Monday, December 31, 2012

The Dead Shall Not Rest-Tessa Harris

The Dead Shall Not Rest

Tessa Harris

Kensington, Dec 24, 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758266996

In 1782 at the Oxfordshire annual spring fair, Lady Lydia Farrell asks her betrothed American Dr. Thomas Silkstone to examine attraction eight-foot-tall Charles “Irish Giant” Byrne. The anatomist concludes that Byrne is dying. Not wanting to be a dissected freak in death especially after learning that unscrupulous Dr. John Hunter plans on grave robbers snatching his body, Byrne arranges his burial at sea; Thomas vows to insure the man’s wishes are met.

In London, someone removed the larynx from Signor Cappelli after murdering the castrato. Because of his unsavory grave-robbing reputation and the surgical precision, Hunter becomes the prime suspect though he swears he is innocent. His rival Silkstone believes the anatomist is innocent so in spite of his preference to see the amoral doctor sent to the gallows, he investigates the homicide.

The second Dr. Thomas Silkstone mystery (see The Anatomist’s Apprentice) is an outstanding late nineteenth century whodunit. The investigation is top rate with clever clues and anchored by a strong sense of time and place; for instance Byrne and Hunter were real persona and grave-robbing was a thriving occupation as the opening transaction depicts. The Dead Shall Not Rest is a fabulous historical investigative thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Marriage Campaign-Karen Templeton

The Marriage Campaign

Karen Templeton

Harlequin Special Edition, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373657247

The three cousins called themselves the Summer Sisters as they spent vacation time together at their late grandma’s house near St. Mary’s Cove on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. April Ross (see A Gift For All Seasons) and Melanie Duncan (see The Doctor’s Do-Over) are brides in a double wedding ceremony attended by the third “Sister” maid of honor Blythe Broussard. Also there are Blythe’s childhood nemesis widower Congressman Wes Phillips and his young son Jack.

Blythe recognizes a troubled kindred spirit in Jack whose mom died in a car accident two years ago. She warns Wes that Jack has self-destructive issues like she once had. Attracted to the Congressman and caring about Jack, Blythe plans to keep her distance from father and son until she makes her escape back to DC as fourteen years ago on Valentine’s Day her heart (and virginity) broke. Wes has other ideas as he is falling in love with Blythe and believes strongly she is perfect for him and Jack though her rocky past negatively impacts his reelection chances.

The Marriage Campaign is an engaging contemporary second chance at love romance starring a relationship-phobic designer, a Congressman whose campaign focus is Blythe not the voters and a disturbed eleven year old boy. Filled with compassion and passion, readers will enjoy this wonderful contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 30, 2012

The King Next Door-Maureen Child

The King Next Door

Maureen Child

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732227

Griffin King and Nicole Baxter met at the wedding of his cousin Rafe King and her best friend next door neighbor Katie Charles last year. Affluent Griffin is house-sitting while Rafe and Katie are in Europe for three weeks and his beachfront condo is on the market. Though he admires how sexy all work and no play is except with her three years old son Connor Griffin adheres to his vow to end his serial affairs lifestyle and especially avid women with kids.

A fire in Katie’s kitchen forces her and Connor to temporarily vacate. He invites mother and child to move into his cousin’s home. Nicole decides a short tryst is just the thing for her as the divorcee shares in common with the bachelor: no marriage. As Griff proves kind and caring towards her son though an easy mark for Connor’s child con; neither adult knows how to react to falling in love.

The latest Kings of California romance (see King's Million Dollar Secret) is an engaging romance starring two protagonists whose theme song is 10 Cc’s “I’m Not in Love” and a too precocious matchmaking toddler. Contemporary fans will enjoy this warm tale as the King falls in love with the single mom and her child next door.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 29, 2012

All He Really Needs-Emily McKay

All He Really Needs

Emily McKay

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732265

Dying Hollister Cain informs his offspring that they take charge of Cain Enterprise and prevent a missing heiress from stealing their billion dollar legacy. Dalton the CEO hunts for the woman; while his brother Griffin the International marketing VP performs little except in bed with beautiful women and overseas travel; and their illegitimate sibling Cooper is the outsider. Dalton informs Griffin that he quits as the CEO as he has a more important mission: winning the heart and regaining the trust of his beloved Laney Fortino (see All He Ever Wanted). Before leaving, Dalton tells Griffin, whom their dad scorned as a wastrel do-gooder, that his assistant Sydney Edwards will take good care of him.

Stunned Griffin the underachiever has been Sydney’s secret lover, but now he is her boss. He believes they can combine the boardroom with the bedroom, but though she loves Griffin she informs him no more trysts. As bad as that thought is since he loves being with her; he also fears he will have little time for his vocation of helping Hope2O.

The second At Cain’s Command contemporary romance stars a seemingly unambitious hedonist and a dedicated administrative assistant. Fast-paced, readers will enjoy learning of the hidden depths of Griffin (and for that matter Sydney too) as he makes a case not to judge a book solely by its cover while also encouraging the audience to look up Hope2O’s real counterpart

Harriet Klausner

Love, Lust & Pixie Dust-Erica Ridley

Love, Lust & Pixie Dust

Erica Ridley

Intrepid Reads, Dec 20 2012, $8.99

ISBN: 9780985455880

Daisy le Fey is an ambitious pixie who craves becoming a licensed Tooth Fairy. She has an opportunity to prove herself worthy with her first assignment to snatch the Angus tooth.

In the Costa Rican rainforest anthropologist Trevor Masterson leads an excavation that he knows must succeed; failure denotes no funding for future digs. He falls asleep with his face on the specimen tray only to abruptly awaken when he spots an unknown female with wings stealing his prize find a fossilized tooth that falls off his chin. He thinks she is a bespectacled Victoria’s Secret model while she insists he go back to sleep or she will leave him no money. As Daisy tries to fly away with the tooth, Trevor tries to prevent her. One magical fumbled attempt after another leads to turning his T.A. Katrina into a smoking pumpkin and several kisses; Trevor and Daisy reconsider their respective life goals even as her superiors take action against her for her felonious behavior with a mortal.

The first Nether-Netherland romance is a fun lighthearted farce that lampoons the urban fantasy’s relationships between humans and paranormal as the course of True Love flows uneven. Fast-paced, fans, who enjoy an amusing storyline that never takes itself seriously, will want to read this jocular frolic.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 28, 2012

Greenwood and Archer-Marlene Banks

Greenwood and Archer

Marlene Banks

Lift Every Voice Books (LEVB)/Moody, Sep 20 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802406217

In 1921 in Tulsa, taking advantage of the rage of the white community over a newspaper accusing black Dick Rowland of raping white Sarah Page, the racist White Glove Society screams for the lock up of all colored especially in the affluent Greenwood District. Their bigoted shrill wins causes a race riot in Greenwood leaving over 300 dead (see Son of a Preacherman).

Engaged couple, son of a preacher Billy Ray Matthias and oil heiress Benny Freeman are dismayed since the former’s brother Ethan defended Rowland. Benny’s ex-fiancée Jordan Franks returns; his dumping her turned her into a recluse until Billy Ray intervened. While believing God wants him to preach, Billy Ray prays for his beloved.

Federal agent DP Dooley believes the race riot affirms his rage with God. He vows to destroy the “Godly” White Gloves Society even as they gain new supporters. Ignoring immense pressure to lock up the colored, fervent racist Police Chief Jake Gilbert saw the Greenwood massacre first-hand. He joins with Dooley to end racial hate crimes in his city with support from the newly created Interdenominational Christian Clergy who wants God in everyone’s life; while the Chicago mob sees an opportunity to expand their operation into Tulsa.

This is a powerful historical that looks deep at the aftermath of the Greenwood race riots. With a present day relevancy, the underlying irony of the tale is the diverse cast believes that God is on their side as so many invoke the Lord’s name in defense of whatever they do. Besides a fabulous look at devastated 1921 Tulsa, Marlene Banks makes a case that claiming Jesus has your back is not soul-deep believing in Jesus.

Harriet Klausner

A Real Cowboy-Sarah M. Anderson

A Real Cowboy

Sarah M. Anderson

Harlequin Desire, Feb 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732241

Oscar winner James Robert Bradley left Hollywood at the height of his fame several years ago. Though many including his agent Bernie Lipchitz expected him to come back after a respite, James remains on his Bar B Ranch in the middle of nowhere Montana.

Thalia Thorne has a chance to produce her first movie, Blood for Roses, if she can persuade James to play the role of Sean; she believes he could win another Oscar with this part. When she reaches his ranch, she sees nothing California in the boorish cowboy who wants her to leave as she disturbs the peace he has found in Big Sky Country by reminding him of the bad things he did in Southern California; worse he is attracted to her as she is to him. Thalia refuses to go away as she needs him or her career dies for failing to deliver. Trapped by a blizzard, J.R. and Thalia begin to fall in love.

The lead couple makes for a rousing redemption ranch romance as he has demons from his past that haunt him while she needs him if she plans to remain in Hollywood. Though the device of a snow storm stranding the protagonists has been used a lot, fans will enjoy this entreating character-driven contemporary

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Night Driving-Lori Wilde

Night Driving

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797417

In Bozeman, Montana, former Army Captain Boone Toliver recuperates from his third right knee surgery to repair an injury suffered from a bomb in Afghanistan. He feels like an invalid as he was forced to hire help though he can afford it having invested wisely the millions he inherited millions from his beloved late wife. The only tsuris besides his knee is his ditzy neighbor Tara Duvall, a sexy irritant. He is busted when he pretends to be on the cellphone only to have his half-sister marine biologist Ph.D. candidate Jackie Birchard call. Before leaving Tara says she is moving home to be with her ailing mother; while Jackie says she is marrying the man she loves and trusts, Coast Guard Lieutenant Scott Everly whom she has known just over a month. He reacts poorly as Jackie says she will marry her fiancé in a few days in Key West before hanging up on him.

