Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hers For The Holidays-Samantha Hunter

Hers For The Holidays

Samantha Hunter

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 13 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797325

Former Marine Ely Berringer works for his family’s bodyguard firm. His sister-in-law Tessa asks him to leave Antigua to learn what happened to her best friend, tattoo artist and owner of Body, Inc. Lydia Hamilton. Six months ago, Ely and Lydia shared an incredible tryst before going their separate ways. He just was unprepared to freeze his butt in freezing Clear River, Montana where her trail leads.

Ely realizes Lydia is settling her late mother’s estate. To inherit the ranch she must remain there for a month. However, a series of increasingly dangerous incidents occur in which someone seems to want to drive her away. When Ely offers bodyguard protection and much more, she hesitantly accepts.

The latest Berringer Bodyguards File (see Yours For The Night) is an engaging romantic suspense starring polar opposites falling in love. Fast-paced, the suspense is well done but takes back seat to the romance; as Ely and Lydia live for the holiday moment as both assume love is not enough to make a forever relationship.

Harriet Klausner

Let It Snow-Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque

Let It Snow

Leslie Kelly and Jennifer LaBrecque

Harlequin Blaze, Nov 13 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 978-0373797271

“The Prince Who Stole Christmas” by Leslie Kelly. New York City candy shop proprietor Claire rents a room to Phil. She is attracted to het tenant who has come to the Big Apple seeking his fairy tale princess, Claire.

“My True Love Gave to Me” by Jennifer LaBrecque. In Alaska Gertie and Knox were BFFs until he became ensorcelled by a cold woman. Now they meet for the first in a few years at the Good Riddance Christmoose festival and their emotions quickly turn to love.

The latest Blazing Bedtime Stories Holiday Collection (see Once Upon a Valentine) contains two delightful Christmas romances starring wonderful protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Secrets Of The Lynx-Aimee Thurlo

Secrets Of The Lynx

Aimee Thurlo

Harlequin Intrigue, Nov 27 2012, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373696611

A sniper using a high caliber rifle killed his partner U.S. Deputy Marshal Judy Whitacre and ended Paul Grayhorse’s field agent job with the U.S. Marshal Service. Paul becomes a private investigator working New Mexico cases with his foster brothers. However, someone tries to kill Paul with the overwhelmingly probable culprit being Chris Miller who he suspects previously went after him.

U.S. Deputy Marshal Kendra Armstrong was working the sniper murder when she is abruptly reassigned to protect Paul. She wonders if her boss removed her from her inquiry because an agent went gun-trafficking rogue. Paul makes it clear to Kendra that he does not want or need a body guard as he looks forward to getting it on with Miller. As they fall in love, he uses his Navaho gift to hone in on a killer who likewise targets the pair pursuing him.

Secrets Of The Lynx is a strong police procedural romance starring two fascinating protagonists and a villain somewhat in the shadows. Fast-paced, the storyline also enables the reader to obtain a taste of Navaho life and myths; as Aimee Thurlo provides another strong enchanting New Mexico thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Holiday with a Vampire 4-Susan Krinard, Theresa Meyers, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Holiday with a Vampire 4

Susan Krinard, Theresa Meyers, Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Harlequin Nocturne, Nov 13 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885596

“Halfway to Dawn” by Susan Krinard. The hostilites between humans and vampires heat up while Special Forces Captain Fiona Donnelly and fugitive vampire slave Jonathan Kane team up to protect a negotiator trying to end the war.

“The Gift” by Theresa Meyers. In Pennsylvania Vampire Cullen McCormack needs the locket that Angelica Edwards recently inherited and wears around her enticing neck if he wants his existence to continue.

“Bright Star” by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom. Heaven sends Dylan McCay to keep human astronomer Savannah Clark from finding the Christmas Star that will lead to the mortals learning immortal angels and fallen exist.

Each tale is a refreshing romantic urban fantasy starring fascinating protagonists who make the paranormal seem real though the respective storylines end abruptly. Additionally the anthology contains a short story “The Gatekeeper” by Heather Graham in which Elven detective Saxon Kirby and hybrid elf-werewolf dancer Calleigh McGowan hunt a killing werewolf as the prequel to the upcoming Keepers saga.

Harriet Klausner

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained-Doranna Durgin

Sentinels: Kodiak Chained

Doranna Durgin

Harlequin Nocturne, Nov 13 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885602

“Kodiak Chained.” Ruger James the Kodiak bear shifter was a Sentinel warrior and Healer. When Atrum Core’s ambush leaves him severely wounded, he cannot heal himself quick enough before another attack will finish the assassination. Using her olfactory sense, Sentinel black bear shifter Mariska Banks rescues him. They team up in search of an experimental lab that conducts vicious tests on animals in order to discover the way to eradicate the Sentinels. As they face an amoral enemy, each knows the other is his life mate, which in these dire circumstances may not be a good thing. The latest Sentinels romantic fantasy (see Tiger Bound) is enjoyable entry due to lead pair as each has the other’s back while battling Core evil.

“The Gatekeeper” by Heather Graham. In Las Vegas, Elven detective Saxon Kirby investigates which werewolf went rogue and left behind a chewed up corpse at a tourist attraction. The inquiry leads to hybrid elf-werewolf dancer Calleigh McGowan, who hunts the same killer. The short story prequel to the upcoming Keepers saga is an engaging investigative romance.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Burning Up-Anne Marsh

Burning Up

Anne Marsh

Kensington Brava, Oct 30 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758266811

Jack Donovan and his fire jumper crew complete a mission in California. Afterward, Nonna, who raised him and his two “brothers” Rio and Evan, asks him to come home to Strong to help his mentor Fire Chief Ben Cortez with a rash of arson. Her call has Jack thinking of Ben’s niece Lily Cortez who he left behind as he felt she deserved better than him. Only for Nonna would he and his brothers return to Strong.

Ben shows Jack a map of the fire locations that cluster around Lily’s lavender flower farm. Jack talks to her about the fires. They argue over her safety. Lily thinks back to San Francisco where she lived until a stalking arsonist had her fleeing for home six months ago when he burned her books in her kitchen sink; she knows he has found her. A man watches Jack and Lily. He sets fires to calm down and to inform Lily she belongs to him by leaving her personalized fiery gifts. Jack moves into Lily’s home over her objection to protect her and insists that when she is ready they will enjoy sex together for the first time. Meanwhile her arsonist turns irate with plans to teach his beloved a lesson.

This is an exciting romantic suspense in which the firefighting scenes are incredible. The lead pair behaves inane at times as he is a bully and she is obstinate while the support cast show they care for the protagonists. Although the cleverness of the villain seems doubtful with his compulsive obsessive behavior placing him at great risk of capture, readers will appreciate this entertaining firefighting romance.

Harriet Klausner

Past Lives-Christopher Kokoski

Past Lives

Christopher Kokoski

BlackWyrm, Jul 23 2011, $15.95

ISBN: 9781613181096

In Louisville, Kentucky, Police Detective James Wolfe takes Courier-Journal outbound sales representative Eric Shooter into custody as he was found unconscious next to murdered pregnant Rosalie Parker; his name carved into her body. A stunned and confused Eric is show four photos of dead females. He denies knowing anything about the brutal homicides. On a lie detector test, he answers he never killed anyone, which registers as a lie. The cops send him to hypnotherapist Dr. Samantha Jones who finds Eric has been a serial killer many times in previous lives.

When another murder occurs and a cop is severely hurt, Eric knows he must confront the killer before he fears his dark side takes over. He soon learns of a connection in his previous psychopathic lives to the present day predator. However, his apparent partner in many lifetimes proves diabolically clever.

With a strong reincarnation premise, Past Lives is an exhilarating paranormal mystery starring a beleaguered protagonist, the vigilant cop, an amazed doctor, and a vile villain. The storyline grips the audience from the horrific opening murder until the final confrontation. Although the short chapters (averaging 2 pages) causes abruptness and restricts depth, fans will enjoy this unique serial killer thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Iced-Karen Marie Moning


Karen Marie Moning

Delacorte, Oct 30 2012, $27.00

ISBN: 9780385344401

In Dublin, fourteen year old Dani “Mega” O’Malley lives in the abbey amongst other sidhe-seers and with the unseelie prince Cruces the powerful Sinsar Dubh frozen underneath the house. Dani uses the Sword of Light to kill the fae.

Ryodan, owner of Chester’s club, tells Dani he has a job for her. She refuses as he caters to the fae. He takes her to Chester’s taking Dani to a bottom level where a room is frozen with unseelie and human dead. They flee when the room explodes. He asks her to investigate before sending her back upstairs where she kills many fae. An irate Ryodan considers executing her for murder in his neutral club. Seelie-seer Jo makes a deal to serve as a waitress to keep Dani safe. To keep Jo safe Dani signs a contract too. Ryodan takes her to a frozen warehouse which explodes just after they enter. Three more iced places are searched for clues; two explode. A few days later he takes her to a frozen church; Dani stops to touch a baby, but endangers her life. She is taken to Chester’s to heal. Afterward she begins to investigate until Jayne takes her sword away.

This is an exciting opening of a new Fever saga that focuses on the actions (sometimes moronic) of a fourteen years old individual with special skills who acts even at inopportune moments like she believes she is invincible. Readers will enjoy that the prime Fever cast plays major roles and the introduction of two new unique dangerous Fae who widen the mythos. Although there is no climax, saga fans will relish following the escapades of dangerous Dani.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 29, 2012

Surrender-Brenda Joyce


Brenda Joyce

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777297

In 1791 Brest, France, a desperate Countess Evelyn D’Orsay arranges with English free trader Jack Greystone to smuggle her, her ailing French husband Henri and their child Aimee across the Channel to her family in England. He succeeds in bringing the D’Orsay family to England.

