Gallery, Aug 14 2012, $25.00
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
Sourcebooks, Jul 1 2012, $14.99
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
Tor, Jul 17 2012, $25.99
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