Archive for October, 2008

Midnight Sins-Cynthia Eden

October 29, 2008

Midnight Sins

Cynthia Eden

Kensington Brava, Dec 2008, $14.00

ISBN: 0758226047

 

The homicides are horrifying because they look somewhat innocent as if a tryst of two consenting adults left one behind tied to a bed.  However, the victims all men may have appeared ready for a wild night of tough love, but somehow their essence is sucked from them leaving them dead with not a scratch or any evidence of foul play except for the corpse.

 

Police Detective Todd Brooks leads the investigation into the serial sex murders but has no clues until amidst the clothing of a victim is found the ID of Cara Firon.  Todd brings Cara to the station for questioning.  To his shock the men trip over each other to accommodate her; more stunning is he is the worst of those ready to her bidding.  Cara tries to control her succubus pheromones with little success as the humans covet her, but she finds it more difficult controlling her desire for the human cop suspecting her as a serial killer.

 

This fast-paced paranormal romantic police procedural works because the two key elements, the murder investigation and the existence of supernatural beings seem real as each side enhances the other leading to an entertaining whodunit.  Todd is superb as he is no nonsense professional working a difficult case that bewilders him, but his biggest confusion is how the testosterone back in the station has overflowed once Cara enters; he kicks himself because he is no better than the others though he conceals his tent pole better.  Cara is an excellent prime suspect who can’t help but bringing out the male in the men.  Cynthia Eden provides a delightful urban romantic investigative fantasy that sub-genre fans will relish and want more in this milieu.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Scorpion-Warren Stockholm

October 29, 2008

The Scorpion

Warren Stockholm

Pop Pulp Books (KHP), Oct 2008, $9.99

ISBN: 9780979988158

 

In an alternate universe Nazi Germany defeated the Allies and occupied the losing nations including America for sixty years until the economy tanked causing a war in which America forced the oppressors to leave.  Everything is being built up and growth is everywhere even in Steeltown.  New rules allow crime to thrive with one dirty operation running a slave trade child porn ring. Women vanish with their abused bodies found in record numbers.

 

Watching over the city is The Scorpion who stalks and attacks evil men.  He is a German super soldier created by the Third Reich but he escaped to the United States. He thinks of Steeltown as his town and plans to clean it up from criminals and predators. He uses his extraordinary skills to kill those malevolent humans harming others.  Yet his past catches up to him when he realizes someone he once called brother is now a vile monster needing to be eradicated.

 

Readers who enjoy pulp fiction thrillers with an homage to Captain America will enjoy the entertaining THE SCORPION.  The fast-paced story line vividly describes through a somewhat horrifying lens a small American town of the future five years after the Nazi occupiers have left.  The hero is a tortured soul struggling to control his berserker tendency, a critical element of becoming a super soldier.  No Bucky sidekick for him; he is alone even when surrounded by allies because he trusts no one, not even himself.  Fans will appreciate the adventures of the Scorpion and look forward to more pulp escapades.

 

Harriet Klausner

Scent of Danger-Doranna Durgin

October 28, 2008

Scent of Danger

Doranna Durgin

Five Star, Dec 2008, $25.95

ISBN: 9781594146756

 

Former Buckeye, Dr. Dale Kinsall is still adjusting to life in West Winoza, just outside of Flagstaff, Arizona.  He finds his staff at the Foothills Veterinary Clinic professional but eccentrically amusing except when they wear animal scrotums as earrings; that sort of feels painful.  He also is half in love with another veterinarian Laura Nakai who he hoped would join his practice, but did not.

 

As the clinic is being renovated and Dale semi exiled due to asthma, he begins receiving weird warning notes written in rhyme, but placed in such away that someone with full clinic access was dropping them off.  Laura becomes concerned when her young second cousin becomes deathly ill from hanta fever.  As the notes keep coming, Dale and his sidekick Sully the mouse eating Beagle work on the case of the notes even as he saves Laura’s life when she comes down with hanta fever.

 

Although the mystery is thin and comes late, fans will enjoy this fun Arizona cozy due to the eccentric cast.  Fans will be fascinated that Dale is in the local police dog house for solving a recent case (see NOSE FOR TROUBLE) instead of them.  The support cast adds to the character driven plot as Dale with Sully follow the SCENT OF DANGER.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Messenger-Jan Burke

October 28, 2008

The Messenger

Jan Burke

Simon & Schuster,Jan 2009, $25.00

ISBN 9780743273879

 

At the Battle of Waterloo, twenty something British officer Tyler Hawthorne is severely wounded.  While still on the battlefield, Lord Lucien Adrian deVille gives his probably dying brother in arms a ring with stipulations.  The ring brings immortality to the bearer but the individual must spend eternity comforting those near death.  He also is given a companion to protect him, Shade the cemetery dog.

