Showing posts from December, 2010

An Ancient Prophecy Never Means Good News

There aren’t many constants out there in the world, but one which seems to always hold true is that all of us will never really, truly, get along with each other. Pessimistic, you say? Okay, fine... guilty as charged. Still, history argues pretty persuasively against the likelihood of any sort of widespread, lasting peace. From the days when cavemen stomped the Earth--when the males battled each other with clubs over who got the biggest hunk of meat from a hunt (survival), or got to claim the healthiest cavewoman (both survival and power), to today--when we still fight over survival and power, plus a whole mess of other things, we’ve proven ourselves to be quite the warmongering species. So, just imagine what life on Terra Firma would be like if we threw zombies, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, etc., into the mix. (One big party? Um, yeah, not so much.) Last year we were introduced to just such a mix in Nancy Holzner’s Urban Fantasy Deadtown, the title of which refers to the special…

Marriage or Murder at a Country Manor

A sprawling estate in the English countryside. A wealthy family, bound by the secrets they endeavor to keep from their friends and neighbors. A house party--with an engagement celebration its primary focus--featuring the usual assortment of pompous gentlemen of a certain age, mothers eager to make the best matches for their daughters, preening dandies too aware of their own highly-eligible status, and silly young girls harboring fairy-tale dreams of finding eternal love with their own handsome princes. A sudden, silent communication which sends the groom-to-be hieing off, breaking his engagement without explanation and leaving behind a tearful fiancée who refuses to accept that her perfect world has suddenly gone so very wrong. And, an intelligent and competent spinster, torn between duty to her niece and curiosity about her fellow houseguests, trying to make sense of it all.

All of that might well have been plucked straight out of a Jane Austen novel... were it not for the inclusion…

A Nightmare Without End: Abduction & the Long Road Back

Danger takes many forms. Most of us--once we’ve become rather uncomfortably aware of our own mortality--make an effort to take at least a few precautions to ward ourselves from some of the dangers we face.  At a bare minimum, we look both ways before crossing the street. We inoculate ourselves against deadly diseases. We bolt our doors and lock our windows to all the scary things (and bad people) that go bump in the night. We fasten our seat belts before setting out on the roadways in our little hunks of metal (although statistics show that a lot more of us could stand to be doing that). Taking such measures is empowering; we’re proactively doing something to safeguard ourselves. So many other things, of course, are completely outside the realm of our control. We’re unable to prevent cancers or illnesses that we’re genetically predisposed to getting. We’re at the whims of Mother Nature when it comes to floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, and such. We can’t predict if a random stranger in a cr…