Sunday, March 31, 2013

The Paris Affair-Teresa Grant

The Paris Affair

Teresa Grant

Kensington, Mar 26 2013, $15.00

ISBN 9780758283931

Two months have passed since Napoleon was defeated at Waterloo and chaos remains the order of the day as the restored Ultra-Royalists cleanse anyone with Bonaparte ties in a new wave of terror. Ironically the Emperor’s Foreign Minister Talleyrand (and now the Prime Minister) and Minister of Police Fouch survive the Bourbon restoration fervor.

At the Trois Amis Tavern in Paris, British Attaché Malcolm Rannoch and his wife Suzanne meet frightened French double agent Antoine, Comte de Rivère. While Suzanne distracts the other patrons, fearing Bourbon cleansing, Antoine demands Malcolm sneak him out of the country into England with a pension and two homes or he will expose a secret that the Duke of Wellington would pay anything to keep buried. Suddenly a brawl breaks out and during the melee, someone kills the Comte. At the British Embassy, the Rannoch couple reports to the Duke what transpired; as the espionage agents believe someone purposely silenced Antoine. The British war hero orders Malcolm and Suzanne to investigate and learn what Antoine believed would take him to England.

The third Rannoch Regency mystery is a terrific thriller as Teresa Grant deftly provides a spotlight on the aftermath of Napoleon’s defeat. The investigation is super as the “we spy couple” looks into the homicide to try to learn what Antoine’s ticket was; while also providing the audience with a tour of dangerous Paris after the fall and restoration.

Harriet Klausner

Killer Honeymoon-G.A. McKevett

Killer Honeymoon

G.A. McKevett

Kensington, Mar 26 2013, $24.00

ISBN 9780758276513

When her family camped in her San Carmelita, California house for her wedding, private investigator Savannah Reid and her husband, Police Detective Sergeant Dirk Coulter decamp twenty-four miles away for a honeymoon on Santa Tesla Island. After an evening of bliss in a dumpy motel selected by Dirk, they relocate to a pre-Civil War cottage near the Santa Tesla Lighthouse arranged by her close friends and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency associates, Ryan Stone and John Gibson.

While looking out from the top of the lighthouse, Savannah sees a woman running on the beach, but not as if she was jogging. The pair goes to see if the runner needs help when they hear her scream followed by gunshots. As TV newscaster Amelia Northrop dies, she says the name William; her husband is land developer William Northrop. Island police chief Charlotte La Cross acts uninterested in solving the homicide while Savannah’s crew including partners Stone and Gibson, and Moonlight Magnolia Detective Agency’s Tammy Hart; as well Granny Reid Waycross join the Killer Honeymoon.

The latest Savannah Reid mystery (see Buried in Buttercream) is a humorous cozy that readers will appreciate with its dirt poor Georgia wit clashing with Southern California sensitivities. Fast-paced and loaded with jocularity, sub-genre fans will learn what series readers expect from G.A. McKevett when it comes to Savannah. The whodunit is excitingly clever but it is the repertoire between the cast that make for an entertaining investigation.

Harriet Klausner

Alizel’s Song-Bill Pottle

Alizel’s Song

Bill Pottle

Ellechor Publishing House, Mar 3 2013, $16.99

ISBN: 9781937844882

Alizel the lowest Unranked angel muses over how fifteen billion years after the event, man stated: “In the beginning God created the Heaven and the earth”; not relatively long after that, man called it the Big Bang though it was not big and there was no bang as there was no air. The mission-less angels, even the highest rank Seraphim Luciferel, was confused as to why He created another world besides Heaven. The official word from the Seraphim was to trust in the Father as all will soon be revealed.

Zebub the Virtue sadistically hurts Verin the Virtue in a duel until Cantos the desk keeper armorer, accompanied by a Principality and a Power, ends the match. An Irate Verin destroys Cantos and the Principality while Zebub does likewise to the Power. The vanished angels end in Containment; while their destroyers fly away free and witness Alizel cries for the first time not in joy. The first murder in Heaven is the genesis of a revolt. When the new realm includes an entity made in God’s image, Luciferel takes over leading the rebellion against the Father. Not long afterward (in heavenly time), those angels ridding themselves of God’s Energy forge a mission to destroy Man, who quickly abuses free will to commit sin.

Alizel’s Song is a deep “memoir” as Bill Pottle provides a superb retelling of Genesis and much more. Fast-paced, this profound biblical thriller grips the reader from the onset with all the angels, even those that remain loyal, in shock with what the Father has wrought. The unranked angel escorts the audience on a tour of Heaven while describing key events in those early days as Big Bang scientific theory converges with Creationism.

Harriet Klausner

With All My Soul-Rachel Vincent

With All My Soul

Rachel Vincent

Harlequin Teen, Mar 26 2013, $9.99

ISBN: 9780373210664

Avarice the hellion knows he has time on his side as he seeks Kaylee Cavanaugh by assaulting her loved ones. Kaylee struggles not to break but is under pressure because she knows she is the cause of what is happening to her friends, family and her high school. She considers giving up especially when her adversary abetted by his allies (Envy and Vanity) murders her BFF Emma.

Instead, Kaylee and Emma attend the latter’s funeral as the former found a body to host her friend’s soul. When Avarice attacks another of her loved ones, filled with out of control rage, Kaylee vows no more. Feeling locked in by her anger, she plans to take the war to the enemy even if it results in her final death as she expects will occur especially after encountering the last essence she wants to meet at this critical moment.

This is a terrific finish to the action-packed Soul Screamers third urban fantasy trilogy (see If I Die and Before I Wake); as the irate heroine decides with all her soul to go after her adversaries though she needs to let go of her current avenging attitude to calmly plan a counterattack. Although the storyline opens up a bit choppy, fans will enjoy the climax as Kaylee learns you can’t save everyone but will risk her existence to insure as many of her loved ones are safe.

Harriet Klausner

Wolf With Benefits-Shelly Laurenston

Wolf With Benefits

Shelly Laurenston

Kensington Brava, Mar 26 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758265227

Leaving his extended pack family home in Smithtown, Tennessee, wolf shifter Ricky Lee Reed obtains a job at his cousin’s security company in New York. He is assigned to protect jackal-shifter Toni Jean-Louis Parker, a member of the Carnivores hockey team.

After dealing with siblings and other pain in the butt family members, neither is in the mood for a serious relationship, but both feel the intense attraction as they tour the country together while she plays hockey. Ergo they agree to no strings benefits. However, as they fall in love, her pack’s latest woes place Toni Jean and Ricky Lee on center ice.

The latest Pride romantic urban fantasy (see Big Bad Beast and Bear Meets Girl) is the usual fast-paced and jocular yet complex storyline that grips readers from the first hip check to the final hat trick. Although over Rocky Top, series fans will enjoy this fun amusing shifter romance where females might beat you up as much over chocolate as a slur.

Harriet Klausner

The Pleasure Project-JAX, Jenna McCormick and Cassie Ryan

The Pleasure Project

JAX, Jenna McCormick and Cassie Ryan

Kensington Aphrodisia, Mar 26 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9780758241795

“The Science of Pleasure” by JAX. While working on the Phoenix Project’s mission to find a way to preserve healthy cells while a patient underwent cancer treatments that normally shredded any cell, Dr. Eric Paulson stole Dr. Jenesis Bruehl’s promising research. Instead of using it to save lives, he tested it on human subjects leading to a superhuman breed while Jenesis and other altruistic scientists became notoriously tagged. One of these super-humans Kincaid Gregory offers himself as a test subject to Jenesis. Neither expected the attraction.

“Project Seduction” by Jenna McCormick. Jace Donovan is assigned to travel on the Trist space cruise liner as a paid pleasure companion at a bachelorette party thrown for supermodel Constance Ripley. At a deserted North Carolina inn, Jace meets the owner, mother of the bride Evie, and her odious ex Yon. Attracted to the older woman, Jace risks his employment for a chance with his woman.

“A Pirate’s Pleasure” by Cassie Ryan. For two decades space pirate Captain Red Death and her merry crew have raided ships. Now they target the flagship run by Captain Dare McFadyen carrying munitions to Gavin 2 at war with Gavin 1. They are shocked to meet Red as she is Dani McGovern, a protégé of Dare’s grandfather. Dani and Dare are in heat from that first moment they met, but he is a war profiteer and she is a war preventer.

These are three entertaining heated over the top science fiction romances starring delightful protagonists.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Secrets Of A Runaway Bride-Valerie Bowman

Secrets Of A Runaway Bride

Valerie Bowman

St. Martin's, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781250008961

In 1816 Marquis Devon and Lily Morgan go on their honeymoon (see Secrets Of A Wedding Night). However before leaving, the happy couple asks Devon’s best friend Jordan Holloway to watch over her sister Annie Andrews. Although not his cup of tea the Earl agrees.

With her overly protective sister away, Annie plans to elope with Arthur Eggleston. However whenever she works a scheme like climbing a convenient vine to get inside her intended’s house that pest Jordan inconveniently arrives to thwart her plots. He finds her capers humorous but decides before one works and he has to explain to the wife of his BFF, Jordon abducts the beautiful dynamo; he takes her to his country estate. There she causes havoc to his house and his heart as he falls in love with his temporary ward while she reciprocates having fallen in love with her diligent jailer.

The second Andrews Secret Brides Regency romance is a delightful jocular frolic. The lead protagonists are intelligent and engaged in a humorous gender battle of wits that sub-genre fans will thoroughly appreciate though neither Annie nor Jordon consider consequences when they act.

