling preview of what lies when one ventures INTO THE WOODS, a soon-to-be-published short story collection from Harrison, coming this autumn.

Things are definitely not what they seem in a local pet shop, on a dreary winter night. When a little girl comes wandering in alone, shop employee Cooper feels ill at ease…but nothing prepares him for when her mother comes breezing into his store like a slicing winter gale. He’s not sure why he finds himself acquiescing to a date with this ice-cold beauty, but their night out quickly turns disturbing rather than delightful. She and her family hold a centuries-old secret, and they want him to stay with them forever . . .

“Pet Shop Boys” introduces a new side of beloved fantasy author Harrison – she can do it all, from epic fantasy, to urban magic, to tense psychological horror. And after the last page of “Pet Shop Boys” is devoured, readers can enjoy a brief sample of the fun to come with a preview of Harrison’s forthcoming fiction blockbuster.

In an online review, author/editor/review TW Brown says, “Today, I scooped up this offering with no idea that I would have my jaw hit the floor. This goes in an entirely different direction than anything Harrison has written. It actually has a few ‘scary’ moments. I have no idea if she intends to really open this Pandora's Box of a world she offered, but I can only hope. This has ‘Amazing Series’ screaming from the pages.”

“Pet Shop Boys” is available now wherever e-books are sold, for $0.99.

About the author: New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison was born and raised in Michigan and has recently returned there to escape the South Carolina heat. Her bestselling Hollows novels include Dead Witch Walking; The Good, the Bad, and the Undead; Every Which Way But Dead; A Fistful of Charms; For a Few Demons More; The Outlaw Demon Wails; White Witch, Black Curse; Black Magic Sanction; Pale Demon; and A Perfect Blood. She also writes the bestselling Madison Avery series for young adults, including Once Dead, Twice Shy and Early to Death, Early to Rise.

Also forthcoming from Kim Harrison: INTO THE WOODS (on-sale 10/9/12; ISBN 9780061974328; e-ISBN 9780062207906) and EVER AFTER (on-sale 1/22/13; ISBN 9780061957918; e-ISBN 9780062228154).

Friday, September 7, 2012

E-book Prequel to New Series


Digital Original Novellas by Bestselling Author Jocelynn Drake Introduce Readers to Well-Inked New Urban Fantasy Series

THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: TRIXIE, an e-original novella by acclaimed urban fantasy author Jocelynn Drake, serves as prelude to a new series which New York Times bestseller Kim Harrison calls "intriguing and wildly inventive." On-sale now in digital format, this is the second of two prequels that lead into Drake's trade paperback debut, Angel's Ink, a book that J.R. Ward calls “gritty, authentic and fast-paced."

The Asylum Tales series, called "a whole new take on dark urban fantasy," by Simon

Green, Jocelynn Drake introduces Low Town, a place populated by humans and all manner of magical creatures. The action revolves around Gage, owner of The Asylum Tattoo Parlor. He is a master tattoo artist and secret warlock, who Booklist compares to Jim Butcher's Harry Dresden. Gage and his employees, the hulking troll, Bronx, and Trixie, a beautiful elf who hides her true identity, create gorgeous tattoos for their patrons, and will mix in special ingredients to give the tattoos a magical kick—for the right price. A stingy patron wishing for a little extra luck might find themselves with an expired leprechaun hair in their ink and a series of unlucky events in their future.

THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: TRIXIE tells the story of how Trixie ended up a resident of The Asylum Tattoo Parlor as she tries to escape a mysterious past with the help of Gage's ex-girlfriend, Jo, a vampire with problems of her own. TRIXIE has received great praise from the blog world. Smash Attack Reads calls it and BRONX "a great introduction to the series," while Open Book Society calls it "fun" and Oh The Book Girl recommends it for fans of Vicki Pettersson and Charlaine Harris.

Readers can buy both THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: BRONX and THE ASYLUM INTERVIEWS: TRIXIE wherever e-books are sold, in anticipation of the October 16 release of ANGEL'S INK.

The bestselling author of the DARK DAYS series and former financial analyst, Jocelynn Drake lives in Kentucky.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Three from DAW

Violette Malan
DAW, Aug 7 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780756407407

In the Land of the Faerie, Dragon born High Prince Cassandra and her supporters have defeated the usurper Basilisk Prince to become the rightful ruler. However, winning the war does not denote winning the peace as healing must come to the land and those trapped in the Shadowlands on the other side must be given the opportunity to come home.

