Oct 11, 2006

Davidson - Undead and Unwed

Undead and Unwed by MaryJanice Davidson
Berkley (March 2, 2004)

The Undead series by Davidson is one of my favorites. Here is a review of book one - Undead and Unwed.

Betsy Taylor’s day went from bad to worse. First she lost her job, then her birthday party was canceled because of a freak April snowstorm, then she trekked out of her house to rescue her ingrate cat only to be hit by an SUV. If that wasn’t bad enough, she woke up dead, inside a morgue, wearing a tacky suit and grungy Payless shoes. Once over the shock of being a vampire, Betsy sets out to get even with the evil stepmother who picked out the ugly burial clothes and stole her prized collection of designer shoes - just because she thought Betsy was dead!

Eventually Betsy connects with other vampires, not because she wants to but because they insist on it. The first undead character she encounters is Nostro, a short, potbellied evil-doer who demands that Betsy join his clan. Nuts to that says Betsy as she blows him off. Next to appear is Eric Sinclair, a self assured, sexy, virile hunk that alternately enrages and engages our undead heroine. Eric and his sidekick Tina tell Betsy that she is the prophesied Vampire Queen, but before she can take the throne they need her help in getting rid of Nostro.

Despite being a bit on the shallow side – style and designer labels are everything – Betsy is an engaging, sexy, likable gal who will win every readers heart. Not many vampire stories will make you laugh out loud, but his novel is the exception. Unwed and Undead is thoroughly intelligent and exceedingly funny.

Oct 7, 2006

Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris

Vampire aficiodados are familiar with Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampire series featuring mind reader Sookie Stackhouse and her adventures with vampires and other paranormal characters.

Now Ms Harris has begun another series with a heroine whose strange talent allows her to identify corpses and tell how they died. Below is my review of the second book in the series, Grave Surprise (Berkely Prime Crime, 2006).

The past has not always been kind to Harper Connelly. Both parents had drug addiction problems, and her mother eventually died of AIDS. But one disaster, a direct lightning strike, uncovered an unusual, long hidden talent. As Harper explains to a doubtful police detective, "I find corpses. People call me in, and I find the bodies of those who've passed on. If the location of the corpse is already known, I can tell you the cause of death." Traveling with her stepbrother and business partner, Tolliver Lang, she arrives in Nashville, Tennessee at the invitation of anthropologist, Clyde Nunely, who would like her to demonstrate her particular talent to his class. He is skeptical of course, and Harper realizes this, but she is used to such an attitude. The students, Harper, Tolliver and Nunely meet at the old St Margaret's churchyard where Nunely has Harper stand on various graves, tell who is buried there and how each person died. Harper has no problem with this until reaching the grave of Josiah Poundstone. She is startled when she senses two bodies, one of which has been recently buried. Then Harper realizes that the second body belongs to a young girl, Tabitha Morgenstern only 11 years-old when she disappeared a year ago.

From here the story takes bizarre twists and turns. A month after Tabitha disappearance the Morgensterns had asked Harper to help locate their daughter. She was never able to do so until now. The police are called and Harper is immediately under suspicion. She and Tolliver know that the discovery of Tabitha's body by Harper cannot be a coincidence. They have no idea who could be behind this, but they need to find out ASAP.

The vividly drawn characters are as interesting as the mystery that surrounds them. At the heart of Grave Surprise is a neat puzzle with a Perry Mason finale.

First book in the series is Grave Sight.

Oct 2, 2006

Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Date: October 2, 2006 5:31 PM
Topic: Kitty and the Midnight Hour

Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty Norville has a late-night radio show in Denver. One evening, she takes a call from someone who asks, "Do you believe in vampires?" As it turns out, she does. She even knows a few undead, plus an even larger number of werewolves (in fact, she herself is one). Thus is born Kitty's new hit program, The Midnight Hour, where those who believe in or belong to the paranormal community call in to discuss their problems. It's not long before Kitty faces threats from vampires and werewolves who would rather not have their existence aired publicly. Kitty is a lively, engaging heroine with a strong independent streak and, usually but not always, enough sense to know when to cut her losses. This fast-paced debut novel is the first in what should prove a very popular series.

This review is reprinted by permission of Library Journal. Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.

The 2nd book in the series is Kitty Goes to Washington, (Warner, 2006). Book 3 is Kitty Takes a Holiday (Warner, 2007).