Monday, May 31, 2010

Spotlight Review: Stormwalker by Allyson James

STORMWALKER - Allyson James
Stormwalker, Book 1
Berkley Sensation
ISBN: 978-0-425-23469-3
May 2010
Paranormal Romance

Magellan, Arizona and Beneath - Present Day

Janet Begay, a Stormwalker (she can control the power of storms, an ability inherited from her Navajo grandmother) has always known that the day would come when she’d have to confront her mother, a powerful goddess stuck in Beneath (a world under our own from which demons, skinwalkers, and other creatures escaped). Her scary mother gave her a bit of her own power and wants Janet to free her from her prison. Wanting to avoid the situation until she could better control her storm powers, and hopefully have a chance at defeating the scary-as-hell woman who claims her as her own, Janet hasn’t been back to Arizona until now. Her friend Jamison, a shape shifter, recommended Janet’s investigative services to Magellan’s police chief whose daughter Amy disappeared over a year ago. It isn’t long before Janet is being attacked by skinwalkers and harassed by Nash, the local sheriff, an Unbeliever (one who doesn’t think all the “paranormal” activity in the area, or the vortexes, are real). Luckily, Janet’s one-time lover, Mick, a mysterious fire wielder, has just arrived in town to help her. Janet’s mom is nothing if not determined, and if the ruthless goddess is to be stopped and the chief''s missing daughter found, it’ll take every bit of Janet's and Mick’s strengths combined with the aid of the trickster god Coyote to get it done.

Janet has been treated as a misfit by most of her Navajo family her entire life (her birth being the result of a white woman’s seduction of her quiet and unassuming father—a woman who was possessed by her real mother). Her STORMWALKER powers are of the earth, and with their arrival she became a danger to all around her. It wasn’t until she met Mick five years ago that she really started to gain control of her ability; he’s the only person she’s ever known who can siphon off the excess energy of her powers and survive contact with her at her most powerful. Their six-month affair was passionate, and it didn’t take long for them to fall in love. But, he held all the cards, never sharing anything with Janet about who he really is or where he comes from, so Janet got on her beloved Harley and rode out of his life, determined to master her powers on her own and avoid any contact with the only man she’s ever loved.

Mick is definitely not your average guy. Sexy, powerful, protective, and still as determined as ever not to share any information about his past, and Janet’s grandmother warns her that his ability has an evil taint. So, is Mick a safe man to share a bed with? Probably not, but then again, Janet isn’t the type of woman to crave predictability. By the book, always perfectly presented, Sheriff Nash Jones has had it in for Janet since her arrival in Magellan. Is it because the sheriff (who was also Amy’s fiancé) had something to do with her disappearance? Then there’s Maya Medina, the electrician working for Janet on the hotel she bought and is restoring. The fiery and nearly always hostile woman seems determined to dislike Janet, of course she also seems to have it in for Nash, but what does she know about what happened to Amy? Fans of Allyson James may recognize Janet’s friend Jamison Kee from his story, A Little Night Magic in the anthology HOT FOR THE HOLIDAYS (October 2009). If you haven’t read it yet, it offers a brief introduction to Coyote and the town of Magellan, as well as telling how Jamison and his mate, Naomi, got together. Fremont Hansen, Janet’s plumber and a Believer, is one of the few in town who reached out to become her friend. Janet’s grandmother, a tough old bird, and her father, the gentle Pete, make brief appearances in this story as well. And of course we mustn’t forget Coyote. The trickster god makes it clear he’ll help Janet and Mick when it suits him, but he’s equally prepared to destroy Janet if she decides to help her mother. I suppose Janet’s mother would be offended if she didn’t get a mention, so I’ll sum her up by saying that in her own twisted way, she does want to be Janet’s mother. However, when you’re as evil as she, the possibilities are horrendous.

If you like Allyson James's ever imaginative, always passionate and action filled tales (and how could you not?) you’re sure to love this book. Look for book two, FIREWALKER, to arrive in November 2010. Sexy, magical, and full of characters who’ll capture your imagination, STORMWALKER deserves a place on your must buy list.

Lori Ann

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