Prince Cassandra sends former Hound Stormwolf the Rider she healed to Shadowlands to welcome home the exiled. He meets Nighthawlk in Spain who sends him to Toronto where Alexjandro Martin AKA Graycloud resides with his human fara’ip ward Valory Martin a psychic who he helped escape from the Collector. Meanwhile Stormwolf learns to his horror that the Hounds of the Wild Hunt assault the souls of humans, draining their dra’aj, which leaves the victims extremely lethargic. He meets Valory when he thinks he is rescuing her from an assault that was planned to catch those who stalk her. They, other Riders and mortal victims take the fight to the Hounds while also in the Shadowlands Foxblood and his pack seek the girl as a means to obtain the Horn and keep the High Prince in Faerie.

This is a fabulous urban fantasy sequel to The Mirror Prince as the war may be over in Faerie but the healing has just begun as some especially in the Shadowlands reject the Cycle of Prince Cassandra as the high ruler. Action-packed, the irony of this strong tale is summed up by those who never crossed over from Faerie believing that humans are mythological creatures. Fans will enjoy Valory’s tour of Toronto as Violette Malan writes a strong thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Grass King's Concubine
Kari Sperring
DAW, Aug 7 2012. $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407551

The world is divided into two parts between the World Below where elemental spirit Grass King rules and the World Above where humans reside. The two realms never intertwine until Marcellan ventures into the World Below. The Grass King and his inner Cadre think nothing much about the human visitor except as a curiosity. However, he proves inadvertently insidious when he introduces human concepts of rights to the masses.

Her visions of a magical court haunt heiress Aude Pèlerin des Puiz and propel her to seek the source of her family's incredible wealth. She finds a sea of thin gray grass where once rice paddies flourished as to her horror she concludes that the droughts that dried up the rice paddies connect to her wealth. Her inquiry leads Aude and her lover Jehan end up in the World Below where the Cadre demands she become The Grass King’s Concubine.

Readers will enjoy this entertaining fantasy that occurs several centuries after the events of Living With Ghosts. The engaging storyline tends to accelerate and decelerate as the pace is uneven especially the transitions between Marcellan and Aude. Still with a strong cast, a deep environs and a fascinating mystery, fans will want to know what happened to Marcellan and what is happening to Aude. Harriet Klausner

Jim C. Hines
DAW, Aug 7 2012, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407391

Isaac Vainio is a rare magic practitioner as a Libriomancer who makes real objects from things in books manifest in reality. However, needing to earn a living, he turns in magic for bar codes as he accepts employment at the Copper River Library. Meyerii vampires materialized from a book attack him, Isaac is fortunate to survive.

He soon learns the vampiress have assaulted other magic users as they target the Die Zwelf Portenaere “Porters” in retaliation for attacks on their kind. The six century old Libriomancer founding father of the Porters Johannes Gutenberg vanishes. Isaac, dryad Lena Greenwood and Smudge the fire-spider begin a mission to end the war and free Gutenberg, but are unaware of a diabolical and hostile third party.

With a nod to the movie Inkheart, Libriomancer is an exciting urban fantasy starring a wonderful hero, a fabulous kick butt sidekick and a burning lunatic “pet” who left Jig the Goblin’s shoulder for a new fiery gig. Fast-paced and filled humor, readers will enjoy the escapades of Isaac and his two allies as they leap off the pages of Jim C. Hines terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Dark Fantasy, Paranormal, and Alternate History

Love On The Run
Katherine Kerr
Daw, Aug 7 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780756407629

Across the multiverse, there are infinite earths. Nola O’Grady and her psychic family reside on the Level Four earth. Nola works for the top secret The Agency whose mission is to police the Chaos and stop it from entering the worlds. Her lover Ari Nathan is a double Israeli agent for Interpol and TWIXT (Trans-word Interpol X Teams) whose mission is border guard patrol of global crossing.

Both agencies are searching for the Peacock Angel Cult, on an unknown deviant world that is used as a base to spread the chaos to other worlds. Ari and Nola are working on a case involving Earth Three; a radioactive world in which technology is low level and radiation is at a poisonous high rate. The residents would do anything to escape to the any other level. The Axeman and Ash, who fought Nola on a previous caper, are running a scam that proves deadly to the native on Earth Three who want to get away but the freedom on Earth Six is just an illusion. Fourth Level Earth Nola and Ari team up to prevent the spread of the Chaos on Earth Six and bring order to this orb.