Boone has less than five days to save Jackie from herself, but cannot fly due to the threats of blood clots and he can’t drive that distance while local car service says no. He places an ad on the internet and gets a response by someone going to Miami. They negotiate terms of leaving tonight; afterward he learns his driver is the ditz. The road trip has misadventures as time is running out, but also opens up Boone’s heart as he begins to fall in love with his zany neighbor.

Night Driving is a fun zany romance starring two opposites falling in love while on the road. Character driven by the lead couple, fans will enjoy the changing relationship between Tara and Boone.

Harriet Klausner

The Mighty Quinns: Logan-Kate Hoffmann

The Mighty Quinns: Logan

Kate Hoffmann

Harlequin Blaze, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373797394

Ninety-six year old Irish author Aileen Quinn is writing her autobiography of a rags to riches orphan girl making it big; when she asks her assistant Ian Stephens to find the descendants of her older brothers, siblings she never met. Assuming her brothers are dead, Aileen wants to leave her fortune to their children and grandchildren. She learns the youngest Tomas sailed to Australia in 1916; so Ian hires Capley and Drummond of Brisbane to investigate.

In Queensland, Australia, struggling horse breeder Logan Quinn faces bankruptcy. Logan drives to deliver his favorite horse Tally to a buyer. He stops at affluent Williamston Farm where his old mate Ed Perkins the stable manager invites him to stay for a night. Ed lectures him for not letting his boss Simon Grant bid on Tally. Simon’s daughter Lucinda introduces herself to Logan as Sunny. She knows she failed her dad when she flopped at the equestrian event at the London Olympics. Refusing to compete in Brisbane, Lucinda decides to escape her father’s disapproval and pressure by hiding in Logan’s camper. As they travel the continent, the poor hose-breeder and the heiress fall in love.

The latest Mighty Quinns’ series (see Ronan and Cameron) is a fabulous Australian romance starring two wonderful protagonists on a journey of love. Though financially polar opposites, the pair share a deep love of horses and soon of each other. Readers will look forward to more tales of Aileen’s relatives as the nonagenarian who has always felt alone for over nine plus decades has found family.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Fear Collector-Gregg Olsen

Fear Collector

Gregg Olsen

Kensington, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780786020461

“Fear Collector.” Ted Bundy rots in hell, but his vile legacy macabrely lives on in the minds of his victims’ loved ones. Grace Alexander grew up in the shrine of her vanished older sister Tricia as her parents never let go of the belief she was a Bundy dead. They assigned her a life mission as a baby to learn what happened to Tricia. She joined the Tacoma police department and married a Fed. Currently Grace and her TPD partner Paul Bateman investigate several missing girls who physically look very similar to each other. They find the corpse one of the vanished females, but also find the older remains of a person nearby who may have been a Bundy murder. Peggy Howell passed her version of the Bundy legacy to her son Jeremy: his life mission is to surpass the body count of her beloved hero.

“The Bone Box.” Tommy Freeland sends a note to his cousin Kitsap County, Washington forensic psychologist Dr. Birdie Waterman. Two decades as a teen, her testimony helped convict him of murder. She visits him at prison where he swears he is innocent. Tommy begs his cousin to investigate. Birdie finds the townsfolk resent her while some fear she will uncover hidden secrets.

Filled with a strong obsessed cast of survivors and an insane groupie, and terrific twists, the Fear Collector is a taut suspenseful thriller that focuses on two interpretations of the Bundy legacy, which makes the rotating storyline feel like a fast-paced true crime tale. Though a late spin seems over the top of Mount Rainier, The Bone Box is an enjoyable cold case short story starring a haunted heroine who learns the truth about telling the truth.

Harriet Klausner

Ever After-Kim Harrison

Ever After

Kim Harrison

Harper Voyager, Jan 22 2013, $27.99

ISBN 9780061957918

Elf Trent Kalamack’s top security expert, Quen Hanson wants to hire witch-demon Rachel Morgan to protect his employer so he can spend quality time with Ceri and their babies (Lucy and Ray). Though she knows she desperately needs the money, Rachel declines the offer due to her bi-polar history with the mogul.

The ley line Rachel created is rapidly eroding the demon Ever After realm. At the same time, Rosewood syndrome infected children start vanishing with Rachel as the only suspect after the ley line disaster; while an insane extremely powerful demon abducts Ceri and Lucy. With no choice, Rachel teams up with Trent and Quen to prevent the end of the demonic realm (and her life) and rescue the security expert’s family while betrayal awaits their efforts.

The latest Hollows urban fantasy (see A Perfect Blood) is a great entry that series fans will relish as the transition to the end game countdown has begun. Filled with action and numerous exciting subplots containing a sense of pending doom (including Rachel’s convoluted AFU personal life and insight into the demon-elf hostilities), the Hollows readers will enjoy this thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

The Sound of Broken Glass-Deborah Crombie

The Sound of Broken Glass

Deborah Crombie

Morrow, Feb 19 2013, $25.99

ISBN 9780061990632

Scotland Yard Superintendent Duncan and DCI Gemma James Kincaid plan a weekend of fun with their foster child Kit and their two younger children. They enjoyed Friday night Pizza, but Saturday morning, Gemma’s subordinate DS Melody Talbot informs her they have a homicide in which a naked bound man is found at the Belvedere in Crystal Palace. While Duncan watches the kids, Gemma leads the investigation.

The victim is highly regarded barrister Vincent Arnott, who while tied up was strangled to death in this dive of a hotel. Not long afterward, the corpse of a second barrister, murdered in the same manner is found. Besides the M.O., other evidence points to the same killer. Gemma and Melody soon link these homicides to a lethal encounter between two lonely people, a young male teen and a grieving widow teacher, fifteen year ago in Crystal Palace.

The latest James and Kincaid British police procedural (see No Mark Upon Her, Necessary As Blood and Kiss A Sad Goodbye) is a super entry as flashbacks interweave deftly with the present day investigation. The police inquiry engages the reader as Gemma and Melody take the lead in that subplot; while the marital relationship and the kids show the caring gentler sides of the Kincaid couple. Series fans will enjoy this fine whodunit.

Harriet Klausner

Uses for Boys-Erica Lorraine Scheidt

Uses for Boys

Erica Lorraine Scheidt

St. Martin’s Griffin, Jan 15, 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9781250007117

Anna loved life with her single mom when she constantly would ask the “tell-me-again times” and be reassured that her mother only wanted a single girl, her. However, when she turned eight, Anna learns she is too old for fairy tales as her mom seeks her next husband. Deserted in plain sight in a world she no longer understands, Anna proves a chip off the maternal block as she obsesses over a psychological need to belong. She uses sex to make boys her surrogate family. A boy rapes her and she drops out of school to the taunts of slut from her peers. Still a teen, Anna moves in with her latest boyfriend. Anna meets and envies Toy, whose boys are much nicer than those in her life. When she meets Sam and his family, Anna knows what she wants in life is not the Uses of Boys, but the love of a caring “tribe” like she once had when she was very young with her mom.

This is a deep decade in the life of a child-teen using an inner strength to survive her feelings of maternal abandonment. Anna is a wonderful individual who goes from adored child to surviving slut to caring about people. Readers, especially teens, will appreciate Anna’s captivating coming of age tale realizing the importance of looking past derogatory labels into the heart and soul of others.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Dark Wolf Rising-Rhyannon Byrd

Dark Wolf Rising

Rhyannon Byrd

Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885626

The Silvercrest Lycan scouts stopped the human female as she was driving up the Maryland mountain towards their town Shadow peak. On emergency leave from her Smythe, Virginia professor position, Chelsea Smart shows them a photo of her missing younger sister Perry while threatening to shoot off their manly extremity if they touch her. Erik Drake, who prefers his species to mate with lycans, intercedes by telling her nicely to leave before darkness sets in as he insists it is unsafe. To their mutual chagrin, each is attracted to the other. As he tells her to go, she uses a common to both species middle finger gesture. When her vehicle fails, Erik drives Chelsea back to Wesley.

When Chelsea learns that rogue Lycans are drugging women to kidnap and pimp them as prostitutes, Erik agrees to help her save Perry, end the prostitution ring, and protect his Solvercrest pack. As they work together, their lustful attraction turns to love.

The latest Bloodrunners (see Last Wolf Standing, Last Wolf Hunting and Last Wolf Watching) romantic mountain fantasy is an exciting thriller as the latest alpha meets his independent mate while she searches for her sibling. Fast-paced with a dark background, series fans will enjoy the latest visit to Maryland.

Harriet Klausner

The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book-Brian James Freeman,

The Illustrated Stephen King Movie Trivia Book

Brian James Freeman, Hans Ake Lilja and Kevin Quigley; Illustrated by Glenn Chadbourne, Cemetery Press, Dec 31 2012

ISBN: 9781587673115 (trade - $19.95); 9781587673122 (hardcover - $40.00)

Obviously for fans of the renowned author, this collection asks trivia questions involving fifty four movies based on Mr. King’s works (including Bachman novels like The Running Man), his acting roles not all based on his novels (Nightriders), film sequels and the Dollar Babies (this is new for me; I would love a film festival of them). Each film is given its own chapter with numerous almost all multiple choice questions like whose name is on the bat Wendy used on Jack in the Shining and what cartoon show is Tad watching in Cujo? With over 1,000 questions (many of which were provided by fans) and numerous Glenn Chadbourne Illustrations taken from the movies, readers will enjoy this fun entertaining compilation.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Darkship Renegades-Sarah A. Hoyt

Darkship Renegades

Sarah A. Hoyt

Baen, Dec 4 2012, $14.00

ISBN: 9781451638523

Kit the Jarl mule clone and the daughter of wealth Athena know they are fortunate to escape Earth and her past. They leave with a price on Thena’s head are going to Eden to live together in love and peace. Instead they face treasonous charges as a powerful individual uses the duo as fodder to manipulate his way into becoming Eden’s first dictator.