Harriet Klausner

You & I, Me & You-MaryJanice Davidson

You & I, Me & You

St. Martin's, Mar 19 2013, $24.99

ISBN: 9780312531195

In Minneapolis FBI Bureau of False Flags Ops (BOFFO) Special Agent Cadence Jones lives with her boyfriend Patrick; as do her sisters, Shiro and Adrienne. The siblings are unhappy with Patrick in their lives, but accept reality that, except when either Shiro or Adrienne take control of Cadence’s body they cohabitate, they have no choice. Whenever Cadence regains control of her body from those horrid moments one of her sisters takes over, she miserably cleans the mess they leave her with.

In spite of Patrick in their lives, since the three sisters met gorgeous Dr. Gallo, they compete for the lead role as each are fascinated by the eerie hunk. As they work out the convoluted relationships, Cadence (abetted by her sisters) and her partner sociopath George Pinkham confront in a return engagement serial murdering Threefer Killer (see Me, Myself And Why).

The third Jones sisters FBI police procedural (see Yours, Mine, And Ours) continues the over the top of Deming Heights Park zany dark humorous police procedural; as MaryJanice Davidson once gain lampoons society’s convenient cataloguing people to fit inside a file drawer. Readers will enjoy this madcap Minnesota mystery as the multiple personality disorder field operative uses all three personalities to work the case while also causing havoc in relationships.

Harriet Klausner

Passion’s Prey-A.C. Arthur

Passion’s Prey

A.C. Arthur

St. Martin's, Mar 26 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9780312549121

FBI Agent Xavier Santos-Markland the Topetenia jaguar-shifter works the deadliest predator cases mostly in the Washington D.C. area. He drops in at Athena’s topless where he watches Caprise Delgado perform an exotic dance that has him and the other patrons drooling. Though his senses are overwhelmed by his desire, Xavier realizes Rogue shifters, who abandoned the Etica code of ethics and deserted one of the five tribes to most likely join drug dealing Topetenia Sabar Tavares’ gang, are nearby. With no explanation, he escorts the hybrid dancer to safety where their mutual attraction is temporarily satiated though each craves more.

Xavier knows Caprise conceals something that frightens her from him. He offers his help but she rejects his aid, which angers and frustrates him as he fears for the woman he knows is his life mate. Her stalker continues to threaten her; as this hybrid killer also claims Caprise as his mate.

The latest Shadow Shifters romantic urban fantasy (see Temptation Rising and Seduction’s Shift) is an action-packed entry; as A.C. Arthur expands her realm by introducing other tribes and a new hybrid. The lead couple is a nice pairing of flawed feisty mates though their first encounter following her performance seems very doubtful; while the psychotic villain adds sinister tension to an exciting triangle of life and death.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Star Witness-Mallory Kane

Star Witness

Mallory Kane

Harlequin Intrigue, Mar 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696833

Law enforcement believes Hasty Mart convenient stores owner and importer Ernest Yeoman violently murdered Congressman Freeman Canto in order to prevent an increase tariff on imports and greater security at the Port of New Orleans. Freeman’s granddaughter Danielle Canto witnessed her grandfather’s homicide.

Prosecutor Harte Delancey is assigned keeping the attorney safe from Yeoman. As a hurricane bears down on the pair, each knows they are isolated from outside help. Danielle, whose storm phobia has paralyzed her in the past, finds with Harte at her side she can cope. As killers stalk the duet and trusting no one in law enforcement, the prosecutor’s office or even the US Senate and with his family out of reach, Harte and Danielle rely on themselves to survive the tsunami that targets them.

The latest Delancey Dynasty (see Private Security and Death if a Beauty Queen) is a great romantic suspense that showcases the consistently high quality novels by Mallory Kane. Fast-paced from the onset and never slowing down, readers will relish the perilous adventures of two wonderful heroes.

Harriet Klausner

Royal Rescue-Lisa Childs

Royal Rescue

Lisa Childs

Harlequin Intrigue, Mar 19 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373696840

Over three years ago, Josie Jessup, heir to a media conglomerate, died. Pregnant she actually went into the Witness Protection Program after what she saw in Chicago to avoid her lover Brendan O’Hannigan, the son of a gangster. Now as a single mom JJ Brandt raising her son Charlie, she learns of the assault on her father Stanley.

With her U.S. Marshal handler Charlotte Green gone (see The Princess Predicament), Josie, knowing the risk and consulting with no one, visits her dad at the hospital. FBI Agent Brendan O’Hannigan is shocked to find her alive and that he sired a child. However, his American Princess is unaware that her father’s attack was a means to get her to come out of hiding. Only Brendan, whose peers and beloved distrust him, vows to keep her safe while concealing his full agendas from everyone; as he reciprocates their distrust.

The latest Royal Bodyguards (see Protecting the Pregnant Princess), Royal Rescue, is a fabulous twisting romantic suspense starring two protagonists who prove love is not enough to forge a passionate relationship. Action-packed from the moment the heroine steps out of the shadows, fans will appreciate Lisa Child’s terrific thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Lost-Vicki Pettersson

The Lost

Vicki Pettersson

Harper Voyager, Mar 19 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780062064653

Five decades ago someone murdered private investigator Griffin Shaw and his wife Evie; the case was never solved. On the bottom rung of the celestial ladder, Griff assists the purebreds by collecting the souls of murder victims; in exchange for his cooperation he has permission to investigate the homicides of him and his spouse. Recently, he met Las Vegas reporter Katherine "Kit" Craig when he was to collect her soul; but he broke the rules by failing to do so as he fell in love with the mortal after Anas clipped his wings due to defiance (see The Taken).

A new deadly drug eats away the flesh of the krokodil users. An obsessed Kit believes she and her beloved angel need to prevent further deaths, but Griff must collect the soul of krokodil user Jeap Yang, which angers his mortal girlfriend. Kit interferes, which leaves her vulnerable to fallen angel Scratch. Still, as is her personality, she leads the charge against the powerful Marielitos Cartel.

The second Celestial Blues bittersweet romantic urban fantasy (see The Taken) is a strong tale starring a hard boiled 1950s detective with a soft boiled heart and the “Impossible Dream” reporter “… willing to march into Hell, for a Heavenly cause”; as defined by her and not heaven. With the angelic hierarchy seemingly real, fans will enjoy this super thriller; as the cold case murder mystery, Scratch and the drug war deftly come together.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Jewel of The Pacific-Linda Lee Chaikin

Jewel of The Pacific

Linda Lee Chaikin

Moody/River North, Mar 15 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780802437518

Rafe Easton decides to leave his beloved Hawaii and his soul mate Eden Derington to obtain medical attention in San Francisco for his blindness. He sends his fiancée a note informing her of his decision, but she never receives it. Heartbroken she concludes he no longer wants to marry her; she joins her medical father on setting up a leper clinic. When she fails to respond he assumes that his first inclination that no woman wants a lesser man as a mate is true.

Eden learns from her cousin that Rafe returned, but since he failed to contact her and was seen with Bunny Judson, she believes he wants no part of her. Ignoring Eden, Rafe works his coffee plantation and runs for a legislative seat on the anti-Royalist party that wants the Queen to abdicate and the kingdom to join the United States. She also must choose which side of the debate she belongs to as the moment of reckoning has arrived.

The latest Dawn of Hawaii historical thriller continues shine a deep light on the kingdom at a time of "crosswinds" changes sweeping the island through the impacts on two families (Easton and Derington clans) and their friends. The story line is anchored in time and place by real persona like Queen Liliuokalani, locations like the leper colony on Molokai and historical tidbits like the fight between independence or the States. Although it behooves fans to first read Hawaiian Crosswinds and Spoils of Eden (preferably recently) to understand how miscommunication led the lead pair (and others) to where they are at the start of Jewel of The Pacific, fans will enjoy Linda Lee Chaikin's epic trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

Beauty-Brian D'Amato


Brian D'Amato

Mulholland/Little Brown, Mar 12 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9780316217248

New York City artist Jamie Angelo seeks the perfect Beauty, but fails to have found his muse. With friends from his Yale days, Jamie meets his compulsion for the ultimate beauty by creating faces using artificial skin for the rich and famous as he did for fellow Eli grad Penny Penn. However, instead of satiating his obsession, he feels unsatisfied as he needs much more than making loads of cash from the affluent vain.

His frustration finally ends when Jamie meets performer Jaishree Manglai. He immediately recognizes her face as the canvas for his Mona Lisa. Persuading her to allow him to turn her into the ultimate aesthetic “Minaz”; Jamie starts working on his “It Girl” masterpiece. She soon becomes the toast of the town until his work begins to fall apart as the artificial skin he used turns cancerous ugly.

This reprint of a 1994 modern day Dr. Frankenstein tale that looks deeply into the American obsession with surface Beauty mostly holds up with the test of time although the overuse of pop figures from that era detracts from the otherwise profound storyline. However, it is arrogant Jamie’s monstrous muses (shared by many) on what beauty is that makes Brian D'Amato’s first novel a winner.

Harriet Klausner

A Little Folly-Jude Morgan

A Little Folly

Jude Morgan

St. Martin’s, Mar 12 2013, $25.99

ISBN 9781250022271

Sir Clement Carnell was a bully with a temper and he lived to control others. He married late, but his young bride proved weak and succumbed to death after a decade under his thumb. She left him with two children Valentine and Louisa, who he raised with an iron fist; neither was allowed to leave their Devonshire estate. Both in their twenties, the siblings are freed when in a rage Clement drops dead.

However, adjusting to their liberation from the tyrant proves difficult as they know no other way to live except hiding from the wrath. Still they throw small parties and welcome estranged cousins Tom and Sophie Spedding into their lives. Valentine shows his gumption when he rejects his father’s chosen one. The Spedding couple takes the Carnell duet to London where Valentine and married Lady Harriet Eversholt begin a tryst after meeting at her gambling parlor; while Louisa is attracted to Lieutenant Pearce Lynley. As Valentine runs up a large gambling debt, Harriet’s irate spouse plans to destroy the country bumpkin with the siblings’ childhood friend, James Tresilian intervening.

