Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Reviews from Harriet


Taken At Dusk
C.C. Hunter
St. Martin’s Griffin, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312624699


Sixteen years old orphan Kylie Galen desperately seeks understanding about her essence, which can only come from knowledge at a time when her adopted parents are divorcing. She needs to know her biological roots as she was adopted and learns more about her recently activated dormant powers in which she has a new one every few days or so. Even with the spirit of her biological dad Daniel cautioning her, euphoric because a source surfaced, her paternal grandparents, the Brightens thinks she is a troubled youth sight unseen.

Attending the Shadow Falls camp for teens with supernatural powers, she also likes the two campers, hunks Lucas and Derek. While she can’t make up her mind about the boys, Lucas’ werewolf pack makes it for them as she is declared taboo. Additionally an ancient vampire stalks her and her new ghost, suffering from amnesia, haunts her with warnings that death is coming.

The third Shadow Falls young adult urban fantasy (see Awake At Dawn and Born At Midnight) is an engaging thriller Kylie (and readers) begins to learn the shocking truth about her genealogy. The protagonist also finds out that true friendship as she has with her roommates Miranda the witch and Della the vampire enhances ones power by strengthening confidence and self-esteem. Paraphrasing Robin Ward’s song, this is the most wonderful (and frightening) summer of her life. Harriet Klausner

A Crown Imperiled
Raymond E. Feist
Harper Voyager, $27.99
ISBN: 9780061468414


Jim Dasher and his espionage unit conclude Midkemia appears on the verge of deadly chaos and there seems to be nothing they can do to prevent what looks inevitable as hostilities explode almost everywhere. Meanwhile the Moredhel dark elves fear the arrival of the powerful feral Taredhel elves of the stars. Desperate War Chieftain Arkan enters the realm of man to bring back to the land of elves Pug the Magician, prophesied to save his realm.

Pug, accompanied by Sandreena and Amirantham, asks the Conclave of Shadows for help; but fails to obtain any definitive support and the trio seeks what is behind all the mounting evil that appears the be destroying Midkemia. Demons breach the realm from the outside while various coups in neighboring states leave the Kingdom fractured as unrest grows from within.

The second Chaoswar fantasy (see A Kingdom Besieged) is an entertaining Riftwar thriller containing several subplots tied together by Dasher and his crew. Filled with twists and a strong look at political and military intrigue Midkemia and its neighboring lands, this is a fast-paced entry that readers will enjoy. Fans of the long running saga will wonder what darkness next will befall the people of Midkemia and especially ponder how present events tie back to the past.
Harriet Klausner

The Games
Ted Kosmatka
Del Rey, $25.00
ISBN: 9780345526618


The Olympics include the Gladiator blood-sport in which genetically created competitors fight to the death. The only rule is no human DNA is allowed as strict testing will lead to disqualifications and ruined reputations.

Geneticist Silas Williams has led the Americans to the gold in every previous contest and there is no reason to believe he and his team will not do likewise again. However, this year, instead of Silas creating the entry, an AI was programmed to do so with one business rule¨ survive the competition at all cost. However, the new representative proves diabolical, bellicose and amoral as it heeds the prime directive by killing anyone, gladiators and human, in the way. Additionally the out of control monster enjoys dining on humans. Silas and xenobiologist Vidonia Joao must find a way prevent further mayhem by unlocking the American entry’s genome code.

The cast is solid as even the creation seems genuine while the subplots nicely converge into a strong tense finish. Taut throughout, but especially when the AI completes the mission, The Games is a terrific tale even though reader will anticipate the PERT chart path of this exciting cautionary science fiction; as Ted Kosmatka makes his intriguing modernization of Frankenstein a gold medal winner. Harriet Klausner

Upon A Mystic Tide
Vicki Hinze
Bell Bridge, 15.95
ISBN: 9781611940848


After several years of separation, married couple, New Orleans radio psychologist Dr. Bess Cameron and investigator John Mystic, has their lawyers battle over a divorce settlement. Bess wants nothing while John wants her to have everything. They meet at Seascape Inn in Sea Haven Village, Maine to finalize their divorce.

Though angry at Bess for failing to attend the funeral of Elise, who was like a mother to him, John knows he does not want their marriage to end as he still loves his wife though he remains uncertain why she left him. Bess still loves her husband, but believes he loves someone else as he chose the case of Elise’s missing daughter over her. Resident Tony the ghost not only calls Bess at her show, he speaks to John in the man’s head. To insure Bess can no longer run, Tony disables her car. Tony and his sidekick inn proprietor Miss Hattie plan to make this couple communicate.

The reprint of the second Vicki Hinze (written as Victoria Barrett) Seascape contemporary Maine romantic fantasy is a whimsical engaging tale as the paranormal matchmaker works his magic on the recalcitrant married couple. The storyline is character driven by the living couple and the matchmaking spirit who with his human helper struggles to bring this couple in love back together. Although the story line stands alone, it behooves the audience to read Ms. Hinze’s entertaining Beyond the Misty Shores (written as Ms. Barrett) and The Perfect Stranger by Rosalyn Alsobrook to better understand the magic of Seascape. Regardless, readers will enjoy their visit to this coastal Maine B&B. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 28, 2012

NEWSPAPER STORIES, Jean Goldstrom, www.whortleberrypress.com, 96 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Jean Goldstrom has taken her experiences as a reporter for several different newspapers and added some fantastical embellishments to them and come up with this delightful look at the olden days of newspaper publishing. It’s a look that too few people will get to experience with the decline of the newspaper in today’s world of Twitter and Television.

Her introductory story tells of how the devil can get into the details and headlines change on their own. The second story tells of the newspaper photographer whose dream is to capture the birth of the universe on file and how far he will go to do it. A meteor landing shows how even local news can attract those from out of this world. Next up is a political story that helps explain why some our governmental officials are really as slimy as we often think they are.

A damaged computer opens a portal into another dimension and things turn out to be “Elementary.” A reporter from another world finds out that one can make news and get a story at the same time. The final story is about a newspapers final edition and how its “morgue files” affect those on the last day. A group of OP-ED pieces finalize the book to show that Jean is comfortable with straight forward reporting as well as fiction.

This is a very enjoyable volume that shows how the newspaper business can be and how it affected Jean and her life. This is a well written account of the olden days of the daily newspaper.

THE CIRCLE, Bentley Little, Cemetery Dance, $19.99, 140 pages, ISBN: 97815876736009, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

Everyone knows that the world inhabited by the mind of Bentley Little is exactly like the world we live. The only difference is that the folks that inhabit his world follow through with their most evil thoughts and twist their reality to fit.

THE CIRCLE is a nice little community where nothing happens until someone goes to the shrine for a special request, or by wishing, will make it so.

Helen is zapping her oatmeal when a furious knocking begins at her front door. A small boy bursts through the door when opened and locks himself in the bathroom. When he runs out and locks himself in the garage, Helen finds her toilet bowl filled with diamonds, He leaves piles of rubies, emeralds and other precious stones in the garage. That night, he begins to expel stranger things that show Helen that riches come with special costs.

Frank and his friends Chase and Johnny go to the shrine to wish for a girl to find out if the porn they have been reading is realistic or not. After the shrine exacts its price in dead bodies, it allows Frank to get his ‘taste of honey.”

Gil calls in sick from work and is about to get lucky with his wife when he hears the screams that pull him into the havoc that the shrine has caused. It is up to him to maintain a cool head and put an end to the menace at any cost.

This is typical Bentley Little and my only complaint is that it was too short. Scary and gross, bloody and violent, there is plenty here to satisfy.

THE AEGIS OF THE DRAGON, Patrick Welch, www.twilighttimesbooks.com, 132 pages, reviewed by Barry Hunter.

I’ve been reading stories by Patrick Welch for over ten years and he has yet to disappointment me in his fantasy or science fiction titles and this collection is no different.

In the title tale, a dragon is enchanted by a wizard, transformed into a human and sent on a quest in modern day Chicago. He knows he is on a quest and has some clues, but doesn’t know what he’s looking for. “Cryptic Chronicles” is the story of Borkono and the writer who embellishes his tales for publication. “The Ring of the Bell” follows Akii as he purchases a heart bell (each one is unique and will help the bearer to find what he really desires) and must follow a thief across worlds to regain it and find his heart’s desire.

Our old friends Doakes and Haig return in two adventures: “Blood Memory” and “Death in Vein”. In the first tale, Doakes is hired to investigate a murder in Ireland and ends up as the prime suspect. The second adventure has to do with mining accidents and a unique villain that is able to take Haig out of the equation. Two other short shorts complete the volume.

This is another delightful volume of tales from Pat Welch and all of you who enjoy good writing will enjoy them as much as I did.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

A Poem by Adam Niwander

The following is reprinted with permission and is Copyright 2012 by Adam Niswander.

This is a sort of a poem I’ve worked on for a while. Call it a Weird Work, if you will. The intention was to give voice to those who have served the dark forces and the olde gods down through the ages. Since I am not submitting anymore, and because this status thing offers a nice opportunity, I thought I would put it here for any who want to see it. Stop here if weird poetry is not your thing.

