Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $15.0
At the Castle of Dark Dreams on Galveston Island, guest Murmer the demon informs his friend Bain that he needs to find an isolated place to release his music power before he harms someone when he loses control due to his ability if turning into an internal torture. On a beach with no one in sight, he begins his tune.
Newly hired personal assistant to Sparkle Stardust whom she has not yet met, Ivy Lowe is on the beach when she hears the music. She cannot stop herself from dancing until Murmer joins her before freeing her. Ivy dreams of Murmer in spite of her efforts to focus on the job only. Holgarth the Wizard warns her to stay away from the dangerous Murmer whose music leaves others dead. Neither the dark Underworld soulless one nor the innocent human can avoid their attraction. However, Bain needs Murmer’s talent and has plans for Ivy involving the rescue of his love trapped with the Slaugh Sidhe Unseelie horde.
The latest erotic Castle of Dark Dreams romantic urban fantasy (see Wicked Fantasy and My Wicked Vampire) is an enjoyable wicked entry tale starring an intriguing demon whose power leaves fear in just about everyone; yet this nonentity holds her own with him. Though the lead couple’s relationship seems similar to that between the virginal angel and the sinful demon, fans will enjoy this fast-paced star-crossed lovers’ thriller. Harriet Klausner
A Fatal Stain
Berkley Prime Crime, Oct 2 2012, $7.99
Daring Finds furniture refinishing storeowner Candyce "Dyce" Dare is running out of diversions as her mom and her BFF Ben Colm demand she join them to plan her wedding to Goldport Serious Crimes Unit Chief Investigator Cas Wolfe. Dyce struggles with their concept of Pythagoras dressed in a tuxedo as the Best Cat and fears whatever else the dynamic duo has in mind.
While sanding a table she bought at the semi-permanent garage sale, Dyce uncovers a stain that looks like blood. Though she knows it is probably her imagination running wild due to growing up in her parent’s mystery bookstore, Dyce visits the garage sale location accompanied by E. She learns the last owner vanished; so she wonders if the disappearance ties back to the stain.
The latest A Daring Finds investigation (see French Polished Murder) is an amusing amateur sleuth starring a likable but immature heroine. The mystery is fun to follow though Dyce has no real reason to make inquiries. Still fans will enjoy this cozy and appreciate tips on restoring furniture. Harriet Klausner
If Mashed Potatoes Could Dance
Berkley, Oct 2 2012, $7.99
In Broken Rope, Missouri, Miz Winston owns Gram’s Country Cooking School; her granddaughter Isabelle “Betts” Winston works closely with her. Betts’ best friend, Broken Rope’s Historical Society historian and fake sheriff Jake asks them if they can host a busload of foodies whose reservation was messed up and provide cooking lessons. The two relatives wonder where anyone will stay except the floor as their establishment is not a hotel; Betts arranges accommodations for the foodie crowd.
Soon afterward, Miz and Betts encounter the ax-wielding ghost of patricide murderer Sally Swarthmore. She pleads with the pair to find her diary that will prove she is not the notorious cold-blooded killer of legend. They also find one of their guests dead with a noose around his neck; two other foodies are missing. Betts turns to her boyfriend Cliff of the local police department while also doing an inquiry.
The latest Country Cooking School Mystery (see If Fried Chicken Could Fly) is an entertaining amateur sleuth starring a heroine struggling to adapt to communicating with ghosts though she has a mentor helping her adjust. The pair of whodunits engages the audience though the solutions of each seem obvious early on. Still fans will enjoy Betts working paranormal and human murder cases. Harriet Klausner