Friday, February 8, 2013

Vampires and Fantasy

Ghosts of Memories
Barb Hendee
Roc, $7.99
ISBN: 9780451464842

Vampire Eleisha Clevon lives among humans without killing them as she adheres to the Four Laws. Her “life’s” goal is to mentor her species to live in harmony with humans. Thus, Elisha, accompanied by her vampiric protector Philip Branté and their human friend former police psychologist Wade Sheffield, search for other vamps.

Meanwhile Julian Ashton the raging vampire continues his hunt for elders using Eleisha and her associates as his unwitting guides. At the same time in the Seattle area, Christian Lefevre masquerades as a psychic who makes contact with the deceased loved ones of his affluent clients; after each session his customers are left extremely weak.

The latest Vampire Memories urban fantasy (see Memories of Envy and Hunting Memories) is an engaging tale as readers learn much more about the psychology of being a vampire as most live for ages as loners with powers superior and vulnerabilities in comparisons to their sustenance species. Readers find out more about what motivates evil Julian and goodness Eleisha as both are wired differently than the humans that surround them. Filled with action in Wales and Puget Sound, Barn Hendee provides a deep look at what being a vampire feels like while swimming upstream in a human ocean.
Harriet Klausner

Death and the Girl Next Door
Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Griffin, $9.99
ISBN: 9780312625207

In Riley’s Switch, New Mexico, high school student Lorelei lives with her grandparents as she has for the last decade since her parents disappeared. Her grandparents and her best friends Brooklyn and Glitch worry about her the week before, during and after the anniversary of the vanishings.

At school, loner Cameron starts stalking Lorelei as he stands outside her home every night like a sentinel and seems to pop up out of nowhere just about wherever she may be. School newcomer Jared also showers attention on Lorelei. He and Cameron loathe each other at first sight with Lorelei as the cause of their hostility. Their disdain turns to fighting while a stunned Lorelei begins seeing visions of the new teen on the block fighting a monster.

This is a terrific young adult urban fantasy starring a strong cast anchored by the bewildered heroine. Fast-paced, teen readers will want to know the mystery of the “triangle” participants and whether they connect to her missing parents; as Darynda Jones provides a strong paranormal thriller.
Harriet Klausner

Thomas Emson
St. Martin’s Griffin, $14.99
ISBN: 9780312621704

At Religion, a club in London, twenty-eight partygoers take a new drug Skarlet. Anyone who did take it dies. Police Superintendent Phil Burch suspects club bouncer, disgraced veteran Jake Lawton killed these people. Jake had the means with his Iraqi tour; the opportunity as his boss supported by two employees implies he stole the tape of what happened, and the motive since his estranged girlfriend is one of the victims. Insisting he is being set up as he was in Iraq Jake storms out of the club.

Forty-eight hours after the clubbers died, each victim rises from the grave with a thirst for live blood. Reporter Christine Murray who destroyed him allegedly for killing an unarmed civilian in Iraq and Lithgow the dealer who brought the drugs to Religion join Jake as they battle an ancient conspiracy fostered by human avarice.

This is a superb vampire thriller that stars a scapegoat hero and a strong support cast. The fast-paced storyline deftly merges pathos with gore. Fans will enjoy exciting Skarlet as the drug of choice becomes blood. Harriet Klausner

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