The latest Nola O'Grady dark urban fantasy (see License to Ensorcell and Water To Burn) contains several subplots focusing on Nola’s family as her relative is under siege from an abusive husband and her younger brother is in trouble for misusing his psychic skills. Though the Agency and TWIXT want the talented O’Grady brood on their respective teams, their entries detract from the prime exciting storyline starring Nola and Ari returning to Earth 3 (see Apocalypse To Go) to deal with a problem that could bring Chaos to the rest of Earths. Love On the Run is a fantastic work due to excellent characterizations, a fascinating who done it and a bit of romance. The quirky secondary cast adds humor to a dark storyline. Harriet Klausner

Dark Companion
Marta Acosta
Tor Teen, Jul 3 2012, $17.99
ISBN: 9780765329646

Since becoming an orphan a decade ago at the age of six, Jane Williams has bounced around the foster care system. She learned rather quickly to hide in plain sight and to work hard at escaping. When she turned sixteen, her diligence pays off when she receives a full scholarship including a cottage to attend prestigious Birch Grove High School. To her shock she is welcomed as a friend by the affluent students especially Mary Violet.

Jane is attracted to both sons Lucian and Jack of Headmistress Radcliffe. Street-wised Jane knows she is naive when it comes to boys. Still she recognizes there is something dark inside both of them, but it is Lucien who she is willing to pay the piper to be with. However, Jane feels a need to know what happened to the previous scholarship student and why Jack loathes her

This is an engaging paranormal gothic thriller starring a unique protagonist and a strong cast. The taut storyline builds on the innocent female in peril as tension of mysterious happenings in an isolated boarding school mount. Although the heroine’s revelation about love seems abrupt, young adult fans will enjoy It Happened to Jane (Eyre). Harriet Klausner

The Impeachment of Abraham Lincoln
Stephen L. Carter
Knopf, Jul 10 2012, $26.95
ISBN: 9780307272638

In 1865, John Wilkes Booth, supported by several co-conspirators, enters the Ford Theater to kill President Lincoln. The assassin fails to murder Lincoln; though Vice President Andrew Johnson dies and Secretary of States William Seward is so severely injured he is unable to carry out his duty. Booth and his team are executed before they can be properly interrogated to determine who else was involved in their nefarious assassination plot.

Over the next couple of years, Lincoln pushes a Reconstruction agenda that faces strong opposition in Congress who prefers punishing the losers rather than bringing them back into the Union. In 1867, the House of Representatives led by Radical Republicans pass a bill of impeachment against Lincoln. The US Senate will try the President. He hires Dennard & McShane law firm to defend him. They, in turn, employ Abigail Canner, a young “dark nation” graduate of Oberlin College allegedly as a clerk but actually as image confection. She refuses to be an idle symbol so she begins her own inquiry in Washington City to uncover the identity of the rest of the Booth team.

This is an entertaining alternate history based on Lincoln not Johnson surviving and being impeached. The storyline captures the essence of Post-Civil War society through a strong cast especially the middle class heroine, and the politics of the era as his own party fails to heed his words of “A house divided against itself cannot stand” when the Republicans prefer punishment over Lincoln’s reconciliation; they use his war powers as the rationale to impeach. The thriller starts fast with the assassination attempt, but slows down for a while before reengaging the reader with the trial and with Canner’s investigation. Harriet Klausner

Monday, September 3, 2012

Simulacrum by Rian Darcy

SIMULACRUM, Rian Darcy, Clasp Editions, $6.99, 270 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Usually when I start a book from Circlet Press, I expect a lot of sensuality and good writing; but, I found much more with this title. I found the story to be well thought out, characters well developed, and the sensuality strong – but secondary to the overall story.

Shaun Mason is a “desk jockey” in the LA Cyber Crimes Division and is surprised to receive a call from Detective Hudson, the chief homicide detective, and is invited to help investigate a series of homicides. Several people have been killed while in their Simulated Reality Tanks while online in Simulnet. The only thing is that Mason has to do his investigating under the radar and off the official grid.

Hudson tells Mason how to meet a “Partner” in Simulnet and find out what the victims have in common and dig up clues to the killer. His partner goes by the name Lore and knows a lot about Simulnet and constantly surprises Mason with his knowledge and abilities.

Similnet is an alternate reality where those who can afford it go to explore their sexuality in ways that can’t be done in the real world. The players create their avatars so that they can be whatever or whomever they desire. It’s like the ultimate sexual fantasy come true.

Shaun has just broken up with his girlfriend over commitment issues and his adventures in Simulnet are causing him to wonder about his sexuality. As his feelings for Lore grow, the body count grows and Shaun must find a safe place since the killer invades his home.

