Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Book Review: How to Party with a Killer Vampire by Penny Warner (Party Planning Mysteries #4)

Stars: 4 out of 5
Pros: Fun mystery with a slight vampire connection
Cons: Plot slow at times; Presley's actions in the end
The Bottom Line
Fun mystery with
Slight vampire connection
Great for cozy fans

Partying with Vampires is all Fun and Games until the Corpse Appears

In the never ending series of occupations that have become the subject of cozy mystery series is party planning.  Presley Parker owns an event planning company located on man-made Treasure Island just outside of San Francisco.  Her highest profile events also turn up a dead body or two, and How to Party with a Killer Vampire is the fourth time she’s had to figure out which of her guests are really killers.

Presley’s latest gig is for her Treasure Island neighbor.  Filmmaker Lucas Cruz has just wrapped production on a vampire spoof, and he’s hired Presley to go all out at a party in a graveyard.  The day before, she and her crew are setting up when the old caretaker appears and threatens that someone will die if they don’t all leave.  He just sounds crazy, until the bodies appear.  Now, Presley has to find the connection between the deaths and her party before another victim appears.

The plot starts quickly and I was pulled into the story.  Then, as often happens, the plot slows down some.  While we do learn new things, it comes slowly.  The discussions of San Francisco history, mostly from Presley’s mother, don’t help things.  But they do pick again for the climax.

I figured out the killer about a chapter before Presley.  Mostly, it was how close I was to the end of the book.  But I still felt that she was rather stupid at that point.  But she managed to redeem herself in my eyes before the book was over.

Speaking of Presley, she has ADHD, a fact that has been pounded into our heads in previous books in the series.  Refreshingly, it was only mentioned a few times here.  Honestly, I’ve never seen that trait make her that different from the other cozy authors I read.  I do enjoy spending time with her, and this book is no exception.

The same is true of the other regular characters.  True, they are mostly in the background, but I like them and appreciate how each book seems to have a bit more of a different supporting character each time.  I liked how some of the relationships evolved this time around and can’t wait to see what the future brings as far as they are concerned.

Suspect characters?  They could have been better developed, but they worked for the story.  They were real enough for me to care about the outcome.

Each chapter opens with a tip for throwing a party, and there are more in the back.  This time the focus is, naturally, on a vampire party.  The ideas are certainly targeted to Twilight fans, although author Penny Warner does mention some of the other popular vampire franchises out there.

Despite the vampire theme, How to Party with a Killer Vampire is another fun cozy mystery, and fans of that genre will certainly enjoy it.

You should plan to read the Party Planning Mysteries in order.

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