Lark Brennan’s Hidden in Shadows

Hidden in Shadows is the fourth installment in Lark Brennan’s Durand Chronicles, and although I highly recommend reading the previous books, Shadows in the Deep, Mind Shadows, and Shadows of the Past (because they are really good!), Hidden in Shadows works as a stand alone novel.

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When Marie Robichaud’s aged Camry dies near the Texas/Louisiana border in the middle of the night, she knows she’s got trouble. She’s on the run from the cheating boyfriend she left back in Las Vegas, and she’s carrying a valuable necklace that said boyfriend bought with money he stole from her. Marie is pretty sure whoever sold him the necklace didn’t exactly have a clear title to it, but she’s past caring. If she can just get to the casino in Shreveport, she can pick up enough cash at the poker table to give her a cushion while she figures out what to do next. When a handsome man driving a powerful Porsche stops to offer her assistance, she’s leery. But she sure needs that ride into Shreveport.

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Victor Durand, the man in the Porsche, has been following Marie for hours. Well, actually, he’s been following the necklace, which radiates psychic powers no jewel thief could possibly imagine. Much to his surprise, his “jewel thief” is a young woman with psychic powers of her own, a form of telepathy she’s been using for years to make a living playing poker.

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Victor and Marie have little reason to trust each other. Experience has taught Marie that handsome, wealthy men are not likely to have her best interest at heart. Victor sees Marie as a con artist and a card sharp. But there are truly dangerous people searching for Marie’s necklace, and Victor knows that if he simply takes the necklace from her, he will be abandoning her to a very bad fate.

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When their uneasy partnership takes them to the voodoo-haunted streets of New Orleans, where Marie grew up and where Victor has left some bad memories behind, Marie finds herself drawn into Victor’s world, where the unending struggle between the Durand Protectors and the evil Dissemblers threatens Marie’s family.

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The Durand Chronicles combine romantic (and occasionally steamy) suspense with the varied psychic powers of the Durand family and their associates. Hidden in Shadows includes characters from the first three books and leaves just enough unanswered questions to fuel one more book, Shadow of Death, coming soon.

Shadows of the Past

Shadows of the Past is a reissue of Recklessly Yours, the third in Lark Brennan’s Durand Chronicles series, and finishing it kept me up until 2 o’clock one morning (and I had to go fetch the charging cable and plug my Kindle in for the last half hour). The series might best be described as paranormal romantic suspense, although the characters are all human and the paranormal elements are all psychic. This entry involves a decidedly non-Indian artifact found on the Blackfeet reservation in Montana and two Durand Protectors (who haven’t spoken in seven years) sent to investigate and retrieve it.

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Chantal Durand has been working as an archaeologist in Australia (where she was briefly jailed for shooting an ex-lover in the butt), but she’s called back to her Protector duties when a mysterious artifact turns up in Montana. Her psychic abilities are just what’s needed to find a clue to the origin and meaning of the strange piece of tile. As if landing in the frozen north without the proper wardrobe wasn’t trouble enough, she finds herself working with Tanner Hays, the last partner she wants. The last time they worked together, Tanner’s best friend was killed, and he still blames Chantal for that disaster. The search for the more powerful artifact connected to the tile leads to suspense and more than a few plot twists as Chantal and Tanner make their way through dangerous blizzards and even more dangerous opponents equally determined to find the missing treasure.

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If you’re in the Houston area in January, you can meet Lark Brennan and two other local authors signing their books at the wonderful independent bookshop Murder By the Book, at 1 PM on January 11, 2020 (wow, 2020 already!). Lark will be signing Shadows of the Past. Leslie Marshman will be signing her debut novel, Goode Over Evil (here’s my review). And multi-published author Christie Craig will be signing her latest release, Don’t Breathe a Word.

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See you there!

Paranormal Suspense

I’m not at all sure that “paranormal suspense” is considered a subgenre, but perhaps it should be. It’s as good a way as any to describe these two recent reads.

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Mind Shadows is a reissue (new title, new cover) of Irresistibly Yours, the second installment in Lark Brennan’s fascinating Durand Chronicles (after Shadows in the Deep), romantic suspense with more than a touch of the paranormal.

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When Tate Fulbright wanders into a shop in Paris, looking for an entomological collection she’d heard about from her scientist mother, she finds instead an amazing collection of taxidermied animals, as well as Adrien Durand, who seems just as amazing to a girl from Indiana, in the City of Light for a pharmaceutical convention. But despite her inexperience with the high society and wealth that Durand represents, Tate isn’t just another tourist from Indianapolis. She communicates with animals at a deep level, hears voices in her head, feels the emotions of the crowds around her, and has no idea where these abilities—or disabilities—come from.

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Adrien Durand, head of the far-flung Durand clan and its many commercial and charitable interests, doesn’t know where Tate’s talents come from, either, and that worries him. Is she a wild talent, or someone sent to spy on the Durands by one of the other psychic clans, some shaky allies, some outright enemies. For the Durands and their counterparts fight a long and continuing battle to either protect or enslave the ordinaires of the world.

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Adrien finds himself increasingly attracted to Tate, but his responsibilities—and his family—throw barriers between them. Tate has her doubts, too, tossed as she is into a world she never suspected and doesn’t understand. But Adrien’s world may hold the answers to the mysteries in her head, and give her a new purpose in life—if they can both survive.

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The world of the Durands, with its wide array of psychic powers, Protectors and Dissemblers, and family connections—and secrets—going back generations, expands with each installment. If you missed this one, grab it now, and watch for more to come.

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Ari Mason, the heroine of R.R. Born’s debut novel, May Day, is a gray witch. Born into a coven of black witches, Ari left the practice of black magic, cutting ties with much of her family. Now she tends bar by night and reads Tarot in the park by day. She volunteers for children and senior citizens, and generally keeps her distance from the magic community in her home town of Houston.

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When her best friend, Leise (a non-magical person or dismage), has a problem with an antique amethyst pendant, Ari does her best to help, with the assistance of Remy, the Cajun ghost Ari accidentally summoned during a youthful experiment.

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But when a series of magical murders begins, targeting both witches and dismages, Ari must act, and she must seek allies among the white witches who have no reason to trust her. For that matter, Ari doesn’t know who she can trust—some people aren’t what they seem at all.

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May Day is a fast-paced race through the magical community of Houston, filled with interesting—and sometimes terrifying—characters. Ari’s next adventure, Day of the Dead, has just been released.

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