Readers will feel they are in England just after the Napoleonic wars are over as a euphoric atmosphere of rejoicing has spread throughout London. However the key to this strong enjoyable Regency is Jude Morgan captures the actions and reactions of the naïve brother and sister to their new freedom to do what they want for the first time in their over two decades of life.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 25, 2013

The Lady Of The House-Katherine Elberfeld

The Lady Of The House

Katherine Elberfeld

Daniel & Daniel Publishers, Mar 12 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781564745385

In Georgia without a warning, fifty-six year old Pearce died from a cerebral hemorrhage. His stunned Widow Annie, four years his junior, buried her husband today even while expecting him to arrive for his funeral. Their son Jimmy takes care of his shocked older sister Maggie; while both offspring try to help their grieving mom as death of the family patriarch was the furthest from the minds from Pearce’s loved ones.

Annie looks back at her life to the events and key people who nurtured her into who she is today. She thinks of growing up on the orange clay of Georgia with her brother Cat and later when he married his wife Lily. Her reflections of her past have her musing over her parents and grandmother, and the love of her youth Danny who she dumped. Finally, Annie considers the impact of her oldest offspring as she knows she must move on, but cannot grasp why Pearce’s death leaves her feeling alone.

Making a case that grief is customized; Katherine Elberfeld provides a deep drama of a widow struggling to cope with perhaps the greatest change in her life when her long time spouse suddenly dies. With a nod to Reflections on My Life by Marmalade, although the ending seems too soft a landing, readers will sympathize with the grieving widow as she profoundly believes the present is “the changing of sunlight to moonlight” and the future only will be “sad tomorrows” so she goes home to reflect on her past.

Harriet Klausner

Crash Landing-Lori Wilde

Crash Landing

Lori Wilde

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373797493

Working a business deal, affluent Gibb Martin is at Bosque de los Dioses in an isolated area of Costa Rica that can only be reached by bush plane as the nearest village to the resort Monteverde is twenty-five miles away. However, he stops his efforts near the volcanic mountain range Cordillera of Tilaran when his best friend and partner on the venture Scott Everly tells him he will not be involved in the Coast Rican enterprise because he is getting married in Key West.

Stunned, Gibb needs to reach Florida to prevent his buddy from doing something stupid. He hires local pilot Sophia Cruz to fly him immediately to Key West. Although she would prefer to tell Slick City Boy in his suit to pound volcanic ash, she needs the money so agrees to take him to the Keys. However, when they crash on a deserted island, he finds himself musing over the happiest times in his life (all before becoming a wealthy business mogul) and being with Sophia has moved to numero uno even as spider monkeys bomb them with fruits and orchid thieves invade their interlude.

The third Stop the Wedding! contemporary romance is a fun zany tale starring opposites (laidback mellow and hard charging obsessed) falling in love. Although the premise is identical to the previous entries, readers will enjoy the madcap by air effort to prevent the Birchard-Everly nuptials from happening after the by sea (see Smooth Sailing) and by land (see Night Driving) attempts.

Harriet Klausner

I Left My Haunt In San Francisco-Mark Everett Stone

I Left My Haunt In San Francisco

Mark Everett Stone

Camel, Mar 15 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603819275

After a decade plus as the top agent and only still living member of his graduation class at the Bureau of Supernatural Investigation, Kal Hakela faked his death so that he could kill the invincible Finnish monster Iku-Turso who murdered his sister (see What happens In Vegas, Dies In Vegas). His BSI boss BB re-recruits him to train the Green Peas in protecting the World At Large where humans dwell from the denizen of The World Under. Once his current term ends, Kal considers retiring with his beloved WWII MI-7 agent Jeanie whom he met in 1943.

BB tells Kal that former BSI agent Thomas Mace jumped to his death in San Francisco. Someone had ripped apart his intestines, but somehow Mace ran up thirty flights of stairs in five minutes, and opened and closed steel doors before leaping off the roof of a building. Kal leads the inquiry in a city where he years ago eliminated a psychopathic serial rapist magic practitioner but left innocents dead and the Bay’s protector Emperor Norton irate.

The third Hakela urban fantasy (see Things to Do in Denver When You're Un-Dead) is a superb entry as the lone wolf goes into the field with no additional support from a depleted BSI and three major changes in his life. He no longer obsesses with rage over killing monsters; he has Jeanie in his life though she currently works a case in the Bayou; and he learned people care about his well-being after volunteers joined him in Vegas. One thing remains the same; Mark Everett Stone provides another intelligent, wry action-packed satire that will have fans waiting for the next stop on the Hakela Americana tour.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Queen Jezebel-Jean Plaidy

Queen Jezebel

Jean Plaidy

Touchstone, Mar 12 2013, $16.00

ISBN: 978-1451686548

Catherine de' Medici and her young son King Charles want to end the hostility between the Catholics and Huguenots that is destroying France. Thus Catherine arranges a marriage of convenience between her reluctant twenty-something Catholic daughter Margot and the Huguenot King Henry of Navarre in an attempt to end the violence. They wed in Paris; however, the marriage fails to bring about the peace that King Charles desperately wants. Catherine, realizing that her control over her royal offspring is vanishing, convinces him that the Huguenots plan to assassinate him. King Charles authorizes religious cleansing to rid the kingdom of the “pestilential Huguenots forever” while the heretics celebrate the wedding.

The reprint of the third Catherine De' Medici biographical fiction (see This Italian Woman and Madame Serpent) is an engaging historical that showcases the manipulative protagonist involvement in the late sixteenth century French religious civil war. The entertaining storyline paints a diabolical dangerous Catherine manipulating her children, but fails to fully paint the background of two strictly rigid (in their Godly beliefs) religious combatants. Still aptly titled Queen Jezebel is an enjoyable finish to the De' Medici trilogy.

Harriet Klausner

The Chalice-Nancy Bilyeau

The Chalice

Nancy Bilyeau

Touchstone, Mar 5 2013, $26.99

ISBN: 9781476708652

In 1528 teenager Joanna Stafford acts lifeless ever since George Boleyn tried to rape her. Her worried mom takes her teenage daughter to see seer Sister Elizabeth. The seer says Joanna will stop evil after she meets two other prophets.

In 1538, Dartford Sister Joanna worries about the future since King Henry VIII broke the church. Her cousin Marquis Henry Courtney and his wife Gertrude take her to their estate. Gertrude says Lady Mary sent her and rumors fly that the Pope will excommunicate the king; followed by the Holy Roman Emperor Charles and the French king François invading England. Meanwhile the king executes Sister Elizabeth for predicting his death if he weds Anne Boleyn. Gertrude blackmails a reluctant Joanna into meeting with Orobas the seer. Though fearful of Boleyn sorcery, Joanna hears Orobas speaking with a buried Sister of Dartford who says there are two possible futures: Mary on the throne or the king’s second son; she also tells Joanna to find the third seer. Dudley arrests Montagu and Courtney while Joanna and her friend Edmund seek the third seer hoping to understand the prophecy.

The fresh prophesy premise during the reign of King Henry VIII is brisk and fascinating with two strong late twists enhancing the exciting tale that also provides a deep look at the impact of the religious changes made by the monarch. Joanna is a terrific protagonist keeping the plot moving although the storyline slows down at times. Historical fans will appreciate this unique Tudor thriller.

Harriet Klausner

The Rule-Breaker-Rhonda Nelson

The Rule-Breaker

Rhonda Nelson

Harlequin Blaze, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373797479

In Mosul, Army Ranger Micah Holland commits suicide after watching the enemy sends pregnant women with explosives strapped on them to enter a hospital. Captain Eli Weston watches his best friend die.

Eight months later, a still haunted Eli heads to Micah’s hometown of Willow Haven, Kentucky for a memorial service, he does not want to attend as he concealed the truth about how his buddy died. Still for Micah and his loved ones, Eli attends the dedication. Eli also fears seeing Micah’s former fiancé Shelby Monroe after they shared a kiss that never should have happened while also shaking their souls. Eli’s plan is to avoid Shelby as he has enough guilt from that kiss. However, Shelby knows the truth as to what happened to Micah in Iraq as someone else told her with accusatory letters blaming her for her ex killing himself.

This Uniformly Hot! military romance (see Letters from Home) focuses on the aftermath of a soldier taking his own life after witnessing inhumane horror; soldier and veteran suicides are major problems for society (not just the military). Character-driven with less heat than usual in a Blaze, readers will appreciate Rhonda Nelson’s strong look at honoring a fallen brother in arms by hiding the truth from his family.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Her Man In Manhattan-Trish Wylie

Her Man In Manhattan

Trish Wylie

Harlequin KISS, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207114

NYPD Vice Detective Tyler Brannigan leads the daughter of Mayor Kravitz, Miranda, out of a club being raided by the cops as the tabloids would have a field day with her arrest. He fulfills his duty when he kisses her to keep two of his peers from taking her to a cell.

Miranda knows she must behave especially since her dad is considering a run for governor, but rebels over constantly being in the fishbowl and having no time of her own. To his chagrin, Brannigan is assigned personal protection duty of the brat when he prefers investigating major crimes. Though attracted to the cop especially after the kiss that also shook his core; Miranda has plans to elude her jailer through seduction; while he will use cuffs if needed to keep her grounded though his thoughts have better uses.

Her Man In Manhattan is a fast-paced bodyguard romance starring seemingly two opposites though both share in common rule-breaking; an asset they will need if the pair is to make it. With a nod to the movies First Daughter and Chasing Liberty, readers will enjoy this contemporary although Miranda acts more like an out of control teen than an adult.

