Thursday, February 14, 2013

New Books from Joe McKinney, Crystal Jordan and Joelle Sterling

Joe McKinney
Pinnacle, $7.99
ISBN: 9780786029297

Brilliant Stage IV zombie Red Man leads a horde of human and undead. Their current assignment, besides the relentless hunt for their dwindling food supply requiring precise military like tactics, is Niki Booth the notorious zombie killer. Niki, accompanied by Avery Harper and Sylvia Carnes are meeting with Dr. Don Fisher, who allegedly has a cure for zombie fever. Reporter Ben Richardson follows their story.

As zombies starve, the tyrannical Red Man demands his followers kill Niki and her cohorts. Meanwhile the intrepid humans battle the zombies without a respite as they get closer to their destination, Fisher’s lab.

The fourth Dead World urban fantasy (see Dead City, Apocalypse of the Dead and Flesh Eaters) is an exciting thriller. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with action, but the non-stop fighting escapades between the Red Man and his minions vs. Niki and her allies supersedes the twin premises of the Malthusian theory’s “population increase would outpace increases in the means of subsistence” and the potential cure. Still diehard deadheads will be grateful for the entertaining albeit improbable Mutated. Harriet Klausner

Crystal Jordan
Kensington Aphrodisia, $14.00
ISBN: 9780758261571

“Hunting Temptation.” After the use of biological weaponry during the Third Great War former Black Ops wolf shifter Kienan Vaughn comes to New Chicago to see his cousin Pierce. After dispatching some hissing muggers, Kiernan meets his mate private investigator Gea Craven, who is mated to businessman Quillian North. With two male hunks as hers, Gea forges a ménage a trois.

“Reclaiming Temptation.” In London mob leader Stefan holds Hybrid cheetah Felicia “Tam” Tamryn’s sister hostage. He demands the grifter steal the crown jewels if she wants her sibling back. Tam’s knows she will lose her mate Constantine Breckenridge when she completes the blackmail, but she must save her sister. Breck plans to rescue the siblings.

These are two exhilarating post-apocalyptic romantic fantasies starring protagonists who make the Jordan world crystal clear and seemingly real. Harriet Klausner

Midnight Cravings
Joelle Sterling
Strebor Books/Simon & Schuster, $15.00
ISBN: 9781593094195

With her BFF Naomi going to a private school after her parents learned of the bullying she suffered, Holland Manning decides to do a makeover from nerd to edgy beaut so that her high school crush football star Jarrett Sloan notices her though she knows she will compete with his ex Chaela Vasquez. The teen asks her mom Phoebe the witch to cast a spell to turn her into an alluring beauty though Holland knows the risk as her mother rarely has an incantation work properly.

With his family depending on him teenager Jonas left Haiti for Miami on a voyage in which evil Captain Henri performs human sacrifice and trafficking. When Jonas awakens in in Frombleton, Georgia, he finds himself changed to something his mom and sisters would fear and loathe while he detests the abomination he has become. Holland discovers her sorcerer skills so she and the Haitian team up to fight vampires assaulting the locals.

This is an engaging young adult rural fantasy that never decides whether it is a star-crossed teen romance and a horror thriller. Ironically the fast-paced storyline is at its best when the malevolents attack rather than when the lead characters muse over their woes; as the heroine spends too much time on her new looks and boys (she acts like a teen girl not having to save the town) and the undead hero who reflects on being despicable). Still overall the first Eternal Dead tale is an engaging teen thriller. Harriet Klausner

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