Books dealing with dragons and grim tales

Things get grim and gritty in the big city for a necromancer in “Dead Things” by Stephen Blackmoore.

Eric Carter sees dead people – ghosts actually – and can talk to them and sometimes help them move on. When he left L.A. years ago, he never expected to be back. But his little sister has been murdered and more than a few “old friends” and even Eric himself blame his absence as part of her death. Did someone kill her to get to Eric? Eric must use his powers to return to the crime scene and find out what happened, and even her “shade” doesn’t bring any light to the case. Is it the ghost of a gangster Eric put down? One of his cronies? Someone trying to make a name for himself? Or could it be death herself, Santa Muerte, who has an unhealthy interest in Eric…

For those who like their crime noir with a dark paranormal bent, this is a story you’ll love. There’s plenty of gangsters and magical baddies for Eric to fight, all with a cool quip or two and a dames who could bring love or death to Eric. Fans of the “Dresden” series should check this one out.

“Dead Things” is published by Daw. It is $7.99 and 295 pages long.

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Dreams and dragons come to a young woman in Kerry Schafer’s “Between.”

Vivian is a young hospital worker who has seen plenty of bad things in an emergency room. But when a teenager seems to spontaneously combust in front of her, she has to wonder if the lack of sleep is finally getting to her or if she has inherited her mother’s insanity. Vivian’s mother, now in a nursing home, has always talked of Dreamworlds and handsome men from other worlds. And Vivian’s own dreams have been haunted by a dashing knight and fiery dragons. But when she meets the man of her dreams, literally, Vivian begins to question if her mother might not have been right, and that Vivian’s destiny belongs to another world in which dragons and magic roam freely.

This dreamy fantasy book will transport readers to Vivian’s world with its compelling story and characters. And Vivian is a strong character to enjoy.

“Between” is published by Ace. It is $7.99 and 294 pages long.

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Xandra Vardan, the would-be goblin queen, continues to try to come to terms with her new life and hunt for a missing sibling in “The Queen is Dead” by Kate Locke.

Reeling in the aftermath of finding out she is a goblin and vampire Queen Victoria isn’t happy about that, Xandra is estranged from her siblings and father. She is spending time with her werewolf aristocrat boyfriend, Vex, when she finds out that her police officer brother has gone missing in the course of an investigation. Now Xandra must try to track down his last investigation and discovers that someone has been keeping an eye on her family. Can Xandra find her brother before she is snatched off the streets of London herself? Will she finally take her throne as goblin queen? And can her relationship with Vex survive?

This series is a mixture of steampunk/futuristic England with paranormal monsters. The twist of the setting and the “goblin” elements give this a new take to the genre. It will be a treat to see what happens to Xandra next.

“The Queen is Dead” is published by Orbit. It is $16.99 and 333 pages long. Look for “Long Live the Queen” coming soon.

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Award-winning author Caitlin R. Kiernan writing as Kathleen Tierney tackles the classic paranormal genre of a supernatural hunter in her dark style in “Blood Oranges.”

Quinn hunts monsters and things that go bump in the night. But she isn’t Buffy. No, Quinn is a somewhat-former junkie who has accidentally killed more vampires than purposefully. She does have a mentor, but he’s the Mean Mr. B, a strange man who goes by a different B name every time Quinn sees him and is more interested in putting her in danger than saving her from it and is feeding her junkie habit in order to keep her around. And it’s during one of Quinn’s hunts when she stops for her drug of choice that she is attacked by a werewolf. A vampire “saves” her – and then bites her, making Quinn now a vampire-werewolf. And that’s when things get even more complicated…

This is a twisted, dark story that takes the genre and spins it on its ear. Quinn is not your typical kick butt heroine, she the most anti of all anti-heroes, which definitely gives the book all of its bite.

“Blood Oranges” is published by Roc. It is $16 and 253 pages long.