Thursday, May 8, 2014
Reviews from Harriet
The Scrivener's Tale
Harper Voyager, $14.99
A trucker wanting to be home with his wife and kid pushed himself on Britain’s M1 until his eyes shut. The ensuing pile-up left many dead including Lauren and Henry; fate intervened and spared the life of their husband-father psychiatrist Gabe. He coped for a year before fleeing to France for the last fifteen months. In Paris, Gabe the bookstore employee agrees to provide a professional opinion on the mental state of Angelina. She tells him about her haunting delusions that frighten the psychiatrist as they eerily link to his nightmares.
In Morgravia, Fynch the guardian feels a powerful malevolence places the Wild in peril; so he deploys a plan to save the land from the demon who escaped the void. Cyricus the demon seeks destruction of the Wild for his eons of exile. He begins his vendetta by possessing those foolish to join his quest, which will end when he as Queen Florentyna orders the devastation of the Wild that will also lead to war between the neighboring nations of Morgravia, Briavel and The Razors. Gabe mysteriously arrives in the magical Kingdom where he encounters Cassien the warrior guarding Queen Florentyna from internal threats and Hamelyn the orphan. Together the three must defeat Cyricus or a world will perish.
Taking place long after The Quickening trilogy, fans of the series and newcomers will relish this engaging quest fantasy due to a strong cast especially the fully-developed flawed heroes. Filled with non-stop action except for the French interlude that never quite fits inside the storyline in spite of establishing that Gabe is otherworldly in time and place, The Scrivener's Tale is a delightful engaging good and evil fantasy. Harriet Klausner
Grand Central, $25.99
As his National Guard father deploys on a military peacekeeping mission operation inside the Lupine Republic, which is rich with uranium, teenager Patrick Gamble flies home to be with his mother. While in the air, a lycan goes berserk; killing everyone in the in the seating area except Patrick. He survives the bloody assault by hiding underneath a pile of corpses. The media calls him the "Miracle Boy" while a militant Lycan liberation army claims the attack that shocks the nation.
Soon afterward, Lycan Claire Forrester watches in horror as government agents raid her family home killing her parents and forcing her to flee from her suburban lifestyle as her uncle’s militant group claims credit for the air assaults. At the same Oregon Governor Chase Williams takes advantage of Lycan fears to make a run for the White House based on his strong take the fight to the enemy position; though he conceals a secret that would derail his presidential ambitions. As discriminatory laws to control Lycan become increasingly the norm and the voices of rage drown out reason, society proves that "violence is as American as cherry pie" (H. Rap Brown).
The keys to this strong urban fantasy is that the biology and medical causes of the lycan prion seem genuine and the plot’s reflections of real American movements from the civil rights to the GWOT, etc. The expected romance between Claire and Patrick adds depth to the de facto racism each has seen as their respective species violently prevent inter-relationships. Filled with gory action, yet loaded with a strong social-political message on basic human rights, Red Moon is a terrific thriller.
Let the Dead Sleep
In New Orleans, Danni Cafferty is in a hospital room as her father lies near death. Heartbroken she tells her dying dad she loves him and needs him to stay with her. He abruptly tells her he failed her when he delayed telling her of her inheritance; as he allowed his love for her to let her live a little longer as a normal. Before collapsing, her father insists she keep his curio shop she inherits and protect his ancient lore tome.
Not long after her father’s death, a distraught woman enters the shop to demand Danni take away an evil statue that killed her husband and will kill her next. Danni arrives at the woman’s home to learn she committed suicide and meets former NOPD cop turned private investigator Michael Quinn; the statue is gone. After informing her he collaborated on cases with her late dad, Michael further explains to her he is looking into strange deaths related to a Renaissance statue stolen from the grave of a malevolent monster. They team up in search of the missing artifact though both fear what will happen to them if they obtain this evil without precautions like having Catholic and Voodoo priests accompanying them.
The first Cafferty & Quinn romantic urban fantasy is an engaging tale though the love subplot between the protagonists seems more of an intruding sub-genre requirement. The New Orleans hunt for the malevolent killing relic is fun to follow even without a Krewe of Hunters for readers to rely on; as Heather Graham opens up her new series with an entertaining paranormal thriller. Harriet Klausner