Harriet Klausner

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire-Abigail Gibbs

The Dark Heroine: Dinner with a Vampire

Abigail Gibbs

Morrow, Mar 5 2013. $14.99

ISBN: 9780062248732

Seventeen year old Violet Lee knows being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square is not a smart move, but clubbing with her BFF Ruby felt wrong after Joel. Violet soon knows there is something worse than being alone at one in the morning in Trafalgar Square when over thirty males with sharpened canes and something else arrive. Prince Kasper Karn kills Claude Pierre, the leader of the thirty men; he and five other teens slaughter the rest of Clan Pierre’s hunters in a flash. Though in the shadows and at a distance beyond normal hearing, Kasper hears Violet whisper jerk; he takes her prisoner though he cannot fathom why he abducts this human Girly instead of either killing or ignoring her.

Kasper gives Girly a choice to either convert from Human to vampire or remain his guest indefinitely until they kill her as her kind can never go back. However complicating matters for His Highness is when he learns who her powerful father is; as murdering Violet is no longer an option if a cross-species war is to be avoided as her dad knows of the existence of his kind.

This is an exhilarating young adult paranormal romance in which the vampire brood is closer to Stoker’s vision than that of Meyer’s. Violet seems insensitive as her stomach never reacts to the blood and gore, and too strong as she never soils her panties upon learning what kidnapped her. Still readers will root for her to come out on top especially against the prince of abusive arrogance.

Harriet Klausner

Shadow Of Freedom-David Weber

Shadow Of Freedom

David Weber

Baen, Mar 5 2013, $25.00

ISBN: 9781451638691

The Manticore’s fleet defeated the invincible armada of the Solarian League that had encroached into the Star Empire’s sector with plans with plans to seize the strategic wormholes. However, Tenth Fleet Commander Michelle Henke knows she and the rest of the military have no time to bash in the glory of a stunning victory, The Solarian Office of Frontier Security continues to cause havoc in the Talbott Quadrant especially along the frontier. While all types of warfare continue unabated, the threat to destroy Manticore and its allies remains stratospheric; as does the hostility with the Mesan Alignment. Manticore turns to former enemy People's Republic of Haven as hopefully an ally.

At the same time, the Mobius Liberation Front informs Manticore that they have begun the liberation rebellion to overthrow the brutal reign of President Lombroso, but need the help from the Star Empire as previously negotiated and promised. No one in Manticore authority ever heard of the MLF so the assumption is the diabolical clever Mesan Alignment is using subterfuge to destroy the bonds between the Star Empire and the smaller under fire independents at a time the fleet cannot divert resources away from the fight against the Solarian League.

This is an engaging Honorverse science fiction thriller with a Cecil B Demille cast distracting from the exciting outer space naval encounters and fascinating political machinations; Henke (not Harrington) loosely is the nearest individual to being the prime player. The storyline also provides a different perspective from events told in A Rising Thunder and Mission of Honor so that the audience knows several key outcomes. Still Shadow Of Freedom is well written and shows the logistical problems of fighting a multi-front war.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 22, 2013

The Suitors-Cécile David-Weill; Linda Coverdale (translator)

The Suitors

Cécile David-Weill; Linda Coverdale (translator)

Other Press, Feb 26 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781590515730

In 2007 at Cap d’Antibes on the French Riviera, their father announces to his adult daughters that he and their mother decided to sell L’Agapanthe though they do not need the money. Aghast with horror the siblings (psychotherapist Laure and French presidential language interpreter Marie) do not want strangers owning their annual summer retreat from ennui of life as L’Agapanthe is a key representation of a dying elitist lifestyle Laure and Marie cherish; perhaps even more than Laure cares about her son Felix.

The two sisters consider their options as they reject giving up the bonne mansion with its ideal intellectual climate inside proper manners that new money cannot understand due to a lack of proper nurturing compounded by poor naturing. The solution is to sell their beloved retreat to the right money people that will appreciate the tradition and continue along the same chic lines of the sisters and their parents by including the siblings as his or her mentors; that is if they fail to persuade dear old dad to give them L’Agapanthe. Thus the matchmakers seek proper refined suitors to purchase L’Agapanthe.

The Suitors is a satirical comedy of manners with a key underlying message not to allow material things to incarcerate you. The meandering and thin, but jocular storyline contains anecdotal behavior by nouveau riche celebs clashing and trashing with refined old money. With a nod to The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (directed by Luis Buñuel), fans will enjoy new meaning to Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité.

Harriet Klausner

Solo Pass-Ronald De Feo

Solo Pass

Ronald De Feo

Other Press, Mar 5 2013, $14.95

ISBN: 9781590515860

Almost two months have passed since Ott has been outside alone amongst the conformists, but now feels prepared to venture forth on a Solo Pass while promising his handlers to return to the mental ward that has been his home since his breakdown. He carefully played by their rules answering just enough to sound like he is recovering but not enough so they feel he no longer needs them and especially conceals his loathing towards vicious therapist Prodski, who Ott believes should be a solitary confined patient in the asylum. Ott still is stunned when he is granted a Solo Pass by the staff to the outside world of New York City.

As he ventures forth, Ott’s phobia of simply vanishing away increases while he also muses over returning to the Cotswold’s village he may be from (or not). Even Ott distrusts Ott as the city of his thoughts fails to match the city he wanders in.

Solo Pass is an intriguing satire told in the first person by Ott, who make a strong case that the difference between lunacy and normalcy is societal definitional acceptance; the norms must not condemn the nonconformist ill. Ott is a superb lead as he never seems quite comfortable with others including inmates whether inside or out and struggles to control his destructive compulsions and his crippling phobias; he is most at ease within his head dreaming of his past that may never have happened. Although the support cast especially inside the mental ward is extremely thin, readers, reminded of Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, will relish a New York tour guided by the mind of Ott.

Harriet Klausner

Driving Her Crazy-Amy Andrews

Driving Her Crazy

Amy Andrews

Harlequin KISS, Mar 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207091

In Sydney, photojournalist Kent Nelson shocks Sunday On My Mind magazine editor Tabitha Fox when he informs her he would like to drive a few thousand kilometers across Australia to take photos. Tabitha believes the freelancer has not taken a picture since the accident in Afghanistan. Still she agrees to the Outback photos and a feature on renowned artist Leonard Pinto whose nudes of ballet dancers are considered national treasures; the catch being the recluse demands journalist Sadie Bliss be included in his exclusive though the editor cannot explain why he wants this rookie.

Neither Kent nor Sadie wants three days on the road with their new companion. He thinks she is a curvy green groupie while she thinks he is a pretentious brooding hunk. As they cross the continent, the dysfunctional couple share lust that soon turns into love, but neither trusts the other. Sadie knows her road buddy hides something that shattered his equilibrium though she conjectures that it ties to his work; while Kent wants to know what her relationship with Pinto is that she hides from him though he conjectures what that must have been.

Driving Her (and him) Crazy is a fabulous amusing Australian romance that deftly uses the Outback as a wonderful backdrop. The protagonists with their flaws and fears, and the support cast (including the Outback) are fully developed as Amy Andrews provides a fun road with serious undertones.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Mapmaker’s War-Ronlyn Domingue

The Mapmaker’s War

Ronlyn Domingue

Atria, Mar 5 2013, $23.00

ISBN: 9781451688887

Her brother taught Aoife to draw a map. Ecstatic with what she learned, she persuaded her father to allow her to try to become the rare female mapmaking apprentice. To her further delight, Aoife is accepted as a student. She becomes her nation’s kingdom’s mapmaker, whose mission is to chart the entire kingdom.

While on her trek, she crosses the boundary into another land filled with affluent peace-loving people who tell the welcomed newcomer that they guard a legendary ancient relic from the beginning of time. Aoife returns home to tell her people who decide to destroy the outsiders. Shocked, Aoife tries to warn her new friends, which leads to her banishment due to seditious activity. As war breaks out, Aoife’s new companions welcome her, but she feels disconsolate missing her family she left behind; amplified when she gives birth to a daughter.

This is an engaging autobiographical fictional account of a female mapmaker at war with her place in a society in which women have no rights; ironically the war between the countries predominantly is limited to a passive first person account by the protagonist. Although the support cast is stereotyped as only the title character is fully developed (partly because we see everyone through her filter), readers will enjoy the efforts of the heroine to keep her loved ones in two nations safe.

Harriet Klausner

The Fall of St. Sebastian-E. Kelly Keady

The Fall of St. Sebastian

E. Kelly Keady

Forty Press, Mar 1 2013, $16.95

ISBN: 9781938473029

Attorney Peter Farrell left the White House staff to return to private practice and spend more time with his wife Sara and their newborn twins, John and Nola. However before he can settle down with his family, President Madeleine Scholfield asks him to go to San Francisco to discretely look into a potential terrorist attack that the Council on International Relations believes is relevant as it is written in code in the Book of Enoch mentioning the name Peter Farrell and highly lethal contagious Human Bird Flu. Not only does Peter think the trip an inane waste of time, he loathes the CIR and their master The Englishman (see The Cross of St. Maro for why).

At JFK, two Somalians destroy a jet leaving the airport using heat seeking missiles. Scholfield shuts down air traffic; while infected with Bird Flu, six Chinese enter the country to spread the deadly strain. While POTUS deals with the health crisis, terrorism and her warmongering cabinet encouraged by the Joint Chiefs, Peter continues his trip to meet with CIR as war with China seems imminent. After stopping in California to consult with CIR, Peter, accompanied by a spy (Pope) and a retired agent (Redwood), travels to China in search of a cure to the pandemic outbreak and to prevent WWIII.

From the opening attack on the jet over JFK to the final confrontation, The Fall of St. Sebastian is an exhilarating twisting thriller as Peter quickly learns trust no one. Though seemingly improbable, readers will relish Peter and his two teammates racing against time to avoid a worse calamity as the drums of war sound louder with each passing second.

