Reviewed by Sherry Perkins
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
“She let out a long, low breath. She’d always assumed her death would be at the hands of a vampire. At least that would have been preferable to burning alive at sunrise.”—Graves of Retribution
Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter, dunh, dunh, dunh! Some books you can easily imagine as a movie with great background music. This one is like that for me. I can picture Jess Vandermire—feisty, powerful, and driven. Furthermore, she is a woman with mundane concerns such as family issues. Sibling rivalry problems, to be specific. I say that as if sibling rivalry is ever mundane, but it is a connection with the main character that most of us could make.
However, family problems in Jess’s family are vampiric ones. Jess herself is a vampire, as is her family. It makes for an interesting dynamic that is elaborated upon over the course of the Vampire Hunter, and City of Bones series. Although “Graves of Retribution” is essentially a standalone book, reading the others just adds to the fun. The Vampire Hunter books all have the word grave in the title, just so you know, such as “Grave Illusions,” and “Beyond the Grave.” Gardiner’s writing is backstory dense, making it easy to figure out who is who, what is what and all of it reading as a natural progression of the book narrative.
Being a vampire does have its characteristic benefits—ones that make Jess quite special. She’s a vampire hunter too. She’ s part of a specialized unit which tracks rogue vampires, especially those who harm humans. Unfortunately for Jess, it would seem her family problems might be tied to her professional duties as a vampire hunter and the murder investigation she’s assisting with. Before she can determine if that is the case, she will have to escape from the vampire trap that has her pinned to a roof as sunrise quickly approaches!
“Graves of Retribution” is well-written, fast paced with just enough intrigue and action to move the story along. The characters are interesting and quirky. There are several returning characters including Jess’s love interest, John “Britt” Brittain. Britt’s more than Jess’s man. He’s also a policeman. More than that, I won’t say but I think you’ll enjoy who he is since it’s such a satisfying compliment to Jess’s supernatural manifestation. Other returning characters are from Jess’s family. They make reappearances in an unexpected way. There are new characters as well and, oh, yeah—there’s a prophecy, an immortal, a watcher, a siren-like vampire rock band, and a raven—all set against the backdrop of Paris, the Louvre and the City of Bones, the ossuary beneath Paris.