St. Martin's Press, $25.99
Many millennia ago, Ren Waya was the Keetoowah warrior Guardian chosen to keep hell sealed while resetting the celestial calendar. Instead his closet friend, half-brother Coyote killed him. However, Ren returned as an acrimonious angry Dark Hunter.
Her late grandmother left Kateri Avani with a precious stone to protect as the Keeper of legend. She scoffs at her grandma’s superstition until beasts like nothing she ever saw before attack her. When she meets Ren, Kateri recognizes him as the man who has haunted her dreams seemingly forever. However, she is not sure whether he is her fantasy savior-lover keeping her safe or the beast that kills her. With a depressed sense of déjà vu, Ren knows what he must do to keep the malevolence from arising but sacrificing his heart may save a world but kill him all over again as the Time Untime to reset the calendar is coming.
The latest Dark-Hunter urban fantasy (see Retribution and The Guardians) is a great fast-paced suspense thriller that uses the Mayan prophecy to great effect. Kateri is a wonderful scientist in distress unsure whom she should trust; while Ren is a fascinating haunted protagonist who has played this tune before but prays for an identical big picture ending and a better personal outcome. Fans will enjoy the countdown as time runs out. Harriet Klausner
The Well of Tears
47North, Sep 18 2012, $14.95
The Order of the Stewardry wizards have waited for centuries for the time for, them to adhere to the pledge of fealty they made in the magically concealed Fane Gramarye Temple in the remote village of Pwll. There they vowed to support the one king of Cymru
In 905, the time has come to anoint Hywel as the King of Cymru. Madoc the elderly Ard Druidh chief mage realizes that he must choose his successor at the Well of Tears, but before he does he sends Guard Captain Aslak to escort sorceresses back to Pwll. The soldier goes for Alwen, wife of King Bledig and mother of two teenage children (Rhys and Eirlys). Alwen, accompanied by her family, travels to Fane Gramarye. However, all is not smooth as traitorous evil from within also has begun to march preferring the chaos of war over the promise of peace if Hywel is crowned and also covets Madoc’s heritage.
Though at times the overall entertaining storyline slows down due to too much mundane detail, fans will enjoy this engaging post Arthurian fantasy. Character driven by a strong cast who makes the Trahan mythos seems real while also somewhat limiting the action, readers will wonder who the traitor(s) is as the time to crown the King and select the Ard Druidh successor have arrived with good and evil competing for both jobs. Harriet Klausner
In 1883, widowed Daisy Ellis Craigmore feels euphoric to have escaped the stranglehold of a lousy six-year marriage to an abusive mate though she knows that is not nice thinking. However, she did her time in marriage with 366 days, ten hours, fifteen minutes faking mourning. She considers herself no longer a Craigmore in sham mourning. Now she plans to enjoy life.
However, her euphoria ends abruptly when she witnesses a homicide. Ian Ranulf, the Marquis of Northrup, pushes passed the crowd claiming to be a doctor though he had not practiced in almost two decades. He knows what happened here as he avoided his kind for seventy years but his kind has intruded on his self-imposed exile. When he smells a woman nearby, he moves the body to find Daisy underneath. Questioning her while keeping her safe, Ian knows he must eliminate the culprit before the law finds the rogue. However, his attraction to Daisy is an unwanted mistimed need that Ian cannot ignore.
This Darkest London Victorian historical fantasy (see Firelight) is a fabulous paranormal investigative thriller with an incredible opening scene. The lead couple is a nice pairing as the murder mystery plays matchmaker while neither feels comfortable with falling in love at this time. Kristen Callihan provides an entertaining paranormal whodunit as London remains dark even in a Moonglow. Harriet Klausner
Black Moon Awakening
The Therian Senate assigns top field agent Jude Black the shapeshifter to investigate Eideroche Medical Research Center; accompanied to Jude’s chagrin by the magistrate’s nephew Perry the rookie. A loyal operative for a decade who understands the need to erase completed missions from his brain, Jude has issues for the first time with the Senate as they demand erasing what he knows about the vanishing of his brother Garrett.
Still he and Perry conduct passive surveillance for a few weeks. That changes when they observe two underworld thugs carry a woman into the center. Making an on the spot decision, Jude rescues Letitia Hawkes, but Perry is burned in the process. Wiese is his race’s enemy, a werewolf whom he is attracted to. However with his cover blown, Eideroche killers pursue the two shapeshifters as they fall in taboo love.
This is an exciting fast-paced romantic urban fantasy starring star-crossed lovers. Though the villains are evil incarnate with no redeeming qualities, this tale loaded with suspense inside the Gardiner mythos. Fans will relish this entertaining thriller as Letitia teaches Jude the eternal lesson of sentient species: the female turns the male into quivering knots. Harriet Klausner