Monday, September 10, 2012
Tad Williams, Kira Brady and Tracy O'Hara reviewed
The Dirty Streets of Heaven
DAW, Sep 4 2012, $25.95
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
Zebra, Aug 7 2012, $6.99
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
Harper Voyager, Jul 31 2012, $7.99
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