Past, Present, Future
by Adam Niswander
A Remembering

I - Beginnings

The Priests and Shamans of ancient times
spoke directly in their minds
with the Elder Gods.
They obeyed without question
and passed the edicts on to us.
And we obeyed.
Some were sent to do an act,
to add a piece
to some complex design,
while some gathered in a sacred place
to dance and chant and make obeisance,
to worship when the moon was full,
yet others marched to places
where the old ones fed
and meekly gave themselves to need.
No rebellion ever raised a voice,
no doubter spoke opposing words,
no ambition sparked a different path.
We, who had never known hope,
never dreamed a dream,
never questioned what the priests passed on,
we knew contentment.
Even pride.
For we were chosen of the Gods,
and every breath we took
was given us by those above.
We served the greater minds and wills
Of masters so beyond our ken
They did not even really know we served.
We were a small group then,
mating only to replenish numbers,
creating no bond that could not be instantly sundered.
No female bore a child
with hope for some better life.
No male thought twice
when he departed after spilling seed.
We did not live beyond our moment.

II - Sudden Silence

When THEY vanished,
the Priests were frantic.
the voices in their minds were stilled.
We who followed
wandered lost and purposeless
always feeling emptiness within.
Pain and Suffering,
our destiny,
became only a small part
of life in a different world.
No more the breathless chanting,
no more the mindless dancing,
the whirling and twirling,
leaping and squatting,
no joyous orgies of the flesh
wallowing in blood and vomit
until great hungry mouths descended.
The herds scattered and grew
for only earthly predators thinned them.
We reproduced ourselves
much faster than they fed.
Some turned away after a time.
They thought the Great Ones gone,
and without Priests to whip us
to the stones of sacrifice,
others saw new ways to lead.
We built shelters of wood and stone,
we picked mates and bore young,
and we saw them grow.
We aged and died
but even dimming sight saw a future.
Some cleared their minds,
made plans, set goals,
and built yet more.
It tempted all,
this world where screaming was a rare thing
and panic a stranger.
Absent fear, leisure was born
and some even found contentment.
Many put the memories away.
The Priests had run gibbering into the night
and not returned.
They embraced that softer world
where sacrifice was rare.
But some of us
knew it was a jest
for we were born to die.
We were only food or entertainment.
Though we feigned outward conformity,
we kept ourselves apart
from those who thought their duty done.
We abide.
We remember.
We wait for our gods and shamans to return.

III - Purpose

I am human,
but in me is a taint,
a cloying stain
that only we who bear it understand.
Those we serve are far away
for now.
Yet every fiber of me
every wish and dream
longs for that moment
when The Stars Are Right
and those I serve return.
It is hard to wait,
to nightly chant the chants,
to vocalize the prayers,
to sing the songs,
while all around me
other humans live unknowing,
free because of ignorance
purposeless except for whim,
thinking of the future
as a lump of clay within their hands
believing they can mold it as they will.
Like ants
hidden in some nest within the earth
they think themselves the rulers
of the world in which they live.
Worse than fools,
doomed like cattle,
they wander the pen
where plentiful food waits in the trough
and our watchful eyes
keep predators away.
The animals are content,
until the time
when every one is round and fat
and they are herded together
for slaughter.

IV - Service

While we wait for the Great Alignment
down the centuries,
we live and die,
and search.
At times,
we have been called to do a thing.
we knew not why.
I carved and sculpted stones
in lonely places,
where, undiscovered, they awaited
others meant to find them.
I wrote in massive tomes
rituals and histories
and passed them on to others
whose task it was
to add, expand, continue,
that someone not yet born
would someday learn.
Infrequently, yet burned in memory,
I have met a stranger
taken a life.
I learned I did not have to understand.
In one lifetime I may lead,
and in another follow.
It is never about us.
But like a garden over-run
root touches root
connected
joined.
One dies, another lives.
messages are passed,
legacies bequeathed
inexorable and eternal.
false paths, dead ends,
whole branches doomed to fail,
yet never just one branch.
Always expansion
and never fear of ending
until that day of days.
Yet we know little of the plan
for all required of the implement
is readiness for use.
Instead we swell with purpose
tumescent within,
waiting for our time.
We do not look beyond that moment
when our destiny arrives.
we do not imagine, we do not see,
the minutes that will follow.
Man’s time ends
when they return.

V - In the Now

In this hectic and modern world,
a culture of instant answers,
instant gratification,
there is no room
for those such as I –
dreamers.
those who can transform
vision into reality,
who can make thought flesh,
who lurk, against all logic,
at the periphery of the everyday
and can make nightmare real,
We, who can foresee the Return.
we, who understand hopelessness,
we, who can open the way.
no one suspects our existence.
no one has become so mentally,
so morally corrupt,
that they might take us seriously.
Yet we are here,
absolutely dedicated
nondescript,
enslaved by the ancient powers,
lever and fulcrum.
we were born for this.
Down through the aeons
we have been born
and we have died,
mute but willing,
waiting.
And soon at last
the Stars Will Be Right.
The lesson of waiting
has been the strictest taught.
the hardest learned,
but soon the time will come.

VI - End of Days

I have seen in a reoccurring vision:
Pride swells within me,
my ribcage grows,
the pain lances through me
even as I,
and the untold numbers like me,
turn that energy
to intricate visualization.
I feel the power surging,
the passage expands,
the crack of splitting bone,
bursting flesh,
the image in my mind
swoops through me.
Red.
Messy.
Glorious.
Like a great ship launched down long rails
greased with crimson fluid.
raw and triumphant,
eager and hungry,
the Great Old One leaps forth
and I am ripped asunder
in the ecstasy of birth.

Adam is the author of the Shaman Series of Southwestern Supernatural thrillers and has been a friend of mine for over forty years. He is a fellow Veteran and is currently in Hospice care at the VA Hospital in Phoenix

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Thoughts on Memorial Day

If you see a Veteran this weekend, thank him for his service.

If you see a Vietnam Veteran, thank him for his service and say Welcome Home.

If you see a Homeless Vietnam Veteran, thank him for his service, say Welcome Home, and buy him a meal or slip him some cash. A majority of them will not ask for a handout. They are proud and want to handle it alone, but a little kindness goes a long way.

If you can, attend a Memorial Day service and pay respect for those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

Also be sure to remember those still Missing in Action.

Remember that each Veteran is someones Father or Mother, Brother or Sister, Aunt or Uncle, Son or Daughter. Treat them with the respect you would for a family member.

To all my Brothers in Arms and fellow Vietnam Veterans, Welcome Home and thank you for your sacrifice.

Barry Hunter, Vietnam 1969-1970

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Alternate History, Noir, Necromancy and Urban Fantasy


Angels of Vengeance
John Birmingham
Del Rey, Apr 10 2012, $26.00
ISBN 9780345502933


Several years have passed since the catastrophic wave of energy destroyed the United States killing millions in 2003 that came like a tsunami Without Warning; scientists remain baffled as to the cause and why it abruptly vanished a year later. President Kipper and the White House moved to Seattle where the new America is formed in the Pacific Northwest (see Without Warning and After America). World War III explodes as many nations want to fill the mantle of superpower.

In Uruguay, South American Federation, Echelon senior field special agent Caitlin Monroe seeks Ramon Luperico, held prisoner by a dictator; as she plans to interrogate the former prison governor of Guadeloupe detention center to learn how a terrorist escaped to destroy New York City and her loved ones. Teenager Sofia Peiraro survived the murderous rule of General “Mad” Jack Blackstone by fleeing to Kansas City with her dad Miguel; but a homicide hits home has her retuning to Texas to even the score with Mad Jack. In Darwin, Australia British smuggler Lady Julianne “Jules” Balwyn calmly waits for her stalker contract killer Norman Parmenter so she can kill her predator.

The final super alternate historical post-apocalyptic thriller works on four prime fronts (though there are other lesser ones) to show a world filling a power vacuum. The President’s problems in attempting to help the country heal and recover have issues from dissenters within his circle, from vicious despots throughout the nation and potential foreign invaders. The subplots led by the three female led subplots display how much the earth changed and yet remains the avaricious same since the wave. Together they make a cohesive exciting international tale as they converge as Angels of Vengeance. Harriet Klausner

Lucky Bastard
S. G. Browne
Gallery, Apr 17 2012, $23.00
ISBN: 9781451657197


In San Francisco, no one understands luck like private investigator Nick Monday does first hand as he makes his living by stealing, with a touch, luck from a victim and selling it on the black market commodity exchange. He has no interest as to who his clients are or why they purchase purloined luck, but he knows luck is fickle like a lady as it runs out at the most inopportune moments. Still swiping and selling luck keeps Nick rolling in Lucky Charms and gourmet mocha coffee though he understands the karma of stealing luck as someone is fated to pay the price.

The daughter of the city’s mayor, Tuesday Knight arrives at Nick’s shabby office with an offer he can’t refuse as she will pay him $100,000 to recover her father’s stolen luck. Before he can begin the recovery, Chinese crime boss Tommy Wong makes an offer that Nick better not refuse as he wants the sleazy poacher to steal the rare pure luck. Additionally, Nick notices Feds and Scooter Girl are following his latest adventures into the world of the avaricious and if his luck turns good he will have plenty of mocha coffee to wash down his Lucky Charms and apple fritters.

This is a superb satirical Noir fantasy starring a charming rogue who finds his luck turned bad since the femme fatale entered his office as the cosmos demands karmic equilibrium with his debt in the stratosphere. Fast-paced and filled with all types of biting humor, readers will appreciate the antics of the Lucky Bastard as he deals with Greedy Bastards that would make even Dylan Ratigan’s head spin in disbelief. Harriet Klausner

The Kingdoms Of Dust
Amanda Downum
Orbit, Mar 1 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780316068987


The recent disastrous events evolved from her investigation into a dead whore wearing the ring of the deceased queen of Selafai to Isyllt Iskaldur's master dying and assassins stalking her. Not only has she lost her position as the necromancer Agent of the Crown, she is exiled from the royal city of Erisin (see The Bone Palace). She and her mercenary friend Adam travel across the Caelurean Sea receiving sanctuary at the court of the Assari.

