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

No comments:

Post a Comment