The couple accompanied by his sister mule Zen and another mule Doc Bartholomew team up with their mission to learn how to grow powertrees so that Eden no longer depends on harvesting earth tree powerpods, which as a byproduct will free the solar system. However, the quest starts badly when Kit is injured before they depart. Bartholomew tries a dangerous medical procedure to save his life. The method seemingly works, but as Kit recuperates, he increasingly does not behave like her beloved husband. Instead he has the memories of his “sire” Jarl reengineered to rule Earth. With their mission on the brink of failure, Thena knows she must prevent the transformation of her husband and will do whatever it takes including killing him; while she also understands her only out if they do not succeed on their original mission is her death.

The second Darkship space opera (see Darkship Thieves) is an entertaining science fiction thriller that continues the adventures of Thena. There are too many reflective treatises by Thena that slow down the pace of the overall exciting storyline. However, these interludes also provide insight into the historical, political, economic, science and technology. Fans will enjoy traveling on a Darkship piloted by Athena and her mates exploring the believable Hoyt galaxy.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 21, 2012

Chance of a Lifetime-Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime

Jodi Thomas

Berkley, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250525

In Texas, Tannon Parker visits the Harmony County Library to tell librarian Emily Tomlinson that his mom no longer recognizes him. She thinks back to when they were best friends growing up and on the high school newspaper together as juniors when the bloody tragedy ended their friendship fifteen years ago as he pushed her away. Like Tannon, Emily will go home alone, but unlike her former BFF she will write a fantasy piece on her journal about him holding her hand with a smile. When she visits his mom, he hopes they can at least be best friends again though he wants much more.

Not yet twenty-one, musician Beau Yates works gigs in town in places where he cannot drink. At the same time his estranged dad makes it clear to everyone that his son is a disgrace. His belated New Year’s resolution is to have a girlfriend who likes him. He knows he is attracted to the mysterious Red but doubts she cares about him.

Recently, lawyer Rick Matheson has been beset by a series of accidents that he believes were deliberate as he wonders who wants him dead and why. He wonders if the sleazy clients that he defends are the cause. U.S. Marshal Trace Adams rides her bike into Harmony concealing her mission to protect Rick.

Rotating subplots, the latest Harmony drama (see Just Down the Road, The Comforts of Home and Somewhere Along the Way) is an engaging small-town Texas tale starring a charming ensemble cast. The cast makes fans feel Welcome to Harmony.

Harriet Klausner

Blood Money-James Grippando

Blood Money

James Grippando

Harper, Jan 8 2013, $26.99

ISBN: 9780062109842

Miami defense attorney Jack Swyteck defends notorious nightclub waitress Sydney Bennett from the charge of murdering her two-year-old daughter Emma whose remains were found near the Everglades. The public overwhelmingly convicted Sydney of the homicide of her child.

When the verdict from the Vero Beach jury is not guilty, disbelief and anger overwhelm a stunned nation. Many hold Jack in contempt for getting the murdering mom off the hook. He receives threats and other forms of harassment while the media go on an ugly feeding frenzy. Near the jail where the acquitted Sydney is about to leave, a mob attacks college student Celeste Laramore, a Bennett look-alike leaving her comatose. The victims’ irate parents blame the media especially BNN, who misidentified Celeste as Sydney on TV. They turn to Swyteck to represent them as they sue BNN who accuse the Bennett defense team of going after Hollywood and publishing Blood Money. As they and their loved ones are threatened, Jack and his crew begin to uncover a shocking truth behind the Blood Money.

Partly based on the Casey Anthony case, Blood Money is an action-packed legal thriller that spins in a shocking direction just after the early verdict. The latest Swyteck case (see Afraid of the Dark) grips the audience throughout as the trial aftermath proves dangerous to the lawyer and anyone close to him. Series fans will enjoy this entry as James Grippando condemns the media for seeking ratings over the truth.

Harriet Klausner

Chance of a Lifetime-Jodi Thomas

Chance of a Lifetime

Jodi Thomas

Berkley, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780425250525

In Texas, Tannon Parker visits the Harmony County Library to tell librarian Emily Tomlinson that his mom no longer recognizes him. She thinks back to when they were best friends growing up and on the high school newspaper together as juniors when the bloody tragedy ended their friendship fifteen years ago as he pushed her away. Like Tannon, Emily will go home alone, but unlike her former BFF she will write a fantasy piece on her journal about him holding her hand with a smile. When she visits his mom, he hopes they can at least be best friends again though he wants much more.

Not yet twenty-one, musician Beau Yates works gigs in town in places where he cannot drink. At the same time his estranged dad makes it clear to everyone that his son is a disgrace. His belated New Year’s resolution is to have a girlfriend who likes him. He knows he is attracted to the mysterious Red but doubts she cares about him.

Recently, lawyer Rick Matheson has been beset by a series of accidents that he believes were deliberate as he wonders who wants him dead and why. He wonders if the sleazy clients that he defends are the cause. U.S. Marshal Trace Adams rides her bike into Harmony concealing her mission to protect Rick.

Rotating subplots, the latest Harmony drama (see Just Down the Road, The Comforts of Home and Somewhere Along the Way) is an engaging small-town Texas tale starring a charming ensemble cast. The cast makes fans feel Welcome to Harmony.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Take The Trophy & Run-Gail Sattler

Take The Trophy & Run

Gail Sattler

B&H, Nov 1 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781433677298

In Bloomfield, BFFs crafts shop owner Amber Weathersby and mechanic Stan Wilson belong to the Bloomfield Garden Club though the former knows she is pathetic when it comes to growing things and expects to lose her membership even with his help. Her expertise is with creating crafts out of her store and arranging the Spring Fling Early Bloomer display in the winner’s garden. As she does annually, she uses her gnome Gnorman to hold the trophy as the centerpiece in the winning garden. This year Gnorman wears Stan’s sombrero as an added touch in Becky’s garden.

Before Amber can receive the accolades due her for her wonderful arrangement, someone gnome-naps Gnorman and the trophy. Amber and Stan track the elusive Gnorman but the clues they follow seem crazy; almost as insane as the awareness of the deep attraction each of the two amateur sleuths feel for the other. As they continue their odd pursuit, Gnorman the gnome plays matchmaker between two BFFs in love.

Take The Trophy & Run is an enjoyable romantic comedic cozy starring two engaging protagonists supported by his mom Kathy and several other Bloomfield Garden Club members, and of course the elusive Gnorman (picture the gnome in a tux). Fast-paced fun, fans will appreciate this jocular whodunit as the detectives find love in Bloomfield.

Harriet Klausner

Illegally Iced-Jessica Beck

Illegally Iced

Jessica Beck

Minotaur, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250001078

In April Springs, North Carolina, friends Donut Hearts owner Suzanne Hart and town blacksmith James Settle are arguing. However, soon afterward someone stabs and kills James while the sun was up out in the open. Another shop owner Gabby Williams tells the police that she saw Suzanne fighting with James just before he died.

Police Chief Martin leads the investigation though he believes Suzanne is not the killer though many townsfolk do. Knowing her reputation and business are on the line, Suzanne and her BFF Grace Gauge begin their own inquiry especially wondering why no witnesses in a daylight public stabbing had come forth. They soon learn the victim was a wealthy heir and had issues with his ex-girlfriend.

The latest Donut Shop Mystery is an engaging amateur sleuth as the intrepid dynamic duo investigates who murdered their friend. This time suspicion rotates back to Suzanne who shared the prime suspect role in Killer Crullers and had the lead in Fatally Frosted; Grace was the suspect in Powdered Peril; the heroine’s mom Dorothy in Drop Dead Chocolate; and ex-husband Max in Sinister Sprinkles. Readers will enjoy this entertaining regional culinary cozy as Suzanne knows it is her turn for her neighbors to wonder and gossip about whether she killed the blacksmith.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Beach House No. 9-Christie Ridgway

Beach House No. 9

Christie Ridgway

Harlequin HQN, Jan 29 2013, $7.99

ISBN 9780373777402

Frank the agent hires editor Jane Pearson to help former imbedded Afghanistan War journalist Griffin Lowell complete his memoir of one year with the troops as the reporter is way behind schedule. He ignores her calls so needing the job after severing ties with a best-selling client, Jane travels to Crescent Cove, California to accost Griffin on person. She expects to see an alcoholic brooding recluse, but instead at his Beach House No. 9 cabana she finds an alcoholic “party central” womanizer.

Griffin tells the nuisance “Librarian” to leave as he insists he needs no help especially from a comma momma. She ignores him and moves into Beach House No. 8 and charms his dog Private to betray him and join her side. To drive the "Governess" away, Griffin invites his troubled sister and her brood to move into Beach House No. 8. Instead Jane moves into Beach House No. 9. Although each believes the other is a pest, they also share in common an attraction.

The first Crescent Cove contemporary romance is an enjoyable tale starring two individuals who are enemy combatants falling in love. The support cast especially his extended family and party goers like Ted and the diet cherry cola crowd enhances the well written storyline. However, it is the flashbacks to his year with the troops leading to Griffin’s PTSD ,making him feel shattered and causing his writer’s block that bring poignancy to a warm novel.