Dormant ancient spirits of entropy begin to awaken. If they break out of the imprisonment of dedicated mages, these spirits will destroy Assar and its neighbors. Isyllt and Asheris al Seth the jinn bound to a human body travel into the deadly burning desert in search of the lost ancient city of Qais. There they seek the vortex where the lethal ghost winds emanate from. If they find the city, they still have to figure out how to shut down the terrorizing ghost winds.

The latest Necromancer Chronicles fantasy series (see The Drowning City) is a great tale as Amanda Downum once again combines morality on an individual scale against the ethics of the greater good. Isyllt is the focus of the dilemma as she wonders whose needs belong on top of the food chain at the cost to others. She feels for her partner who fumes against his binding but she needs him to save humanity; she empathizes with the bound spirits trying to break out but also knows if freed they will destroy their mage guards (who she admires for their self-sacrificing vigil) and humanity. Filled with plenty of fast-paced action, The Kingdoms of Dust is fantasy at its most exciting morally thought provoking best. Harriet Klausner

Sins Of The Son
Linda Poitevin
Ace, Mar 27 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007379


Toronto Homicide Detective Alexandra Jarvis was a key player in ending the serial killing spree of Caim the fallen angel who had escaped from Limbo incarceration (see Sins of the Angels). However, victory came at an exorbitant price as she lost her soul mate. Seth Benjamin the angel, who insisted he is the appointed judge of mankind, saved Alex’s life.

To her shock, Alex sees Seth’s picture on a police bulletin. She knows something went terribly wrong as Seth was to prevent Armageddon but instead suffers from amnesia. Led by Lucifer, the Fallen come for Seth, as do the archangels. At the same time Caim’s exiled brother Aramael the Guardian Angel seeking divine redemption plans to kill the Appointed one before he destroys the Creator’s greatest creation. Alex plans to protect Seth from heaven, hell and anything in between.

The second Grigori Legacy is a great urban fantasy filled with twists, back stabbing and several terrific subplots that converge in Vancouver. Fast-paced from the onset, fans will relish this strong thriller as Lucifer and the Fallen hatch a diabolical plan to cause Armageddon. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Press Release

Hush

by James Maxey


Night descends 26th June (US & Canada) and 5th July (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-0-160 $8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-0-177

Available as an ebook

A world of faith versus magic. Apocalyptically-powerful dragons. A prophecy slowly coming to light. Solaris is proud to present the next book in a breathtaking new trilogy by one of its most popular authors.

Hush is the second title in the standout Dragon Apocalypse series by James Maxey, author of the Dragon Age series, a thrilling adventure which turns conventions on their head while entertaining the reader with sharp wit and a true love of fantasy.

The invulnerable, super-strong warrior Infidel has a secret: she’s lost her magical powers at the moment she needs them most. She must journey to the frozen northern wastelands. In the abstract realms of the Sea of Wine, she uncovers a conspiracy that threatens all life. Hush, the primal dragon of cold, has formed an alliance with the ghost of a vengeful witch to murder Glorious, the dragon of the sun, plunging the world into an unending winter night. Without her magical strength, can Infidel possibly survive her battle with Hush? If she fails to save Glorious, will the world see another morning?

An incredible mix of adventure, fantasy and lurking menace, with Hush Maxey is a real master of the genre and continues one of 2012’s stand-out new series.

“one of the most extravagantly fantastical worlds I've ever seen”
– Orson Scott Card



“This isn't your bog-standard intro quest: Greatshadow is a skip-to-the-back-of-the-book epic-level adventure.”
– Pornkitsch

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Classics and Others


Nightfall
Stephen Leather
47 North, Mar 20 2012, $13.95
ISBN: 9781612182292


Metropolitan Police CO19 armed response unit Negotiator Inspector Jack Nightingale works a crisis at Chelsea Harbor. Apparently nine year old Sophie Underwood sits on a locked thirteenth floor balcony talking to a doll while her father works at a bank and her mom shops; Inga the Polish au pair called for help. He talks to her to try to get her inside, but she jumps anyway as the only means to escape her pedophile dad. Raging he visits Mr. Underwood who falls through a twentieth floor window to his death. Refusing to defend himself or for that matter speak with anyone, Jack leaves the force.

Two years later, Jack is a private investigator who works cheating spouse cases. His office assistant is Jenny McLean though he has no idea why this beautiful brilliant woman stays with him. Solicitor Mr. Turtledove informs Jack he inherited his late father’s estate, which confuses him since his parents died a decade ago. The solicitor explains that the Nightingales were his adoptive parents, but his biological dad is the late Ainsley Gosling. His father leaves Jack a DVD in which he explains he sold his son’s soul at birth and a demon from hell will collect on his upcoming thirty-third birthday. As he follows the enigmatic mystical trail, he finds out Gosling committed suicide and there is useful information in a new mansion’s customized library. Meanwhile; death pursues people he knows.

This is an exciting horror noir starring an unlikable individual who inherits a place in hell. Fast-paced from the moment the little girl leaps and never slowing down, readers will enjoy Nightingale’s nightmare as he realizes chain smoking will no longer be the death of him. Harriet Klausner

The Star Beast
Robert A. Heinlein
Baen, Mar 6 2012, $13.00
ISBN: 9781451638073


Generations ago, a starman ancestor of John Stuart Thomas XI brought Lummox back with him from space. Over the decades in Westville, Lummox has grown from cute to humongous. Everyone assumes Lummox is a moron as he speaks at the skill of a child. People would be partially right with their assessment of the eight-legged beast as in terms of his species he is a child and sounds ignorant because English is a light-years different second language.

John is with his friend Betty Sorenson arguing over college. To battle ennui and hunger, Lummox takes a stroll that destroys property. Police Chief Dreiser sends Sergeant Mendoza to get John to control his pet. The Department of Spatial Affairs Permanent Under Secretary Henry Gladstone Kiku sends his top aide Sergei Greenberg to take control. Not trusting the Fed or any authoritative figure, John and Betty vow to keep Lummox from becoming a lab rat. They flee Westville though hiding their trail might prove difficult; while aliens arrive demand the return of an infant abducted by an earthling decades ago or face planetary annihilation.

This reprint of a 1950s satirical science fiction is a fun young adult read as Robert Heinlein mocks know-it-all political appointees running agencies they cannot spell (that is why we use acronyms) and the teen eternal revolt against former teens. Lummox challenges the neurotypical definition of intelligence in a comedic slapstick way; while the rotation of lead perspective among four characters remains sharply relevant (Mr. Heinlein would have enjoyed mocking vagina politics). Although the storyline never quite settles on an overarching premise between incarceration of ET and lampooning the socially correct determinants, fans will enjoy The Star Beast. Harriet Klausner

Forerunner
Andre Norton
Baen, Mar 6 2012, $12.00
ISBN: 9781451638080


Forerunner. On Kuxortal, Sims worked as a scavenger for Ferwar until the old woman dies. She, like many of the Guild, lives off the ancient ruins and burrows of the Forerunners. However, she is unique with her blue-black skin coloring and with her telepathic connection to Zass the zorsal and her children. Off-worlder Thom arrives from space seeking his missing brother. He realizes Simsa is more than just different. They explore the Forerunner caverns where she was first found as a baby. However, neither is prepared for what they discover.

Forerunner: The Second Venture. Simsa escaped Kuxortal, but now the off planet scientists imprison her as a “guest” but she feels more like a lab rat as they want to extract what she knows about the highly advanced technology of the Forerunners. Her companion Zass the zorsal enables her to escape, but Simsa crashes on another world in which the Forerunners impacted. While sentient natives want the outsider dead, something inside her wants control of her. However, neither understands how resolute Simsa is to live free.

This reprint of the entertaining first two Forerunner science fiction thrillers is a fun collection. Simsa is a great protagonist surrounded by a horde of villains (too many) in both novels as ethics mean nothing to the interchangeable Guild, archeologists and scientists. Still readers will appreciate these exciting outer space tales as Simsa refuses to sit idly by while others use her for their personal gain. Harriet Klausner

Beside a Dreamswept Sea
Vicki Hinze
Bell Bridge, $15.95
ISBN: 9781611940855


New Orleans widower Bryce Richards takes his three young children to Seascape Inn hoping that the B&B will help them move on from the death of their mother photojournalist Meriam. He and resident ghost Tony Freeport especially worry about nine years old Susie suffering from nightmares that has her dad sleeping outside her room and the spirit entering her nasty dreams to help her survive them. Their father is less concerned with his son Jeremy and his third child Alyssa the baby.

In Biloxi, Caline Tate, divorced emotionally abusive Gregory, feels an abiding obsession to visit Seascape Inn. There she meets her former husband’s lawyer Bryce. Though attracted to each other, neither embraces relationships love after their dysfunctional marriages. Tony and innkeeper Hattie Stillman agree Cally is perfect to nurture three children in need of maternal love, and the adults are a terrific couple if they only moved on passed their previous relationships.

The reprint of the third Vicki Hinze (written as Victoria Barrett) Seascape contemporary Maine romantic fantasy is a whimsical engaging tale as the paranormal matchmaker and his human partner must do much more than just work their magic on the commitment phobic couple. Susie draws Tony’s attention as he fears for her life and she brings to him something he has not felt in five decades. Although the story line stands alone thanks to a strong cast, fans will want to read Ms. Hinze’s entertaining previous entries (see Upon A Mystic Tide and Beyond the Misty Shores – both written as Ms. Barrett) and The Perfect Stranger and other Seascape novels by Rosalyn Alsobrook to enjoy the magic of this coastal Maine B&B. Harriet Klausner

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Magic and More

The Paths of the Dead
Steven Brust
Orb, May 22 2012, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765330307


Two centuries have passed since Adron's Disaster imploded the Empire with the magical destruction of the capital Dragaera (see The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After) and the loss of the emperor. Many ambitious dukes vie for leadership of the unstable remnants especially the powerful Dragonlord Duke of Kana Skinter. The Gods are divided with some insisting the present cycle requires a Phoenix as emperor and therefore they support the Phoenix heiress Zerika as the Empress; others defend Skinter.