 

Almost two centuries later, a Caribbean salvage diver working a vessel sunk in 1815 finds Adrian’s remains.  Upon returning to the surface Adrian revives and propels his rescuer to help him find Tyler.  He succeeds and Adrian travels to Los Angeles to see how his crony is doing.  Tyler still tends to his work this time assisting a leukemia patient.   However, the still twentyish looking Tyler is in love for the first time in his over two hundred year existence.  His cares for heiress Amanda Clarke, who survived a horrific accident that wiped out her family but enabled her to see ghosts; she struggles with survivor guilt, but is attracted to Tyler.  Adrian a “messenger” of evil is coming to cause problems for the couple and his dog Shade.

 

This is a terrific paranormal thriller that grips the audience from the moment that Adrian arrives at Tyler’s side on the battlefield and never slows down once the time and place switch from the Napoleonic Wars through the deep sea rescue to mdoern day America.  The story line is fast-paced with the key trio plus the canine seeming genuine even with their supernatural abilities.  Jan Burke provides a strong horror tale that fans will appreciate.

 

Harriet Klausner


Dangerous Prey-Lindsay McKenna

October 27, 2008

Dangerous Prey

Lindsay McKenna

Harlequin HQN, Dec 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 9780373773213

 

Flying a helicopter is something that Kelly Trayhern loves.  Working for Bates International, a fire suppression company, she is exhausted after nine trips from Cottonwood Airport near Sedona into a blaze; the tenth ended in a crash caused by a sudden burst of smoke blinding her; the two men with her were trapped inside an inferno.  Her joy of flying died with her co-pilot and the Forest Service Ranger; as she vows to never pilot a helicopter again.

 

Her long time friend Sky McCoy has also dealt with tragedies.  He has found salvation working as a raptor rehabilitator.  After Kelly’s mom visits him to tell him what happened to her daughter, Sky invites Kelly to help him, which she agrees to do.  As they work side by side, his past surfaces threatening Kelly even as their love for one another blossoms.

 

The deep look at saving and protecting endangered birds of prey refreshes an engaging romantic suspense.  Kelly and Sky have demons from their past; hers being very recent while his shows up in person.  Although the suspense is somewhat typical of a romantic thriller, fans, with the exception of the Governor Palin crowd who would prefer to fly to hunt, will enjoy this tense tale as the most DANGEROUS PREY is human.

 

Harriet Klausner

Dying for You-Beverly Barton

October 27, 2008

Dying for You

Beverly Barton

Harlequin HQN, Dec 2008, $6.99

ISBN: 9780373773176

 

For almost a decade at Dundee Private Security Lucie Evans and Sawyer McNamara fought like cats and dogs.  Anyone who observed the oil water mix would never conclude they were once very close.  The gender squabble ends when Lucie leaves the firm to accept the position of a bodyguard to billionaire Cara Bedell.

 

During an attempt to kidnap Cara, Lucie is abducted instead.  A stunned Sawyer bulldozes his way onto the rescue team.  They liberate Lucie, but Cara remains a target of a killer.  Lucie and Sawyer team up to try to keep Cara safe and bring down her assailant even as the two operatives try to still conceal their feelings for one another.

 

DYING FOR YOU is a fabulous Dundee Private Security romantic suspense that grips the audience from the moment Lucie quits and never slows down as she and her beloved enemy fights one another while protecting Cara.  The lead couple is fully developed especially their flaws as each is willing to risk their life but not their heart.  Fans will relish this tense tale while seeking the exciting Protectors’ saga (see A TIME TO DIE, MOST LIKELY TO DIE and DANGEROUS DECEPTION).

 

Harriet Klausner

When Danger Calls-Terry O’Dell

October 27, 2008

When Danger Calls

Terry O’Dell

Five Star, Dec 2008, $25.95

ISBN: 159414723X

 

Following his second failed black ops mission in which people died and he is injured, Blackthorne agent Ryan Harper is put on medical leave.  He knows that everyone at the private security firm assumes he turned rogue, but he believes someone inside caused the two failures; they were set up and he plans to bring that person down as a little girl who died in the first fiasco haunts him.  Thus Ryan retrieved the container he was sent to obtain, but tells his boss otherwise so he can learn why something allegedly minor caused deaths.

 

Ryan returns to his hometown of Broken Bow, Montana to stay with his Pop on the ranch.  He meets Gladys a waitress at the Three Elks and is attracted to her.  Ryan later learns she is an elementary school art teacher Frankie Castor, a single mom to precocious six year old Molly.  Frankie worries about her mom who has suffered two injuries since starting a relationship with Bob Dwyer.  As Ryan and Frankie fall in love, he comes to the rescue of her, Molly, and Molly’s “friend” Mr. Snuggles even as someone wants what he possesses from his last mission; that person is willing to harm his loved ones something that is unacceptable to Ryan.

