Friday, July 20, 2012

Book review: “Magical Alienation” by Kris Neri


This is a neat cross between fantasy and suspense, with romance overtones thrown in. The duo of Samantha Brennan, fake psychic, and Annabelle Haggerty, FBI agent/real Celtic goddess make their second appearance here. The first, “High Crimes on the Magical Plane,” was nominated for a 2010 Lefty for Best Humorous Mystery Novel.
It’s a stretch to call these books mysteries, since there's no murder in this one, but they sure are fun and there's a lot of mysterious stuff. A good bit of suspension of disbelief is needed, but you can tell that, right? An aging rock star, who may be some sort of supernatural being, or not, hires Samantha to be his personal spiritual advisor for his upcoming tour: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. It pays well, so she flies to Sedona for the kickoff concert. However, that first concert is going to be a benefit for an onerous person, Normal Frankly, who has been accused to trying to kill a senator and is holed up with his personal militia and some hostages. Two gangster-types accompany Sam and the rocker on the private jet trip to Arizona and Sam can’t tell who’s in charge, the bodyguards or her employer. Her old nemesis god, Angus, the hunk she can't resist, tests her resolution and muddies the waters.
Sam soon realizes she’s receiving signs when Camelback Mountain sticks a tongue out at her. The reader becomes privy to the thoughts of the Area 51 creature as a harmonic convergence that will be accompanied by a full moon approaches. The creature and others are determined to make use of this phenomenon, but Annabelle seems to have lost her powers and needs Sam to help her through the event. Some are putting the harmonica-thingie, as Sam calls it, to good use, some plan evil deeds. But which group is which?
It’s hard, at some points, to see how Samantha is going to land on her feet in the end. A whole lot of subplots converge in Sedona for the thrilling climax of this magic-studded read.

Reviewed by Kaye George, author of “Choke” for Suspense Magazine

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