To become the Empress Zerika must retrieve the Orb that is the primary base of wizardry. To obtain the orb she must traverse the dangerous Paths of the Dead. The Enchantress of Dzur Mountain Sethra Lavode supports her and lines her up the offspring of legendary warriors to assist her on her quest. Viscount of Adrilankha Piro, Tazendra the Dzurlord wizard, Kytraan the warrior, and others escort her to the Paths of the Dead while the sorceress Orlaan and her bandits led by Wadre and Mora, and Skinter's loyal supporters try to prevent them from achieving their goal.

This reprint of Book One of the Viscount of Adrilankha, allegedly written by Sir Paarfi and translated by Steven Brust, remains an exciting uniquely written teen quest fantasy that assumes young readers are intelligent and savvy. The story line contains other subplots but the one above is the main theme of The Paths of the Dead while the others are for another day (future book). Although it behooves the audience to read the previous two volumes to learn how the Empire got to where it is, readers will appreciate this witty entry that remains fresh with its unconventional approach to a quest fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Tangle of Need
Nalini Singh
Berkley, May 29 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780425247563


Sienna Lauren released her X-Psy powers against the Pure Psy Forces to protect the SnowDancer and DarkRiver packs who took her and her family in when they fled from the PsyNet years ago though she knew this will speed up her death (see Kiss of Snow). Her actions have shaken up both sides in the hostilities over the PsyNet and bring civil war that much closer.

Riaz has returned home to his SnowDancer pack after a stint in Europe. He is depressed that his “mate” is married to someone else, but will not allow his broken heart to prevent him from doing his job for his pack. Adria also has returned to the pack as her mate dumped her because her alpha strength left him feeling emaciated. Adria and Riaz are attracted to one another, but both assume this is a rebound sexual need only. Ironically these two powerful alpha warriors, who willingly risk their lives in mortal combat, fear risking their hearts on love.

This Psy/Changeling romantic fantasy is a great entry that compares the big picture hostilities with the small picture relationships. As the war seems shortly imminent with its accompanying death and maiming, the pairing of two heartbroken changelings and a look at previous leads are doing as mates provide a strong counterpoint in the fabulous Singh mythos. Harriet Klausner

Fascinated
Marissa Day
Heat/Berkley, Jun 5 2012, $15.00
ISBN: 9780425247723


Lord Edward Carstairs is a Catalyst whose skill is to extract power from the natural world for Sorcerers to use in spells. He is attracted to Alicia Hartwell who has never remotely felt love, but wonders about her odd behavior that most ignore as her being a spinster. He proposes and though shocked she accepts. Belonging to a cell of operatives that keep magic under control, Edward fears his fiancée is either a witch or cursed by powerful enchantment.

Enlisting his agent peers, he begins his endeavor to free the woman he loves by erotic means. As Alice begins to taste passion and fall in love with her betrothed, Edward risks losing her when the fairies’ curse is finally removed.

This entertaining historical romantic fantasy (see The Surrender of Lady Jane) is a fun tale with an intriguing premise in which the hero deploys several types of erotic scenarios in order for his beloved to feel passion to overcome the curse. The storyline is somewhat limited but fast-paced heat as love proves to be the most powerful spell of all. Harriet Klausner

Bleeding Out
Jes Battis
Ace, May 29 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9781937007638


In Victoria, Occult Special Investigations squad agent Tess Corday is on medical leave recuperating from on the job injuries (see Infernal Affairs). With time on her hands, Tess follows up to what she learned about her paternal roots to find out more about her origin. On her way to buy cigarettes, Tess notices an anomaly, a stoned vampire.

OSI Detective Selena Ward calls Tess to ask her and Derrick to help her for a few hours investigating the murder of Lord Nightingale the ruler of the necromancers and governor of Ttrinovantum who died at the Simon Fraser University Bennett Library. The pair head to the crime scene. Soon Tess and her “family” (Derrick, Miles, Patrick and Mia) make inquiries into the homicide while she also looks into a drug that leaves vampires dazed and the whereabouts of her father.

The last OSI urban fantasy (see A Flash of Hex and Inhuman Resources) is a great finish to a strong paranormal police procedural. Tess is at her best as she works three cases (one authorized) with each different yet dangerous. Fans will enjoy the heroine’s curtain call and hope for her to return one day soon somewhere else in Canada like Toronto. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Glass

This is the new song by Thompson Square and although it was probably written as a love song, I see it as a look at each individuals life and as a Veteran, it hit me in the gut as a look at how a lot of us, especially Vietnam Era Vets have had to live our lives.

If you think I'm out in left field or if you agree with me, leave a comment.


"Glass"

Trying to live and love,
With a heart that can't be broken,
Is like trying to see the light with eyes that can't be opened.
Yeah, we both carry baggage,
We picked up on our way, so if you love me do it gently,
And I will do the same.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
Cause we are glass.


I'll let you look inside me, through the stains and through the cracks,
And in the darkness of this moment,
You see the good and bad.
But try not to judge me, 'cause we've walked down different paths,
But it brought us here together, so I won't take that back.


We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.


We might be oil and water, this could be a big mistake,
We might burn like gasoline and fire,
It's a chance we'll have to take.

We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
And we are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
We are glass.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Reviews from Harriet

Destiny Kills
S. D. Tooley
Full Moon Publishing, Apr 15 2012, $16.95
ISBN: 9780984635757


In Chasen Heights, Illinois Marti Johnson is having fun with her nine moth old daughter Savannah when her cell phone rings. Immediately after the four-second call ends; she puts on her sneakers, ignores her baby, walks out of the condo onto an overpass, and leaps. She lands on a semi to her death.

The police call Marti’s death a suicide but her husband Forrest rejects the official position as his wife was a contented person. He pleads with the police to reopen the case, but the cops have no grounds to do so; instead they refer bereaving Forrest to police consultant and former cop Sam Casey. She also meets a client who tells her that her sister calmly walked into Lake Michigan and drowned herself just after a four-second call one week before her wedding. Sam’s husband, police detective Jake Mitchell investigates the case of a woman strangled to death by her purse strap. When Sam touches the victim’s purses, she hears the same word destiny, same as the two “suicides”. They need all of Sam’s Indian magic and Jake’s police smarts to figure out who or what the caller is.

The sixth stupendous Sam Casey paranormal police procedural (see What Lies Within, When the Dead Speak and Echoes From The Grave) is the usual great mystery. Sam and Jake are a terrific yin and yang pairing as she believes in the ethereal and he in technology; together they are an incredible team. With some humor especially when the heroine deals with her spouse, Destiny Kills is a fabulous whodunit it as S.D. Tooley makes her cast and the Lake Michigan fantasy elements seem real inside of an enjoyable tale. Harriet Klausner

The Paths of the Dead
Steven Brust
Orb, May 22 2012, $15.99
ISBN: 9780765330307


Two centuries have passed since Adron's Disaster imploded the Empire with the magical destruction of the capital Dragaera (see The Phoenix Guards and Five Hundred Years After) and the loss of the emperor. Many ambitious dukes vie for leadership of the unstable remnants especially the powerful Dragonlord Duke of Kana Skinter. The Gods are divided with some insisting the present cycle requires a Phoenix as emperor and therefore they support the Phoenix heiress Zerika as the Empress; others defend Skinter.

To become the Empress Zerika must retrieve the Orb that is the primary base of wizardry. To obtain the orb she must traverse the dangerous Paths of the Dead. The Enchantress of Dzur Mountain Sethra Lavode supports her and lines her up the offspring of legendary warriors to assist her on her quest. Viscount of Adrilankha Piro, Tazendra the Dzurlord wizard, Kytraan the warrior, and others escort her to the Paths of the Dead while the sorceress Orlaan and her bandits led by Wadre and Mora, and Skinter's loyal supporters try to prevent them from achieving their goal.

This reprint of Book One of the Viscount of Adrilankha, allegedly written by Sir Paarfi and translated by Steven Brust, remains an exciting uniquely written teen quest fantasy that assumes young readers are intelligent and savvy. The story line contains other subplots but the one above is the main theme of The Paths of the Dead while the others are for another day (future book). Although it behooves the audience to read the previous two volumes to learn how the Empire got to where it is, readers will appreciate this witty entry that remains fresh with its unconventional approach to a quest fantasy. Harriet Klausner

Tangle of Need
Nalini Singh
Berkley, May 29 2012, $25.95
ISBN: 9780425247563


Sienna Lauren released her X-Psy powers against the Pure Psy Forces to protect the SnowDancer and DarkRiver packs who took her and her family in when they fled from the PsyNet years ago though she knew this will speed up her death (see Kiss of Snow). Her actions have shaken up both sides in the hostilities over the PsyNet and bring civil war that much closer.

Riaz has returned home to his SnowDancer pack after a stint in Europe. He is depressed that his “mate” is married to someone else, but will not allow his broken heart to prevent him from doing his job for his pack. Adria also has returned to the pack as her mate dumped her because her alpha strength left him feeling emaciated. Adria and Riaz are attracted to one another, but both assume this is a rebound sexual need only. Ironically these two powerful alpha warriors, who willingly risk their lives in mortal combat, fear risking their hearts on love.

