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Books 119-120: Second Grave on the Left and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.

Book Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2).
Author: Darynda Jones, 2011.
Genre: Urban Fantasy. Paranormal Romance. Ghosts. Angels/Demons
Other Details: Paperback. 307 pages.

More adventures for part-time PI and full time Grim Reaper, Charley Davidson. This second novel in the series opens with Charley's best friend Cookie waking her in the middle of the night with news that Cookie's friend Mimi , who had gone missing some days before, had sent a text asking her to meet up at a coffee ship. They turn up but there is no sign of Mimi only a message on a bathroom wall where she mentions another woman who had recently been murdered. They also run into Mimi's husband who hires Charley to find his wife. Throughout this Charley still has to deal with the fall out from Book 1 and what she has learned about Reyes Farrow. I can't say too much more due to spoilers for the first book's revelations.

Although I enjoyed this, I did find the Reyes/Charlie interaction rather weak. I guess I'm just not blown away by his reported awesomeness and find his tendency to 'interfere' with Charlie at whim more than a little creepy. I'd also been a little uncomfortable with Charlie as 'The Grim Reaper' rather than a ghost whisperer or even one reaper among many. So yes, some of the theological bits here seem muddled even though I enjoy Charley's attitude and narrative style.

These quibbles won't stop me reading the next in the series, just as the introduction of an angels/demons arc hasn't stopped me watching 'Supernatural' for the past few seasons.

Darynda Jones' page on 'Second Grave to the Left' - includes longer synopsis, notes and excerpt. Also, does contain spoilers for Book 1.

Book 120: Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.
Author: Seth Grahame-Smith, 2010.
Genre: Historical Horror. Vampires.
Other Details: Large Print Paperback. 450 pages.

When Abraham Lincoln was a boy he learned of the existence of vampires including that his mother's untimely death was actually the work of a vampire. From then on, he vowed to devote his life to the elimination of these soulless creatures. This path of vengeance leads him eventually to the White House. Lincoln's valiant struggle against the undead was unknown until author Seth Grahame-Smith laid eyes on Lincoln's secret journal; becoming the first living person to do so in over 140 years. Here is Lincoln's story, which reveals to role vampires played in early years of the USA..

The revelation of a previously hidden journal is a useful trope to allow Seth to write a supernatural take on revisionist history. I thought this was an interesting premise and with the film adaptation vanishing from our local screens quickly, I picked up the novel instead. While it was entertaining it never really grabbed my attention and felt somewhat patchy in pacing.

I know little about Lincoln, despite attending High School in the USA, so I wasn't able to really appreciate how closely Grahame-Smith had kept to details of Lincoln's life. However, one of the members of my library reading group is well-versed on this period of US history and Lincoln and given she also likes horror novels I passed it on to her and look forward to her thoughts when we next meet.
Tags: angels/demons, historical fiction, horror, paranormal, romance, vampires
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