Following the clues, Shaun relays the clues to Detective Hudson and finds more than he bargained for as the story comes to a fitting and satisfying conclusion. This is another winner for Circlet and I’ve added a new writer to my must read list. On a side note, SIMULACRON-3 by Daniel Galouye (made as the movie Level 13) is another must read in this genre.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

A Hodge Podge from Harriet

The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Volume 2
Robert Jordan, Chuck Dixon and Andie Tong
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765331625

The Trollocs surprisingly attack remote Emond's Field while Myrddraal targets three villagers (Rand al'Thir, Matrim Cauthon and Perrin Aybara), who conclude they are the focus of the hostilities so to save the townsfolk from further slaughter they flee. Egwene al'Vere, Moraine Damordred the Aes Sedai, Warder Al'Lan Mandragoran and Thom Merrilin the Gleeman join the frightened lads. None know why the enemy wants this threesome (see The Eye of the World: The Graphic Novel Volume 1).

Lan leads the riders on the North Road heading to Tar Valan home of the Aes Sedai while Moiraine uses her power to keep her traveling companions and their horses from tiring. The Trollocs Pursue, but the deadlier Draghkar finds them. Lan realizes the Myrddraal knows where they are. They reach Taren Ferry where they pay Hightower to take them to the other side. On the sixth day the weary group makes it to the large city of Baerion where innkeeper Master Fitch welcomes then and the Children of the Light do not. Nynaeve al'Meara the Wisdom of Emond's Field joins the band on the run vowing to bring the three lads home safe.

The second graphic adaptation of Robert Jordan’s The Eye of the World is an exciting fantasy that captures more of the essence of the original novel. The travelers have diverse personalities as Rand suffers from nightmares; while Lan trusts no one though he shows reverence to the Aes Sedai who mentors Egwene; and the Gleeman warns the naive country lads to watch what they say even within the band. Although the confrontational action is limited, Chuck Dixon’s adaptation and Andie Tong’s illustrations are excellent. Harriet Klausner

Forged in Fire
J. A. Pitts
Tor, $26.99
ISBN: 9780765324696

In the Seattle area Sarah Beauhall muses about her difficulty previous months since the blacksmith and budget movies props guru working on Elvis versus the Goblins forged a sword that turned out to be the Nordic legendary Gram (see Black Blade Blues). Since then, all sorts of supernatural creatures accost her and her significant other Katie over ownership of the blade that allegedly Sigurd used to slay Fafnir the dragon Jean Paul. She now believes it as she and her friends defeated a dragon twice (see Honeyed Words).

However, Sarah has no time for R&R with Katie because a necromancer serial killer deploys deadly magic in Washington State. She knows all of the dead and Sarah concludes this evil adversary who has no compunction about killing the innocent is stalking her and must be stopped by her before more die. However Sarah remains ignorant of another insidious threat to the well-being of herself, her beloved Katie and their allies and friends.

The third Sarah Beauhall urban fantasy is an exciting action-packed thriller that works because of Sarah and her cohorts still struggling to rationally accept an altered “physics”. The storyline is fast-paced while the prime villain is a powerful diabolical threat to the heroine. Although the climax is abrupt, fans will enjoy Sarah’s daring feats Forged in Fire. Harrier Klausner

Blood of the Empire
Tracey Hickman
DAW, $24.95
ISBN: 9780756407322

The five heroes arrived on dragons but it is the human Drakis on Marush who has rallied the diverse rebel species like the manticore, dwarves and humans, etc. to revolt against their oppressive conquerors the elves of the Rhonas Empire. Drakis is considered the Man of Prophecy who will lead the overthrow of the Rhonas Empire. However, he is a man with doubts and a heavy heart as he has seen personally the cost of the insurrection with the death of his beloved Mala. Without Drakis as the rallying point the revolt will end in crushing defeat.

His fellow dragon riders (Lyric the human, Jugar the dwarf, Ethis the Ephidrian crimerian and Urulani the Forgotten Ones free human encourage him to take charge of the Army of the Prophet though each has their own hidden agenda for joining the freedom cause. However, the keys to victory especially deploying Drakis plan are Braun the human wizard who is working on negating the aether wells source of elven magical power and Soen the elven inquisitor seeking the truth though that outs him questioning the Imperial Will of Queen Chythal.

The final Annals of Drakis fantasy (see Citadels Of The Lost and Songs Of The Dragon) is a great tale due to the strong cast starting with the hero who has doubts sending so many to die (kind of like Ike leading up to D-Day). Drakis, encouraged by Urulani and Soen, begins to understand that “When the legend becomes fact, print the legend” (The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance) as he reluctantly leads the final encounter. Fast-paced with a strong cast, fans will relish this saga. Harriet Klausner