This Psy/Changeling romantic fantasy is a great entry that compares the big picture hostilities with the small picture relationships. As the war seems shortly imminent with its accompanying death and maiming, the pairing of two heartbroken changelings and a look at previous leads are doing as mates provide a strong counterpoint in the fabulous Singh mythos. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Press Release

Book One of The Outcast Chronicles:

Besieged

By Rowena Cory Daniells

A new epic trilogy begins on 26th June (US & Canada) and 5th July (UK)

£7.99 (UK) ISBN 978-1-78108-010-8

$8.99/$10.99 (US & CAN) ISBN 978-1-78108-011-5

Available as an ebook

Rowena Cory Daniells, the creator of the best-selling Chronicles of King Rolen’s Kin, brings you a stunning new fantasy epic, steeped in magic and forged in war.

Solaris is releasing the three volumes of The Outcast Chronicles, each with a stunning cover from award-winning artist Clint Langley, over three months in what will be the fantasy event of the summer!

Sorne, the estranged son of a King on the verge of madness, is being raised as a weapon to wield against the Wyrds. Half a continent away, his father is planning to lay siege to the Celestial City, the home of the mystical T¹En, whose wyrd blood the mundane population have come to despise. Within the City, Imoshen, the only mystic to be raised by men, is desperately trying to hold her people together. A generations long feud between the men of the Brotherhoods and the women of the sacred Sisterhoods is about to come to a head. With war without and war within, can an entire race survive the hatred of a nation?

Daniells has spun another web of golden fantasy with a series that will keep fans of George R. R. Martin, Robin Hobb or Gail Z. Martin enthralled over the summer of magic.

“Page-turning, plot-twisting, breakneck adventure”
– SFX on The King’s Bastard

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

New Reviews


Messenger’s Angel
Heather Killough-Walden
Signet, Jun 5 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451237316


Four loyal archangels (Uriel, Michael, Gabriel and Azrael) were rewarded for their faithfulness with the granting of a female archess soulmate. To insure no jealousy occurs amongst the remaining archangels, the quartet is sent to earth to find their soulmate. Their brother, angry Samael leads a revolt against the "old man", but is exiled as The Fallen One in defeat. For too many countless millennia they sought their mate, but now each believes it was a cruel cosmic joke until Uriel meets Eleanore Granger (see Avenger’s Angels).

Like his peers, Gabriel had lost all hope, but now with Uriel’s success has a new belief. He heads to Rodel, Scotland as he has for centuries as a getaway. Only this time in a pub he meets American Juliette Anderson who is researching her doctoral thesis due to a grant from media mogul Samuel Lambent; the same CEO who offered Eleanore a deal she couldn’t refuse. As Juliette struggles with her sanity, Adarian Abraxos want to drink the blood of the four archess.

The second Lost Angels romantic urban fantasy (see Avenger’s Angels) is a fast-paced thriller that is fun because Gabriel is pathetic as a fated lover who does nothing right when he first meets his archess; he fumbles it so badly he needs the evil enemy to serve as matchmaker. Once again the enigmatic Samael steals the show as Mr. Lonely rather than the wicked Fallen One. Harriet Klausner

Railsea
China Mieville
Del Rey, May 15 2012, $18.00
ISBN: 9780345524522


Sham Yes ap Soorap the orphan has obtained an apprentice position working for a doctor on the Medes moletrain that rides the railsea with hunters seeking the giant moldywarpes that live beneath the dirt as these beasts are worth a fortune on the mainland. Sham appreciates the contests between the harpoonists and the moles, but wonders if riding the railsea for a lifetime is what he wants to do. He quickly realizes to never mention his doubts to Medes Captain Naphi as she obsesses over killing Mocker Jack the ivory mole who took her arm.

The Mede comes across the wreckage of a train. Amidst the mess, Sham finds several pictures of something that could not be. As he follows the clues; his captain, other train mates, pirates, monsters and salvagers pursue him.

This is a superb young adult fantasy that pays homage to Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick. The story line is fast-paced and exciting with a strong cast including the prairie as a metamorphic ocean of land with monsters under the “sea.” China Mieville provides a wonderful refreshing coming of age allegorical adventure. Harriet Klausner

Princeps
L.E. Modesitt, Jr.
Tor, May 22 2012, $27.99
ISBN: 9780765330956


In Tilbor, Quaeryt prevented the coup attempt against Lord Bhayar. As his reward for preventing a bloody civil war from occurring, Quaeryt is named Princeps and ordered by Bhayar to marry his sister Vaelora. In his new position, Quaeryt plans on rebuilding the land, but he is unaware that his wife is unhappy with the disrespect the High Holders show toward them because of her husband’s birth class.

A volcano destroys the old capital of Telaryn in Extela killing the governor and others. Bhayar names his brother-in-law as the interim governor of the battered province and sends him to restore order and provide sustenance to the populace in a place where official corruption has always been an acceptable norm but now looting has begun too. At the same time nearby Bovaria sees an opportunity with what the volcano wrought so they mobilize. Knowing he needs Quaeryt’s unique secret imaging skills, Bhayar places him in charge of a special imaging unit.

The second Imager Portfolio (see Scholar) continues the exciting prequel saga that occurs centuries before the tales of Rhennthyl. Filled with action, the keys to this engaging fantasy are the fully developed social and economic systems that seem plausible. L.E. Modesitt, Jr. provides a fabulous thriller as his hero needs to be in two places at the same time. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reviews

When Passion Lies
J.K. Beck
Bantam, May 29 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780345525635


Caris and Tiberius were lovers for centuries until a mission in the early eighteenth century shattered their relationship and drove her away from her mate to his rival Gunnolf the Weren. He is devastated by her betrayal but remains dedicated to the cause of protecting the shadow world; she becomes bitter at the world and her former lover.

In the present, Tiberius objects to a nasty beast joining the Alliance as Weren Lihter the Therian representative will challenge Tiberius for the leadership. Lihter holds hostage the daughter of Cyrus Reinholt; Tiberius seeks the man in hiding to learn why. However, he arrives too late as Caris kills Cyrus. With little choice, Caris and Tiberius team up to prevent the ruthless Lihter from destroying the Alliance while a Texas hellhound investigator Gabriel Casavetes hunts the killer of Reinholt.

The latest Shadow Keepers romantic urban fantasy (see When Pleasure Rules and When Wicked Craves) is an exciting second chance at love thriller. When Passion Lies is fast-paced from the moment Tiberius confronts Caris with what she just did and never slowing down as the more the pair learns about Lihter’s agenda the more diligent they become to prevent it. Although the snappy retorts are overdone making each lead seem too acrimonious, series fans will enjoy this exhilarating entry. Additionally, a bonus “Shadow Keepers novella “Midnight” provides the first chance historical romance when Caris(sa) asks Tiberius to help rescue her brother. Harriet Klausner

Visions of Chains
Regan Hastings
Signet, Jun 5 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451237309


First Daughter Deidre Sterling is tired of having constant protection and being unendingly used for the benefit of others as even her mom the President has done so. She is tired that the only men in her life are Secret Service, but also wonders why she sees a huge dog across from her apartment while her friend Shauna Jackson cannot.

She and Shauna belong to the peaceful Rights for Witches group protesting the state execution of five witches slated for burning. Shauna betrays her handing her over to the Witches Liberation Front whose leader Finn the Eternal plans to use Deidre to rescue the condemned five. In the ensuing battle, Deidre’s dormant witch skills surface as Finn saves her life knowing she is the mate he has waited for centuries to meet.

The latest Awakening romantic urban fantasy (see Visions of Skyfire and Visions of Magic) is a great tale in a fabulous thought-provoking series. The underlying premise that the government and militia patriots ignore the First Amendment rights under the guise of national security remains a timely theme as ethnic condemnation has occurred in our history. With a strong cast especially the confused almost schizoid heroine, fans will appreciate this deep paranormal political thriller. Once again Regan Hastings builds on her cautionary discourse that "They who would give up an essential liberty for temporary security, deserve neither liberty or security" Benjamin Franklin).
Harriet Klausner

Vengeance Moon
Lee Roland
Signet, Jun 5 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451236432


Seventeen years old Madeline Corso is filled with rage after three men killed her mom whose legacy to her was a vision of them and a curse to avenge her. Two years later she murdered one in Seattle and another in New York, but the latter was caught on camera. Convicted of homicide, Madeline is sentenced to twenty five to life at the Upstate New York Sisters of Justice Correctional College.

Now twenty six, Mother Evelyn offers Madeline a risky opportunity to escape incarceration. If she accepts and fails she will go to a maximum security prison. Madeline says if she fails she will be dead. The Mother assigns her to go to the Barrows in Duivel, Missouri to hunt down the third killer who has the Portal gem Madeline’s mom foolishly wore out in the open rather than protect as the Earth Mother decreed.

In Duivel, Madeline meets Michael and to her chagrin she feels an unwanted attraction. However, she has no time for matters of the heart as she is running out of time since an evil being plans to deploy the Portal to cause untold destruction.

The second superb Earth Witches romantic urban fantasy (see Viper Moon) is a great thriller as readers return to Duivel where the Earth Mother created a magical prison to contain the malevolent Darkness. The keys to this gripping storyline are that the paranormal seems normal and that the romance between Michael (a major player in the first novel) and Madeline is kept somewhat in the background as preventing the Portal disaster comes first. With a wonderful genealogical twist and a fascinating spin on what caused the curse, fans will appreciate Lee Roland’s exhilarating entry. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Magic, Romance, Suspense and Military SF


The Fourth Wall
Walter Jon Williams
Orbit, $13.99
ISBN: 9780316133395


Former child star Sean Makin cannot believe how humiliatingly he has fallen since he peaked at thirteen as he nears his thirtieth birthday. His parents spent all he earned as a kid rather than put money in a trust fund. Mortifying his only source of income is making a fool of himself by getting his head knocked in on reality TV Celebrity Pitfighter against other has-beens.