However, in 1795, Evelyn buries Henri in Cornwall. Needing money, Evelyn learned that her late husband hid gold in France. She seeks the smuggler who saved their lives four years earlier to find the cache, but Jack is in hiding with a bounty on his head. He learns of her search and serendipitously visits her. Jack reluctantly agrees to accompany her on the dangerous treasure hunt while they make love on his island. However, as they fall in love, Evelyn fears he is a traitor.

The third Spymaster’s Men late eighteenth century espionage romance (see Persuasion and Seduction) is an exhilarating suspense thriller as the French Revolution winds down into the Napoleonic Era. The storyline is fast-paced and filled with danger as the lead couple takes extremely risky chances in a particularly perilous period.

Harriet Klausner

What An Earl Wants-Kasey Michaels

What An Earl Wants

Kasey Michaels

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776764

In 1789 a drunken Earl of Saltwood duels with the man poking his wife. However, as he is shot by a hooded figure instead, he remarks he never anticipated this before dying. His widow and her lover leave.

Over two decades later, their children grow up with the scandal always hovering. Their oldest offspring, Gideon Redgrave, the current Earl of Saltwood ignores the scandal as he lives his way amidst London high society; except for distrusting everyone as he vowed to never allow a woman to destroy him. He is unhappy to be named guardian to the Collier heir. However he will do his duty even if the lad’s widowed half-sister Jessica Linden is a distraction he prefers to ignore but cannot as she demands custody of her younger sibling. As they fall in love, his late father’s mysterious alleged Hellfire Club membership surfaces with lethal consequences.

The opening Redgrave Regency romance (the Wedding Party short story in Rules of Engagement precedes this) is an exciting taut thriller starring two interesting protagonists struggling with the deaths of their fathers. The suspense grips the audience from the moment Jessica accosts Gideon and never slows down as the mystery of their respective fathers’ deaths place them and others in peril.

Harriet Klausner

Caden's Vow-Sarah McCarty

Caden's Vow

Sarah McCarty

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776993

On the Hell’s Eight Ranch, Caden Miller feels alone with his gunslinger peers marrying (see Shadow’s Stand, Sam's Creed and Tucker's Claim). He decides to leave the spread before he turns soft like his compatriots and work a gold mine in the Kansas Territory.

Now living at Hell’s Eight Maddie O’Hare grew up in a brothel. She loves Caden, but he keeps his distance from her. Encouraged by a friend, she follows him as he prepares to move on. When Caden learns she is being held prisoner at the nearby Fallen C Ranch, he rushes to her rescue. Instead Caden and Maddie wed in a shotgun marriage ceremony that has him reeling and her dancing. Now she must persuade him she is worth keeping before it is too late as his past shows up with guns blazing.

The sixth entertaining Hell's Eight western romance is an engaging pre Civil War thriller though the lead couple is more pitiful than likable as he seems indifferent to her and she is a constant victim. Still, fast-paced, fans of the series will enjoy the tale of the somewhat interchangeable gunslinger (with previous heroes) and the unique woman who lacks the confidence to corral him.

Harriet Klausner

Unforgiven-B.J. Daniels


B.J. Daniels

Harlequin HQN, Nov 20 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373776733

Over a decade ago in Beartooth, Montana, someone viciously murdered Ginny West. Everyone assumes Carson Grant killed her in a violent fit of passion as they had recently ended their relationship. Though he insisted he was innocent and grieving the death of his beloved, and no concrete evidence proving he committed the homicide, Carson leaves town with a cloud over his head. His sister Destry and Ginny’s brother Rylan end their relationship to focus on helping their respective families heal from the tragedy as she defends her sibling and he believes her brother killed his sister.

Over the years since the trauma, Destry concentrates on her family ranch while Rylan like Carson left town. When new evidence surfaces, Carson returns home from exile to prove he did not murder Ginny. Rylan also comes home as he never forgot his Destry.

This is an entertaining Big Sky romantic suspense in which the investigation of a violent murder eleven years ago may have gone cold, but its grip on the townsfolk remains powerful. The storyline is fast-paced and the setting beautiful. However, none of the key players feel fully developed beyond the impact of Ginny’s death on their relationships. Still readers will enjoy learning whether Carson killed his sweetheart.

Harriet Klausner

The Defender-Lindsay McKenna

The Defender

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin HQN, Nov 13 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777105

Certified with an eagle license, just like her foster mother Donna, Katie Bergstrom opens up a raptor rehabilitation facility near Jackson Hole for birds with a medical condition who cannot fly in the wild. She hires former marine Joe Gannon to help run her ranch.

Joe is an undercover FBI agent looking into whether Katie works for her biological mother’s cartel. To his chagrin he is attracted to his employer and enjoys life at her sanctuary. While his heart says Katie is innocent, Joe knows the mission comes first as he deals with drug traffickers and the appearance of his beloved’s birth mother for the first time in Katie’s life. Katie loves her employee, but trust is not something she gives easily.

This is a strong romantic suspense with a powerful setting of majestic birds soaring high into the sky with the Grand Tetons in the background. Fast-paced, readers will relish Sam and his fellow birds of a feather affirm WC Fields’ wry commentary to “Never work with animals …” as they will steal the show as Katie and Joe (and readers) learn.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 28, 2012

The Wrong Hill To Die On-Donis Casey

The Wrong Hill To Die On

Donis Casey

Poisoned Pen, Nov 6 2012, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464200441

In 1916, Alafair and Shaw Tucker leave behind nine of their children under the watch of their oldest offspring in Boynton, Oklahoma. They travel to the home of Alafair’s sister Elizabeth Kemp in Tempe, Arizona so that their ten year old daughter Blanche can heal from bronchitis in the dry climate.

The morning after Elizabeth and her husband Webster hosted a party, Alafair finds the body of Mexican handyman Bernie Arruda, who performed as a mariachi singer at the gala, in an irrigation ditch with less than six inches of water. Constable Nettles leads the investigation at a time when Whites fear and rage at Mexican refugees flooding into Arizona and a movie is being on location here. Unable to resist while fearing for her sister who she fears is involved in human smuggling and whose marriage is teetering, Alafair investigates as a second homicide occurs.

The latest Alafair Tucker amateur sleuth (see Crying Blood) is an enjoyable historical mystery with a strong emphasis on social issues like racism, immigration and family ties that resonate today. Readers will appreciate the whodunit, but it is Arizona circa 1916 that makes for a strong Americana.

Harriet Klausner

A Christmas Garland-Anne Perry

A Christmas Garland

Anne Perry

Ballantine, Oct 30 2012, $18.00

ISBN: 9780345530745

In 1857, as a rebellion sweeps across India, Colonel Latimer assigns newcomer Lieutenant Victor Narraway with an unpleasant assignment. He is to defend British medical orderly Corporal John Tallis for abetting the escape of a Sikh prisoner Dhuleep Singh that led to the murder of a guard Cutter Singh and other deaths. With the recent Siege of Cawnpore on everyone’s mind and the deaths of comrades, the garrison occupants demand execution immediately.

Narraway assumes his defense of Tallis is a meaningless check the box formality as he expects his “client” to hang. However, Narraway realizes there is no physical proof or an eyewitness tying Tallis to the murders. In fact the evidence is indirect as he is the only soldier who apparently has no alibi. Though his comrades warn him to do nothing, Narroway, encouraged by a widow and her children, investigates what really happened.

The latest annual Perry Christmas treat (see A Christmas Homecoming, A Christmas Odyssey, A Christmas Promise, A Christmas Grace, and A Christmas Beginning) is a terrific Victorian era legal thriller. The background of a rebellious India enhances the tale as the protagonist begins to believe his client is innocent while almost everyone else demands a scapegoat. However, believing in the innocence is not the same as proving it as Narraway learns; yet he finds hope to have a Happy Christmas if he can prevent a travesty of justice.

Harriet Klausner

Edge of Black-J.T. Ellison

Edge of Black

J.T. Ellison

Mira, Nov 13 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778313724

Following the tragic deaths of her husband and children a couple of years ago (see A Deeper Darkness), former medical examiner Dr. Samantha Owens finally left Nashville to teach forensic pathology in the fall at Georgetown. She even has a boyfriend veteran Xander Whitfield. Currently she teaches a summer class at GW when a student Brooke Wasserstom becomes very ill. With the help of students, she takes Brooke over to campus ER where Sam finds other patients with the same condition.

Wearing her M.E. cap as a consultant, Sam learns the common thread of all those ill is riding the Metro. Meanwhile three die from the unknown pathogen while the media and Homeland Security causes panic across the nation. As Sam works the case, she realizes the predator is not a terrorist, but instead a psychopath with a personal lethal agenda.

The second Samantha Owen forensic thriller is a great tale that grips the audience starting with the collapse of Brooke and never stops until the final confrontation. Fast-paced with insight into forensics theory like Locard’s Exchange Principle interwoven into the exciting storyline, fans will relish this great entry as Sam proves she is the equal of Taylor Jackson (see Where All The Dead Lie) when it comes to strong nail-biting suspense.

Harriet Klausner

Daughter of the Spellcaster-Maggie Shayne

Daughter of the Spellcaster

Maggie Shayne

Mira, Nov 13 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780778313809

Magdalena “Lena” Dunkirk the witch has always been aware of what her soul mate looks like. When they finally meet, she and affluent playboy Ryan McNally feels charmed by love. However, their spell ends when a pregnant Lena flees for her home to raise her child as a single mom in a safe haven.