Harriet Klausner

Live And Let Love-Gina Robinson

Live And Let Love

Gina Robinson

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312542412

CIA agent Con Russo goes undercover in Orchard Bluff, Washington to obtain information on RIOT’s top assassin Rooster before he kills the enemy operative. However, Con has a major problem in the small town that could expose his identity to the Rooster. His wife Willow, who thought he died two years ago in an explosion in Ciudad when he was Jack Pierce, resides there. She is unaware that Rooster set the blast.

Though his face is radically different, Willow believes Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce as no one has his eyes, Spookie recognizes him, and her heart tells her so. Willow vows to learn the truth using seduction as a weapon of choice. Rooster begins to wonder if his friend Willow is right that Con Russo is her husband Jack Pierce. Not willing to take chances, Rooster plans to kill Con and Willow.

The latest Agent Ex espionage romance (see Diamonds Are Truly Forever) is an action-packed thriller with a unique triangle consisting of an assassin, a terrorist and a widow. The storyline deftly combines tension and jocularity in a fast-paced fun tale.

Harriet Klausner

A Breath Of Scandal-Elizabeth Essex

A Breath Of Scandal

Elizabeth Essex

St. Martin's, Dec 24 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250003805

In December 1814 in Sussex, Antigone Preston attends her Papa’s funeral but has no time to mourn his loss because on that same day her Mama informs her that she arranged for her to marry to wealthy Lord Aldridge who is three times her age. Refusing to be a sacrificial lamb, Antigone needs a scandal to turn Aldridge away from her. At a gala, she punches and knocks down Aldridge for all to see. Her reputation is shattered.

At the same ballroom where Antigone let her fists do her talking, Navy Captain William Jellicoe enjoys her bodacious antics and is attracted to her. As this son of an earl and the female boxer become an entry, they scandalize London with their escapades.

The latest Reckless Brides Regency romance (see Almost a Scandal) is an entertaining historical due to the antics of the refreshing heroine. Fast-paced and amusing from the first punch until the final kiss, fans will enjoy A Breath Of Scandal.

Harriet Klausner

Rising Sun-Robert Conroy

Rising Sun

Robert Conroy

Baen, Dec 4 2012, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451638516

The attack on Pearl Harbor left America especially its Navy reeling in shock and dismay as much of the Pacific Fleet especially the vaunted battle ships were destroyed by the Japanese air assault. Still morale remains high fueled by a need for retaliation. In June 1942, anticipating a glorious victory the US Navy prepares to engage the enemy near Midway. However, before the prime sea battle, Japanese subs sink two American carriers (Enterprise and the Hornet) and their planes and crew. The Japanese Imperial Navy wins an overwhelming victory in the Battle of Midway.

Former assistant principal, Admiral Spruance’s staffer Lieutenant Tim Dane survives the sinking of the Enterprise. At a hospital in Hawaii he meets civilian Nurse Amanda Mallard who is helping him recover from his injuries. Meanwhile the United States struggles to rebound from this pivotal defeat. The Japanese Army invade Alaska and the Navy blockades Hawaii. Admiral Yamamoto, who told the Emperor Japan cannot win the war, orders constant bombing of the American West Coast cities to try to end the hostilities by bringing the fighting to civilians, further crippling morale. As America fights back; Spruance adopts Dane proposal to fully take the war to Japan while the FBI investigates alleged enemy activity inside the country.

The latest Robert Conroy engaging alternative WWII military thriller (see Himmler's War) focuses on changing the outcome of a pivotal point due to an unfortunate plausible happenchance (if you are the Americans) at the Battle of Midway. However, the overarching premise feels similar to 1942 although that novel used Pearl Harbor as the change agent. Still readers will appreciate Rising Sun as Mr. Conroy brings his exciting version of the war.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 17, 2012

1356-Bernard Cornwell


Bernard Cornwell

Harper, Jan 8 2013, $20.99

ISBN: 9780061969676

The war between the English and French on France soil continues unabated. However, in 1356 as the hostile forces prepare for bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers, Black Friar Ferdinand allegedly steals La Malice from an old coffin. La Malice is the sword that Jesus ordered Peter to hide in the garden of Gethsemane and everyone wants Saint Peter’s blessed blade as the legend is the person yielding this sword will rule.

Pursuing Ferdinand is Avignon papal enforcer Father Calade and his hooded hawk. The Earl of Northampton orders his mercenary Sir Thomas “La Batard” Hookton and his band to find Saint Peter’s sword. Having just switched sides over payments due, Sir Thomas obeys the order leading his troop across France fighting his former allies, treacherous friends, and warlord hordes and duplicitous churchmen. At the same time major forces prepare for a bloody hand to hand combat at Poitiers with Sir Thomas and his mercenaries joining the deadly battle.

1356 continues the exciting epic medieval era escapades of Sir Thomas Hookton (see the Grail Quest: Archer's Tale, Vagabond and Heretic) as the pivotal battle of the Hundred Years War looms. Though the myriad of subplots never quite cohesively gel in spite of the various factions converging on Poitiers, historical fans especially of the Grail Quest series (though this is apparently a sidebar tale) will relish this deep at medieval combat with incredible bloody battle scenes as everyone wants to claim through la Malice that God supports their holy cause.

Harriet Klausner

Easter Bunny Murder-Leslie Meier

Easter Bunny Murder

Leslie Meier

Kensington, Jan 29 2013, $25.00

ISBN 9780758229359

Residents of Tinker’s Cove, Maine, enjoy the annual Easter egg hunt hosted by elderly Vivian Van Vorst at her Pine Point. Pennysaver reporter Lucy Stones loves to cover the fun event for the paper. However, when Lucy and other townsfolk arrive at Pine Point, they are shocked by the closed gates as no one can remember when the estate was not open for the gala. Before anyone can decide what to do next, as concern for the hostess rises; the Easter Bunny rushes out of the mansion staggering erratically towards the gates. To the horror of the witnesses especially the children he collapses before reaching it.

The Easter Bunny, VV’s grandson and heir Duff, dies before reaching the hospital. Lucy wonders if Duff was a murder victim or just died because his time ran out. She increasingly considers the death a homicide when she learns that VV recently became a recluse; as the vivacious town matriarch has always been outgoing. Though the cause has not been determined, Lucy thinks the only motive seems to be money as Diff was the heir.

The latest Lucy Stone mystery (see Chocolate Covered Murder and The Christmas Thief in A Winter Wonderland anthology) is an entertaining cozy. The heroine investigates though admits to herself Duff may have died of natural causes but the journalist remains vigilant in her inquiry as she knows her friend VV has been acting differently. The enjoyable storyline is fast-paced with a solid twist that turns the Easter Bunny Murder into an engaging family affair.

Harriet Klausner

The Forever Year-Lou Aronica

The Forever Year

Lou Aronica

Fiction Studio Books, Jan 8 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781936558360

At eighty-three, Mickey Sienna lives alone in his New Jersey home ever since his beloved wife Dorothy died a few years ago. Mickey’s four children worry about his living alone at his age, but do nothing until he doses off while making fried eggs, setting his kitchen on fire. The siblings discuss what to do. The three oldest want to move dad into assisted living while the youngest by twelve years Jesse wants his father to move in with him.

When threatened with the home, Mickey leaps at moving in with Jesse. The two men walk gingerly on eggshells as they struggle to find a middle ground and avoid a generation war. Mickey forces Jesse to bring his girlfriend Marina to him so he can meet her. He quickly realizes these two have a rare chance for a once in a lifetime love, but his son is a moron who thinks love eventually dies. Mickey relates the story of his one true love, not his spouse of fifty years though he loved her too. Will Jesse understand what he has before he loses it or is fatherly advice too late for a grown up son?

THE FOREVER YEARS is a reprint of a delightful family relationship drama with a wonderful romantic subplot. The story line is amusing yet poignant as Mickey struggles with his decreasing capacity and his adult children tussle with what is best for their beloved dad. Jesse is an enjoyable individual who is a mocking cynical Metro New Yorker (oxymoron?) as well as a nurturing person. Though Marina seems too perfect to be real, fans will appreciate Lou Aronica’s enchanting and beautiful contemporary tale.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 16, 2012

The Death of Bees-Lisa O'Donnell

The Death of Bees

Lisa O'Donnell

Harper, Jan 3 2013, $25.99

ISBN: 9780062209849

In Glasgow, fifteen year old Marnie Doyle comes home to find her father dead from suffocation inside the family house and her mother hung in the outdoor shed. Marnie tells her eleven year old sister Nelly. Neither wants foster care; so they agree to inter their negligent abusive parents Gene and Isabel in the yard and pretend the deceased are in Turkey until Marnie turns sixteen and can legally become her sibling’s guardian. Knowing the druggies that Gene and Isabel are, everyone including Mick the ice cream vender drug dealer demanding payment from their dad buys the temporary abandonment belief.

Their lonely gay neighbor Lennie the “pervert” pariah realizes what is going on and begins feeding and sheltering the sisters. Meanwhile Mick finds the passports of his two missing customers so he knows something is not right. When Lennie’s dog finds the buried bones, he reinters them in his yard. Finally the kids’ estranged maternal grandfather Robert T. MacDonald visits his offspring seeking redemption from his daughter for abandoning her twice but is nasty towards his grandchildren. As their plan unravels, Marnie and Nelly also navigate school.

The Death of Bees is a fascinating relationship drama starring two young victims of parental neglect and abuse. The intriguing storyline rotates perspective between Lennie and the sisters so that the audience receives a more rounded view of events. Although Nelly’s voice feels off key, readers who enjoy a gritty extended family Scottish street lit drama will appreciate redemption vs. abuse of two young sisters trying to shine brightly in a dark environs.

