I love the cover on this book and, craving something with plenty of humour, I requested it, hoping for mayhem and nonsense in amongst the whodunit…
BLURB: Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She’d love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent. All that might have to wait, though, because there are zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve. And it’s all made rather more complicated by the fact that she’s the one raising all the zombies. Oh, and she’s dating one of the vampires too. Really, what’s a girl meant to do?
REVIEW: The strapline for this one is: Agatha Raisin meets Sookie Stackhouse, with croquet and zombies. And it’s spot on. Toni is a quirkier, younger version of Agatha, while the paranormal backdrop, though firmly set in rural England, is peopled with characters that wouldn’t look out of place in the Sookie Stackhouse mysteries. There is also a similar amount of heat in Grave Secrets as in Charlaine Harris’s books, which means that while it is considerably less explicit than the HBO True Blood series – it still contains several raunchy scenes. This isn’t usually an ingredient I look for in my reads, but it’s done well. Toni’s strong attraction to Oscar is convincingly portrayed – along with her ongoing concerns about his suitability, until she sees him again when once again, she’s swept off her feet.
But what really beguiled me is the strong first-person voice. A breezy, generally can-do attitude, combined with a sharp-edged Brit humour that had me sniggering throughout and a couple of times made me laugh aloud. The vampires are suitably arrogant and entitled, so no surprises there – though I also like the fact that they come in shades of nastiness and some make a real effort to be more caring of the humans in their coterie. I also really like Toni’s relationship with Peter, the other human who is in Oscar’s coterie. James has the ability to write her characters with warmth along with the snarky humour, so it didn’t descend into an adventure where poor put-upon Toni is ranged against all the powerful nasties without any help. To counter-balance the vile behaviour of the antagonists, there are also a number of people happy to assist Toni.
Another plus point – the fact that Toni is a necromancer, who has been raising the dead since a small child. They are normally portrayed as chilling creatures, whose repellent habits make them as unwholesome as the zombies they create – so Toni’s portrayal as a bubbly, impetuous young woman full of strong views on what is Right and Wrong comes as an enjoyable change. As you may have gathered – I was charmed by this one, so I’m very much looking forward to reading the next book in the series. While I obtained an arc of Grave Secrets from the publishers via Netgalley, the opinions I have expressed are unbiased and my own.
This sounds like fun, and it seems the quirky, humorous cover delivered😁
It was just what I needed! And did exactly what it said on the cover:))
Oh wow, I love the sound of this book! I love Agatha Raisin and I enjoyed the Sookie Stackhouse books so this one sounds like it’s my kind of read. Fab review 🙂
Thank you, Hayley:)). If you do track it down – I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.
This sounds very good. I’m going to go in search of it!
Oh, it was great fun, which was just what I needed! I hope you enjoy it, too:)
Robin reviewed this one Monday for BOMH. She did not like it as much as you. But I’m glad you were able to enjoy it.
Yes… the humour isn’t going to suit everyone. And while some folks celebrate quirky, while others just find that stuff annoying:)
I’ve seem this one about quite a bit this week, it seems to get good reviews!
It’s great fun – I like the fact that the protagonist is 65!
I loved the necromancy side of this and also the humour. It was a bunch of fun. I had a couple of issues but I would like to continue with the series because I usually expect a few issues with a first instalment.
Yes – it such a fresh take on the necromancy:). And I loved her blithe assumption that she was going to prevail, as well as her rather self-centred approach – just like Agatha Raisin, in fact!
That cover immediately caught my eye and it sounds like a good read too! I’ll have to look this one up. Thanks for the great review!
You’re welcome, Lola:). I’d be interested to see if you enjoyed it,too.
This sounds a lot of fun and does sound like a supernatural Agatha Raisin, and we know how much I love her! 😁
Yes… I did think of you and wondered if you’d picked this one up:))