Several months later, Ryan arrives with a strong need to help raise their child. At the same time Bahru the demon has plans for the baby in which history will repeat itself due to a curse. Bonded by their love for each other, Lena and Ryan share dreams of being together in an ancient land, but remain ignorant of Bahru’s scheme.

The latest Portal romantic fantasy (see Mark of the Witch) is a fast-paced thriller starring a strong lead female, a protective male who will have a chance to prove his mettle or die, and a powerful diabolical demon. Readers will feel Maggie Shayne put a spell on them as Daughter of the Spellcaster is nearly impossible to put down.

Harriet Klausner

Polterheist-Laura Resnick


Laura Resnick

Daw, Nov 6 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780756407339

Actress Esther Diamond obtains work as Dreidel the Jewish elf in Manhattan’s Fenster Department store. She got the position because several people hired for the annual meet Santa display failed to return to work.

Santa is running very late while a crowd becomes edgy. Dreidel entertains them while Candy Cane the elf looks for him. Finally Esther’s friend Big Satsy arrives screaming in terror with his Santa suit on fire. A little boy Jonathan also starts screaming claiming a Santa with fangs tried to eat him. At the same, the Fenster family fights over control of the retail giant and thieves hijack shipments. When a tree attacks Dreidel, her on and off boyfriend NYPD Detective Connor Lopez claims mechanical failure, but Esther knows otherwise. With Max the three century and a half old sorcerer at her side, they investigate supernatural happenings unaware that a malevolence is deploying a wicked scheme to make for a deadly Christmas.

The latest Esther Diamond satirical urban fantasy (see Vamparazzi, Unsympathetic Magic and Doppelgangster) lampoons the excesses of commercialized Christmas in a fun lighthearted farce. Once again intrepid Esther proves fearless as she chooses fight rather than flight by facing danger on the freight elevator, the tree, a retired gangster and the Fenster family feud. Laura Resnick writes a not so merry Christmas paranormal mayhem.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Not A Fire Exit-Christopher Finlan

Not A Fire Exit

Christopher Finlan

Milverstead Publishing, Nov 30 2009, $4.95

ISBN: 9780984284702

Five months ago, widow Beth Groves gave birth to Michele. However, instead of a happy occasion, her baby was dying from Type One Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA). At Philadelphia Hospital, Dr. Thomas Schad claims he can cure Michele. Though Beth and her dad believe he is a con artist, she is desperate so she accepts his terms, but becomes horrified when he explains the procedure. To save her daughter, he needs a little girl as the host; that other child will die. He demonstrates on Michele with a temporary fix that gives the infant a short-term lift and leaves a cell phone message to “Go ahead.”

Three months after Dr. Schad offered Beth a deal, Michele who was hours from death is on the news with her miraculous recovery. Jim Knox tells his wife Sarah, he knew Beth’s older sister in high school. At Tyler Elementary, Sarah is part of a cupcake sale. She prevents affluent Cal Nolan of Nolan Knockouts fame from stealing a cupcake for his son; but he makes her look like the villain. Soon after her run-in with Nolan, Sarah’s life unravels leading to her receiving a cell phone message of two words: “Go ahead.”

The tone for this strong at times dark medical thriller is set by Hillary Dunlap Schmid in the Forward when she lovingly talks about her late baby Zane who died from SMA. Character driven by the strong cast yet deeply thought-provoking, readers will wonder how far a parent goes to save the life of their child. Christopher Finlan provides an uplifting tale filled with love and angst yet avoiding over-sentimental emoting.

Harriet Klausner

Collared-L.A. Kornetsky


L.A. Kornetsky

Gallery, Nov 13 2012, $15.00

ISBN 9781451671643

In Seattle, Washington, Ginny Mallard struggles to make a success of her private concierge business. Needing a new client to stay afloat and feed her puppy Georgie, she heads to her neighborhood bar Mary’s with hope that she can find a customer there.

At the pub, Ginny overheads realtor Walter Jacobs telling bartender Teddy Tonica that he is worried about his Uncle Joe, who vanished with some important business documents. Ginny offers her services to find Uncle Joe and the papers; though doubtful about her abilities, Walter hires her. Ginny persuades Teddy to help her as his people skills, honed by bartending, complements her research talent. Also joining the human duet on the hunt for Uncle Joe are Mary’s Mouser Mistress Penny-Drops and Georgie.

The first Gin & Tonic amateur sleuth is an engaging missing person’s mystery with a delightful Seattle setting. The lead quartet is a fun teaming as the humans argue much more than the cat and dog. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy this engaging cozy.

Harriet Klausner

A Feast Unknown-Philip José Farmer

A Feast Unknown

Philip José Farmer

Titan Books, Oct 9 2012 $12.95

ISBN: 9781781162880

In 1968 septuagenarian Lord Grandrith looks back at his life as he enjoys living in Africa looking like a thirty year old person. He learned early on that he is the illegitimate son of Jack the Ripper and over the years has become almost as famous in his own right as the Apeman, Lord of the Jungle.

Grandrith is also aware that he becomes aroused when he kills so he must control his urges to complete the opponent’s death. His greatest adversary is legendary Doc Caliban, the Man of Bronze and Champion of Justice, who shares with Grandrith the secret of eternal life. They know they will one day meet with only one of them walking away. However, to the chagrin of both of them before they can have that ultimate climax that each desires, each obsesses over identifying who the third party foe(s) manipulating them into their coveted duel to the death.

This is a reprint of an exciting late 1960s satirical thriller that retains its controversial freshness with the ripping away of the goodness mythos of two pulp fiction heroes. Filled with gore and more gore and with the twist of the Apeman’s sexual appetite, fans who appreciate something different will want to read Lord Grandrith’s engaging memoir.

Harriet Klausner

Renegade-J.A. Souders


J.A. Souders

Tor Teen, Nov 13 2012, $17.95

ISBN: 9780765332455

In the underwater nation Elysium sixteen-year-old Evelyn Winters feels her life is perfect as she trains to be Daughter of the People. Thirteen years ago, Mother selected Evelyn for her position because her genes were perfect.

Surface Dweller Gavin Hunter accidentally arrives in Elysium, shaking the core of the secluded haven as his appearance exposes the Utopia fabricated on lies. Evelyn begins to reconsider all she believed as she realizes her perfect life is a sham. Memories seem contradictory and Evie concludes her mind and even her body are controlled by someone else. Worse is her beloved Mother is not kind and caring but a manipulative ogre with plans to destroy paradise. As Evie considers fleeing with Gavin, she learns the worst secret of all; that her mind is a weapon of destruction ready to ignite.

Renegade is a super teen fantasy starring a wonderful heroine whose awakening makes the storyline work as she begins to question who Mother is and who her mother is. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy the “low-life” Surface Dweller and Daughter of the People trainee as they learn the truth about this underwater Utopia.

Harriet Klausner

Black City-Elizabeth Richards

Black City

Elizabeth Richards

Putnam Juvenile, Nov 13 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9780399159435

The horrific war in Black City left the humans and the Darklings devastated. Each side blames the other for atrocities as hostilities remain stratospheric even with a high wall separating the enemy races.

Sixteen-year-old Ash Fisher the hybrid Half-Darkling and Natalie Buchanan the human meet and fall in love. Their star-crossed love is the number one taboo of the humans. Making matters worse for the couple is Natalie is the daughter of a murdered sentry (by a Darkling) and a high government Emissary; Ash possesses a realistic outlook of being a condemned pariah unaccepted or welcomed by both of his races even his human father hesitates as he knows firsthand the cost of a hybrid offspring. Each knows their forbidden relationship means state execution, but neither wants to deny how they feel.

The first Black City Chronicles is a dark romantic thriller set in a world still reeling from a terrible war that settled nothing. Though the plot can slow down at times, readers will appreciate this engaging character driven, tale as the lead teens know as star-crossed lovers their execution is imminent but each feels every moment together is worth the consequences as both expect to be caught.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 26, 2012

Stalked-Allison Brennan


Allison Brennan

Minotaur, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250005960

Lucy Kincaid is excited over finally being accepted to attend the FBI Academy. Though she knows her work on crimes especially the Cinderella Strangler case (see Kiss Me, Kill Me) were a major reason she was accepted by the Feds, she hopes her résumé does not prove a distractor.

In New York City someone murders true-crime writer Rosemary Weber. The author’s last incomplete work was the Cinderella Strangler case. FBI agent Suzanne Madeaux who worked that investigation tells Lucy of Weber’s murder. Lucy’s FBI mentor Tony Presidio brings her onto the NYC case as he believes the Weber murder ties back to a cold case killing of a young girl over ten years ago. Lucy’s boyfriend RCK East private investigator Sean Rogan helps her only a death in Quantico stuns the FBI as the killer is one of them.

The latest Lucy Kincaid investigative thriller (see If I Should Die) is a fast-paced taut suspense as deaths in Manhattan and in Quantico have everyone including readers shocked and on edge. The fast-paced storyline grips the audience throughout as Lucy feels Stalked by a lethal adversary in what she thought was the safest place in the world.

Harriet Klausner

Sword of Queens-Joan Marie Verba

Sword of Queens

Joan Marie Verba

FTL Publications, Oct 16 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781936881116

For over five centuries, Tashtalon the overlord has ruled the patriarchal kingdom of Somerlie with an evil iron fist. No one has ever seen Tashtalon but everyone knows of his presence especially at night when sleeping is dangerous. Each evening, Tashtalon puts his subjects to sleep two hours after sunset; and awakens them each morning two after sunrise with some vanishing overnight. No one has any hope of overthrowing this invincible malevolent God.