Harriet Klausner

Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard-Meesha Mink

Real Wifeys: Hustle Hard

Meesha Mink

Touchstone, Jan 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781451688979

Sophie “Suga” Alvarez and Daniel “Dane” Greenley met and fell in love while attending college. Though total opposites in outlook as she believed in hard work while he took the hustler’s route, they became an entry. A few years after their first meeting, they remain a couple, but Suga, a junior account executive is disappointed on the path of their relationship. She wants to drop the “Y” in her status by becoming his wife Sophie rather than his wifey Suga. However, she also refuses to marry her beloved until he ends his loan shark career by going straight.

Dane swears to his Suga he will go legit, but his vow proves too late when the couple is arrested and appear heading to prison; her only escape is betraying her Dane. Suga’s life is in turmoil, but more tsuris hammers her when she learns her father’s felonious secrets and their impact on her relationship with BFF Luscious; and decides to run Dane’s business.

The latest Real Wifey street lit is an exciting fast-paced urban noir as the wifey tries to prove a chip off the old man’s block by taking control of her mate’s loan shark operation. Although the overall premise is similar to the previous Lucious entries (see Real Wifeys: Get Money and Real Wifeys: On The Grind), Suga brings freshness with her seemingly off the streets’ outlook. Fans will enjoy this gritty tale of an urban wifey turning cement jungle warrior.

Harriet Klausner

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night-Heather Graham

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night

Heather Graham

Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885619

Musician Rhiannon Gryffald relocates to Los Angeles as the new Keeper of Southern California; a tough place to enforce peace amidst the Others and the human species as Hollywood is loaded with performers. Her first major assignment as the Keeper to the stars is serial murders in which the evidence points towards a rogue vampire. Her investigation leads to Elven police detective Brodie Mac who is undercover as an actor on a show working the same case.

Rhiannon and Brodie agree to work the case together. They soon connect the victims to Brodie’s show. Believing they know the predator personally though not the identity of whom he/she is as the culprit remains hidden in plain sight; the pair tries to focus on ending the homicides though their attraction makes concentration on the killer difficult.

The first of a new Keepers series (future tales by Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff) is an entertaining entry as the Los Angeles paranormal realm seems genuine with Brodie as an Elven cop anchoring the realism. The whodunit is cleverly designed as a combo matchmaker and Hollywood Homicide inquiry as the protagonists know they must solve the case quickly (with timeouts for kisses) without revealing the truth of the Others residing among the humans. Readers will enjoy Heather Graham’s tour of the SOCAL night life.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Two Week Wait-Sarah Rayner

The Two Week Wait

Sarah Rayner

St. Martin’s Griffin, Dec 24 2012, $15.99

ISBN: 9781250021489

In Brighton, Lou and Sofia are a happy couple residing in the B&B owned by the former’s mother. Lately Lou has had bladder issues so she accompanied by her partner go for tests where she learns she has a large fibroid cyst on her womb. Lou undergoes surgery to have the nonmalignant tumor removed.

In Yorkshire, Cath survived a cancer scare but at the cost of becoming infertile. She wants desperately to give her caring husband Rich an offspring. Investigating alternatives Cath thinks the costly egg sharing procedure is the best choice though there is no guarantee of success; as the child will have Rich’s DNA and that of another female.

Lou wants to be a mother too though Sofia detests the idea of raising a child. Investigating options, Lou believes the egg sharing concept is the way to go as she could share motherhood with another woman. Soon the dreams of Lou and Cath will converge.

The Two Week Wait is a fascinating look at how individuals share the same life-changing desires though seemingly polar opposites (especially when it comes to their respective sexual orientation); Cath and Lou share the same dream of motherhood. Although the character driven storyline can slow down at times due to the deep look at the emotions of the lead two women, fans will respect both females (and Sarah Rayner) while relishing their angst-laden efforts to become mothers.

Harriet Klausner

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night-Heather Graham

The Keepers: L.A. - Keeper of the Night

Heather Graham

Harlequin Nocturne, Dec 18 2012, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885619

Musician Rhiannon Gryffald relocates to Los Angeles as the new Keeper of Southern California; a tough place to enforce peace amidst the Others and the human species as Hollywood is loaded with performers. Her first major assignment as the Keeper to the stars is serial murders in which the evidence points towards a rogue vampire. Her investigation leads to Elven police detective Brodie Mac who is undercover as an actor on a show working the same case.

Rhiannon and Brodie agree to work the case together. They soon connect the victims to Brodie’s show. Believing they know the predator personally though not the identity of whom he/she is as the culprit remains hidden in plain sight; the pair tries to focus on ending the homicides though their attraction makes concentration on the killer difficult.

The first of a new Keepers series (future tales by Harley Jane Kozak and Alexandra Sokoloff) is an entertaining entry as the Los Angeles paranormal realm seems genuine with Brodie as an Elven cop anchoring the realism. The whodunit is cleverly designed as a combo matchmaker and Hollywood Homicide inquiry as the protagonists know they must solve the case quickly (with timeouts for kisses) without revealing the truth of the Others residing among the humans. Readers will enjoy Heather Graham’s tour of the SOCAL night life.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 14, 2012

Chojun-Goran Powell


Goran Powell

Ymaa Publication Center, Dec 16 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781594392535

Now retired from his job at the harbor, Kenichi Ota reflects back on the life of the late great karate Master Chojun Miyagi who died back in 1953 in his sixties. Kenichi recalls meeting the great man in 1933 when as a foolish young boy growing up on Okinawa he was caught in the tidal waves of a typhoon. Over the next few years Kenichi studied karate under the tutelage of his master Chojun as cold war hostilities between America and Japan grew until Pearl Harbor began the combat. The pair traveled together to China to study the essence of karate while WWII slowly turns against the Japanese. As the American military head to Okinawa to begin the invasion, the Japanese army drafts every able person to defend the island. Following the ignoble defeat, Master and Student must help their fellow Okinawans rebuild. Eight years later, the student begins to consider ways to save the reputation of a great man, teacher and friend.

Chojun is a refreshing WWII biographical fiction from the point of view of a karate student providing insight into the martial arts and the devastation of the war on his island through Kenichi’s filter of his beloved Master. The karate fights are top rate and the lead protagonists seem fully developed caring individuals. However, it is Okinawa during and after the war that makes for a powerful historical thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Dukkha: The Suffering-Loren Christensen

Dukkha: The Suffering

Loren Christensen

Ymaa Publication Center, Dec 16 2012, $12.99

ISBN: 9781594392269

Portland Police Detective Sam Reed has been a cop for fifteen years but uses lethal force for the first time. A highly regarded martial arts instructor Sam is shook by his having to use his gun though the brass determined he performed an acceptable "good shoot." Still hurting, the department psychiatrist approves Sam to return to his duty. However, his karma proves horrific when within a few days of his return to active duty; he uses his gun again killing a perpetrator and a young innocent bystander. Looking at the blood that splattered all over him Sam mentally is shattered; made worse later is when he learns the dead man whose blood was soaked all over him and his marital arts wounds suffered from AIDS. His kill’s family wants Sam dead.

Samuel visits Sam saying he is his father. Sam insists his dad died in a North Vietnamese prison camp many years ago. A martial arts expert, Samuel explains he has a Vietnamese family with his daughter Mai graduating from Portland State University.

The first Sam Reed martial arts thriller is an exhilarating tale in which violence begat violence as father and son find their reunion intruded by several avenging individuals targeting both men; fighting becomes a family affair. Fast-paced and filled with non-stop action (no respite for the Sam duet or the readers) though over top of Mount Hood, fans will enjoy this exciting Oregonian tale.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Cove-Ron Rash

The Cove

Ron Rash

Ecco/HarperCollins, Nov 6 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9780061804205

The Cove lies near the Appalachian North Carolina village of Mars Hill. The villagers fear the Cove as a home for ghosts and fetches. Living near the Cove on the same farm where they grew up are the Shelton siblings. Due to a birthmark, locals ostracize Laurel as a witch who they believe belongs with the shadows of the Cove while her brother Hank has just returned from the front minus a hand. Thus working their family farm is almost impossible as no one will accept a job on land where Laurel Shelton resides.

While at the creek doing laundry, Laurel finds a severely injured Walter Smith, who suffered massive hornet stings. She heals the mute flutist and soon nurse and patient fall in love. At the same time, Army recruiter Chauncey Feith decides Walter is a dangerous adversary working for the Kaiser. An ultra-patriot, Chauncey, emboldened by alcohol, decides to take matters into his hand and eliminate the enemy threat to Mars Hill.

This late WWI drama is a deep atmospheric thriller that warns readers to beware of patriots who claim the flag belongs only to them and those who think the same way as they do. Anyone with a differing opinion is a traitor (mindful of Iraq circa 2003 with Congressional Representatives Ney and Jones changing House cafeterias’ French fries to freedom fries). The Shelton pair and Smith are fascinating fully developed characters while the townsfolk represent uneducated superstitious rural folks; with Feith over the top of Mount Mitchell as a super-patriot flag waiving stereotype. Readers will enjoy Ton Rash’s strong look at the home front during WWI.

Harriet Klausner

Indigo Awakening-Jordan Dane

Indigo Awakening

Jordan Dane

Harlequin Teen, Dec 18 2012, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210763

In Los Angeles, Mia arrives at the apartment of her younger emancipated seventeen year old sister Rayne with a cop demanding her sibling hand over their brother Lucas. Mia insists Lucas is sick and needs drugs while Rayne believes Mia’s Church of Believers hunt people like her sibling.

The meds have finally left his body so that Lucas can hear the voices and the music that was muted too long. He vanishes into the Sunset Boulevard area after cautioning Rayne not to look for him as she would place herself in danger from the Believers who hunt the "Indigo" teens like Lucas. Rayne rejects her troubled brother’s warning as she searches for him on the mean streets of the city. There she meets mysterious loner Gabriel Stewart, who she feels compelled to protect though he frightens her; she scares him with her belief that deep down he cares and worse how much he wants to protect her. Reluctantly Gabe assists Rayne in her quest while the Believers stalk them.

