Sunday, March 04, 2007

impressive surprises

I just came back from a long trip, while I was gone I had ordered a few things from amazon to keep me sane on the long plane rides I would have to endure to get to the good part of my vacation. I had blown through my stock of favorite authors and therefor had to experiment a little in my choices.

The BEST thing I found was this book, Unshapely Things by Mark Del Franco. There are a lot of urban fantasy writers right now. A lot of strong female protagonists, and while that's really exiting for women it gets pretty boring one after another. In Unshapely Things we get Connor Grey & a whole new, and very well thought out, world.

"As long as there were desperate people, there would be the Weird, and I would have a reason to get up in the morning." Connor Grey

In the alleys of the decrepit Boston neighborhood known as the Weird, fairy prostitutes are turning up dead. The crime scenes show signs of residual magic, but the Guild, which polices the fey, has more “important” crimes to investigate and dumps the case on human law enforcement. So the Boston police calls in Connor Grey, a druid who used to be a hot-shot investigator for the Guild— until a run–in with a radical environmentalist elf left his magical abilities crippled. "
Taking place in Boston, the authors home town, in a part of the city nicknamed The Weird. It's a police procedural that is smart, creative, full of great characters, and a solid plot. Not since I found Rob Thurman's Nightlife a year ago have I been so impressed by a debut author. I'm eagerly awaiting the next instalment in the series, something Mr. Del Franco is working on right now. You can check out his progress on his livejournal here, and I highly recommend you check out his website too. Please go buy this book now. Here is a link to the first chapter of the book, and that is all it took to hook me.

Another great find was this "little" number The Scent of Shadows by Vicki Pettersson. It's twice the size of a Mary Janice Davidson- but so is my TV guide. And yet again we are entered into a completely new world of supernatural heroes and villains.
The story is complex well wrought and enveloping. There is much to love here. My favorite bit is that the sequel comes out next month and I am anxious to see if our heroine can have some happiness instilled into a life that has been completely and irrevocably changed by the events that transpire in Scent of Shadows.
Here is an excerpt from the 1st chapter.
I love the author almost if not just as much as I loved the book, here's a bit from her bio,
"Born and raised in Las Vegas, where THE SCENT OF SHADOWS is set, I’ve always been a voracious reader and writer. However, a post-college stint in Public Relations convinced me I didn’t want to spend my days writing on assignment, so I did what any self-respecting Vegas girl would do. I became a showgirl.

Fast forward half a decade and I had a handful of manuscripts, but was no closer to being published. I was also entering my thirties, a time when a showgirl’s career usually hits the skids. Maybe living in a city built on longshots and pipedreams had something to do with it, but I decided to bag everything I’d previously written – a historical, a mystery, a couple of romances – and ignore all I’d heard about writing to genre. My new goal was to write a book filled with things I love: a mystery’s noir, a strong romantic subplot, an accessible first-person voice, and the fantasy I’d loved before college lit had knocked it out of my head and life. Turns out, I’d unknowingly written a dark urban fantasy, and it was the most fun I’d ever had writing. THE SCENT OF SHADOWS was picked up by my agent at the beginning of ‘05, and by HarperCollins six months later. Praise be, because I got knocked up at the exact same time and my showgirl career was officially over."
check out her website and find out more about her, her upcoming work,and appearances.

Picking up this novel was a total fluke. I was out of books on my vacation and in a moment of desperation picked this guy up in a Fred Meyer store in Juneau Alaska.

Mr.Twilight (Book II of The Trine) by Micheal Reaves with Maya Bohnhoff. At first I was pretty leery of a book that a: I bought at a super market, and b: had two authors. But all my qualms proved unfounded as I read throughout the first chapter. Again, new world, new supernatural heroes this time dealing with forces that battle angles demons and gods from all religions.
"In bookshop specializing in rare volumes, an avid fan of horror fiction seizes a tome too valuable and too incredible to fathom. . . . A few miles away, in a Manhattan brownstone, Colin–he has no other name–has been an unrelenting warrior against the dark, the demonic, and the damned. A man who has angels at his side and hell staring him in the face, he has devoted his life to solving magical crimes and tracking down–and neutralizing–the perpetrators of those crimes, human and nonhuman alike. Now Colin is about to team up with a beautiful Native American a long way from home and a tough NYPD detective who seems to be immune to magic. Together, in a funhouse of evidence and apparitions, they are chasing a killer and untangling a tale that leads from the infamous Vlad the Impaler to a dead twentieth-century occult author and his gorgeous daughter–who is as seductive as the devil himself.Mr. Twilight combines the mystical and the mysterious, the supernatural and the primitive, in a rich, steamy brew of otherworldly adventure."
The story divided it's time between Colin and Gabrielle the two heroes, and the murders that they are trying to stop. Normally this wouldn't be a problem but I found it distracting whenever they switched from one to another. I'd have much rather have stayed with Colin, he had the best action going on. As well it should be, this is book two of his story and I am eagerly awaiting my copy of Hell On Earth Book I of The Trine. Unfortunately it is out of print, I didn't let that little fact get in my way. The authors websites are kind of a waste of time, not very interesting. But check out Ms. Bohnhoff's for a chapter one excerpt.

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