Pregnant Dagmar Shaw offers Sean some meaningful work on Escape to Earth, a plan to combine a movie with an interactive game about the life of Roheen an anthropologist from another dimension stranded on Earth. She believes Sean is perfect to play Roheen due to his pedomorphic physical state that leaves him with an enormously overlarge babyish head, and limbs belonging to someone a foot taller than him. Joey da Nova, who once worked with Sean, directs the project. All is well until an unknown adversary tries to murder Sean. He has no idea why while others on the production are murdered. Sean fears secretive Dagmar and her enigmatic Asian backer are behind the homicides, but the motive remains elusive.

This is an exciting near-futuristic suspense as the mysterious gamester Dagmar returns (see This Is Not a Game and Deep State), which means those in her circle tend to die. Sean is terrific as a self-pitying alcoholic who knows his Hollywood especially the bad and the ugly. Dagmar plays a support role to the fallen idol and the serial murder resolution a bit weak, fans of the Shaw taut thrillers will enjoy this fun ultra-dark tale filled with information on movies, games, electronic monitoring and homicide. Harriet Klausner

Singularity
Ian Douglas
Harper Voyager, $7.99
ISBN: 9780061840272


By 2404 AD, mankind has colonized nearby space with settlements as far away as 60 light years from earth. However, on the verge of an incredible technological transcendence, the feral Sh’daar collective launch an assault on the human space sector including a brutal Earth Strike. After slaughtering billions, the enemy demands total surrender especially an end to the transcendence

The Terran Confederation of States leaders bicker on how to react to the hostile blitzkrieg. Many prefer surrender while under staffed and poorly equipped Marines fight the overwhelming servile horde of the invincible foe. Admiral Alexander Koenig knows there is something about the transcendence that frightens the bellicose Sh'daar. He knows his side has one chance to survive the ordeal as the adversary will not stop even with total surrender; he decides to lead the Star Carrier America on an attack of Sh'daar system.

The third Star Carrier military science fiction (see Center of Gravity) is an exhilarating thriller that provides interesting insight into tactics and strategy when you fight shorthanded though all that jargon slows down the otherwise fast-paced storyline. The awesome alien adversaries steal the show from the earth leaders and the admiral and his crew as they are incredibly developed, which is a prime reason fans will enjoy the engaging “Vinge” Singularity. Harriet Klausner

Beyond A Misty Shore
Vicki Hinze
Bell Bridge, $14.95
ISBN: 9781611940541


New Orleans-based artist Tyler James “T.J.” MacGregor left town after the car accident left his fiancée Carolyn dead from an inferno in which she was severely burned beyond recognition. They needed her teeth to identify her; ironically his painting of Seascape Inn that the art gallery manager claimed she stole was found inside the car unmarked. He vowed to never use his gift to paint again. T.J. arrived at Seascape Inn in Sea Haven, Maine nine months ago, but like the song Hotel California he can never leave. Every time he tries he blacks out after his first step off the property.

Carolyn’s cousin marketing executive Maggie Wright has waited two years in which took care of her invalid mom to learn the truth as to what happened to her relative. Now with her mom healed and feeling a compulsion after seeing the infamous painting, Maggie heads to Maine to confront T.J. At the inn, he is shocked to learn his fiancée has a cousin and aunt while she hears voices encouraging her to help him as she watches him faint every time he tries to leave. As the pair falls in love, the tragedy of Carolyn links them yet keeps them apart as both need inner healing before reaching out of the darkness.

The first charming Seascape romantic fantasy is a terrific tale as two wounded warriors begin to move on passed the tragedy that brought them together. The whimsical storyline is fast-paced while the paranormal rules of Seascape Inn are established through the protagonists. Fans of paranormal romance will want to stay at the spiritual healing Maine B&B with Vicki Hinze as their innkeeper.
Harriet Klausner

Blue Magic
A.M. Dellamonica
Tor, Apr 10 2012, $14.99
ISBN 978076531948
7

In Indigo Springs, Oregon, Astrid Lethewood discovered an underground stream of blue liquid when she moved into the home of her late father. She learned that this Vitagua possesses magic, but she and her friends like Sahara Kanx become corrupted by the power possibilities of the blue liquid (see Indigo Springs). However, as Astrid begins doubting the positive effect of Vitagua, the world knows of its existence.

Sahara formed a cult focused on her being a goddess ruling the world while her former BFF turned enemy Astrid tries to heal the world. The would-be goddess loses and now she stands trial along with her minion for crimes against the state. Astrid somewhat helps Will Forest, who assisted her in ending Sahara’s reign of terror, locate his children. However, Astrid is distracted by her efforts to prevent global annihilation that she fears she set in motion.

The return to Indigo Springs is an exciting and enthralling fantasy that once again looks at the consequences of “Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” (Lord Acton). The Indigo Springs’ subplots that follow up on the lives of the lead players from the first thriller (Will’s kids, Sahara’s trial and Astrid’s concerns that have her followers arguing) supersedes the world apocalypse now plot as the small overwhelms the big; which feels wrong as the global pandemic could end Indigo Springs and the rest of earth. Still this is an entertaining tale that provides a close scrutiny of magic’s corruption effect. Harriet Klausner

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Vampires, Werewolves, and MIT


Forever Claimed
Rachel Lee
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618781


Vampire Luc St. Just has not been the same since his claimed mate Natasha died. Some of his kind insists he is insane and he would agree. However, his friend Messenger Investigations, Inc. private investigator Jude Messenger (see Claim The Night) thinks otherwise and has been there for Luc as he grieves his loss and thirsts for vengeance against rogue vampires.

He intrudes when four rogues leave a woman near death. Luc takes her with him, but is stunned when Dani Makar rapidly heals with no need of medical assistance. Dani fears the vampire as the natural enemy of werewolves, even one who cannot shift; but Luc acts differently towards her than what she always believed to be true about the bloodsuckers. As they fall in taboo love, the star-crossed pair must persuade their respective “clans” that each are trusted good guys, which goes against the natural order of life; while the evil rogues stalk Dani to finish the job and Jude for interfering.

The third Claimed Messenger romantic urban fantasy is a fabulous paranormal starring two courageous souls in forbidden love. Dani’s deep rooted instinctive and learned racism against the vampire species enhances a delightful thriller as evil stalks the duet who may find themselves with no allies due to the “unnatural” alliance between vamps and shifters. This is great work by a top gun author. Harriet Klausner

The Half-Breed Vampire
Theresa Meyers
Harlequin Nocturne, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373618798


In the Cascade Mountains, wolves attack hybrid vampire Slade Donovan. Game Warden Raina Ravenwing rescues him from a pack of werewolves; killing one of them. She explains she hunts this pack for abducting Robbie two weeks ago with a plan to transform the teen. He agrees to help her complete her mission because it coincides with what he is doing for the Cascade Vampire Clan who took him off the streets of Seattle.

Raina knows her instant attraction to her new teammate comes at a bad time as the task must come before her need. He feels the same though he also knows he offers nothing, not even his heritage to Raina. Complicating their pursuit, the rogue pack leader knows the officer is his mate.

The third Sons of Midnight Cascade Vampire Clan romantic urban fantasy (see The Truth About Vampires and The Vampire Who Loved Me) is a fresh tale with terrific twists including what the hero is. The storyline is fast-paced from the onset as the rogues prove to have unique power that places Slade and the other vampire security members in peril for their lives and Raina as the intended soul mate of the evil Bracken. Theresa Meyers provides a great thriller. Harriet Klausner

The Technologists
Matthew Pearl
Random House, $26.00
ISBN: 9781400066575


In 1868 Boston, recently established Massachusetts Institute of Technology sets its missions as using science to benefit mankind and accept any student who meets the difficult entrance criteria. As the first class of fifteen will soon graduate, in the harbor, ships collide when their instruments spin out of control while an unusual deep fog blankets the area. In the city center, glass liquefies leaving mass deaths and horrific injuries to those working in the business district.

The city police are baffled with the events, which may not even be criminal as it could be Mother Nature reacting to technology. They ask Harvard for help. Meanwhile MIT charity scholar student Marcus Mansfield and his friends (Beacon Hill Brahmin Robert Richards, genius Edwin Hoyt, and lone female Ellen Swallow) form a secret club to investigate the seemingly inexplicable tragedies using the scientific method.

Using real history anchored by the upstart insane MIT Today and an anti-technology fervor; fans obtain a strong Post Civil War alternate history thriller. The storyline showcases the beginning of the age of science and technology in which many groups prefer the status quo and oppose such concepts as Darwinism, chemistry teaching, and other innovations that we take for granted (or do we with challenges to Darwinism by supporters of Creationism as a science instead of a belief). Although perspective changes too frequently even if that adds depth to looking at 1868, the heroes are brave and amusing with Swallow being a real MIT student (and environmental scientist) as they set out to save Boston from natural or man-made disasters. Harriet Klausner

Fair Game
Patricia Briggs
Ace, $14.00
ISBN: 9780441020034


North American werewolf leader Bran Cornick brought his race out of hiding. However, he also understood by doing this, his pack needed stricter enforcement so as to avoid negative publicity of being out of control murderous beasts. His son Charles the alpha is his prime enforcer. However, execution of his kind (even murderers and being sanctioned by his dad) has disturbed Charles. Only his mate omega Anna Latham calms his raging demeanor (See "Alpha and Omega" in On the Prowl anthology for how they met). Recently he has rejected her.