The first Hunted teen romantic fantasy is a great thriller as Jordan Dane makes her world if special power teens and a Church hunting them down seem believable in an X-Men way. The lead characters and Lucas seem genuine, but it is the fanatics (though somewhat stereotyped) like Mia who make the tale work as they recognize what the Indigo mean to the present dominant species.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Forever a Lord-Delilah Marvelle

Forever a Lord

Delilah Marvelle

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 978-0373777310

In 1800, the Venetian tells his ten year old prisoner Nathanial Atwood that the lad’s father ignored the kidnapper’s demand. The angry man calmly tells the lad he cannot deal with Atwood’s sister Auggie or their mama as that would be a hanging offense and that he is no murderer. Five years later the Venetian freed Nathaniel who remains in New York.

In 1820, Coleman, a top bare knuckle fighter, answers a notice in the paper for information on a missing Nathanial Atwood. He goes to see the Duke of Wentworth and his son Lord Yardley at the Adelphi where he learns the older man is his brother-in-law and the younger his nephew as they seek to honor their beloved late Auggie by finding her lost brother; a quest they have tried to achieve for years. Coleman says Atwood died, but Yardley says he owes it to their respective moms to come home.

Nineteen year old Lady Imogene Norwood attends her first Season expecting no matches due to her stutter and lack of confidence having been ill. Her assumption changes when she meets brawling angry Lord Atwood whose return to London has one objective to destroy his father. All bets are off when Imogene wants to sponsor him as a bare knuckle fighter so she can help her brother. To persuade Atwood, she offers a marriage of convenience.

The third Rumor historical romance (See Forever and a Day, and Forever a Lady) is a terrific refreshing tale that provides a unique reason for a marriage of convenience and Coleman’s stunning story as a Forever a Lord fighter. Rotating perspective will have readers enjoying this strong nineteenth century thriller as well as the previous entries.

Harriet Klausner

Highlander Claimed-Juliette Miller

Highlander Claimed

Juliette Miller

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777594

Lord Ogilvie sexually assaults Roses claiming her mom escaped him with death but she would not. As she struggles to escape, he rips her clothing but stops abruptly when he sees the small tattoo previously hidden by her garb. Ogilvie questions her where she got it, but she tells him nothing to protect the healer who saved her life when as a child she was dying from measles. Roses stabs her attacker and flees to nearby Clan Mackenzie as the first stop before vanishing into the Highlands as an outcast.

Wilkie Mackenzie finds Roses and knows he wants her as his forever. However, his older brother clan chieftain has arranged a political alliance through Wilkie marrying the daughter of an ally. While Wilkie struggles between his love of Roses and his clan, she fears her unknown heritage will destroy her beloved Warrior. So Roses flees again only to be caught by Ogilvie who knows who she is having seen the tattoo while her warrior pursues his Angel.

The first Clan Mackenzie historical romance is an exciting Highlander thriller as clans battle to claim the mysterious female as theirs; and assassins kill to keep secrets hidden. Fast-paced but driven by the Angel, the Warrior and the odious, sub-genre fans will appreciate Highlander Claimed.

Harriet Klausner

Home by Dark-Marta Perry

Home by Dark

Marta Perry

Harlequin HQN, Dec 18 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780373777358

Almost a decade has passed since Rachel Mason eloped to marry Ronnie over the objections of her Amish family and community. She never returned to home in Deer Run until now. Now a widow, Rachel, accompanied by her nine year old daughter Mandi, comes home to face communal ostracizing as no one including her Daad and Maam welcome her or her child except for her fourteen year old brother Benjamin Weaver.

Her late husband’s BFF Colin McDonald knows he owes Rachel for failing to be there for his deceased buddy though he believes she will not welcome him. However, a troubled Benjamin tells his sister and Colin a secret that haunts the teen and makes him a target of the killer. The estranged pair unites to keep Benjamin safe.

The first Watcher in the Dark is a taut romantic suspense starring a brave heroine who though a pariah within her family will do anything to keep her child and brother safe. The key to this strong Amish thriller is the family and romance subplots support the suspense as the danger remains the prime focus. Readers will enjoy Home By Dark as a clever predator implements his plans for Deer Run.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Scent of Magic-Maria V. Snyder

Scent of Magic

Maria V. Snyder

Mira, Dec 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780778314189

Everyone believes that the last known healer Avry of Kazan is dead after saving the life of King Tohon’s strongest adversary Prince Ryne from the plague that devastated the Fifteen Realms (see Touch of Power). However, she and Kerrick of Alga, who saved her life when her villagers decided to execute her, go on separate missions though both share the BHAG of preventing evil Tohon from ruling in terror over the Fifteen Realms.

In disguise as she knows there are plenty of people who want her dead starting with General Jael, Avry joins the forces of Tohon’s enemy High Priestess Estrid as a troop instructor in silent movements; unaware that Tohon has created new invincible soldiers who are already dead. She also plans to reconcile with her sister who is on Jael’s staff.

Prince Ryne sends Kerrick to the wilds north of Alga to investigate whether the barbarians are invading his realm as rumored. A pact signing with Tohon by his brother leaves a stunned Kerrick left with too small a force to repel the invading northerners; let alone protect his Alga Realm from the duplicitous ruler.

The second Healer fantasy is a strong thriller with plenty of military and political intrigue. The Snyder Realm feels real partly because the romance between Avry and Kerrick remains muted as the focus is on the seemingly upcoming war; for the most part they are apart. The storyline is fast-paced switching subplots (and locals) at times to abruptly, but fans will relish the further adventures of Kerrick and Avry as they battle the malevolent minion of Tohon the terrible.

Harriet Klausner

Enchanted Ever After-Robin D. Owens

Enchanted Ever After

Robin D. Owens

Luna/Harlequin, Dec 18 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780373803477

In Denver, Kiri Palger loves online gaming though her job of the last two years at a national computer firm has left her drained of more energy than losing at Fairies and Dragons. Needing to unkink after a long day on her butt at the office, Kiri takes a walk in Mystic Circle where she lives. A man with a runner’s physique accosts her saying he is from Eight Corps, Human Resources, parent company of Fairies and Dragons where she hopes to work at one day. He refers to her neighbor Jennie Weaver as a reference, but calls her Jindesfarne Mistweaver Emberdrake (see Enchanted No More). When he floats his business card to her, a frightened Kiri rushes home while hybrid Lightfolk Lathyr Tricurrent watches her retreat.

At a neighborhood party that Lathyr attends, Jennie hires Kiri to work on a new game. As she spends time with Lathyr, Kiri works on the new project while she finds herself obtaining mystical new powers. Soon she and Lathyr are on a magical quest as Kiri “tests” in real life the game she is helping to create.

The third Mystic Circle romantic fantasy (see Enchanted Again) is a fun entertaining thriller as the real and virtual worlds merge. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Kiri’s lighthearted romp as she must choose between magically in love or ennui in the mundane.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, December 10, 2012

The Silence of the Llamas-Anne Canadeo

The Silence of the Llamas

Anne Canadeo

Gallery, Jan 22 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9781451644791

Married a few years, Bostonians Ellie and Ben Krueger leave successful careers to open up the Laughing Llama Farm just outside a New England coastal village, Plum Harbor. They host a grand opening fiber festival to introduce their llamas to their neighbors. However, someone maliciously attacks the llamas with a paintball gun. Black Sheep Knitting Shop assistant Phoebe Myers sees the effect on the llamas and brings help, but not before Buttercup suffers a head trauma and seizure. The Krueger tenant Dot takes charge with washing the paint off the llamas as they were becoming sick from the toxin on their skin.

Ben blames reclusive nutcase Justin Ridley, who expects the newcomers to flip the property to developers once the legal date to sell occurs. Black Sheep Knitting Shop owner Maggie Messina suspects Angelica Rossi, as the vandal since the owner of the alpaca fiber Sweet Meadow Farm has been spreading negative rumors about llama fiber. The culprit stabs to death sweet llama Daphne followed by the homicide of Ridley. As the Black Sheep knitters investigate the murders, the killer remains hidden in plain sight like a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

The latest Black Sheep Knitting Mystery (see Till Death Do Us Purl) is an enjoyable amateur sleuth mystery with the members investigating because of the friendship between Dana and Ellie (reunited thanks to Facebook); the other Knitters welcome the newcomer as a kindred spirit. The storyline is fast-paced from the first assault until the final confrontation with two fabulous twists while also providing insight into fiber spinning. Although the knitters’ reason to make inquiries remains soft in spite of the friendship and love of animals, fans will appreciate The Silence of the Llamas.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, December 9, 2012

A new series from Harlequin

It is called

The One That Got Away

Kelly Hunter

 KISS and it is great Anyone one interested should read the review on this blog

A Home Called Your Own: A Journey Across Six Generations-Steve Hanna

A Home Called Your Own: A Journey Across Six Generations

Steve Hanna

Riverview Press, Nov 13 2012, $15.00

ISBN: 9780985740399

In one week, Steve Hanna was to leave Baker City, Oregon to attend school as an exchange student in Madrid. His dad tells him, his younger brother and their mom the story of their ancestors the Belohlavy family who sent one member married Vaclav, who left behind his pregnant wife, from Nepomuk, Bohemia to American over a hundred-twenty five years ago. Vaclav did send for his wife and during WWII, Great Uncle Leonard tried to visit them but was shot by Nazis. Now dad wants his oldest son to fulfill the Pact by visiting the Bohemian descendants. Steve prefers to enjoy Spain, Morocco and Europe, but not visit in a remote village in the Czech Republic to fulfill the family Pact handed down through generations. He ignores the Pact at first, but eventually seeks his roots.