Twentyish Gill is like everyone else living in fear of the evil ruler; wondering if she will disappear next and knowing how helpless it is as nothing can defeat Tashtalon. Gill wonders why the overlord’s most enforced law is that no woman will yield a sword with the penalty of breaking his code instant death though she assumes it has to do with females being subservient to males. As she begins her required quest year “To Find Herself”, Gill thinks of her elderly grandma’s tales of life before Tashtalon. On her journey Gill learns that the magical Sword of Queens can destroy Tashtalon.

Sword of Queens is an excellent coming of age quest fantasy starring a likable heroine. The vibrant Verba world of magic seems real while the vile villain is made even stronger and eviler by the fearful whispers of his subjects. Sub-genre readers will enjoy Gill’s adventures in an engaging good and evil thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight's Seduction-Donna Grant

Midnight's Seduction

Donna Grant

St. Martin's, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312552503

Three years ago, the evil Druid Declan Wallace captured the Druid-seer Saffron Fletcher. He tortured and blinded her as he did what he wanted to her to break her spirit as Declan planned to exploit her rare seer skill.

Three years after her captivity her friend Danielle Buchanan the Druid helps Saffron regain her sight as Declan’s dark spell is broken. At MacLeod Castle, Saffron struggles with her sight and her freedom. She also obsesses over revenging her trauma by destroying Declan and his evil ally Deidre the Drough Druid. Finally there is her unwanted desire for Camdyn MacKenna. He offers to help her as he too seeks to avenge what Declan did to him. Additionally both struggle to ignore their attraction for one another as vengeance may be served cold but each believes that comes before the warmth of love.

The latest Dark Warriors (see Midnight’s Lover and Midnight Masters) continues the Dark Sword spin off series with an awesome entry starring two individuals who fear love weakens their chance for avenging affronts committed by the devilish Ds. Midnight Seduction is another winner.

Harriet Klausner

Immortal Betrayal-Paul Lewis

Immortal Betrayal

Paul Lewis

BlackWyrm, Oct 31 2011, $11.95

ISBN: 9781613181133

In 1085 AD Eric returns to Iceland after an exile insisting there is a better warmer land to the west. His old traveling buddy Kallock, accompanied by his wife Callie and their nine year old son Darien, joins him on his quest. Diligent Kallock becomes concerned as the numbers going with them grow out of control with 500 men, women and children. He also pleads with hedonistic Eric and others to end their visits to the women in taverns before a disease decimates them. Not long afterward the sickness spread until many die including Callie. With her death, father and son grow apart as she was the loving bind between them. They complete the journey to Greenland and over the next decade Darien and Eric’s son Leif become friends though their temperament differ as each take after their respective father.

Stephen Santos and Rachel Davenport arrive at the hall in Greenland to hire the best shop and crew from the legendary Eric the Red. He offers to pay a fee and supplies while Eric volunteers his son and Darien. Not long afterward her brother Randall and another man arrive. On the journey Darien falls in love with Rachel, but she belongs to someone else. Soon Darien finds his Viking loyalty shook over Rachel as he also confronts vampires and werewolves.

Immortal Betrayal is an exhilarating refreshing Viking paranormal thriller that gives new meaning to the Dark Ages. The story line is fast-paced with a strong cast especially the two generations

Great North Road-Peter F. Hamilton

Great North Road

Peter F. Hamilton

Del Rey, Jan 1 2013, $30.00

ISBN: 9780345526663

In 2004 Kane North uses family money to hire the best geneticists to work a cloning program. Over the next few years three clones of him are born with severe defects. In 2012, triplet clones Augustine, Bartram and Constantine are born. In 2020, Wan Hi Chan’s theory of trans-spacial connection proves instant travel as doable leading to links to rival interstellar programs. In 2034 Augustine, Bartram and Constantine form the Northumberland Interstellar Corps. However, by 2087 the siblings split up with Augustine remaining at Northumberland while his brothers leave the firm becoming rivals.

In 2121 on the planet St. Libra someone slaughters Bartram and his family. The police arrest Angela Tramelo who is convicted and given a life sentence; she insisted she was innocent and that an alien killed them. Over two decades later, an eerily similar slaughter of a North clone occurs in Newcastle, England. Detective Sidney Hurst leads the investigation that he knows will prove a career killer regardless of what he does. He and others also know Angela has the perfect state sponsored alibi. She is freed to search the planetary jungles for the deadly predator as the only survivor of the alien psychopath while he investigates the slaying in England.

This is an exciting futuristic thriller that is at its best when focusing on clone creation, instant interstellar travel and a great murder mystery in Newcastle and on St Libra. The Zanth assault on human colonies at first seems out of place as if Peter F. Hamilton switch the theme, but he shows his skills as an author when he cleverly brings everything together in a taut science fiction detective tale.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas in Cornwall-Marcia Willet

Christmas in Cornwall

Marcia Willet

Dunne, Oct 30 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9781250003706

With the sudden unexpected death of his wife, Clem has no time to mourn his loss; as their five year old son Jakey struggles with the loss of his mom. Deciding he cannot be a single dad with no help, Clem, accompanied by Jakey, moves to his hometown of Cornwall so they can be near his loving mom Dossie.

Successful caterer Dossie showers her son and grandson with plenty of love. As Clem and Jakey acclimate to life without their respective wife-mom in Cornwall, each finds solace with the kindhearted Sisters and Father Pascal. Jenna tales care of the crazy nuns she considers beloved family who act like eccentric aunts needing protection from the unscrupulous. She falls in love with the grieving father and son, but fears for the Sisters as a Grinch arrives for Christmas in Cornwell with development plans for the convent.

This is a warm, humorous holiday romance starring an engaging ensemble cast. With a touch of whimsy and an a sort of fairy tale quality, fans will enjoy this fun Christmas tale as a family is not defined by DNA but by being there for others while knowing they will be there for you.

Harriet Klausner

Wed to a Highland Warrior-Donna Fletcher

Wed to a Highland Warrior

Donna Fletcher

Avon, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062034878

In 1005 in the woods of Scotland, Bliss the Pict curses her gift as she waits for her destined mate to arrive just as she had envisioned. King Kenneth’s soldiers accost her with one insisting her race of pagans will be no more. His older comrades warn him that she is a seer who will steal his soul. While they debate what to do with her, Bliss says her husband has come for her. She claims Trey MacAlpin as her mate as he steps out of the mist. He affirms her statement.

Bliss knows that the MacAlpin brothers will fulfill the prophecy to place the True King onto the Scottish throne and that she would be part of the epic struggle. However, she was unprepared for her attraction to Trey as they head to his stronghold. However King Kenneth’s soldiers assault them on their dangerous trek but she knows her greatest peril is to her heart as she loves Trey; unaware even with her ability to read the future that he loves her too.

The final eleventh century MacAlpin brothers' Warrior King Scottish romance (see A Warrior’s promise, Loved by a Warrior and Bound to a Warrior) is a fabulous finish to a fresh medieval saga. Fast-paced from the moment the Pict seer names her husband, fans will appreciate this strong historical wondering which sibling is the true king.

Harriet Klausner

A Drop of Chinese Blood-James Church

A Drop of Chinese Blood

James Church

Minotaur, Nov 13 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312550639

Near the North Koran and Russian borders, Ministry of State Security chief of the Yanji Sector/Special Bureau (YS/SB) Major Bing is a legend back in Beijing headquarters as he has remained in charge for seven years when the betting line had been under a year. He knows his career is over as his success in the desolate region means he can never leave. Currently he lives with his highly regarded uncle Inspector O (see The Man with the Baltic Stare) though their relationship is an odd respectful and affectionate discord.

Beautiful Fang Mei-lin arrives at their home seeking the assistance of Inspector O. Almost immediately after she left their home, she crosses the Tumen River into North Korea. Her pleading and subsequent vanishing force a hesitant Bing, accompanied by his even more reluctant uncle, to travel to North Korea in search of a missing Chinese official.

This is a terrific Inspector O spin off series that has the brilliant sleuth working with his nephew as the pair head into the older relative’s homeland. The storyline is fast-paced with a fabulous dangerous inquiry enhanced by an exorbitant sense of deep rooted paranoia that permeates everyone in the region as even the Intel crowd know the criticality of adhering to Sergeant Shultz’s (Hogan's Heroes) survival philosophy: “I see NOTHING! I know NOTHING!”

Harriet Klausner

Deadly Deception-Marie Romero Cash

Deadly Deception

Marie Romero Cash

Camel, Nov 15 2012, $12.95

ISBN: 9781603818933

In 2001 in Santa Fe, a person screams at State Policeman Don Ilford for failing to hit the tree with his car correctly. The individual fixes the scene so that investigators believe that Don’s wife Rose died in a car accident. Ilford’s neighbor paramedic Roger Streeter arrives at the accident and notices anomalies, but is ignored. Afterward, he wonders why Don told him his wife had leukemia while she denied it and why he exaggerates his injuries. State Police Captain Jeff Whitney accepts Don’s story that he was rushing his wife to the hospital when he lost control and crashed though there is no skid marks.

In 2008, the police commissioner, under pressure from Rose’s influential family, orders Whitney to reopen the investigation, he does nothing. One year later, forensic psychologist Jemimah Hodge is assigned to look into the cold case. She asks Santa Fe County Sheriff Department Detective Rick Romero, head of the Cerillos satellite office, for help; explaining that Whitney is uncooperative. He agrees though he knows working with her will be difficult as he is attracted to her though she keeps him at a distance. He is unaware of the trauma of her Mormon roots. Whitney warns Rick to drop the inquiry, which he refuses even when someone tries to kill him and Jemimah.