The FBI asks for assistance with a serial killer case in Boston. Charles and Anna arrive in town and look at the evidence. Both realize that most of the victims were either fae or werewolves. An abduction has the werewolf couple and a law enforcement task force on a massive predatory hunt to prevent another homicide.

The latest super Alpha and Omega investigative urban fantasy (see Cry Wolf and Hunting Ground) is a fantastic thriller that plays out on two levels. First there is the paranormal police procedural as a hunt reminiscent of the Fritz Lang classic movie M occurs. Second there is the personal issue between the Alpha and the Omega as she refuses to allow him to stonewall her while he feels she deserves better since he is losing his mind to guilt and remorse. Overarching remains the X-Men theme of de facto and perhaps de jure racism. This is another winner by the fabulous fantasist Patricia Briggs. Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Fantasy Reviews


Fury of Fire
Coreene Callahan
Montlake Romance, Feb 7 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781612182728


In Washington State, the hybrid dragon-human species are divided into two opposing groups. The Nightfuries vows to protect humanity with their lives; while the Razorbacks led by Ivar the scientist believe that the half dragon species should be at the top of the food chain vowing to destroy mankind. Hostility between the dragon shifter species is extremely high.

Bastien, head of the Nightfuries knows his duty as time runs short with the Meridian's axis realignment in five days. He must mate with a human female in order to promulgate the first of the next generation males. However, Bastien knows his woman will die in childbirth.

Nurse Myst Munroe grieves the death of her murdered mom while making a house call on her pregnant patient Caroline Van Owen. When she finds Caroline lying in blood, she gives first aid to save the lives of the mother and her unborn dragon child. Bastian and his top aide Rikar arrive as emergency medical workers just before agents of Razorbacks. A battle ensues over who claims the infant. Meanwhile Bastien knows Myst is the one, but realizes he is condemning her to a death sentence.

The first dragon shifter romantic urban fantasy is an exhilarating thriller in which the Callahan mythos comes across as genuine with a refreshing concept of fostering the species. The storyline rotates perspective between the protagonists, Ivar, Riker and human police detective Angela Keen; this enhances the plot especially the fantasy elements but also takes some adjusting due to the volume of switching leads. Although Razorbacks will remind readers of vampires sucking energy not blood, readers will enjoy the seemingly bittersweet romance between Bastien and Myst. Harriet Klausner

Eventide
Elle Jasper
Signet, Mar 6 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451236258


Savannah tattoo artist Riley Poe the demon hunter (see Afterlight) still struggles with the vampiric bite (see Everdark) that has changed her. She fears the worst will happen to her as her humanity seems to be slipping away. Her lover Eli Dupre the vampire also is concerned about the changes in the soul of his Riley. Strigoi Victorian Arcos suggests she travel to Romania to meet with the head vampire whose minion attacked her.

Though concerned about her entering the evil lair, Eli agrees with Victorian’s assessment and escorts his beloved to Eastern Europe. There she will confront what is destroying her from within or die soulless, but to survive she must depend on Eli; a need she loathes as she prefers her independence than reliance on another person.

The final Dark Ink Chronicles urban fantasy is a great finish that will elates fans of this super saga. The Jasper universe is fully developed so that the audience believes in vampires, demons and hunters residing by the neurologically typical. The lead couple is at their best, but this is Riley’s show as readers will wonder whether Eventide is nevermore. Harriet Klausner

Dying Wish
Shannon K. Butcher
Signet, Mar 6 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451236050


Jackie Patton desperately wants to return to the life she had before the Synestryn captured and tortured her for the past two years. However, Jackie “blue’ knows she will never live that carefree life ever again. Besides the impact of the ordeal on her mind and the knowledge her vile kidnappers stalk her; she feels a debt of gratitude to her rescuers, Theronai warriors. To make some remittance, Jackie believes she should mate with one of them as that will save the life of her chosen partner; though she hopes temporary is enough.

Jackie stuns everyone when she selects tundra cold Iain. He rejects her offer as he insists his soul already died when the Synestryn killed his betrothed. She ignores his rejection as he is the one. However, although both refuse to accept no, they team up to try to prevent the insidious enemy from abducting the recently liberated children a second time.

The latest, as always, great Sentinel Wars romantic urban fantasy (see Blood Hunt) is a superb paranormal suspense. The story line is action-packed from the moment Jackie chooses and never slows down until the final confrontation. Readers will appreciate this exciting thriller as two courageous opposites, ethically uber-optimistic Jackie and morally ultra-pessimistic Iain must choose. Harriet Klausner

Now Or Never
Michele Bardsley
Signet, Mar 6 2012, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451236241


Nevermore, Texas contains a population under a thousand residents that includes humans, witches and wizards. Lately Town sheriff Taylor Mooreland has been troubled by recent visions of the sacrifice of a woman. In the woods, he is shocked when he locates the female who has haunted him tied to a concealed altar. He does not need an oracle to know trouble has arrived in Nevermore as he frees the feisty raging Lenore “Norie” Whyte.

She thanks the sheriff, but knows the Black Robes, who kidnapped, drugged and tortured her, need her. She is the chosen one for their sacrifice; no substitute will do. To keep the woman he rescued safe and prevent a maniacal magical maelstrom, Taylor and his allies need to learn why the enemy willingly sacrifices their members in an obsession to recapture Norie because It’s Now or Never for the townsfolk.

The second wizards of Nevermore Texas romantic small-town fantasy (see Never Again) is an excellent thriller as the ethical sheriff and the target make a great pairing. Some of the locals want to give Norie back to the Black Robes as they feel that is the safest easiest way to prevent a dangerous magical war; others call that appeasement, which will stop the combat. Fans will enjoy this exhilarating tale as the crosshairs are on a beleaguered waif though neither she, the sheriff who loves her or other residents of Nevermore know why her. Harriet Klausner

Monday, May 7, 2012

Two Interesting Reviews

Range of Ghosts
Elizabeth Bear
Tor, Mar 27 2012, $25.99
ISBN: 9780765327543


The Khagan of Khagans is dead. His descendants went to war to replace the late Great Khagan as ruler of the Khaganate. Temur fought on the side of the losers as he followed his brother into combat in the fratricide civil war. He awakens in the bloody battlefield surrounded by corpses and knowing he is the rightful blood heir to his divided family’s kingdom, but with no power to achieve what is his. Needing to escape, Temur joins a horde of refugees running from the war zone. While fleeing he meets fellow refugee Edene, but blood ghosts abduct her; he vows to rescue her somehow.

Once-Princess Samarkar was heir to the Rasan Empire until her half-brother was born. Her father exiled her as an expendable pawn in marriage to the Prince of Song, but there relationship ended in deadly combat. The royal widow wants nothing further to do with the blood of man so she climbed the thousand steps of the Citadel of the Wizards of Tsarepheth to learn if she had magical skills. Now a wizard Samarkar and Hrahima the tiger-woman who rages at her people’s god join Temur in his quest to rescue Edene and kill those who mass murdered a city; as war seems everywhere with no regard to casualties along the Celadon Highway

This is a great opening act as readers feel they live in the war riddled kingdoms. The cast is strong especially the lead protagonists whose point of view enhance the bloody conditions in the Bear where the sky over each kingdom reflects the respective ruler’s gods and a magic practitioner pays a high cost to perform. However, the key is the diversity between the kingdoms interwoven inside an exhilarating fantasy that fans will appreciate. Harriet Klausner

Living Proof
Kira Peikoff
Tor, Feb 28 2012, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765329301


By 2027, the United States outlaws the destruction of an embryo with the crime being first-degree murder. The Department of Embryo Preservation monitors all fertility clinics in the country. However a backlash towards DEP is growing in strength as people oppose the government getting involved in personal lives

In Manhattan, the Washington Square Center for Reproductive Medicine run by Arianna Drake is thriving. Former priest Gideon Dopp, who heads DEP, wants to expose Drake’s clinic for breaking the law. Two agents found nothing, but that does not prevent Dopp from using Drake as a pawn; his rationale is she is the daughter of an anti-DEP fanatic. He sends former Newsweek investigative reporter Trent Rowe undercover to obtain the proof of ethical transgressions using any means necessary.

With the Personhood pledges and the push for constitutional amendments from ironically those who insist they want no government intrusion (after the birth), Living Proof is a timely hyperbolic extrapolation of the religious right winning the reproduction war. Though the storyline follows the path readers expect it to take, Kira Peikoff provides a thought provoking cautionary tale that if unchecked the battlefield currently being fought over the rights of embryos will go to the womb checkers. Harriet Klausner

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Adam Niswander

Back in 1993 I received a review copy of THE CHARM by Adam Niswander. It was subtitled, A Southwestern Supernatural Thriller and it was the first novel of The Shaman Series which was a planned twelve volume series featuring the Shamans or Medicine Men of the twelve tribes of Native Americans that called Arizona and the Southwestern United States their home.

Their opponents were creatures of their myths and memories of their forefathers. They were also closely aligned to The Great Old Ones as written by Lovecraft, Long, Bloch and others.

So far five volumes have appeared: THE CHARM, THE SERPENT SLAYERS, THE HOUND HUNTERS, THE WAR OF THE WHISPERERS, and THE NEMESIS OF NIGHT. A sixth volume, THE PRIMAL PIPERS, is planned and hopefully will be finished for our enjoyment. The original publisher of the first three volumes has since gone out of business and Hippocampus Press has taken over the task of bring them into print.