This is an intriguing memoir that has at its heart the captivating late nineteenth century Pact though most of Mr. Hanna’s European adventure has nothing to do with the family odyssey. Still his time in Spain and elsewhere is interesting (especially to students and parents) as he showcases the good, the bad and the ugly of being an exchange student in a foreign land. However, it is the Pact that makes this a fascinating read.

Harriet Klausner

The One That Got Away-Kelly Hunter

The One That Got Away

Kelly Hunter

Harlequin KISS, Jan 22 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373207008

In Sydney, business partners Max Carmichael the architect and Evie Jones the engineer forged a good working relationship when they created MEP (Max and Evangeline Partnership). Max asks Evie to marry him so he can access his fifty million dollar trust fund two years earlier than if he remains single though he admits they do not love each other and will divorce once he no longer needs marriage. He tells her that way they can have the ten million they need for this project. After negotiating stipulations, she agrees.

Max sends a cell phone picture of his fiancée to his older half-brother Logan Black and their mom. Logan feels like his stomach was pounded as this Evie looks like the Lena who he shared the greatest kinkiest week of his life over a decade ago. Evie and Max travel to Melbourne to meet his family. When Max introduces Evie to Logan, both are stunned but go through the motions of a first encounter to fool his family. She knows he was the one but he wanted more than she could give and offered nothing except incredible sex in return. Now Logan wants Evie gone as she is the only person who ever wiggled inside his heart while she remembers the sex was heavenly but they had nothing else.

The first KISS romance is a great Australian second chance at love contemporary starring two fascinating protagonists and a solid support family. Both leads possess strong personalities as they go through phases of the Kübler-Ross model re their original break-up (denial; anger; bargaining; depression; and acceptance) though accepting their love may not be enough for this couple. Kelly Hunter provides a powerful opening act.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story-Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

Saving Each Other: A Mother-Daughter Love Story

Victoria Jackson and Ali Guthy

Vanguard Press, Oct 16 2012, $25.99

ISBN: 9781593157333

In 2008 Ali Guthy complained to her parents that her eyes hurt. Her mom, cosmetic giant Victoria Jackson took her to the doctor where they learned the daughter suffered from incurable Neuromyeltis Optica (NMO), a rare disease that has struck 20,000 people around the world. With the full support of her husband infomercial marketing guru Bill Guthy and their two sons, Victoria, applying her business model, began a campaign with one goal: save the life of Ali. Knowing her family loves her and her them, Ali tries to keep their morale up with a Pollyanna attitude.

Saving Each Other is an inspirational memoir that mostly focuses on a Mother-Daughter Love Story, but also to a lesser degree on the supportive love by the three males as this family bonded into a caring cohesive team in reaction to something bad happening to one of them. To their credit mother and daughter may have customized their anguish as the only sufferers in the world, but soon realized there are others out there so formed a foundation to help each other, their family and others. Though it affirms that affluence and influence considerably helps, this is a well written memoir as saving Ali becomes the prime obsession of her family especially her mother who switches immediately "From Mascara to Medicine.”

Harriet Klausner

Firebrand-Gillian Philip


Gillian Philip

Strident Publishing, Aug 13 2010, $8.40

ISBN: 9781905537198

The Veil separates the world of humans from that of the Sithe. Because of the radical different life spans, the underlying philosophies of the two species are polar opposites. The humans’ strongest value is fear of anything odd or new as change threatens their possessions even those with nothing. On the other hand the Sithe’s most significant value is trust of one another regardless of station as ages of living together require belief that those in your community have your back.

The unthinkable happens when Sithe Queen Kate NicNiven has plans to destroy the Veil and subjugate the humans under her rule. To do this she must eliminate her most powerful opponent Lord Griogair MacGregor. When Griogair is assassinated, his two sons (Seth and Conal) flee to the mortal realm. They vow to return one day to claim their inheritance, but first the siblings must avoid the human witch-hunt at a time when Restoration divisive fervor has savage Scotland in a deadly turmoil.

This is a strong historical fantasy in which two mythical siblings struggle to survive as strangers in a strange hostile land. The key to this engaging storyline is that the Sithe society seems genuine with its construction built from the premise of the species’ longevity. The plot accelerates once the brothers cross the Veil and find themselves held in suspicion by just about everyone while stalked by cleansing fanatics on both sides of the restoration fight. Readers will appreciate the first Rebel Angels thriller wondering why the Queen wants to conquer the pathetic race on the other side of the Veil.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Lawyer's Lawyer-James Sheehan

The Lawyer's Lawyer

James Sheehan

Center Street, Jan 8 2013, $22.99

ISBN: 9781455508662

In 1993, University of North Central Florida at Oakville student Stacey Kincaid claims a man tried to kill her. She works with local and county detectives especially Danni Jansen of OPD and the FBI to draw a sketch of her attacker. Soon afterward the police arrest Thomas Felton. Not long after that Felton is convicted as a serial killer who eight years later sits on death row awaiting execution once his appeals end for murders he swears he did not commit.

To defend him, Felton supporters turn to retired Miami trial attorney Jack Tobin because the latter is considered the “lawyer’s lawyer” by the best of the profession when they need legal representation. He looks into the case and finds odd anomalies that make him wonder if Felton is a fall guy. Tobin decides to leave Bass Creek to represent Felton in court. However, Robin is unprepared for the brouhaha of rage against him by the jurisprudence system as if justice is an inconvenience. The citizens of Oakville threaten him and even his soul mate condemns him though she has a personal interest in this case; while the lawyer’s lawyer soon finds he needs a lawyer.

The latest Jack Tobin legal thriller (see The Mayor of Lexington Avenue and The Law of Second Chances) is a great tale filled with stunning twists in and out of courtroom. The storyline is fast-paced from start to finish, but it is the cast who make this a winner as many of those in law enforcement and the legal system are angered with Tobin for mounting a competent defense when almost all of them prefer the State execute Felton.

Harriet Klausner

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady-Tiffany Clare

Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady

Tiffany Clare

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

ISBN: 9781250008022

In 1846 three rakes (an earl, a marquess and a duke) attend the funeral of the abusive Earl of Fallon. Thus Leoniadas, Tristan and Hayden show up not out of friendship to the deceased, but as a show of support to the SOB’s financially broke widow Lady Jezebel. Jez asks the rogues for a favor as she wants them to prevent a marriage between the abusive next Fallon and the naive Lady Charlotte Lindsay as she does not wish the innocent to end up like she did. Willing to do anything for their friend, each knows the best plan to thwart unholy matrimony is to compromise the daughter of Lord Ponsley.

Four years ago Leo Harrow deserted his beloved Genevieve Camden. Since he dumped her, she swore off marriage and love while accepting the role of poor relation. Her uncle demands Genny act with propriety especially while chaperoning her cousin Charlotte or face the street. Leo and Genny see each other across a ballroom; plans are shattered as the pair only has eyes for each other but she distrusts her beloved who broke her heart.

The first Dangerous Rogues Victorian romance is an entertaining second chance at love historical with a strong lead couple and a solid support cast who add depth to this storyline and appears to set up the future entries. Fast-paced, fans will enjoy Wicked Nights With A Proper Lady while wondering who will pair up in the future tales while hopefully also clarifying the mystery of the enigmatic Dowager Jez.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Kalimpura-Jay Lake


Jay Lake

Tor, Jan 29 2013, $27.99

ISBN 9780765326775

In Copper Downs, sixteen year old Green realizes her pregnancy especially the last month was a dull affair having been a courtesan, an assassin, a God creator and the killer of an Immortal. Breaking custom by delaying the naming ceremony for one week after giving birth to twins, Green and the sire of her babies Speto complete the rite praying for a long life under the protection of Endurance for their children Marya and Federo.

Feeling guilty for the changes she wrought to her friends in Copper Downs, Green feels strongly she must sail across the Storm Sea to Kalimpura in search of the kidnapped child of Ilona stolen by Bittern Court diplomats (see Endurance). However, she knows the voyage is too dangerous for her babies but fears leaving them behind as they will be vulnerable to the Copper Downs’ deities who would claim them (and her) as theirs or sacrifice them and even distrusts Ilona to keep them safe. Making matters more difficult for her is Green knows the Kalimpura Gods and the Bittern Court likewise demand the blood of her and her newborns.

Green’s latest awesome adventures showcase how far she has come since Endurance as she returns to Kalimpura, the Bittern Court and the Lily Goddess in search of the abducted child. The storyline is much more reflective (and consequently less action) than in Green and Endurance (even with the latter's overly long soliloquys). Fans will enjoy the heroine’s struggle to keep her twins safe and keep a promise to Ilona but must breach yet avoid capture by the Bittern Court who she knows has plans for the slayer of the Immortal Duke.

Harriet Klausner

Scrapped-Mollie Cox Bryan


Mollie Cox Bryan

Kensington, Dec 31 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780758266323

Mike and Annie Chemovitz agreed she would quit her investigative reporter job at the Washington Herald to become a stay at home mom to their two sons Ben and Sam. The Chemovitz quartet relocated to Cumberland Creek, Virginia where she becomes a Cropper of the Cumberland Creek Scrapbook Club and she still free-lances occasionally for the paper as she did with the Maggie Rae Dasher death (see Scrapbook of Secrets).

The police drag a corpse out of the Cumberland Creek River. Detective Brant points out to Annie that the deceased had strange markings on her body. Meanwhile Cookie Crandall the witch joins the scrapbookers’ club though she insists she lacks any experiences; she quickly becomes friends with the members. Another homicide with runes on the body occurs. When Brant names Cookie as the only suspect due to the arcane markings and her being a witch, Annie supported by the Croppers investigate. However, every clue they dig up leads to digging a bigger hole for Cookie; especially when they find an advanced-level, elaborately decorative spiritual scrapbook that a rookie could never have done.