The second Jemimah Hodge Santa Fe police procedural (see Shadows among the Ruins) is a superb investigative thriller that combines a strong mystery in spite of knowing the accident was murder and solid personal relationship issues (her Mormonism and his ex-con brother). Though the Fed Sandra Gorman feels forced into the plot, readers will appreciate this entertaining whodunit wondering who lectures Ilford at his wife’s death scene.

Harriet Klausner

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End-Manel Loureiro and Pamela Carmell (translator)

Apocalypse Z: The Beginning of the End

Manel Loureiro and Pamela Carmell (translator)

AmazonCrossing, Oct 23 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781612184340

From Galicia, Spain he began the blog because his psychiatrist suggested he do so. His first entry on December 30 dealt with Spain broke or not broke, stockholder clients making money or not making money and an incident in one of the former Soviet “Stan” republics in the Caucasus Mountains. His next entry focuses on that explosion in Dagestan apparently caused by Islamic guerillas seeking nuclear material. He later writes Russia closed its border.

He continues his blog as he speculates why no news from ground zero in Dagestan has surfaced as if all are dead inside the nation; the silence also engulfed its neighbors like Georgia and now American troops patrol Fifth Avenue. He soon learns the consequence of the event in Dagestan as humans turn into monsters attacking the normals. Governments try to keep order, but fail as the disease turns pandemic. Many of the remaining humans struggle to survive the onslaught creating not so “Safe Havens” that are more prisons than enclaves. The blogger begins an odyssey of survival for him and his cat Lucullus while keeping his blog current with what his happening in his life.

The beginning Apocalypse Z horror tale is an exciting end of the world thriller. Even with much of the novel using the blog and a journal to tell “The Beginning of the End”, the storyline is fast-paced. Readers will admire the blogger though doubt a lawyer could adapt as easily as he does (unless he was an extreme survivalist) to the chaos and constant peril with everything including electricity failing. Still Manel Loureiro provides an engaging zombie thriller starring an admirable hero telling his tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Collateral-Ellen Hopkins


Ellen Hopkins

Atria, Nov 6 2012, $24.99

ISBN: 9781451626377

San Diego State University graduate student Ashley Patterson and Marine Cole Gleason meet at a bar as do their respective best friends Darian and Spencer. They share in common their love of poetry and attracted to one another begin a relationship over the next five years in spite of his four overseas deployments.

At the same time Ashley and Cole struggle with long periods of dangerous absence, Darian and Spencer becomes a couple. However, unlike Ashley who has met temptation at college, Darian seeks lovers when her mate is deployed.

Collateral is a fascinating look at the impact on loving relationships by the constant long periods of out of bed deployments and by what Cole mentally faces in a war zone. The storyline is leisurely paced with poetry written by both an intricate part of their partnering. At times overdramatic, readers will appreciate this deep look at the cost of endless war on a couple of marines and the women who love them.

Harriet Klausner

Trapped-April Christofferson


April Christofferson

Tor, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780765364753

Backcountry ranger Will McCarroll protects the wildlife of Yellowstone National Park from poachers, hunters and trappers. He arrives at the Pebble Creek campsite where a drunk killed his friend. Irate, Will takes away the guns from everyone at the campsite. Superintendent Gonzales wants to fire Will for breaking rules as Congress passed a law allowing the carrying of weapons into the national parks, but recognizes Will is a hero who will soon testify in front of Congress. Instead he exiles Will to Glacier National Park,

Leaving behind his girlfriend Yellowstone Magistrate Judge Annie Peacock, Will travels to Glacier, where he meets angry wolverine biologist Johnny Yellow Kidney; someone stole an olfactory concoction he created to trap animals. Meanwhile illegal trappers continue their self-proclaimed Constitution given right while political connected radio talk show personality and former governor Faith Unsword sponsors a predator derby. At the same time, the American Rifle Foundation sets a trap to kill Will before he testifies in Congress on the impact of weapons in the parks.

No one will doubt what side of the rifles in the park issue April Christofferson is on with this exciting vivid thriller. Action-packed, fans will relish traveling the wild alongside of obstinate Will (see Alpha Female) as we appreciate the beauty of Montana's "Crown of the Continent". Additionally, a great realistic coda of how politicians think happens with the placement of running the Department of the Interior someone who believes in unfettered hunting and trapping; ironically the agency’s mission statement is “Protecting America’s Great Outdoors and Powering Our Future. The U.S. Department of the Interior protects America’s natural resources and heritage, honors our cultures and tribal communities, and supplies the energy to power our future.”

Harriet Klausner

Highball Exit-Phyllis Smallman

Highball Exit

Phyllis Smallman

TouchWood Editions, Oct 30 2012, $18.95

ISBN: 9781927129791

In Jacaranda, Florida thirtyish Sherri Travis worries that the bank will foreclose her Sunset Bar and Grill as she is three months behind on her mortgage. She cannot turn to her lover Clay who has lost his fortune when the housing market imploded.

Aunt Kay tells Sherri that childhood friend Holly Mitchell committed suicide and that another buddy from the old days, police officer Danny Raines found the body but failed to identify the corpse as Hilly. She offers Sherri three months of mortgage payment if the bartender finds out what happened to Holly’s baby Angel. Sherri had no idea that Holly had a child through Aunt Kay insists she met the baby. The bartender puts down the Jack Daniels visiting Raines who had an affair with Holly that he does not want his superiors to know abour. She also learns Holly was an escort at Angel Escort Service. With Aunt Kat as her sidekick, Sherri investigates what happened to Holly in order to track down a baby no one except Aunt Kay knew exists.

The latest Sherri Travis amateur sleuth (see Margarita Nights, Sex in a Sidecar, Brewski for the Old Man and Champagne for Buzzards) is an engaging whodunit in which the heroine begins to wonder whether saving her bar is worth the investigation into an infant who might not exist. Aunt Kay’s antics add fun to the tale while the relationship with Clay seems shaky since he is on the road with his ex with him. Fans will enjoy downing a fifth while touring the West Florida beaches with Travis as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

Hook and Shoot-Jeremy Brown

Hook and Shoot

Jeremy Brown

Medallion, Oct 5 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9781605425214

Aaron "Woodshed" Wallace expects to receive a contract offer from Warrior Incorporated President Banzai Eddie Takanori, but in spite of his recent fight inside the cage in Burbank (see Suckerpunch), none has occurred. Woodshed and his trainer Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt Gil Hobbes are frustrated as his performance warrants a contract as Eddie refuses to speak with the fighter.

Seemingly out of the blue, Eddie arrives at the gym to talk with Woodshed. He tells the warrior that he will receive a special contract that includes his bodyguard protecting him from the ruthless Japanese Yakuza mob who wants his flesh due to the results of Woodshed’s last combat. Additionally he will go into the ring against a deadly Asian champion Zombi, no one stateside heard of.

Round two continues the super action-packed noir starring a charismatic MMA fighter with anger management issues and a strong retinue in his corner. Woodshed is a fascinating warrior as he spends two weeks inside of a metaphysical cage trying to survive Eddie’s latest lethal tricks. Readers will root for Woodshed against Zombi, the Japanese mob and his worst adversary his promoter.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Halo-Christopher Kokoski

Dark Halo

Christopher Kokoski

BlackWyrm, June 29 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781613181287

Thirtyish Landon Paddock closed his business and deserted his wife and teenage daughter. He moved back onto the family plantation in Southern Indiana and turns to drink to ignore what he fears he sees.

Two years later during a nasty storm, Landon sees unnatural things that he assumes came from too much alcohol until he sees a naked winged stranger outside his abode. Sneezing when he is nervous, Landon opens his door holding his rifle only he shoots at his fifteen year old daughter Katie; thankfully he jerked upward and missed her. She had a fight with her mom over her boyfriend Brian who took her to her dad. Big bruising Brian attacks Landon before turning to Katie who prays to Jesus; who Brian knows. Desperate he uses the rifle butt to temporarily stop Brian. Landon realizes the choices are the wings outside or the ogre inside; thus Father and daughter flee into the night with their only hope residing with his estranged family as evil stalks them.

This is a great action-packed Christian horror tale starring a besieged father and daughter struggling to survive against monsters hunting them. Landon is fully developed with little idiosyncrasies like sneezing when he bluffs in poker that make him complete while fans will feel Katie’s ire towards her dad every time she calls him Landon. Readers will relish this dark thriller as hell has come to Indiana.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, October 22, 2012

Let It Sew-Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Let It Sew

Elizabeth Lynn Casey

Berkley Prime Crime, Nov 6 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425251713

Tori Sinclair had no friends or any place to call home until she became the Sweet Briar, South Carolina librarian as the Sweet Briar Ladies Society Sewing Circle welcomed her as one of them and she now has a fiancé. The ladies grieve the recent death of one of their founding sisters Charlotte Devereaux who Tori never met as the elderly woman suffered from Alzheimer’s for several years. Adding to their dismay is that Councilman Jordon persuaded the council to let his girlfriend Maime Wellington run the town’s Christmas Decorating Committee instead of the Sewing Circle member Margaret Louise.

Tori understands that Charlotte’s husband Parker left her for another woman, her older son Brian is mentally challenged and her younger son Ethan is a greedy loser. Charlotte’s personal nurse Frieda Taylor also mourns her patient’s death. She mentions how much Charlotte enjoyed sketching and gives one depicting the library to Tori. When she and Debbie look at other sketches, Tori sees a marking on a sketch that makes her wonder if a body is buried there as Charlotte accurately drew still life. They soon learn that Parker did not leave his wife. Tori and Sewing Circle investigate who wanted Parker dead and why.

The latest Southern Sewing Circle Mysteries (see Dangerous Alterations and Reap What You Sew) is an engaging holiday amateur sleuth filled with twists and red herrings. The storyline starts slow as the heroine and readers meet the late Charlotte and the antics of the Christmas Decorating Committee. Fans will enjoy following Tori and posse make inquiries into who murdered Parker only to uncover more deadly dirt.

