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Halfway to the Grave is the first novel of the Night Huntress series, which is basically my substitute for the Anita Blake books after they became porn. They’re also a substitute for the Sookie Stackhouse novels which had a perfectly fine ending which they completely trashed for the finale they went with.

Either way, I love the Night Huntress novels and actually think they’re one of the few urban fantasy series I’ve red which didn’t fumble the ball before the end. Are they the best fiction I’ve read? No. They’re not quite as enjoyable to me as the Dresden Files nor do they have the ridiculously over-the-top humor of the Queen Betsy books. Despite this, I’m going to say it’s an entertaining sexy series everyone should check out.

What’s the premise? Catherine “Cat” Crawfield is the world’s only living dhampir and Crispin “Bones” Russell is a 200-year-old Cockney British vampire who is a professional assassin of the undead. After Cat tries to kill Bones, he semi-forcibly recruits her to be his assistant in hunting the worst of their kind. There’s a romance which is a central feature of the books but it doesn’t sacrifice the plot either.

Part of what makes the romance interesting to is the leads have great chemistry. Bones is a lewd, crude, and sarcastic vampire who makes none of the usual pretensions to suavery so many others do. Cat, by contrast, is capable of being sweet or ruthless as events demand. A lot of paranormal fiction leads lack well-rounded three-dimensional personalities but Cat has multiple sides that all get shown off.

I particularly liked the pair’s first meeting and the general absurdity of it all. Catherine tries to seduce Bones in order to get him alone so she can stake him while the latter believes (erroneously) she’s a honey trap sent by one of his enemies. They play off of each other well even as Catherine, who thinks all vampires are evil at this point, keeps waiting for him to act horrifically while he’s incredulous a nineteen-year-old girl with no combat training has killed almost a dozen vampires before trying it against him.

I like the set up for both their future relationships both personal and professional. It’s one of the few romances in paranormal fiction which doesn’t require one partner to be utterly dominate to the other. The pair are playful, they fight, and butt heads with neither side overwhelming the other. Speaking as a married man, it’s one of the few books which gets the dynamic right in my opinion. At least the kind of relationships I’m familiar with.

Part of what I liked about this book is they really get into the nitty gritty of what TV tropes.org calls “Van Helsing Hate Crimes.” Vampires are dangerous predators but thinking creatures, meaning it’s a coin toss whether they’re evil or not. Cat has been trained her entire life to hate vampires by her mother so it’s interesting to watch her long-held prejudices deconstructed before her eyes.

Hate being something designed to make people feel better about themselves by giving them someone to blame is a concept I can get behind and helps elevate the book beyond pure entertainment. Some people dislike using vampires as metaphors for minorities and I get that but I don’t mind it as long as people remember to point out the undead are dangerous in ways RL groups aren’t.

The supporting cast is very strong with Catherine’s traumatized not-actually-that-old mother being one of the highlights. I also liked meeting Spade and the other eccentric vampires created by Ms. Frost. It’s rare I think a vampire’s history is as interesting as his present but it’s very much the case here. I’d enjoy a Bones prequel novel a great deal if Jeaniene Frost ever decides to show events from our jovial undead love interest’s perspective.

Hennesey, the villain, is basically just a human trafficker and while this is a strange subject for a urban fantasy novel to deal with, I think it works. Finding out just how high the corruption and greed goes in Ohio of all places is another treat which I give Jeaniene Frost credit for. In this world, vampires are really just minor-league players compared to the human evils around us. I’m also impressed by just how many well-developed minions she manages to create for our vampiric crime lord.

Halfway to the Grave isn’t perfect. Bones’ British-isms come off as more ridiculous than authentic, Cat comes off as a little too painfully naive, and there’s places the book drags a bit but I still enjoyed it immensely. I recommend it for people who want an old-fashioned Buffy the Vampire Slayer-style adventure, complete with its very own Angel or Spike. Well, maybe Buffy the Vampire Slayer for adults as the books do contain sex scenes.

Halfway To The Grave Epub

Meet the vampire world’s supercouple Cat and Bones in this special 10th anniversary edition, with a “director’s cut” collection of deleted scenes!
“Cat and Bones are combustible together.” – Charlaine Harris
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.

About the Author

Jeaniene Frost is the New York Times, USA Today, and international bestselling author of the Night Huntress series and the Night Huntress World novels. To date, foreign rights for her novels have sold to nineteen different countries. Jeaniene lives in North Carolina with her husband Matthew, who long ago accepted that she rarely cooks and always sleeps in on the weekends. Aside from writing, Jeaniene enjoys reading, poetry, watching movies with her husband, exploring old cemeteries, spelunking and traveling – by car. Airplanes, children, and cook books frighten her.

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