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

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