Harriet Klausner

Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth's Human Behavior Confronted-Allen Pollens

Creator: Apocalyptic Sci-Fi Epic, Earth's Human Behavior Confronted

Allen Pollens

CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, Apr 13 2011, $14.99

ISBN: 9781456306700

On June 14, 2014 in New York City, Professor Thomas Scribner receives a summons to appear at an inquiry to bear witness. He is given no choice whether to appear at the inquest as no essence can refuse the Guardians of the Universe. Seven Guardians are passing judgment on an eighth, the Creator of planet Earth where an experiment went wrong due to the psychopathic selfishness of the individuals making up the dominant sentient species. If ruled a colossal failure the free will test subjects will be terminated.

A stunned Scribner sees a wake-up tragedy the next day and knows he must turn humanity around before mankind’s eradication. He persuades student assistants Susan Bellwether and Andrew Brown to help him write the “Words of the Creator” and convince an avarice world to adhere to “The Credo.” As the world devolves over the years, mostly due to religious dogmatic wars and environmental destruction, the Creator increasingly believes the noble experiment failed. Disheartened the Creator creates warning calamities in 2025 and 2035, but few heed the message. Over those same decades, the three messengers, though considered by most as lunatics, continue their efforts to save earth while marrying and having children. However, a sad Creator leans towards pulling the plug.

With a nod to the song In the Year 2525 (by Zager and Evans), Allen Pollens provides a deep apocalyptic science fiction epic centered on Earth’s Creator confronting human behavior in a refreshing profound Creationism-Judgment Day parable. Fast-paced from the moment a bewildered professor finds himself in Times Square to bear witness to a calamity, readers will appreciate this strong tale as the displeased Creator begins the end.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Duchess-Susan May Warren


Susan May Warren

Summerside, Mar 1 2013, $14.99

ISBN: 9781609367718

By 1929 Rosie Worth as actress Roxy Price has become famous, rich and married to a hunk. However, when Wall Street dives on Black Friday, she is left where she started as Rosie: penniless but still married to a hunk who she does not love nor does he her which makes her ashamed. Desperate for income, she accepts a starring role in a movie to be filmed in Europe and financed by Belgian aristocrat Rolfe Van Horne; whom she met when he thought she was going to jump off a balcony.

Rosie is attracted to the film’s backer, but her gut tells her he is concealing something from her and the rest of the film crew. When Rosie finally learns the truth, she feels trapped in an unattainable situation between different types of love while wondering if God abandoned his flock.

The third Daughters of Fortune (see Baroness and Heiress) historical thriller is a powerful look at Depression Era Europe through the eyes of the title character and Rolfe. Susan May Warren provides her readers with a vivid contrast between the Hollywood studios golden era and the rise of the Nazis as the Winds of War (by Herman Wouk) come to an already depressed world.

Harriet Klausner

Jackson Hole Journey-Linda Jacobs

Jackson Hole Journey

Linda Jacobs

Camel Press, Mar 1 2013, $15.95

ISBN: 9781603819107

In 1925, Francesca di Paoli left Tuscany with plans to open a vineyard in California. When she reaches Jackson Hole on her trek west, she thinks the area surrounded by the majestic Tetons is beautiful. However, her other descriptor of peaceful ended almost as quickly as she considered it when she witnesses the violent lightning and booming thunder; the first of several dangerous natural disasters that place her and others in peril.

Needing money to complete her journey, she obtains a position as the cook at Snake River Dude Ranch owned by the Sutton family. Francesca feels fickle as she is attracted to steadfast William and charming Bryce Sutton. However, Bryce bows out and leaves the ranch when he realizes his older brother is in love with the cook. One year later Bryce finally returns home forcing Francesca to make up her mind and choose one of the siblings.

This is an enjoyable historical romance made fresh by the insightful look at the mid-1920s Jackson Hole and the Grand Tetons; a divisive time over a controversial proposal to turn the area into national park. The lead triangle consists of strong protagonists, but it is the town and its rigged terrain that makes for a strong Americana.

Harriet Klausner

A Few Good Men-Sarah A. Hoyt

A Few Good Men

Sarah A. Hoyt

Baen, Mar 5 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781451638882

Living the good life as the son of notorious Good Man tyrant Keeva, who along with fifty peers control the earth, Lucius Keeva enjoyed his life. After killing his friends, Luce spent the last fourteen years in solitary confinement at underwater Never-Never where except for initial interrogation and a brief illness, he never saw another person.

A boom occurs and seawater begins seeping into his tiny cell while he hears an angel singing Women of Syracuse. A boomer riding an illegal motorized broomstick freed the former heir to Olympic Seacity. Believing he must be an evil monster for what he did, Luce plans to stay away from people. However, when he learns his father and brother were assassinated Luce realizes he must become the latest Good Man to prevent a horrific bloody civil war from occurring as the rebels demand liberty or death and the rulers plan to give them death. Luce not only has no allies, he is the target of his once aristocratic peers and the rebels trying to overthrow tyranny; the few supporters he finds need him not as a leader but as a symbolic puppet.

Though filled with plenty of action from the opening boom until the final climatic confrontation, this sequel to Darkship Renegades and Darkship Thieves is a thought provoking thriller. The storyline is built on the premise of idealistic opposition with a legitimate freedom cause is easier to achieve including dying as a martyr than pragmatic governance. Sarah A. Hoyt provides a great insightful tale with plenty of real world examples in which the innocent pay the price of revolutionaries’ hubris (not just in blood as also through free democratic elections) once the opposition obtains the objective of ruling.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

You’re Still The One-Janet Dailey, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Elizabeth Bass

You’re Still The One

Janet Dailey, Cathy Lamb, Mary Carter and Elizabeth Bass

Zebra, Mar 5 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420124194

"The Apple Orchard" by Cathy Lamb. The injury Allie Pelletier suffers sends her to the emergency room. The physician is the love of her life Dr. Jace Rios, who wants a new chance with her but Allie knows there is no second chapter for them.

"A Kiss Before Midnight" by Mary Carter. Over two decades ago, then sixteen year old Rebecca Ryan spent the best and worst night of her life with musician Grant Dodge in New Orleans where she also was cursed. Now she seeks the father of her son in order to remove the curse.

"Romeo & Juliet ... and Jane” by Elizabeth Bass. A decade ago, Jane Canfield and Roy McGillum were a couple, but eventually ended their relationship. When Roy returns home, he and veterinarian Jane recall their performances as Romeo and Juliet in a school production. As Roy asks: “But soft, what light through yonder window breaks? It is the east, (and Jane) is the sun;” that is if she agrees to be his forever Juliet with a happily ever ending to their drama.

"The Devil and Mr. Chocolate" by Janet Dailey. In Santa Fe gallery owner Kitty Hamilton feels like a serial spouse as she has three divorces to her name and is engaged to number four, Belgian chocolatier Marcel Boulanger. However husband number one Sebastian has plans to be Kitty’s mate for the rest of their lives and no sweet “Muscles from Brussels” (apologies to Jean-Claude Van Damme) will stand in his way.

These are four engaging second chance at love romances starring wonderful protagonists though the relationship gap is underdeveloped.

Harriet Klausner

Surprising Lord Jack-Sally MacKenzie

Surprising Lord Jack

Sally MacKenzie

Zebra, Mar 5 2013, $7.99

ISBN: 9781420123227

Miss Frances Hadley is furious with the men and Aunt Viola interfering in her life. She has managed the family estates successfully for years, but now wants money for a dowry and receives bunk instead of cash. Deciding to confront her enemies, Frances chops of her hair and wears male garb as she heads to London as Francis only to find no available bed in the inn due to the annual Valentine Ball hosted by the Duchess of Love, Lady Greycliffe. The innkeeper and his wife feel sorry for the young male teen and give her food and shelter.

One of the hunks being discussed by followers of the Duchess of Love is her son Lord Jack Valentine, who conceals his pursuit of a serial killer while eluding his mother’s romantic schemes behind the shame of a rake. Forced to flee from a pain in the butt female whose pursuit runs him out of his house, Jack stops at Findley’s inn where he learns he will need to share a bed with a youth who turns out to be a feisty female. They agree to hide each other’s secrets and team up to take down a predator, prevent his mom’s latest matchmaking, and prevent her family’s vile scheme. While doing all this, they fall in love.

The latest Duchess of Love historical (see Bedding Lord Ned) is a fun madcap romantic comedy with a whodunit subplot adding tension. Though the cross-dressing premise has been used a lot, readers will enjoy this entertaining fast-paced Valentine romance from the moment the lad and the lord share a bed.

Harriet Klausner

The Chosen-Theresa Meyers

The Chosen

Theresa Meyers

Zebra, Mar 5 2013, $6.99

ISBN: 9781420121261

“The Chosen.” In 1883 Arizona, as the Chosen Darkin hunters, attorney Remington Jackson and his brothers, Winchester (see The Slayer) and Colt (see The Hunter) grew up being trained to fight evil. Currently they each must find a segment of the Book of Legend in order to combine the tome needed to prevent Hell from invading earth. In the Bisbee Mining Camp, Remy enlists the help of incarcerated shapeshifting thief China McGee whose skills he needs to steal his part of the tome. The Darkin, who has worked with Colt, agrees to assist him in return for her freedom, but China has plans for the relic that do not include Remy. In the Aztec jungle, as they fight for their lives, China widens her options to partner with Remy long after the mission is done, if they survive.

“The Inventor.” In 1868 London Sir Marley Turlock works on his invention in order to obtain membership in the Aeronautical Society of Great Britain by impressing Queen Victoria though he has hit a glitch. Lady Persephone Hargrieve works alongside of him and soon afterward her father Lord Hargrieve asks Marley to join in the fight against Darken. Skeptical, the inventor joins the battle against demons, vampires and those even more lethal evil.