Harriet Klausner

The Ice Maiden Cometh Not-Alistair Boyle

The Ice Maiden Cometh Not

Alistair Boyle

Allen A. Knoll, Nov 15 2012, $23.00

ISBN 9781888310092

In Southern California heart surgeon Dr. Chester Kulp hires investigator Gil Yates to look into the death of his son-in-law Sandy Straus. Arrogant Chester pays Gil $10,000 to determine whether Sandy committed suicide when he fell or jumped from a roof in Muhlenheim, Pennsylvania. Though he detests the pompous doctor as a pretentious a-hole and has a fear of flying, the money is too good to ignore so he accepts the case.

In Muhlenheim, Gil meets and is taken aback by the grieving widow and Chester’s daughter Ginger as she is drop dead gorgeous. The circumstantial evidence affirmed by the cops and a local PI point towards likable Sandy killing himself. Only Ginger and her dad insist her late spouse would never harm anyone especially himself. To prove this Gil dugs deeper into the life of the victim.

The latest Gil Yates investigation (see They Fall Hard and What Now, King Lear?) is an entertaining at time humorous middle boiled noir as the protagonist is a bull in the Muhlenheim “china shop”. The lighthearted storyline is fast-paced but thin. Still fans will enjoy Gil’s antics starting with almost soiling his pants on the plane and his amusing “Shermanesque” march through Muhlenheim society.

Harriet Klausner

Femme-Bill Pronzini


Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance, Nov 2012, $19.99

ISBN 9781587672675

The Unnamed Detective has been a private investigator for many years but never met a femme fatale except in fiction or the movies like The Maltese Falcon or Double Indemnity. That is until his bail bondsman friend Abe Melikian introduces Nameless to Cory Beckett, who meets the definition of femme fatale adding new curves to the “species”. Nameless muses he spent more time as a detective than the twenty-eight years old Femme Fatale has breathed.

Melikian hires Nameless to find Beckett’s younger brother Kenneth who jumped bail. Kenneth has been charged with stealing a $20,000 diamond necklace from the alcoholic wife of his employer San Francisco union leader Andrew Vorhees. Nameless begins his search for the jumper while Cory uses her wiles to influence him.

Although he remains the Unnamed Detective in this entry, he is no longer Nameless (see Hellbox). Cory makes the tale entertaining as she lives up to the opening line: “Femme Fatale. French for deadly woman” though her actions are somewhat typical of her literary and film sisters. The storyline is fast-paced as Nameless works a case in which Cory Beckett’s weapon of choice is sex.

Harriet Klausner

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version-Philip Pullman

Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm: A New English Version

Philip Pullman

Viking, Nov 8 2012, $27.95

ISBN: 9780670024971

“Fairy Tales from the Brothers Grimm” contains fifty “Children's Stories and Household Tales” in “A New English Version” with each entry including a very brief enlightening commentary. Some of the better known classics like Rumpelstiltskin, "Cinderella,” "Hansel And Gretel," “Snow White,” “Little Red Riding Hood,” and "Rapunzel” are included. Also there are others made into animated tales like “The Brave Little Tailor,” The Boy Who Left Home To Find Out About The Shivers,” and “The Fisherman And His Wife.” Finally there are some lesser known entries such as “The Three Snake Leaves," “Lazy Heinz,” and “Iron Hans.” This is a superb collection paying homage to the Brothers Grimm on the bicentennial anniversary of the release of their first fairy tales anthology.

Harriet Klausner

Echo-Alyson Noël


Alyson Noël

St. Martin's Griffin, Nov 13 2012, $18.99

ISBN: 9780312664879

In Enchantment, New Mexico, Daire Santos learned from her paternal grandmother Paloma why she is different is due to heredity making her a Soul Seeker who travels between the mundane world of the living and the surreal world of the dead like her late dad and her grandma. As the last of her line, Daire is Fated to save or destroy the world of the living.

With her boyfriend of her dreams Dace at her side, Daire saved her grandma’s soul. However, as a lethal second order effect the Richter sorcerers escaped and have caused havoc in the Lowerworld. Dace’s sibling Cade leads a horde of ancestors on a destructive path that causes Daire to choose between embracing her Fated prophecy at a cost to her heart and soul or to allow Cade to conquer the world starting with a small town in the Land of Enchantment.

The second sensational Soul Seekers urban fantasy is a fast-paced thriller starring an intrepid heroine who understands what she must do but the price weighs heavily on her emotional well-being as increasingly PTSD symptoms cause her to hesitate. The storyline is thin, but entertaining as fans wonder whether Daire will dare to embrace her fate before it is too late as either way she chooses she knows the cost is beyond what she can mentally afford.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII-Robert Hutchinson

Young Henry: The Rise of Henry VIII

Robert Hutchinson

Dunne, Oct 30 2012, $27.99

ISBN: 9781250012616

This is an interesting biography of King Henry VIII that uses household accounts to provide insight into the monarch up until the birth of Princess Elizabeth in 1533. In his latest Tudor nonfiction (see Elizabeth’s Spy Master and House of Treason: The Rise & Fall of a Tudor Dynasty), Robert Hutchinson makes a case that the ruler was not the debaucher that fiction depicts him to be though he was very hedonistic. Instead he makes argument that as a pampered second son, Henry understood enjoying life to the fullest cost be damned; as the shakiness of ruling England could end your rule and your head. Thus Lord Chancellor Wolsey ran the kingdom while Henry hunted, played and gambled like he did before taking the throne. Nothing changed in his lifestyle except Henry also knew he needed to eliminate all rivals, and produce the heir and the spare as that was more important to longevity than governance. Well written with some jocularity that enhances the fascinating portrayal, Tudor fans still are left wondering how such an influential historical figure seemed to do little more than self-indulgence.

Harriet Klausner

The Winters-Betty J Cotter

The Winters

Betty J Cotter

Swamp Yankee Publishing, Jul 26, 2012, $14.97

475 Woodruff Ave, Wakefield, RI 02879

ISBN: 9781938517082

In 1978, Jim Winter, his wife Helen and their two children (Joyce and Don) live in a dilapidated farmhouse with a fabulous view of the Atlantic. On a wintry morning, Jim commits suicide stunning his family who were unprepared for their beloved patriarch taking his life. Feeling pressure as a failure Jim knew his family would grieve, but concluded they were better off with him dead than alive as his life insurance will pay bills he could not.

Heartbroken Helen knows their beachfront property owned by the Swamp Yankee family for over three hundred years needs to be sold as the land is valuable to affluent gentrification developers, but hesitates with ending the tradition though there is pressure on her to sell. Ludlow her cousin the realtor hires Helen but also pressures her to sell. Fran her new neighbor wants her antiques. Loretta her sister-in-law wants to donate the land to the Audubon Society. Her daughter cannot cope with her dad’s suicide or what appears to be the imminent loss of her heritage. Finally, her best friend Camille is on a quest to learn about her Narragansett Native American roots.

This profound family drama focuses on the impact of a changing world on a long time tradition. Character driven by a fully developed cast, readers will relish the trials and tribulations of each individual while they cope with an affluent invasion superseding the Swamp Yankee subculture; money talks, heritage walks.

Harriet Klausner

An Amish Gift-Cynthia Keller

An Amish Gift

Cynthia Keller

Ballantine, Oct 30 2012, $16.00

ISBN: 9780345538130

When Shep Davis lost his job, he, his wife Jennie, their two teenage children (Tim and Willa) and Scout the dog move to Lancaster County, Pennsylvania where the family patriarch inherited a home and a bicycle shop. The Davis brood looks at the relocation as a fresh beginning as they reside among the Amish.

However, in spite of starting over tensions remain stratospheric between the parents. Jennie becomes friends with her Amish neighbor Mattie Fisher as they share brisk walks. Mattie’s optimism even when life seems most dire lifts Jennie’s spirits while a Tim comment inspires his mom to start a candy business. Instead of abating the tension, her success and his struggles lead to more intense arguments as Christmas arrives along with a special visitor who brings hope.

This is an engaging family drama that looks deep into how people deal differently with adversity especially when their loving relationships fracture. Character driven, fans will enjoy this entertaining holiday fable as Jennie and Shep receive a wonderful Amish Gift of friendship.

Harriet Klausner

Cocaine Zombies-Scott. A Lerner

Cocaine Zombies

Scott. A Lerner

Camel Press, Nov 1 2012, $13.95

ISBN: 9781603819039

In Urbana, Illinois Chloe and Thomas visits Sam the lawyer. Chloe explains her companion has been charged with class X felony of selling cocaine. She says in spite of the fact he did not sell drugs; if Thomas is convicted he will spend the rest of his life behind bars due to his criminal record.

Sam wonders what the relationship is between his client and the mysterious Chloe. Still he takes on the case, but almost immediately afterward he begins suffering nightmares in which people die; only to learn when awake the stars of his dreams indeed died. Sam asks his friend Bob to help him understand why he has these deadly visions when he sleeps. They learn about a German pharmaceutical company testing a highly addictive form of cocaine developed by the Nazis but lethally enhanced by herbs and voodoo. When his client’s head is found in his refrigerator, Sam expects the cops to suspect him of the murder forcing him with Bob at his side to confront the evil turning humanity into enslaved living zombies.

This is an exciting paranormal legal investigative thriller as a drug derivative and voodoo equate to Cocaine Zombies. The cast is sold though somewhat stereotypical as Chloe is a femme fatale while Sam is that law abiding good neighbor and Bob is a knowledgeable nerd. With a fun who do voodoo spin, fans will enjoy this taut twisted tale.