The latest Cumberland Creek Mystery is an enjoyable whodunit starring a strong protagonist (Annie’s reaction to the first corpse sets the tone for the storyline). Fast-paced, readers will wonder who Cookie is and why she is in town in Mollie Cox Bryan's entertaining investigative tale.

Harriet Klausner

Death Goes Postal-Rosemary and Larry Mild

Death Goes Postal

Rosemary and Larry Mild

Magic Island Literary Works, Aug 13 2012, $14.95

ISBN: 9780983859710

In 2004 in Bath, England, Professor Emil Kravitz believes the “old mule” is in his way. Kravitz wants the Herr Koenig's fifteenth century typesetting molds. He visits Professor Abner Fraume to demand the octogenarian hand them over to him, but the old mule refuses; having hid the valuable relics and sent three letters to his sister Edythe Bender in the States as to there whereabouts. Raging out of control Kravitz kills the man standing in his way.

In Annapolis, Maryland Edythe and her husband are ailing so they need to sell their Olde Victorian Bookstore, but refuse to do it to just anyone. They want someone who appreciates old books and will treat the bookstore’s live-in cat Lord Byron with kindness; so she choose their friends Dan and Rivka Sherman. At a book event, employee Liz Nathan mentions the letters, which apparently lead to a break-in and the kidnapping of Rivka; as one of the attendees must be obsessed Kravitz.

Death Goes Postal is a terrific bookstore mystery that is ironically made fresh by the six centuries old typesetting artifacts. The whodunit is fun to follow as readers, Dan and the Feds believe Kravitz is behind the dangerous crimes, but do not know who in the mystery writer’s club he is (though you would think that would be relatively easy to find out). Fans will appreciate this engaging whodunit as the infant days of printing meets the on demand digital age.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wild About You-Kerrelyn Sparks

Wild About You

Kerrelyn Sparks

Avon, Nov 27 2012, $7.99

ISBN: 9780062107718

Head of security for Romatech Angus McKay notes Howard Barr the were-bear is missing in Alaska. Five year old Constantine Dragonesti says Howard has videos he conceals from everyone that reveals he has a crush on Amazon Elsa Bjornberg of the International Home Wreckers TV Show.

In Alaska Howard looks over the cliff where his human girlfriend Carly was murdered by Rhett Bledlyn twenty years ago. Howard was exiled for killing Bledlyn in order to keep the werewolves from overwhelming the much smaller were-bear population; but recently he learned Rhett lives so he came home. With allies, he deploys operation three little pigs destroying two of Rhett’s houses and distributing his illegal offshore money to his enemies, endangered villages and charities.

Elsa will work with Howard to renovate a house.. When Howard’s hand touches Elsa’s shoulder birthmark, both burn. Stunned she tells her Aunt Greta that the curse was activated. Greta and Aunt Ula arrive to protect their niece from Howard the berserker. Howard and Elsa discuss family curses as his family lives if the guardian of the forest dies; while the guardian lives if the berserkers die. Soon weres, vampires and guardians will converge on the Adirondacks.

The latest Love at Stake romantic urban fantasy (see Wanted: Undead or Alive) builds off the deft comingled curses turning the strong lead couple into star-crossed lovers. The good, the bad and the misinformed support cast enhances the engaging storyline. Although the confrontation seems weak, readers will enjoy the twisted love story of Howard the bear and his amazon.

Harriet Klausner

Imager's Battalion-L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Imager's Battalion

L.E. Modesitt Jr.

Tor, Jan 22 2013, $27.99

ISBN: 9780765332837

Quaeryt’s brother-in-law, the ruler of Telaryn Lord Bhayar, names him subcommander in the army that is about to punish Bovaria for its recent annexation invasion of their kingdom as part of an effort to unite the five squabbling nations into what it once was as Lydar. Realizing the opportunity to prove the value of imagers like him, Quaeryt logically plans to display leadership, courage, worthiness and loyalty when he takes his unit into combat so that he and his peers become accepted by society as heroic rather than the pariahs they currently are.

However, Quaeryt’s obsession costs the lives of many of his troops in battle yet accomplish little in terms of acceptance. Even with the heroics performed by him and his soldiers, the anti-Imager adversaries at Lord Bhayar’s court and in the military continue their unrelenting assault on Quaeryt and his Imager peers.

The latest Imager Portfolio fantasy (see Princeps and Scholar) is a fascinating tale as brilliant Quaeryt learns that his rational thinking does not mean others will do likewise regardless of what he and his unit achieve. Though there is limited action considering this is a military thriller, series fans still will enjoy the thought provoking concepts generated mostly by a hero with a deep need to belong.

Harriet Klausner

Truancy City-Isamu Fukui

Truancy City

Isamu Fukui

Tor Teen, Nov 13 2012, $19.99

ISBN: 9780765322630

The City continues to be divided between the tyrannical Educators and the rebellious Truants. Neither side is prepared to end the conflict as Educators backed by their deadly Enforcers refuse to give up the power of centrally controlling what is learned; while many of the Truants believe the only way to obtain the freedom to think is to overthrow the ruling oligopoly through bloodshed. Thus the Educators and the Truants share in common a dogma that they are totally right and their enemy totally wrong.

While in-fighting continues unabated with the adversaries entrenched, a third party sees an opportunity to take over the City. Unless the Educators and the Truants can unite against a common foe, both will be eliminated.

The third Truancy thriller (see Truancy and Truancy Origins) is an exciting climax that takes an external spin to Pink Floyd's "Another Brick in the Wall." Extremists on both sides reject comprise even with a new threat that endangers both groups. Character driven by reflective rotating leads among the ensemble cast, fans will appreciate this thought provoking tale wondering what will happen to the City.

Harriet Klausner

The K Street Affair-Mari Passananti

The K Street Affair

Mari Passananti

Rutland Square Press, Jan 8 2013, $15.99

58 West Rutland Square; Boston, Massachusetts 02118

ISBN: 9780985894603

Terrorists simultaneously attack several Washington, D. C. Metro stations in the worst assault on American soil since 9/11. While her husband cannot get home, FBI Agents Henry Redwell and Maxwell Van Buren visit Rutledge & Smerth junior associate lawyer Lena Mancuso at her house. The Feds demand Lena assist them prove their case against disgraced lobbyist William Acheson and her employer Q. Randolph Smerth who leads a team she is on defending the former in court. The agents insist the pair knew the terrorist attack was coming and want her to be their informant proving bribery and money laundering involving Smerth and his Clearwater clients Acheson, Russian oil baron Korov and future Saudi ruler Prince Aziz.

Though she insists Smerth is no terrorist abettor, she reluctantly agrees to help the Feds. However, Lena soon realizes the FBI is clueless as to how dangerous and humongous the international octopi of Lotus a “blocker company on steroids” truly are when it comes to profiting from tax free war.

The K Street Affair is a superb financial legal thriller starring a woman whose life is devastated when the Feds knock on her door to recruit her as an undercover operative. Lacking ambition as partnership is not a goal she wants to sacrifice her life for, Lena seems like a poor Hail Mary choice to save the country (and other nations) from a deadly global corporacy. Fans will enjoy this taut tale wondering whether this apparently average person has the guts to risk her life and those of her loved ones to prevent an insider takeover of the country when the impact on her would be insignificant at best.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Private London-James Patterson and Mark Pearson

Private London

James Patterson and Mark Pearson

Grand Central, Dec 4 2012, $14.99

ISBN: 9781455515554

In Southern California, Private International’s top gun Jack Morgan saved the life of Hannah Shapiro though she witnessed her mother’s assault. Shook by her near death experience, Hannah attends classes at Chancellors University in London. Her affluent father hires Private International to protect his daughter. Jack assigns Private London’s Dan Carter to keep her safe.

However, someone abducts Hannah to Dan’s chagrin. He desperately searches for her while his former wife Detective Inspector Kirsty Webb works on a case involving the serial kidnaping, rape and organ stealing of young healthy women in which Hannah may be in the queue for harvesting of her body parts.

The latest Private investigative thriller (see Private Berlin) is an engaging tale that is at its best when the focus is on saving Hannah though she seems more jinxed than Joe Btfspik of Li’l Abner fame. When the plot goes internationally big, it loses plausibility especially trying to merge the ex-spouses’ respective inquiries into one. Still fans will enjoy touring England with Private London as our guide.

Harriet Klausner

Cover of Snow-Jenny Milchman

Cover of Snow

Jenny Milchman

Ballantine, Jan 15 2013, $26.00

ISBN 9780345534217

In Wedeskyull, New York, owner of the Phoenix house restoration business Nora and police officer Brendan Hamilton are happily married. Deeply in love, she awakens to find him hanging by an old rope from the ceiling. Officials rule it suicide which his mother Eileen accepts without a second thought.

However, Nora rejects the ruling as she believes her beloved spouse would not have killed himself especially after a night of lovemaking both enjoyed. She investigates but the cops, his family and the remote Adirondack villagers refuse to cooperate. Still even with the silence she receives, Nora finds allies in her sister, autistic Dugger Mackenzie and reporter Ned Kramer as she uncovers strange behavior by her late husband. He obtained sedatives which would explain why she slept very late as he drugged her so she would not interrupt him and she learns of his brother’s death twenty-five years ago though she cannot quite connect the demises of the siblings.

The key to this taut psychological thriller is the cast including the isolated mountain village which seems genuine whether it is the grieving heroine seeking answers, the locals warning her to back off, or her few supporters helping her learn the truth. Atmospheric, fans will enjoy this low key suspense as a bewildered Nora narrates her tale in a town with a whispered dark history.

Harriet Klausner