Nov 28, 2007

Rardin - Once Bitten Twice Shy, etc

Another One Bites the Dust is the second book in the Jazz Parks series which will hit the shelves on Dec. 12, 2007. Jazz is a CIA agent who partners with Vayl, a 300 year old, very handsome, very charming vampire. The two of them travel anywhere an assignment takes them to track down the bad guys. A third book, Biting the Bullet, will be available in Feb. of 2008. A fourth, Bitten to Death, is scheduled for publication in August of 2008.

In October my review of book one Once Bitten, Twice Shy appeared in Library Journal. I have posted it below:

Rardin, Jennifer. Once Bitten, Twice Shy. Orbit, October 8, 2007. ISBN0-316-02046-X. 291p. $12.99
The moody, sharp tongued Jasmine Parks, aka Jaz, works as a CIA agent. In her earlier career she assassinated vampires, but now she partners with one, the almost three hundred year-old Vayl. He is one of the good guy undeads who works with humans to help rid the world of the evil of his kind. In this first adventure of the Jaz Parks series Vayl requests that Jaz be his partner because he knows that her special gifts as a sensitive could be made even more powerful with his help. Their current adventure begins in Miami where they have been sent to infiltrate the world of the extremely wealthy Abn-Assan who is suspected of filtering money to a terrorist organization. Complicating things are an attack which nearly kills Vayl when his only blood supply is contaminated. To save him Jaz insists he take some of her blood. When he acquiesces their personal bond and paranormal powers increase. There are a host of characters and a plethora of plot twists in this fast paced tale. Recommended for popular reading collections. Patricia Altner,

Right now I am in the middle of Another One Bites the Dust and thoroughly enjoying it. I will post a review in the next week or so.

Nov 15, 2007

Review of Dark Lullaby - A Novel of Horror

Dark Lullaby by Mayra Calvani. Whiskey Creek Press, 2007

The next time you feel like curling up with a scary book, get a copy of author Mayra Calvani's Dark Lullaby, a riveting page turner that will keep you reading straight through until the end. The story begins in Baltimore where Puerto Rican born Gabriel Diaz meets the lovely young woman Kamilah. His friend Liz is with him when Kamilah, overhearing the two discussing the philosophy of good and evil, invites herself to join them. Liz immediately feels there is something eerie, even frightening about this stranger and quickly excuses herself. Gabriel, however, seems completely oblivious. Very soon she has his undivided attention. Kamilah tells Gabriel that both good and evil exist equally in the world and that both are part of God's plan. Gabriel finds this lovely lady fascinating although he thought her philosophy rather superstitious unlike his own realistic ideas.

Tension builds as Kamilah works her way into Gabriel's life. They spend almost every moment together, and it is then that his nightmares begin. A part of him suspects a connection to the new woman in his life, but ultimately his attraction to her pushes his concerns aside. In his apartment are photos of his twin sister Elena who is expecting a baby in a few weeks. He is anxious about Elena because her first child died soon after birth. Gabriel is very close to his sister and has promised to be with her when this child is born. Kamilah finds this admirable and wants to hear everything about Elena and her efforts to have a healthy baby. But first the exotic beauty convinces Gabriel that he has time to come with her to her family's small cottage in a beautiful, somewhat desolate area of northern Turkey. Just for a week, she says. Gabriel agrees then quickly regrets this decision. His nightmares worsen. He hears sounds of frightened children in the forest, and sees grotesque faces of babies in the bark of trees. All too quickly the nightmares become reality.

Dark Lullaby is a must read for those who enjoy novels of horror. Calvani keeps the tension tight throughout this gripping novel.

Nov 3, 2007

Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu - A vampire short story

I just finished rereading one of my favorite short stories. Years ago I read a collection of erotic vampire love stories and this one was selected for the anthology. While I would not exactly classify it as erotic, It is certainly a love story in its own rough way. The title is Do Not Hasten to Bid Me Adieu and is written by Norman Partridge.

It is a brief retelling of Stoker's Dracula, but this time from the viewpoint of Quincey Morris, one of the suitors of Lucy Westenra. As Stoker told it Lucy had three men who wished to marry her. After careful consideration she chose the English aristocrat Arthur Holmwood. Quincey considers Stoker's attempt at telling the story the ravings of a feverish mind. In truth Lucy and Quincey chose each other. They had a love so deep that few mortals would ever be able to understand. As the story begins Quincey, dressed all in black, drives a wagon across the boundless land of his home state of Texas. In the wagon is a large black box that carries his most precious love. He had made a promise to Ms Lucy and now he meant to carry it out.

The story shifts back and forth between the torturous happenings at Whitby, England and the bizarre events that Quincey sets in motion in Morrisville, Texas. At times the incidents from both places intertwine as if Quincey was going through a time of nightmare until, somehow, he sorts his thoughts and comes back to reality. He knows his task to be a difficult one, but despite the many obstacles he faces he does not hesitate to carry them out.

As far as I know the most recent publication to carry this story is Women of the Night, edited by Martin Greenberg. Barnes & Noble, 2007. My first encounter was in Love in Vein: Twenty Original Tales of Vampiric Erotica. edited by Poppy Z. Brite. HarperPrism, 1994.

By the way the story title comes from the cowboy song Red River Valley. Some of the lyrics can be found in the story. For instance:

Come sit by my side if you love me,
Do not hasten to bid me adieu,
But remember the Red River Valley,
And the cowboy who loved you so true.