Adam has also written THE REPOSITORY, THE SAND DWELLERS and BLURRING THE EDGES OF DREAM, a collection of short stories.

Although Adam and I have never met, we have corresponded over the years and I feel he is a true friend and talented writer. In the past few years, Adam’s health has been in decline and he is now in Hospice care at the Phoenix VA Hospital.

Adam has been posting his experiences in Hospice on Facebook for his friends to share and possibly be used by the VA to help others in Hospice to understand what goes on and the care received by the patients.

Adam continues to be an entertaining and informative writer and shows his courage and inspiration in these times that most people would just give up and let things go. I feel that his positive attitude and joy of living is helping him to increase his time with us.

I am writing this piece to let Adam know how much I have appreciated his writing talents and his friendship over the past twenty years. I also want to thank him for his service to our country.

Thank you Adam for being a friend and Comrade in Arms.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Time’s Arrow:

Black Swan


by Jonathan Green

Available from Amazon Kindle Store and iTunes

An exclusive ebook release and an intriguing publishing experiment

The caper is afoot, but where it leads only YOU decide! The latest installment of the exciting new novel from Abaddon, Pax Britannia: Time’s Arrow, is coming!

In a unique publishing experiment, readers themselves get to decide on the fate of our hero Ulysses and where the Time’s Arrow story will take them.

Our hero Ulysses Quicksilver – wanted by the French Police for murder – battles his way across Paris, from the Louvre to Notre Dame, in order to prove his innocence. Readers have been voting online on where they want the story to go and they overwhelmingly voted for Ulysses to go in search of the mysterious "M. Lumière”.

Time’s Arrow puts the reader in charge and merges the best of print and online. Each installment is published as an ebook with readers able to vote on where THEY want the story to go at the end of each episode. The first installment, Red Handed, was published in October and once all three installments have been published, they will be bound together into a print edition.

“Lashings of derring-do, sprinkled with just the right amount of plot development to keep a reader hungry for more.”

– The Eloquent Page on Time’s Arrow: Red Handed

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Werewolves, Vampires, Gargoyles and Humans


The Frenzy War
Gregory Lamberson
Medallion, Jun 1 2012, $14.95
ISBN: 9781605424538


NYPD Captain Tony Mace risked his life before finally killing psychopathic werewolf Janus Farel, who terrorized the city (see The Frenzy Way). His award from his superiors for ending this brutal predator’s serial killing spree is he kept his rank, but for the two years since Tony has worked in the office in support of the K-9 unit.

The Vatican sends it top secret, highly trained and armed Brotherhood of Torquemada unit to New York with the objective to eradicate these wicked werewolves as the only good shifter is a dead shifter. These elite Christian warriors attack the werewolf population in the name of God. They abduct teenage Lycan Rhonda Wilson and assassinate several werewolves using silver bullets and the Blade of Salvation. Pack alpha Gabriel Domini has lost his hold as his pack wants to rip the throats of their stalkers. Take out of mothballs as the NYPD werewolf expert, Mace and a select law enforcement teal hunt the hunters to end the Torquemada terrorism while continuing to hide the existence of werewolves from the public while his wife Cheryl the reporter believes the people have a right to know.

This is an exhilarating gory police procedural urban fantasy as the death scenes are not for those with a queasy stomach, but enhance the overall war is hell theme. The action on the mean streets of the Big Apple grips readers, but also never allows any of the characters including the hero to be fully developed. In spite of the emaciated cast, readers will enjoy this bloody entertaining thriller. Harriet Klausner

Guardian of the Night
Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
Harlequin Nocturne, May 22 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885855

A Blood Knights Guardian created centuries ago to protect the purity of vampires in order to keep humans safe from his species; Mason LanVal has remained faithful to his pledge. Miami surgeon Dr. Faith James arrives in France seeking her missing sister Hope. To do so she must find Mason who has no phone. However, she foolishly falls into a vampire trap. Mason rescues her but not before she is injured.

She asks Mason for help, but is confused with what she has learned so far especially her being a no longer dormant trueborn Lycan thanks to his kiss of blood and Hope is an innate werewolf hunter adopted by their parents. For the first time in his centuries of existence, Mason struggles with his pledge of remaining a pureblood as he wants his worst taboo.

The latest Vampire Moons romantic urban fantasy (see Golden Vampire) is a thrilling entry from the moment Faith arrives in South France and never slows down until the final confrontation. Readers will relish this well written thriller due to a wonderful Midi location and a s strong cast as the werewolf and the vampire commit seemingly the worst sin possible by falling in love.

Harriet Klausner

The Enemy’s Kiss
Zandria Munson
Harlequin Nocturne, May 22 2012, $5.50
ISBN: 9780373885862


New York auction gallery owner Nicholas Drakon is elated that he no longer turned into a gargoyle at daybreak every day; as his Romanian clan’s centuries-old curse was lifted (see Heiress To A Curse for his brother Marius’ tale). Master cat burglar Daniela Ferreira knows of the successful siblings as she plans to rob an amulet from them for a client. However, she is unaware that this relic and a companion piece will bring back the curse on the Drakon family.

Nicholas vows to regain the priceless artifact while Daniela’s client abducts her younger sister to insure she cooperates and steals the second amulet. When the thief and the once cursed man meet, each is stunned by the attraction. As he reluctantly teams up with her to rescue Elaina, Nicholas fears he will soon have to choose between his family and his heart.

The second Drakon romantic urban fantasy is a superb suspense thriller. The lead couple is a dynamic pairing as neither can afford love at this time with family members from both sides in potential peril depending upon what they do. Fast-paced from the moment the heroine conducts surveillance of the auction gallery and never slowing down, readers will relish this terrific tense thriller with a fabulous climatic twist. Harriet Klausner

Extremis
Steve White and Charles E. Gannon
Baen, Apr 24 2012, $7.99
ISBN-13: 9781451638141


The telepathic Arduans fled their galaxy as their sun went nova. They traveled for centuries until they reached their destination Bellerophon. However, they are unhappy to find a sentient race recently colonized the planet. Still after what they have been through to reach their new home, the Arduans believing they are supreme as the only sentient race see the humans as a minor irritant.

Adding to their manifest destiny belief is the feebleness of human existence. Whereas the humans live one short life as telepathic mutes, Arduans live numerous lives while recalling each. The warrior caste wants to cleanse the orb and the rest of the galaxy using stolen technology from humans and their allies (Orions, Ophiuchi and Gorm) of these nothing species while Ankaht the scientist-philosopher tries to find a peaceful solution to benefit both species as well the indigenous population.

This reprint (co-authored by Charles E. Gannon) in Steve White's Starfire saga collaborating with David Weber (see The Stars at War) and Shirley Meier (see Exodus) is a terrific military science fiction that is at its best during the non-combat scenes. The battles are entertaining, but it is the philosophical debate on belief systems, species profiling and ethics especially from the alien perspective that make for a powerful timely thriller with applications in our society. Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Random Thoughts - Jana Oliver

Roughly a dozen years ago, I had the honor to become a friend of Jana Oliver’s. She was a guest at a Deep South Convention in Birmingham along with Sharon Green, Catherine Asaro and I. She was promoting her first book, THE LOVER’S KNOT, and was an articulate and interesting person. As an aside, the only other person to become an instant friend was the late dgk goldberg. Kelly Goldberg left us too soon and had many more books left to write.

Anyway, Jana followed up her debut with two novels of well written fantasy before turning her hand and heart to other matters. Her three novels of time travel (SOJOURN, VIRTUAL EVIL, and MADMAN’S DANCE) were well received and caused her fan base to grow and look to her for more and exciting adventures. The Time Rovers Series is now available for Kindle and Nook in case you missed them.

In answer to her fans and some pestering friends, Jana has embarked on a Young Adult series published by St Martin’s in the US and Macmillan in the UK. There are three volumes out so far – THE DEMON TRAPPER’S DAUGHTER (FORSAKEN in the UK), SOUL THIEF (FORBIDDEN in the UK) and FORGIVEN. The fourth volume, FORETOLD, can’t arrive too soon for those fans that are anxiously awaiting the conclusion, but hopefully not last adventure.

The Demon Trappers Series takes place in a near future Atlanta that has demons popping up and causing mischief everywhere from the library to killing people and destroying property. Even The Vatican has a dog in this fight and is known to shoot first and ask questions later.

Riley Blackthorne is our main character and she is still in school, learning her craft from her father (who is killed by a demon in the first book), and dealing with teenage angst, boyfriends, and fighting the demons from hell who seek her out and call her by name. It’s not the type of popularity that you want to have.

Jana has grown as a writer and tells a tale that appeals to adults and teens as well as anyone who likes a good story filled with action and tremendous story telling.

I don’t know why, but I was thinking about this last night as I was trying to go to sleep. Somehow my mind was wondering in its PTSD state and I began to think about the demons of PTSD and war and the problems facing our Vietnam vets and the new vets that are coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan.

Jana’s stories of Riley and her friends show how you have to face your demons yourself. Sometimes, you have some friends that can help you out but the demons can grow and your friends are unable to help, so you must dig deep within yourself to come up with the strength and ability to maintain control and keep the demons from taking over.

If you haven’t read Jana Oliver, now is a great time to start. I don’t know how well her books are selling here in the USA, but the British and Australian editions have been flying off the shelves and a German edition is on the way.

Thanks, Jana, for helping an old veteran face his demons and for giving him and the world a cast of memorable characters. Riley is right up there with Michael Valentine Smith as the most memorable characters in my reading life.