The Chosen, the third Legend Chronicles, is an exciting Wild West urban romantic fantasy starring the last Jackson sibling and a master Darkin thief who Colt insists can steel rail from underneath a train. Action-packed throughout with a strong cast, readers will enjoy the rumble in the jungle as time has run out on the Jackson brothers. Additionally, the bonus prequel the Inventor looks at a key series support character Sir Marley’s introduction to the Darkin.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 18, 2013

Flames And Smoke Visible-D. S. Lliteras

Flames And Smoke Visible

D. S. Lliteras

Rainbow Ridge Books, Mar 15 2013, $17.99

ISBN: 9781937907099

As D. S. Lliteras, he has written highly regarded novels (see Judas The Gentile); as Danny Lliteras, he was in the military and worked as a firefighter for the Norfolk FD. Mr. Lliteras combines his writing skills with his firefighting experience to provide the audience with an insightful memoir of being a first responder knowing like a marine at the front that any blaze could prove your last. Firefighters empathize with the victims who lose more than just values in a blaze; they lose part of their soul when a personal item like a family bible is gone. Knowing this helped him and his mates fearlessly face death to enter hell’s inferno. While putting out a fire in which his team is first in engine, Mr. Lliteras did his tasks until he could not breathe; he suffered a heart attack. This gave the author a firsthand look at being on the receiving end of emergency people as an ambulance took him to the hospital. His reaction to Dr. Guttimann informing Mr. Lliteras that his “cardio architect is shot” so that he no longer can do what he loves as a tailboard fire fighter sums up the memoir as he depresses over no longer being a cowboy. His wife Kathleen is elated as she no longer has to worry about the latest phone call being the final fatal one. The author uses exciting anecdotes to enhance a deep discerning look at what being a firefighter is all about, Flames And Smoke Visible enables us to get inside the hearts and souls of these brave men and women at the fire front and the impact on their concerned loved ones.

Harriet Klausner

Maybe This Time-Joan Kilby

Maybe This Time

Joan Kilby

Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718399

Two years ago in Melbourne, Australia little Holly dies in an accident. Her grieving parents Emma and Darcy Lewis are filled with guilt over their baby’s death; leading to their marriage dissolving.

Encouraged by his two best friends to take some R&R after nonstop work since the traumatic tragedy, Darcy goes on a singles cruise where he runs into Emma. Still deeply in love with each other and in spite of their remorse, the couple succumbs to the attraction and shares a night of sex. Emma becomes pregnant and plans to raise her child alone as Darcy never believed he was a good father to Holly. However, after giving birth to Billy, Emma becomes ill. Darcy must step to the plate and take care of his beloved ex-wife and his cherished infant though he never did so with Holly.

This is a deeply emotional second chance at family contemporary drama. Putting aside the odds of the lead couple going on the same cruise, readers will root for the fully developed lead couple and their newborn to make it as a family.

Harriet Klausner

Back Where She Belongs-Dawn Atkins

Back Where She Belongs

Dawn Atkins

Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718412

The car accident left her father dead and her beloved older sister Faye in the hospital comatose. Business consultant Tara Wharton left a meeting in San Francisco to come home to hold her sister’s hand just like Faye used to do when they were kids. Adding to her fears is something felt wrong with how Faye’s husband Joseph Banes, CFO and number three person at Wharton Electronics (after his wife and father-on-law) told her the bad news.

She and her high school boyfriend Dylan Ryland reconnect though she never forgot how he chose his father’s company over attending college with Tara and that their families were at war back then and remain hostile. The pair looks into the fatal accident even as each knows they still love the one that got away.

This is a strong family drama with a deep mystery enhancing the business rivalry and the romance. Fast-paced from the opening heart wrenching scene of the siblings at the hospital until the climax, fans will wonder what happened as Dawn Atkins provides a terrific contemporary in which the heroine learns you can go home if love greets you.

Harriet Klausner

Anything For Her-Janice Kay Johnson

Anything For Her

Janice Kay Johnson

Harlequin SuperRomance, Mar 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373718368

All Sean had from his family was his great-great grandma’s unfinished quilt. When his last known relative died, he was placed in a nightmarish foster care home. Now he is with stone worker Nolan Radek who struggles to earn his foster son’s trust.

With Sean’s permission, Nolan takes the quilt to shopkeeper Allie Wright to ask her if she can finish the lad’s heirloom. She agrees to complete the quilt and also accepts a date with Nolan as both are instantly attracted to one another. As they fall in love, Nolan knows she conceals something from him that leads him to distrust her veracity as he knows firsthand betrayal by loved ones.

Aptly titled as the lead male must decide between dumping his beloved or accepting Anything for Her, this is an engaging contemporary romance starring two fully developed protagonists and a vulnerable child. Fast-paced for most of the entertaining storyline, the plot slows down once the audience learns Allie’s secret. Janice Kay Johnson provides fans with a fine drama.

Harriet Klausner

Sunday, March 17, 2013

The Taming Of A Wild Child-Kimberly Lang

The Taming Of A Wild Child

Kimberly Lang

Harlequin KISS, Feb 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207053

In New Orleans, socialite Lorelei LaBlanc knows she has the reputation polar opposite to her sister Vivi; held in high esteem as a paragon of how the affluent should behave. As her sibling marries Connor Mansfield and about to on her honeymoon (see The Downfall of a Good Girl), Lorelei vows to change her well-deserved image of being the wild girl into a good girl.

The morning after her sister’s wedding, Lorelei wakens with a horrific hangover and mortified that journalist Donovan St. James shares the bed with her. She thinks back to the tequila and its aftereffect as she cannot recall the tryst while he knows every inch of their coming together. As Lorelei muses in horror over the first day of her makeover with a tabloid reporter, she tells him no more, but instead the pair begins an affair. As they fall in love, Lorelei chooses her makeover image over her lover.

The second LeBlanc sister romance is a fun matching of a tabloid favorite and a tabloid reporter. Fast-paced from the moment Lorelei wakes up to realize she still is the wild child with her prime regret not knowing how good or bad it was. Fans will enjoy this lighthearted contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

First Time For Everything-Aimee Carson

First Time For Everything

Aimee Carson

Harlequin KISS, Feb 19 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373207046

Miami Assistant U.S. District Attorney Blake Bennington leaves the courthouse distracted wondering why he rejected the come-on of beautiful classy Sara. Not paying attention to where she is going, music therapist Jacqueline “Jax” Lee accidentally plows into Blake. She apologizes to the suit who thinks she barely is old enough to vote. Jax and others are arrested when they do a flash mob dance number at the courthouse in an effort to raise public awareness that The Teen Center’s music program funding was severely cut.

She calls her law student friend Nikki Bennington, who asks her brother Blake to bail Jax out of jail. Blake hires downsized Jax to help his sibling as her live-in caretaker as Nikki wears a long leg cast. As Blake the contained one and Jax the free spirited one fall in love, both ponder the age old question of boxer vs. brief.

This is a humorous entertaining opposites attract romance starring two fully developed protagonists whose mutual lust has both of them reeling so each hides behind a war of the words. Although the key support cast (his mom and sister, and the Teen Center) never seems fully developed, readers will relish the gender combat between the suit and the free spirit.

Harriet Klausner

Dark Tide-Elizabeth Haynes

Dark Tide

Elizabeth Haynes

Harper, Mar 12 2013, $14.99

ISBN 9780062197337

Genevieve Shipley worked two lucrative jobs in London. During the day, she was a successful software saleswoman; at night she made much more money as a pole dancer at the exclusive Barclay Club. When Genevieve attained her monetary goal, she quit both positions and the city to relocate in Kent living on the Revenge, a houseboat.

However, her idyllic retirement turns ugly during her first boat party when her friend from her dancing gig days Caddy is found floating dead in the water near Genevieve’s houseboat. Distraught and filled with guilt because the stunned Genevieve believes she was the intended victim as she assumes the motive for murder traces to a package she holds for Dylan the Barclay bouncer who has vanished and not responded to her texting.

When Dark Tide focuses on the package, the storyline is an exciting psychological thriller that grips readers with a need to know what is inside the box that led to a homicide and imperils the protagonist. When the plot spotlights pole and lap dancing (flashbacks) and houseboat repair it feels padded with extraneous information. Still the heroine engages the audience with her youthful conquers the world attitude leading to foolish missteps Into the Darkest Corner of society.

Harriet Klausner

Saturday, March 16, 2013

The Family Way-Rhys Bowen

The Family Way

Rhys Bowen

Minotaur, Mar 5 2013, $24.99

ISBN: 9781250011633

In 1904 New York City, pregnant Molly promised her husband police captain Daniel Sullivan that she will no longer sleuth though she has quite a success rate (see Hush Now, Don’t You Cry and Bless The Bride). Bored and irritable from the overbearing summer heat and her overbearing husband, Molly receives a letter from a Mrs. O’Byrne of Ireland asking if sir or madam could look into what happened to her niece Maureen O’Byrne who failed to send a Christmas card. The note further stated she crossed the Atlantic last year and got a good servant job with the Mainwaring family.

Molly deems asking a few questions about Maureen will not break her pledge to her overly-protective husband. When she witnesses a baby kidnapping and learns of several other infant abductions, Daniel, who is working that case, demands she stay in cooler Westchester at his parents’ home. She acquiesces to exile since Molly knows the Mainwaring brood lives in that county. At the same time she runs into her outlawed by the English sibling Liam, who’s illegally in the States on a Brotherhood Irish independence mission. In Westchester, Molly, with help from her Manhattan neighbors, continues her detecting work.

The latest Molly Murphy historical mystery is a delightful early twentieth century investigative tale starring the unsinkable 5-6 months pregnant protagonist at her courageous best. Readers will feel the sweltering heat of the city compounded by the tenements and the relatively cooler burb to the north. Action-packed, fans will enjoy aptly titled The Family Way.

Harriet Klausner

Zero Separation-Philip Donlay

Zero Separation

Philip Donlay

Oceanview, Mar 5 2013, $25.95

ISBN 9781608090686

As Michael Ross pilots the Eco-Watch’s Spirit of da Vinci Gulfstream IV to West Palm Beach, a nasty thunderstorm including a lightning strike causes an abrupt dive as a generator went out. Michael tells Donovan Nash that they need to make an emergency landing now at Boca Raton Airport. The pilot safely brings them to the ground.