Harriet Klausner

The Ogre and Other Stories-William Levy

The Ogre and Other Stories

William Levy

BlackWyrm, Jun 4 2011, $11.95

ISBN: 9781613181034

This is an entertaining adult fantasy anthology in which William Levy sets the tone in his introduction with his comments on Julie “Catwoman” Newmar (as adolescent males wanted to make her purr and teen females envied her statuesque purrfect feline form). In the “Dragon at Mackenzie’s farm”, Coleridge insists he is not a wizard to the investigating sheriff. Erv Largo is introduced to lovely Ms. Tessa and knows instantly by his bodily reactions she has sex “Appeal”; note that no bananas were hurt during this tale. Only eight years old, Lida is given the “Burden” to watch over her younger siblings in the hidey hole while a wizard and four fighters arrive to take her parents as prisoners to the king. If you have a queasy stomach you don’t want to know “What They Did To Me On My Summer Vacation.” The Martian Girl’s green body had male eyes (and other parts) bulging, Posey begins to rise from the third shift convenience store clerk position in “Out Of Space.” Finally there are the seven engaging Ogre entries to round out a fascinating short story collection.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Stardust-Neil Gaiman


Neil Gaiman

Morrow, Oct 30 2012, $30.00

ISBN: 9780062200396

Tristran Thorn grew up in the in the Wall, a town abut to the wall between Faerie and human realms. He loves beautiful Victoria Forester, but she acts aloof and cold in response. One day, they see a star fall from the sky landing on the other side of the barrier. He tells his beloved Victoria he will retrieve it for her if she agrees to marry him. She accepts his terms as nobody crosses the wall outside of the enchanted flea market held every nine years. The young man also is unaware that he was conceived when his parents attended one of those galas.

Tristran enters Faerie on his heart’s quest. Malevolent others also seek the star for evil purposes. As he talks to mythological flora and fauna, Tristan battles against witches, goblins and trees. However, as Tristan learns from the star what love truly is, the Lord of Stormhold’s children deploy their nefarious plot.

This is a reprint of the engaging coming of age romantic fantasy. Tristan initially seems pathetic as a hero yet perseveres as he begins to understand right from wrong. The motives and respective backgrounds of his star-seeking adversaries are developed so that the audience obtains an enjoyable tale.

Harriet Klausner

Soul’s Gate-James L. Rubart

Soul’s Gate

James L. Rubart

Thomas Nelson, Nov 6 2012, $15.99

ISBN 9781401686055

Three decades ago, Reece Roth was a warrior for Jesus who could enter the soul of another person and help guide them to the righteous path. However, a tragedy occurred when he remained inside too long and has turned him into a wounded recluse unable to perform the Lord’s work anymore.

In the present, God sends four tyros (Brandon Scott, Marcus Amber, Dana Raine and Tamera Miller) for Reece to train and lead. Reece knows he needs to find his lost faith if he is to mentor the rookies he will take to Well Spring high in the Colorado Rockies. The prophecy says for four to battle the rise of the Wolf. However Dana calls saying he cannot make it as he is too busy with the Titanic. Reece leads his students to the ranch where he instructs them on their mission with the final exam to cleanse their own souls.

Soul’s Gate is a powerful inspirational thriller that grips the reader from the moment God calls on the lost soul Reece and his three acolytes to begin the mission. Fast-paced with a fully developed quarter and a unique vision of souls in a materialistic electronic age, readers will relish James L. Rubart’s fabulous first Well Spring tale.

Harriet Klausner

The 13: Fall-Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

The 13: Fall

Robbie Cheuvront and Erik Reed

Barbour, Sep 1 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781616267698

In 2025, The Prophet begins sending warnings to the President of the United States that the Lord’s reckoning of judgment day is coming if the country does not return to the true faith. Concerned about national security as the messages threaten the country with terrorism but also fearing the source may be God, POTUS assigns an elite team to capture The Prophet. CIA agent Jon Keene blames God for his wife’s death, FBI computer hacker Megan Taylor is a devout Christian; and former special ops warrior Bozwell Hamilton has become a pastor.

At the same the trio searches for The Prophet, they struggle to form into a viable group as Keene ridicules the notion of Godly intervention labeling the prophet as a terrorist; while Boz somewhat embraces the concept of heavenly fire and brimstone on a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah. At the same time, a high ranking official betrays the country by enabling the Chinese to enter America allegedly to drill for oil.

The first installment of The 13 is an exhilarating fast-paced suspense thriller in which trends since 9/11 are extrapolated one decade into the future. As the lead threesome go through the phases of Tuckman's Model of Group Development especially with their debates re God, the readers will want to know whether the Prophet is the Lord’s messenger or a terrorist.

Harriet Klausner

Skulduggery-Carolyn Hart


Carolyn Hart

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Nov 13 2012, $13.95

ISBN 9781616147068

In 1980s San Francisco Jimmy Lee asks physical anthropologist Dr. Ellen Christie to come with him to Chinatown. In a basement, Jimmy shows Ellen a strange looking skull. Stunned Ellen identifies the fossil as part of the “Peking Man” group. Two thugs arrive and accost Jimmy. He and the rare skull vanish.

Ellen and Jimmy’s brother Dan investigate where Jimmy may have found the Peking Man unaware that the skull and other bones were shipped from China in 1941 to keep put of the hands of the Japanese army. As the pair begins to unravel Jimmy’s recent activities, others seeking the precious find will kill anyone in their way.

This is a reprint of an exciting amateur sleuth mystery that superbly uses the premise of the missing Peking Man bones as the heart of this mystery. Fast-paced from the moment Jimmy shows his treasure to Ellen, readers also obtain insight into the complex people of Chinatown. Fans will enjoy Skulduggery.

Harriet Klausner

A Question of Identity:Susan Hill

A Question of Identity:

Susan Hill

Overlook, Nov 8 2012, $25.95

ISBN 9781468300505

In 2002 a Yorkshire jury found Alan Keyes not guilty of murdering three elderly women (Carrie Millicent Gage, Sara Pearce and Agnes Daphne Kavanagh) in Yorkshire. The verdict angers many people who demand vigilante justice. To keep the mob from tearing his limbs apart, Keyes is given a new identity.

In 2012, someone murders octogenarian Elinor Sanders in her home on Lafferton. The evidence points to the return of Alan Keyes as the M.O. is similar to what happened to the three victims in 2002. Police detective Simon Serrailler leads the investigation as the psychopath kills two more elderly people.

The latest Simon Serrailler police procedural (see The Betrayal of Trust) is a fabulous whodunit that is incredible when following the investigation or centering on Keyes (circa 2002 and 2012). When the storyline focuses on Simon’s affair with married Rachel it adds depth to understanding the protagonist but detracts from an otherwise great mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, October 19, 2012

Kinsmen-Bill Pronzini


Bill Pronzini

Cemetery Dance, Nov 2012, $19.99

ISBN 9781587672668

Student Allison Shay, accompanied by her boyfriend was driving from the University of Oregon to her home in the Bay area, but never made it. Allison’s frantic mom Marian hires the Nameless detective to find her daughter whose last known location is the Northern Comfort Cabins in Creekside, California; population 112 where the car broke down. Marian tells the sleuth she knows nothing about the boyfriend.

Nameless visits the cabins where he questions the proprietor Mr. Bartholomew about Allison. The owner tells the detective what he told the sheriff that he never saw the boyfriend nor when the couple left. Taking the same room that Allison occupied, Nameless, fearing the worst, questions the locals who at best are uncooperative and overtly hostile as the San Francisco detective has entered rustic hell.

This is an enjoyable reprint of a 1993 novella that focuses on an insular small population in which hate crimes are ignored by the community (think of the BSA and PSU scandals). Fast-paced with Nameless risking his life for the truth, the small-town cast never quite gels beyond the James Dickey Deliverance stereotypical cloning. Still this is a taut entry as the protagonist increasingly fears what he will have to do once he affirms his dreaded belief.

Harriet Klausner

The Prodigal Son-Colleen McCullough

The Prodigal Son

Colleen McCullough

Simon & Schuster, Nov 6 2012, $26.00

ISBN 9781451668759

In 1969 biochemist Dr. Millie Hunter informs her father Medical Examiner Dr. Patrick O’Donnell that someone stole tetrodotoxin blowfish extraction from their lab. John Hall traveled from Oregon to Holloman, Connecticut to claim his inheritance. At a family gala welcoming him, he dies from an injection of blowfish toxic extraction, a poison that kills almost instantly and leaves no trace. One day later the death of Professor Thomas Tarleton Tinkerman by poison occurs.

Holloman Police Captain Carmine Delmonico leads the investigation in which Millie’s husband Dr. Jim Hunter had the means and opportunities (to the victims and to the toxin) though he finds no motive. Carmine believes the husband of his second cousin is innocent. He looks at those who lost a fortune when Hall came to New England, the Chubbs University faculty members who gain with the professor’s death, and even a hate crime to destroy the black and white couple Millie and Jim. However, no one seems to have a motive that ties the murders of the scholar and the heir.

The latest Delmonico 1960s police procedural (see Naked Cruelty and Too Many Murders) is an engaging historical investigative tale. The set-up is strong as there are plenty of suspects, who may have committed one of the homicides, but none appear to have motive for multiple murders; however, the rationale once revealed seems weak at best. Still fans will enjoy this 1969 Connecticut mystery.

Harriet Klausner

Sugarland Melting-Sam Neace

Sugarland Melting

Sam Neace

BlackWyrm, Jul 23 2011, $11.95

ISBN: 9781613181072

In Eastern Kentucky ninety-nine years old multimillionaire RJ Rockhouse constructs Sugarland, a thirteen trailer park in the shape of a cross. He soon expands his original concept to fifty trailers. Rockhouse selects families living below the poverty line to reside in the trailers rent free.

