Sunday, March 3, 2013

Book Review: Verse of the Vampyre by Diana Killian (Poetic Death Mystery #2)


Stars: 5 out of 5
Pros: Great characters and fast moving story
Cons: It ends
The Bottom Line:
Danger in England
With literary murder
You can't put it down




You'll Enjoy Taking a Bite Out of This Book

Trying to figure out her feelings for Peter Fox, American schoolteacher Grace Hollister is still on sabbatical in the Lake District of England. Technically, she's still doing research for her thesis, but Peter is a compelling reason as well. Things are not all roses, however. Peter is withdrawing. He especially clams up when the subject of the recent burglaries in the area come up. Grace knows he has a past that he doesn't want to discuss, which includes a life as a burglar. Could he have returned to his former life of crime?

Meanwhile, trying to fit in and develop friendships outside of Peter, Grace has joined the local theater company's version of "The Vampyre" as a technical consultant. The play is based on the works of Lord Byron's doctor, so it's right up Grace's ally. The rehearsals don't seem to be progressing too smoothly, and the accidents happening to the cast don't help. There are rumors of a real vampire in the area. Then a woman dies at a party with bite marks in her neck. What the heck is going on?

Having enjoyed the first in the series, I was looking forward to reading this one as well. It didn't start with quite the bang the first one did, but that would be hard to duplicate in a believable way. The story gained momentum quickly, and by the end, I was staying up way too late to read "just a little more." Again, the story falls into the cozy caper category with a climax set in a castle full of secrets and secret passages. While these kinds of stories can seem over the top, the author keeps things believable and it works.

Grace and Peter are great lead characters. They are sufficiently complex and likable, making it easy to root for them to solve their current problems. Grace's former boyfriend shows up to make her love life more complex, but it also serves to show us the former safe and predictable Grace. The evolution in her character is fun to see and works well to advance the plot. Peter is a little frustrating. I want to know more about his past. Still, he is charming and Grace's attraction to him is certainly understandable.

All of this is coupled with a very literate writing style. The words flow well and pull the reader into the story, making the pages fly by. The book was over all too soon.

This series is wonderful for anyone looking for a puzzling adventure. You really should read the first book first to get the complete background on the characters before diving into Verse of the Vampyre. Personally, I'm looking forward to the third book in the series.

And if you are looking for more, here's the Poetic Death Mysteries in order.

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