Michael checks the plane for damage, but while doing so, someone assaults him. Injured he watches the thug steal a Gulfstream from the Boca Raton Airport. FBI Special Agent Veronica Montero believes that Donovan is the key to solving this hijacking and more important to her taking down the person responsible for the murder of her partner. She plans to use information she has on him from what he did twenty years ago that he wants kept secret to force him to help her. After several murders related to the stolen plane occur and the families of Donovan and Michael come under attack, Nash does not need blackmailing to work with the Fed.

The third Nash thriller (see Category Five and Code Black) is an exciting action-packed tale that has readers wondering what the ultimate objective of the killer and associates is. Nash is an interesting protagonist with a history he prefers buried and a tendency to fly into terrible storms. Although the support cast is from thriller central casting, readers will enjoy Nash teaming up with a blackmailing Fed against an amoral predator.

Silenced-Kristina Ohlsson


Kristina Ohlsson

Atria/Emily Bestler Books, Mar 5 2013, $25.00

ISBN: 9781439198902

In 2008 in Stockholm, Alex Recht leads his team (pregnant Fredrika Bergman, sexist Peder Rydh and newbie Joar Shalin) in two investigations, They look into the deaths of immigrant rights activist Vicar Jakob Ahlbin and his wife Marja in what looks like a murder-suicide probably brought on the by the death of a daughter. Additionally the unit conducts an inquiry into a hit and run vehicular homicide of a person with no identification except notes in Arabic.

As they work the seemingly separate cases, the police find links to human trafficking and an unreported assault of a teen in 1993. While Bergman tries to identify the unknown victim as no one filed a missing person’s report, Recht leads his subordinates scrutiny of Jakob’s activities protecting illegal immigrants in his home while also seeking the missing other daughter of the late Ahlbin couple.

When this engaging Swedish police procedural focuses on the cases and the related immigration debate, Silenced is a strong mystery; when the storyline centers on the respective personal lives of the three cops and one civilian, it loses steam as those subplots feel intrusive. Still, filled with betrayal and dark predatory practices, readers will appreciate this relevant look at the social and economic impacts of trafficking (especially the shocking glimpse into a Swede trapped in Thailand as her identification begins to vanish) and immigration.

Harriet Klausner

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Spellcaster’s Grimoire-Mark All

The Spellcaster’s Grimoire

Mark All

ImaJinn, Feb 28 2013, $14.00

ISBN: 9781610261210

In Maynard, Georgia, bestselling author Trish Sinclair writes her third tome on recreational witchcraft. Her sources have been the local coven, which has angered all except leader Benton Moorcroft although he is upset that she mentioned the Spellcaster’s Grimoire in book two; as he wanted its existence kept secret with almost everyone believing the tome destroyed.

Benton arrives at Trish’s house to warn her that evil witch Kate Cavanaugh is coming to claim the Spellcaster’s Grimoire; for Trish to obtain help from loner warlock Aidan McCarthy, and for her to run. Instead of Aidan the loser, Trish heads to coven member Sondra Patton with Kate in pursuit. Sondra and other coven members tell her to fix what she wrought by using her manipulative skill before Kate gets the book and the crystal that will enable her to kill all the witches, but also assigns novice Rain Devereaux to assist. The two women race to Aiden’s home with Kate chasing after them. The powerful raging Kate confronts the two pathetic female practitioners and the drunk.

The latest Witches of Milton County (see Mystic Witch) is an exciting fast-paced urban fantasy starring four flawed individuals in a coming of age story. Trish has no confidence in her skills while Rain has too much as both never seem to succeed yet must; Aiden is a sop due to an ugly magical incident he shared with Kate years ago while came out of that life changer thirsting for more power. Fast-paced and filled with confrontations and a simmering back burner romance, readers will enjoy this entertaining thriller.

Harriet Klausner

Room No. 10-Åke Edwardson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (translator)

Room No. 10

Åke Edwardson, Rachel Willson-Broyles (translator)

Simon & Schuster, Mar 5 2013, $25.99

ISBN 9781451608526

In Gothenburg, Sweden, the corpse of twenty-nine year old Paula Ney is found hanging in Room No. 10 of a dive, the Hotel Revy. Although an enigmatic suicide note is nearby, police Chief Inspector Erik Winter knows this was a homicide.

Winter recalls working with Detective Inspector Fredrik Halders on a disappearance case in the same hotel almost two decades ago. Twenty-nine year old Ellen Börge vanished from the same Room No. 10, but that case remains cold. As he conducts his inquiry into the Ney murder, Winter also thinks back to the unsolved Börge disappearance.

The latest Chief Inspector Erik Winter Swedish police procedural (see Sail of Stone) is an intriguing psychological mystery that grips readers who prefer a more conversational cerebral whodunit as the action is tepid at best and the clues reanalyzed several times. This technique adds a sense of reality to the engaging storyline but can at times become tedious. Still sub-genre fans will want to know what is going on in Room No. 10.

Harriet Klausner

A Good Man-J.J. Murray

A Good Man

J.J. Murray

Kensington, Feb 26 2013, $15.00

ISBN: 9780758277220

In Charlotte, North Carolina, former WNBA and Olympics star Sonya Richardson enjoys her quiet life after years of living the fast-paced celeb diva style though she regrets in some ways her basketball days never allowed time for herself. Still single, her publicist Michelle Hamm calls her for the first time in five years to inform her WB wants her to star on a new reality TV show "Hunk or Punk;" in which a black woman and several suitors would hook up in front of an audience. Sonya, named Jazz for the show, must also bring her BFF; so asks Kim to join her as Shani in Los Angeles.

Widower, ex-pastor John Bond is the token white guy who everyone expects will fail as he lacks the vim, vigor and bling of his extroverted rivals; even he expects to be the first voted off the show. However, John finds Jazz’s honesty and coolness under fire refreshing; he reacts to her energy and voracity with quiet kindness. Sonya finds herself attracted to the caring ex-pastor, but he is neither a hunk nor a punk; just the throwaway Caucasian who keeps surviving along with Tony.

Although the premise of TV reality shows as a potential matchmaker has become trite from overuse and I have doubts about a 1 on 1 basketball game, A Good Man is a fun tale containing two fabulous romances. Character driven, fans will root for Sonya and John to make it.

Harriet Klausner

Thursday, March 14, 2013

The Bull Slayer-Bruce Macbain

The Bull Slayer

Bruce Macbain

Poisoned Pen, Mar 5 2013, $24.95

ISBN: 9781464201080

In the tenth regnal year of his reign, Emperor Trajanus Augustus assigns fiftyish Gaius Plinius Caecilius Secundus to the post of governor of Bithynia-Pontus province. The ruler orders Pliny the Younger (as Secundus is called by many) to eradicate the corruption using any means necessary in a place where Romans were slaughtered a century ago.

Pliny and his retinue are greeted by the province’s fiscal procurator, Marcus Vibius Balbus, who has ruled Bithynia-Pontus with absolute authority by controlling the purse strings and terrorizing governors. Ignoring the not veiled threat Pliny interrogates an angry Balbus. As they settle into a siege mentality Pliny, his staff and family find the Greeklings hostile especially since his mission angers the affluent like Diocles the Golden Mouth who he needs to succeed. When Balbus vanishes, Pliny leads the inquiry while the irate citizens seem verging on overt assaults on the outsiders.

The second Plinius Secundus Ancient Rome historical (see Roman Games) is an engaging thriller in which the protagonist’s personal life and relationships with his loving eccentric wife Calpurnia and his staff (especially Zosimus and Suetonious) supersedes (and overwhelms) the whodunit. Loaded with tidbits about life at the beginning of the second century AD in Bithynia-Pontus, fans who appreciate a sense of being there to see family dynamics will enjoy The Bull Slayer even though the whodunit rarely takes top billing.

Harriet Klausner

Keeper Of The Moon-Harley Jane Kozak

Keeper Of The Moon

Harley Jane Kozak

Harlequin Nocturne, Mar 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885657

In Los Angeles, a serial killer targets Elven females by deliberately infecting them with the deadly scarlet pathogen. Among those carrying the death sentence in their blood is new named Keeper, Sailor Ann Gryffald.

She and shapeshifting club owner Declan Wainwright investigate the homicides while hiding how they feel about their partner from the other. Sailor has wanted Declan for seemingly ever, but assumed he did not reciprocate her desires as he showed no indication otherwise; likewise Declan did the same in spite of his long time attraction to her. However, as they team up to hunt down a lethal psychopath terrorizing the Elven populace and keep the Otherworld species from exploding in rage, the werewolf and the elf no longer conceal their attraction to one another.

The first Keepers L.A. is a thrilling action-packed romantic urban fantasy. Though the romance at times surpasses the hunt for the predator, the stars are a fascinating pairing of two individuals hiding their need for one another; but forced to work together, each confesses their feelings as lust turns to love.

Harriet Klausner

The Wolf's Surrender-Kendra Leigh Castle

The Wolf's Surrender

Kendra Leigh Castle

Harlequin Nocturne, Mar 5 2013, $5.50

ISBN: 9780373885664

The violent shifter stalks Mia D’Alessandro, who runs in fear knowing her attacker toys with her as entrepreneur Jeff Gaines already bit her once. Blackpaw werewolf Nick Jenner finds the frightened woman and takes her to the safety of his pack. However, he fears for Mia’s well-being since the feral wolf already bit her, which means she could turn murderous if Gaines is not killed as Blackpaw assumes the rogue will not mentor her through her first shift.

