THE REVIEW: Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Halfway to the Grave

Night Huntress Series Book One

Genre Urban Fantasy Published 30 October 2007 Publisher Avon

Half-vampire Catherine Crawfield is going after the undead with a vengeance, hoping that one of these deadbeats is her father–the one responsible for ruining her mother’s life. Then she’s captured by Bones, a vampire bounty hunter, and is forced into an unholy partnership.

In exchange for finding her father, Cat agrees to train with the sexy night stalker until her battle reflexes are as sharp as his fangs. She’s amazed she doesn’t end up as his dinner–are there actually good vampires? Pretty soon Bones will have her convinced that being half-dead doesn’t have to be all bad. But before she can enjoy her newfound status as kick-ass demon hunter, Cat and Bones are pursued by a group of killers. Now Cat will have to choose a side . . . and Bones is turning out to be as tempting as any man with a heartbeat.

The Urban Book Thief Review

urban book thief

If I had a cent for every time someone writes a story about a redheaded vampire slayer with enough cojones to level an entire small American town, I’d have enough money for at least one Freddo Frog. Maybe two. But this isn’t one of those books, this one is better and I’m about to tell you why in one word. Bones.

In this first book of Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, our heroine Cat Crawfield is not much more than a sassy Mary-Sue, or in this case – a Buffy-Sue. She has potential to be fabulous and over the course of the series she becomes more and more fabulous until people start reading the series for her rather than Bones. But this book is about the beginning of a (my) love affair with one of the most well written vampires from paranormal romance. He’s quirky, emotional, can carry off a blonde dye job with aplomb and has the most darling British accent outside of the motherland without sounding like a toff, or Hugh Grant. Plus he’s a bounty hunter and that means he rides a bike – and not one of those silly fixies either.

The Bone man

The Bone man

Bones is over two-hundred years old, a master vampire who was changed whilst paying his dues in a penal colony in Australia. Son to a London doxy, (well I presume this to be the case, due to all of the ‘luvs’ in the book I would hate to think he was from Buckingham) he followed in his ma’s footsteps – lying, thieving, whoring and generally having a whale of a time until his change at the age of twenty-four.

Catherine Crawfield is friendless and weird. Living in the middle of nowhere, Ohio her mother is still the talk of the town for giving birth to her illegitimately twenty-two years ago. She’s pretty to look at but hides herself behind a bushel of baggy clothes, bad hair and a surly tongue. Cat likes to keep her profile on the down low due to the fact that her father is a vampire. That exciting fact makes her half vamp. Something very special indeed. Unfortunately, dear old dad did the dirty on her mum and left her high and dry after a nasty case of date rape. Her mother never got over the horror and for this we feel really sorry for. But that’s about it because for the rest of the time she is an annoying pain in the ass who needs a bitch slap like a fish needs water. She makes her daughter feel insecure about herself and her appearance, allowing her to be distrustful and resentful of both people and vampires. Sorry, I’ll leave the mothers out of this… but urgggh!

Cat tries to make up for the fact that she is half vamp by going gently out into that good night and eradicating as many vampires as she can. She is also on a one woman mission to find her father and make him pay for what he did. So starting at the age of sixteen, she lures vampires into her clutches with a flash of legs and her pearly whites before staking them and burying their bodies in parts unknown.

The clock struck eleven and Cat the vampire huntress was on the loose, except my battle armor was a push-up bra, curled hair, and a short dress. Yeah, it was a dirty job, but I was going to do it. Come one, come all, bloodsuckers! Bar’s open!

 But that all comes to an end one night when she runs into Bones at her local watering hole. After a game of who’s got the balls to start stripping first so that the other can try and kill you (I name this new game strip chicken), he wins and turns the tables on Cat, wanting to know what the hell she is up to.

“I thawt I thaw a putty tat.”

The mocking voice caused my pain to dissipate in a rush of terror. When I saw the vampire close by, I shuddered.

“I did, I did thee a putty tat!”

Finished with his Tweety Bird imitation, he grinned unpleasantly at me. I tried to scoot back and realized my hands were chained to a wall. Both my feet were also cuffed together. My top and pants were gone, leaving me in only my bra and underwear. Even my trademark gloves were missing. Oh God.

“Now, then, luv, let’s get down to business.” The bantering left his tone and his eyes hardened into pools of dark granite. “Who do you work for?”

Bones recruits Cat and trains her to become his one woman army. Smitten from the get-go, he needs her help and special half vamp skills to investigate a case where women have been going missing from all over Ohio and beyond. To do this he gives Cat a much needed make over and teaches her the finer points of knife throwing. But she becomes a little too good at this…

“I love that you did it to protect me, but next time, try aiming to wound, hmm? You know, maybe throw the knives at someone’s head instead? Then they’re incapacitated momentarily, but not reduced to a pile of rotting remains. Just food for thought.”

The L word is used pretty early on the book and it did take me somewhat by surprise. Though not in a bad way. I guess I’m either too old and cynical or have read so much urban fantasy now that I’m used to it being declared once at the end of a five book series. It wasn’t a flippant use of the L word either. It was just there… and it was nice. I think it was kinda cool actually.

Cat

Cat

Cat and Bones are very protective over their respective turfs. Cat is not above a little ass grabbing to get her point across to other women and Bones threatens the crown jewels of every man who looks at his Kitten a second longer than they should. Aren’t they sweet?

But back to the wonders of Bones. He spends the entire book trying to open Cat’s mind to the creatures of the underworld. Explaining that not everything with fangs is evil and maybe not everyone she staked was the stone cold killer she thought they were. This makes her uncomfortable about herself and her small mindedness. I like that Ms. Frost used this as a plot device because many books in the same genre seem to skim over this or try and come up with some plenty complicated reasoning as to why their characters can get away with killing whoever they want.

Plus who wouldn’t love a guy who dishes out a comeuppance to the idiot who wrecked your heart and tore your confidence to smithereens? Yeah – thought so… bring on the hottie with a body! (I got that from watching too many episodes of New Girl, I have a problem, please help me).

I think what draws the readers to Bones is the evident display of emotion that he feels. Not just for Cat, but for his friends and the victims they encounter. He’s not above tearing up at the thought of his loved ones dying. Bones grabs a hold onto what he wants and lets that person know this – graphically. He communicates. And this ladies, we know is a quality worthy of King Solomon’s mines, the contents of Bluebeards’ forbidden room and finding out Who Framed Roger Rabbit combined. A sexy, alpha vampire who can communicate with words, not just grunts. Well, that’s something that readers will come back to, over and over again. As well as the sexy times, they do have a lot of sexy times in this book. And! Bones did wait over two-hundred years for Cat. It makes sense that a person would want to share their appreciation of this fact.

To sum it all up. This book rocks like a Spice Girls reunion tour. Go Ginger! It’s not the most well written book, it has Mary-Sues all over the darn place, the villains are sufficiently cheesy and evil and it kinda hero worships Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it dug itself a place in my heart and will stay there for some time yet. Plus – I love the fact that Bones says the word telly. I haven’t heard someone say that word in years – so cool.

Now I am in a quandary about whether to include this in either the paranormal or urban fantasy section of this blog. I think that urban fantasy fanatics might throw their unmentionables at me if I put this book in their sacred section. But that’s what I’m going to do! Why? Because I have the gift of foresight and my spidey senses are telling me that in the future this Cat person is going to have a fun time kicking some serious ass. In leather. Which is urban fantasy rule numero uno. Kapow!

The Urban Book Thief has awarded Halfway to the Grave a kiss factor rating of five!

Kiss FactorKiss FactorKiss FactorKiss FactorKiss Factor

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