 

This is an exciting romantic suspense that grips readers from the onset when Ryan’s cakewalk mission turns ugly and never slows down as his work arrives at Big Sky Country.  The cast is very strong especially the lead couple and their immediate family.  Although major coincidence twice involving land takes somewhat away from this fine thriller, fans will appreciate Ryan’s reactions WHEN DANGER CALLS.

 

Harriet Klausner


A Veiled Deception-Annette Blair

October 27, 2008

A Veiled Deception

Annette Blair

Berkley, Jan 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780425226407

 

Madeira “Maddie” Cutler, a vintage clothing designer for a famous fashion house, is on her way to her hometown of Mystick Falls, Connecticut where she hopes to create the gown for her baby sister she raised.  Maddie arrives in time for pandemonium; an angry Sherry watches her fiancé Justin’s former girlfriend Jasmine hang all over him as if she is the bride.  Upset Sherry makes a rash statement that she will kill Jasmine in front of witnesses.

 

Maddie goes to see the wedding dress Sherry’s mother-in-law expects her to wear only to find Jasmine choked to death by a veil.  Sherry is the number one and only suspect; she does not help herself as she refuses to provide an alibi.  Maddie has visions of another woman wearing the same dress and concludes her visions are related to the Jasmine homicide, but has no idea how.  She investigates Sherry’s in-laws especially their past since the dress belonged to Justin’s mother to understand what she saw and hopes to apply it to identify the killer.

 

Annette Blair, renowned for her sensational bewitching romantic fantasies provides a new series filled with humor, the paranormal, two related mysteries, and of course romance.  The protagonist is a beguiling intelligent free spirit who prefers a laughter and lay back lifestyle, but knows when the situation calls for a serious spin.  She is glue that not only holds A VEILED DECEPTION together but turns the tale into an outstanding read.

 

Harriet Klausner

The Witch’s Grave-Shirley Damsgaard

October 27, 2008

The Witch’s Grave

Shirley Damsgaard

Avon, Jan 2009, $6.99

ISBN: 9780061493430

 

Librarian Ophelia Jensen and her beloved grandmother Abby live in a small Iowa town.  People who meet the pair assume they are ordinary Midwesterners.  A few locals know that they are witches and psychics just like their ancestors.  Ophelia has not always felt comfortable with her gifts although they have helped her solve several homicides (see WITCH WAY TO MURDER and THE WITCH IS DEAD).  Currently she is in a happy mood because of her dreams of a new man entering her life.

 

At a library fundraiser, Ophelia meets former horror writer Stephen Larsen and they are attracted to one another.  When they go for a walk near the woods, a shot is fired and he begins to bleed from his chest.  He is stabilized at the hospital, but later someone shoots at Ophelia, but misses.  The psychic begins to dream of a French Resistance fighter Madeleine and her lover Henrick, who loves her back but refuses to marry her.  Abby believes Stephen and Ophelia were once Madeleine and Henrick; her inquiries into the past lead to a present illegal immigrant ring who wants the trio silenced.

 

In their sixth appearance, Ophelia is accepting her powers that are getting stronger as she understands her desire to find out who the  sniper is requires full use of her talents.  Matters turn even more corrupted when a politician running for office is shot at and his aide killed.  Thus THE WITCH’S GRAVE is a multilayered paranormal whodunit in which the WW II European past and the twenty-first century Hawkeye State converge through Ophelia and Stephen inside a fascinating supernatural amateur sleuth mystery.

 

Harriet Klausner

A Dead Bore-Sheri Cobb South

October 26, 2008

A Dead Bore

Sheri Cobb South

Five Star, Dec 2008, $25.95

ISBN 9781594147111

 

In London with the Ton titillating over the murder of her husband, widow Lady Julia Fieldhurst decides it is time to rusticate so she does not have to see the gleeful looks of her peers and hear their gossipy whispered innuendos.  Thus to ignore the scandal of her spouse’s homicide, Lady Julia travels to Yorkshire to stay with Sir Gerald and Lady Anne Hollingshead.

 

Her hosts at Hollingshead Place celebrate her arrival with a small dinner party in which guest Vicar Danvers provides the other diners with verbal extracts from a local history book he is almost finished writing.  Soon after dinner, a fire at the vicarage kills Mr. Danvers.  Julia sends a message to her London associate Bow Street runner John Pickett pleading with him to come to Yorkshire investigate what she believes was an arson murder related to the history book.  Pickett, who because he is attracted to the out of his reach Lady, quickly arrives and masquerades as Julia’s footman so that he can serendipitously investigate.

 

A DEAD BORE is a superb Regency mystery (see IN MILADY’S CHAMBER) that brings to life the aristocracy as well as the servants who reside under the stairs.  The whodunit is cleverly set up so that the motive in general terms is obvious but specifically which passage is not; opportunity abound for many people who could have set the inferno.  The subtle attraction between the lady and the runner enhances a strong early nineteenth century investigative tale.

 

Harriet Klausner