Friday, December 28, 2012
Romantic Fantasy Reviews
Something Witchy This Way Comes
Life was easier when Jolie Wilkins was just a fortuneteller only caring what happened to her. Now she is Queen of the Underworld with subjects to include vampires, werewolves, fae, and witches. She could use a lot of R&R with her soulmate Rand Balfour the Warlock whom she almost killed back in the Victorian Era though she also considers a fling with Sinjin the vampire who vows to protect her.
However, the half-human Lurkers threaten her kingdom so loving rest and recuperation remains on standby, the story of her life. Thus she prepares for war with the Lurkers as no one will attack her already conflicted multi species (think of post Tito’s Yugoslavia) without her fighting back.
The latest Jolie Wilkins fantasy (see Toil and Trouble, and Fire Burn and Cauldron Bubble) is a humorous thriller as the paranormal seem real in the Mallory mythos. Still a wisenheimer Jolie struggles with two winning males wanting her when she is used to being alone or with losers while she also learns to govern over diverse ethnic interests. Although the peril seems similar to Witchful Thinking, fans will enjoy the latest escapades in Queen Jolie’s reign. Harriet Klausner
Your House Is on Fire, Your Children All Gone
Retired Christian the widower comes home from Buffalo, New York to Hemmersmoor, Germany for the first time in years but it is too late to attend his mother’s funeral. When he was young, he had three close friends in the village, but over time the quartet grew apart. However, Martin, Christian, Linde and Anke knew geography, changing relationships and age were not the underlying cause of their separation four decades ago. Instead each looks back to the dark secrets that cursed them and Hemmersmoor.
This is a psychological horror tale in which the atmosphere haunts the older townsfolk (and readers) while the younger ones scoff at their alleged superstition. The quartet ironically realizes that forty years ago they were the ridiculing youth scorning their elders’ fears. Rotating perspective between the four protagonists as they look back to a period when they were changing from youthful innocents to fearful unwanted maturity, fans will appreciate this dark thriller. Harriet Klausner
Michael P. Spradlin
Harper Voyager, $7.99
In 1876 in the Wyoming Territory, a terrorized young girl reaches Camp Sturgis near Deadwood screaming hysterically “blood devils”. U.S. Cavalry Captain Jonas P. Hollister leads his eleven troops in search of the child’s family. They find two overturned wagons in which all the people and horses are dead. Suddenly, blood-drinking demons rise and kill his unit; he escapes due to the sun rising.
For the next four years, Jonas resides at the prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas with no hope of ever leaving this place alive as no one believes his nightmarish fairy tale. Detective Allan Pinkerton obtains Hollister's release as the mass murder of Colorado miners match what happened to the captain’s men. Hollister and Pinkerton (accompanied by Chee the fellow-released prisoner, Oliver Winchester the gunsmith, Shaniah the strange woman on a quest, and the European Abraham Van Helsing) ride into hell.
Blood Riders is a fabulous historical horror thriller that uses real events like the Battle of Little Big Horn, real persona (Custer, Pinkerton, etc.) and literary legends (Van Helsing) to excellent effect. Though a romantic subplot seems more an unnecessary requirement, the fast-paced storyline grips readers with the opening bloody assault and never slows as readers anticipate an undead and living OK Corral type confrontation. Harriet Klausner
Sacrifice the Wicked
In Seattle, Mission Director Parker Adams the witch hunter catches Mission Agent Simon Wells the Witch in her home office holding a secret file. She calmly gives him a choice to either die now or place the file back on her desk. Though he believes she could not shoot, he puts down the folder. Parker demands he tell her about the GeneCorp human testing Salem Project and Juliet Carpenter (see All Things Wicked); Simon tells her to forget it or be buried as he will not always be there to protect her before he escapes.
Simon knows he wants Parker in a big way as his lower head seems to always testify when he sees her. To her chagrin Parker knows Simon melts her Ice Queen persona as she wants him but will do her duty even if that means breaking her heart when she kills the traitor. As they fall in love, they need each other to watch their back as enemies are everywhere and her persistent stubbornness re the Salem Project places both in peril.
The latest Dark Mission futuristic romantic fantasy (see Lure of the Wicked and Blood of the Wicked) is another wickedly dark thriller in the post-apocalyptic world of Karina Cooper. The lead couple is an intriguing pair as neither can afford the luxury of love especially with Parker continuing her diligent investigation as adversaries will assassinate the hunter if she gets too close to the truth. Harriet Klausner