Wednesday, July 3, 2013

R.L Stine, Terry Pratchett and Tina Connolly

Red Rain
R.L. Stine
Touchstone, $24.99
ISBN 9781451636123

Near Cape Hatteras National Seashore, vacationers avoid Cape Le Chat Noir as if the South Carolina barrier island is diseased though it is home to a small population. The place has a dark history so it is understand few outsiders venture there. Visiting the isle is travelogue blogger Lea Sutter when Hurricane Ernesto seemingly comes out of nowhere to destroy all buildings and seemingly kill the residents. Lea survives as do twin tweeners Daniel and Samuel.

Lea brings the pair home to her family to the chagrin of her children (Ira and Elena) and the joy of her spouse Mark the child psychologist whose theory is to allow children to thrive with limited controlling as their parents ought to be guides not cops. Lea ignores her family’s needs as she seems to care about the angelic twins she rescued from the storm while ignoring their wickedness.

Red Rain is an entertaining horror thriller that is fun to read though never veers from the anticipated path. The twins affirm the adage “never judge a book by its cover as they appear angelic but use paranormal skills maliciously. Though I doubt a rescuer albeit stranger would gain temporary custody of two traumatized kids, R.L. Stine provides an engaging extended family drama as the Sutter household learns the lesson of the Good Samaritan. Harriet Klausner

Terry Pratchett
Harper Collins, $17.99
ISBN: 9780062009494

In London, two thugs beat up a young woman when Dodger the thieving tosher jumping out of a drain intervenes. She begs him to help her escape as her assaulters want to take her back to the monster she has run away from whose battering of her led to a miscarriage. As he lives up to his name with his snake like speed, Charlie Dickens the author and Henry Mayhew the social reformer arrive at the scene causing the brutes to flee. Charlie and Henry call Dodger Galahad.

Calling the mystery girl he rescued Simplicity, Dodger tries to help this woman he is attracted to; while also trying to prove he is worthy of her. Dodger soon meets Benjamin Disraeli, Queen Victoria and Sweeney Todd in his quest to live up to the reputation of Sir Galahad.

Dodger is an enjoyable historical fiction tale that brings to life Victorian England. The key to this entertaining thriller is Terry Pratchett capturing the vernacular of the era and the tone of several real historical personas though mostly through their interplay with the title character. Although the mystery of Simplicity is more a device to propel the plot forward and there is not a disc in sight, fans will feel they are touring London with Dodger as their guide. Harriet Klausner

Tina Connolly
Tor, $24.99
ISBN: 9780765330598

Several years ago, humans and the forest dwelling fey fought The Great War to end all wars. Now, everyone is trying to return to normal. A victim of a fey curse that forces her to wear an iron mask to prevent the scar on her face from causing others to go into a rage, Jane Eliot answers an ad for a governess in a “delicate situation."

The child's father Edward Rochart the enigmatic mask-maker hires Jane to work with his son Dorie, whose late mother was "taken over" by a fey while she carried the lad. Dorie possesses telekinetic powers that Jane hopes she can teach him to control. However, to her horror and fear, Jane concludes the hostility with the fey apparently is not over.

This is a super Victorian gothic fantasy that provides a paranormal take on Jane Eyre. Fast-paced with a growing sense of foreboding built on what has already happened to the lead triangle, fans will relish the survivors struggling, in a war ravaged alternate Victorian world, to cope with their personal cursed PTSD. Harriet Klausner

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