However, Nick soon learns why Gaines wants Mia; the vile werewolf knows Mia is an Unseelie and wants her dark blood. Knowing how easily a shifter can turn malevolent from firsthand experience, Nick distrusts the female as Unseelie are dark essences though to his chagrin his guest has his heart palpitating at hyperspeed.

The Castle mythos makes for an enjoyable fast-paced werewolf romance. The lead triangle is fully developed with readers anticipating the confrontation between the good Nick, the potentially bad Mia and the ugly Jeff.

Harriet Klausner

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Book Of Killowen-Erin Hart

The Book Of Killowen

Erin Hart

Scribner, Mar 5 2013, $26.00

ISBN: 9781451634846

Detectives Stella Cusack and Fergal Malloy lead the investigation into how a Gold Mercedes containing in its trunk the remains of a centuries-old corpse ended up in County Tipperary’s Killowen Bog. Keeper of Conservation, National Museum of Ireland brings in two experts, Irish archeologist Cormac Maguire and American pathologist Nora Gavin to extract the victim. As the pair works on the removal of the well preserved but murdered Killowen Man, they find another corpse wearing modern garb.

Cormac and Nora are interested in the top deceased who turns out to be a ninth century monk murdered allegedly for heretic scripting. Stella and Fergal are interested in the bottom deceased who turns out to be TV host Benedict Kavanagh, known for destroying his guests with his sharp wit. Both investigations intertwine; forcing the four investigators to cooperate; especially since the nearby landowners and an artist colony prefer to hide the motives of the two homicides more than millennia apart.

The latest Maguire-Gavin archeological mystery (see False Mermaid) is a great whodunit that hooks the audience from the moment the car is found in the bog. Fast-paced from the onset with its dual homicides, The Book Of Killowen will be shortlisted as one of the best mysteries of the year as Erin Hart provides a deep look at various motives to maintain secrets.

Harriet Klausner

Lucky Stiff-Annelise Ryan

Lucky Stiff

Annelise Ryan

Kensington, Mar 5 2013. $7.99

ISBN: 9780758272751

On Christmas Day in Sorenson, Wisconsin, medical examiner Mattie Winston and her boyfriend Police Detective Steve Hurley look at the remains of a burned house and the body inside. Mattie concludes the arson was used to conceal a homicide; as the victim died before the inferno began. The victim, paraplegic Jack Allen recently won a large casino jackpot. The pair agree that the obvious motive is greed especially since Jack’s safe was open and empty.

Mattie and Steve visit the North Woods Casino where Jack won big but ended up an unlucky stiff. They ask questions and realize many people knew of the winnings, which leads the deputy coroner and the cop to conclude several suspects besides the victim’s girlfriend and housekeeper had opportunity. However Mattie and Steve begin a second inquiry by heading into the cold water to examine the dead body of floater Donald Strommen who vanished a few weeks ago.

The latest Mattie Winston police procedural (see Working Stiff, Scared Stiff and Frozen Stiff) is an enjoyable mystery with two murders to solve. The madcap mayhem has been reduced in this exciting entry as the heroine seems to have moved on passed her nasty ex-husband although this time Steve’s past arises. Fans will appreciate this well-written Wisconsin whodunit as both cases prove difficult even with Mattie finding forensic evidence that leads to more questions than answers.

Harriet Klausner

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore: Flying Through History-J. Scott Fuqua

Calvert the Raven in the Battle of Baltimore: Flying Through History

J. Scott Fuqua

Bancroft Press, Mar 4 2013, $7.99 (trade), $17.99 (hardcover)

ISBN: 9781610880787 (trade); 9781610880770 (hardcover)

At school in Baltimore, Daniel studies the boring War of 1812 musing how he will stay awake reading this ennui fight while also wondering why no cameras were invented to at least take still photos. His teacher writes “Terrible” on his report.

Calvert the raven shocks Daniel when he speaks to the lad saying he will prove firsthand that history is exciting. He takes the skeptical student back to 1814 Baltimore where the British army and navy attack Fort McHenry. Explaining to the stunned child that history is fluid as there is a distinct possibility that this time the Star-Spangled Banner may not wave comes morning.

The first Flying Through History tale is a superb historical (with speculative elements like time travel and anthropomorphism) as the illustrations enhance a deep look at the battle that led to the National Anthem. Elementary school students will want to sear back in time with Calvert as he makes his case that history is thrilling using “empirical experience”.

Harriet Klausner

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Revenge On Route 66-Kris Neri

Revenge On Route 66

Kris Neri

Cherokee McGhee, Mar 15 2013, $17.95


ISBN: 9781937556020

Hollywood hunk Alec Grainger enjoys traveling Route 66. He currently is on the Mother Road with his son-in-law’s Uncle Philly and soon joined by his daughter Tracy Eaton and her husband Drew. One of their favorite haunts has been the Lunch Pail Café in Tecos, New Mexico, but the diner is locked up since the proprietor, Lucy Crier is locked away after murdering her former boyfriend. However, somehow witnesses claim to see Lucy on Route 66. Alec persuades his companions for them to look into the sighting of a jailed Lucy.

Soon after the inexplicable sighting as Lucy has an iron clad alibi, someone kills her ingratiating son Woody. As the traveling team investigate the Crier mysteries, the FBI inexplicably declare Tracy Eaton as a deadly Most Wanted fugitive; she can run on Route 66 but can’t hide from the Feds and other pursuers.

The latest Eaton family travelogue (see Revenge of the Gypsy Queen, Revenge For Old Time’s Sake and Dem Bones’ Revenge) is another is humorous yet graveyard serious amateur sleuth as this time the flaky free spirited heroine is on the lam from the Feds (and others). The storyline is fast-paced with Tracy, the original campy Revenge star, dodging capture while seeking to solve three mysteries as she would prefer not to become Lucy’s bunkmate. Fans will appreciate this tremendous trip down America’s Mother Road.

Harriet Klausner

Winning Back His Wife-Melissa McClone

Winning Back His Wife

Melissa McClone

Harlequin Romance, Mar 5 2013, $5.75

ISBN: 9780373178667

The Oregon Search and Rescue volunteers save an injured climber on Mount Hood, but for Dr. Cullen Gray there is no time for R&R at his nearby home in Hood Hamlet. His soon to be ex-wife volcanologist Sarah Purcell is in critical condition in a Seattle trauma center after a blast of steam led to her being hit by rocks and tossed a significant distance while on the rim at Mount Baker.

Panicked he rushes to her side though he swears he can live without her. Upon seeing her in a comatose state, Cullen changes his vow to never leaving her side if god gives them a second chance. When Sarah regains consciousness, she is shocked to see her husband at her side. Each thinks how they married after only knowing one another for two days, but both placed their respective work ahead of their relationship; leading to their agreeing to an amiable divorce. Now he refuses to go as Cullen plans on Winning Back His Wife.

This is a strong second chance at love contemporary as a trauma awakens two workaholic protagonists as to what they almost lost by ignoring their relationship; their vocation came before each other. Cullen and Sarah are fully developed as neither can conceal how they feel from one another or the audience, but work still intrudes on their working through their reconciliation in Melissa McClone’s super romance.

Harriet Klausner

Beguiling the Boss-Joan Hohl

Beguiling the Boss

Joan Hohl

Harlequin Desire, Mar 5 2013, $4.99

ISBN: 9780373732289

Affluent Jennifer Dunning does not need to work as her parents are wealthy and she is their only child. Still she earned an MBA and was personal assistant to the CEO of a large company. Tired of her incompetent boss, she quits her job; catching her father cheat with his best friend’s wife leads to her leaving Dallas.

Jennifer accepts an office position working for reclusive business wizard Marshall Grainger at his ranch. She is stunned by her attraction to her boss as she distrusts men since Mr. Football All-American almost raped her in college and affirmed by her dad’s philandering; in fact she never let any male stay with her overnight. Marshall explains other duties as assigned includes housekeeping and cooking, but is shocked by his desire for his new employee as he distrusts all women. He soon offers to change her job description to wife and mother as he deems her worthy, but he fails to add his heart into the mix.

This is an engaging warm ranch romance as the protagonists make a nice couple. Although the premise is not new, readers will enjoy this entertaining contemporary.

Harriet Klausner

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cover Me-Joanna Wayne, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane

Cover Me

Joanna Wayne, Rita Herron and Mallory Kane

Harlequin Intrigue, Mar 5 2013, $5.25

ISBN: 9780373696741

“Bayou Payback” by Joanna Wayne. Former NOPD narcotics officer Remy Comeaux returns to New Orleans, a place of tragedy since he lost his fiancée and reason for breathing Carlotta Worthington to Katrina. His quest is to end the corrupt reign of newly appointed Police Commissioner Lee Barnaby. However, Lee’s girlfriend Katrina survivor Nicole Smith reminds Remy of Carlotta.

“Bayou Jeopardy” by Rita Herron. Several years have passed since Katrina, but ex-city Police Detective Mack Rivet has just returned to New Orleans for the first since the flood killed his wife Lily and son Winston, and someone with influence had him arrested on phony charges. However he is unprepared for the shocker that his wife and a son he never met are alive. Mack considers three corrupt individuals (his father-in-law Melvin Landry, Mayor Barrow and lawyer Tate Manning) as the only suspects setting him up as each had much to gain with his removal from the scene.

“Bayou Justice” by Mallory Kane. Eight years ago, FBI agent Ray Storm went undercover in New Orleans to bring down corrupt politician Martin Hennessy for taking funds earmarked to fix the levees. Ray used Martin’s innocent sister Molly to get evidence against the Louisiana Disaster Avoidance Task Force Chief. However, Katrina destroyed the proof. Now Ray is back in town and needs the woman he used and abandoned to bring down her sibling, who is running for governor.

Eight years ago Katrina enabled the corrupt to win on the backs of desperate citizens and caring honest cops trying to help the people. Now these dedicated law enforcement officials are back in this exciting three tales of romantic suspense.

Harriet Klausner