The nearby townsfolk wonder why he used this form of philanthropy when the affluent Rockhouse could donate to causes that would help many more people. Five years ago, RJ’s beloved wife Lola died. At her funeral he apparently lost his mind. Now the townsfolk believe his latest action affirms his insanity. Instead, RJ, who believes in the magic of 100, has a plan to transfer his soul and that of Lola into the bodies of his Sugarland residents.

Sugarland Melting is an engaging thriller that keeps readers guessing whether the storyline is a necromancy horror or a psychological suspense. Once readers know the path the entertaining plot goes, the excitement ebbs. Still this is a strong character driven tale of a desperate person trying to regain paradise lost at any cost.

Harriet Klausner

Midnight City-J. Barton Mitchell

Midnight City

J. Barton Mitchell

St. Martin's Griffin, Oct 30 2012, $17.99

ISBN: 9781250009074

Eight years ago the Assembly arrived and abducted almost every American adult. The new world order has the aliens controlling most of the country while human teen outlaw bands prey on the struggling survivors, mostly young children.

In this nightmarish landscape, persistent bounty hunter Holt Hawkins and his partner Max the dog hunt fugitive Mira Toombs while eluding the Assembly patrols and the teen gangs. As the diligent pair locates Toombs, they become distracted with the need to rescue Zoey, who the Assembly covets for her magical skills. The unlikely quartet heads to Midnight City; seeking to find out who Zoey is and why the Assembly want her.

Midnight City is an enjoyable young adult post-apocalyptic thriller starring likable protagonists. The storyline is fast-paced, but goes down the anticipated path of the Tuckman's Model of Group Development, betrayals and hostile enemies everywhere in pursuit. Still this is a fun fast-paced novel.

Harriet Klausner

The Silvered-Tanya Huff

The Silvered

Tanya Huff

Daw, Nov 6 2012, $24.95

ISBN 9780756407438

The powerful Kresentian Empire invades the Aydori Kingdom with brutal force as they loathe their enemy’s ruling species, werewolves. The Aydori and its allies expect their were-prowess accentuated by the mages to defeat the invaders. Instead, the Kresentian military use silver weapons to kill the courageous werewolves.

With the Kingdom falling into chaos and a genocide campaign underway, the Kresentian know only one thing could defeat them based on the prophecy of an unborn child leading the counterattack. To prevent this from happening, they capture five high-ranking Aydori women including the wife of the Mage Pack leader. Untested were Tomas Hagen the leader’s younger brother and underachieving mage Mirian Maylin who begin a rescue mission inside the Kresentian Empire to rescue the females.

This is an exciting romantic quest fantasy starring two individuals in a coming of age entertaining storyline while the prophecy will remind readers of Moses. Though the impossible odds are so overwhelming against their success that Vegas would refuse to take bets, fans will enjoy the trek of the werewolf and the mage into the heart of the enemy.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Cold Cold Ground-Adrian McKinty

The Cold Cold Ground

Adrian McKinty

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 22 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781616147167

In 1981 in Belfast, a mutilated corpse is found in a busted up heap. The police assume he is another victim of the Troubles. However, some evidence surfaces that have the cops reconsidering their initial conclusion. They fear a serial killer using the Troubles as a disguise is torturing and murdering gays. Police detective Sean Duffy, a pariah as a Catholic, leads the investigation.

Duffy soon believes a woman who allegedly committed suicide by hanging may have been murdered. He also believes the IRA is involved with the killings as one of their top officers is a victim. However, his superior ridicules him while refusing to hear what Duffy believes because his boss is Protestant and he is Catholic. At the same time, the tension mounts stratospherically when IRA hunger strike prisoners begin dying in Maze Prison

Ostensibly a Northern Ireland police procedural, The Cold Cold Ground is much more as the audience obtains a close look at life in Ulster during the Troubles. Sean is terrific as a man with deep convictions residing in two worlds yet disdained by both. Fans will relish touring Belfast in 1981 with Sean as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

Dog In The Manger-Mike Resnick

Dog In The Manger

Mike Resnick

Prometheus/Seventh Street, Oct 22 2012, $15.95

ISBN: 9781616147105

Four months ago, Baroness the Weimaraner won Best in Show at Westminster. Recently, Baroness was shipped from Cincinnati to join her owner in Arizona. She never arrived at her destination. Her accompanying kennel employee and several other people were murdered.

Downtrodden Cincinnati private investigator Eli Paxton takes on the dognapping case. He knows the objective is to find and rescue the abducted canine. However, the case proves deadly as someone commits several homicides and tries killing Eli. Following clues Eli travels to Arizona, drug trafficking in Mexico and finally back home.

This is a reprint of an entertaining Eli Paxton medium boiled detective thriller. The whodunit is fast-paced as Eli becomes target practice while also providing a tender look at show dogs. In addition there is an engaging Paxton short story, "Even Butterflies Can Sting” (see Death Dines At 8:30 anthology), in which the Cincinnati slugger teams up with his new partner Marlowe the Westie on a case.

Harriet Klausner

Scorched-Laura Griffin


Laura Griffin

Pocket, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781451617399

On Basilan Island in the Philippines, Delphi Center forensic anthropologist Kelsey Quinn studies the human bones in a locale classified as a massacre. However, something is off and she tries to resolve what and why starting with the pacifier. When she sees the FBI investigator working with her murdered, she knows she is next so she flees into the jungle.

Navy SEAL Gage Brewer chose his job over his beloved when he dumped Kelsey several months ago. While in San Diego following an African mission, he learns his Kelsey is in lethal trouble. The special ops operative drops everything to protect his woman as a diabolical adversary refuses to allow a SEAL or an anthropologist interferes with the plan.

The latest Tracers forensic romance (see Twisted, Snapped and Untraceable) is a fantastic action-packed conspiratorial thriller. The tense storyline is fast-paced from the moment Kelsey flees for her life and never slows down as the heroine wonders whether she can trust her “protector” with her life as he may be the killer and he broke her heart.

Harriet Klausner

1635: The Papal Stakes-Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

1635: The Papal Stakes

Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon

Baen, Oct 2 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451638394

In 1635 Rome, Cardinal Borja y Velasco of Spain has taken control of the Vatican. However, he is upset that Pope Urban VIII escaped. United States of Europe (USE) Ambassador Sharon Nichols and her husband Ruy Sanchez provide sanctuary for the beleaguered Pope and his retinue near Padua while Borja sends assassins to kill the Pope so that he can replace him as His Holiness.

Sharon finds radio contact with Colonel North fails. At the same time among Borja’s prisoners are Frank and pregnant Giovanna Stone. North dispatches Commander Harry Lefferts and his Wrecking Crew on an extraction mission.

The latest 1630s Ring of Fire alternate history (see 1634: The Galileo Affair collaborated with Andrew Dennis) is an exhilarating entry with a strong Papal Stakes plot enhanced by a profound look at seventeenth century Catholicism. The storyline is extremely complex as theological debate and armed combat (including targeted assassinations) combine to a fabulous thriller as Eric Flint and Charles E. Gannon prove a deft pairing.

Harriet Klausner

Ghost Planet-Sharon Lynn Fisher

Ghost Planet

Sharon Lynn Fisher

Tor, Oct 30 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780765368973

Environmentally compared to earth Ardagh-1 is Eden. However, there is one major problem with this otherwise idyllic world: a native species hooks onto a human by taking the form of a dead person the outside knew. The alien spirits are meek followers of their “host”. Psychologically the colonists struggle with a deceased loved one following them everywhere they go. New Seattle Counseling center chief psychologist Dr. Grayson Murphy issues the “Ghost Protocol,” which bans the colonist from interacting with their ghosts.

Dr. Elizabeth Cole arrives on Ardagh-1 to help the unsettling humans with their mental traumas. She thinks the “Ghost Protocol” is a mistake. Additionally the new psychologist is attracted to her supervisor until she realizes that Dr. Elizabeth Cole died due to a malfunction upon landing in the ocean instead of a pad. Her host Dr. Grayson Murphy ignores her existence, but unlike her new docile peers she plans to learn what she has become.

Ghost Planet is a great romantic science fiction with a strong premise that Sharon Lynn Fisher executes perfectly. Elizabeth is a super protagonist even though we (and she) know she died by chapter 2 as she keeps the fascinating storyline focused. Character driven, readers will appreciate this engaging tale.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Homestead-James A. Moore


James A. Moore

Cemetery Dance, Nov 1 2012, $35.00

ISBN: 9781587672309

While her husband Tom brings in the income, Kathy Erinson is a stay at home mom caring for their three children. In her little spare time, she enjoys sketching, which she finds relaxing. Currently she is drawing the family farm’s landscapes, a place she is fond of and where she lived as a child.

Her only bad memory from childhood is her then tweener friend Mickey vanishing, along with five other children, without a trace. Over the years the cases grow cold. Several pleasant hours pass until she goes to meet her children at the bus stop. As the bus pulls away from the stop, a stunned Kathy swears she sees Mickey silently screaming inside. Over the next few days Kathy begins to recall forgotten memories of Mickey which Tom notices in her most recent drawings. Seeking closure, Kathy investigates in spite of distrusting her spotty memories in which she is not sure they happened and that many of those who lived in town the year that Mickey disappeared are dead or moved away.

This is a taut horror thriller as readers will wonder what is happening to Kathy and why. Enhanced by several grim B&W sketching (mindful of Edvard Munch's "The Scream”), readers will relish this taut novella in time for a scary Halloween.

Harriet Klausner