Thursday, December 7, 2023

Jenn Burke - Graveyard Shift

Ghost/god Wes Cooper and his not-life partner, vampire Hudson Rojas, have settled into cohabitation in an upscale part of Toronto. So what if their hoity-toity new neighbors haven’t exactly rolled out the welcome mat for the paranormal pair? Their PI business is booming, and when a suspect they’ve been tailing winds up in the morgue, it’s alongside a rash of other shifters in apparent drug-related fatalities.
Now Wes and Hudson must connect the dots between the shifter deaths and an uptick in brutal vampire attacks across the city. Throw in a surprise visit from Hudson’s niece—who may or may not be on the run from European paranormal police (who may or may not exist)—and guardianship of a teen shifter who might be the key to solving the whole mystery (if only she could recover her memory), and Wes and Hudson have never been busier…or happier.
But when a nightmare from Hudson’s past comes back to haunt him, their weird, little found family is pushed to the brink. Mucking this up would mean Hudson and Wes missing their second chance at happily-forever-afterlife…

Comment: This is the third installment in the Not Dead Yet trilogy by author Jenn Burke. I have liked the previous stories and there was no doubt I'd read this one as well.

In this final installment, Wes is a little more used to his godly powers and he is also getting more comfortable with the investigation work, especially now that most of his friends are of the paranormal community. He and Hudson have moved into a new home and all seems to go well, except one of their neighbors keeps finding ways to complain. When it seems he is going to be annoying over three unexpected visitors,they manage to put him off and, in the end, two of the visitors turn out to bring a new case and the third is a surprise visit from Hudson's niece. Apparently, everything is simple and predictable, but Wes and Hudson learn that there's a lot to worry about after all...

I have the feeling that the author kept a lot of issues to be solved in this installment. I can understand this is the end of the trilogy focused on these characters (there's a spin off I'll read at some point one day) but despite this, I still think the author didn't have to try to pile up so much in one book.

Wes has gone through a few changes since book #1. This is clearly part of the whole picture, so no surprise there, but now he is a god and although his powers don't mean he can solve everything, they still allow him to do something, if only he could "believe in himself". I suppose this is the big goal of the trilogy, the development and improvement of Wes, from a quiet ghost/thief into someone who has more to do and accomplish. I like Wes, but I couldn't help but think that some of the elements in the first book (ok, namely the romance) that I liked, were a little less obviously problematic in the second, now were a little off, to me.

I'm thinking about the romance when I say this because Wes and Hudson are happy they have already reached the point of their story where there isn't a lot to add, and between this and the bigger attention on secondary issues plot related, I feel things have kind of stagnated. This doesn't have to be a problem, but I confess part of the trill was to see this element being improved and I don't think this was a subject to worry about anymore, so... things were a little meh in that regard.

The plot, on the other hand, felt a bit all over the place because a lot of novelties are happening and I can't tell if this might have been the plan all along or if the author felt like adding more and more elements to keep things fresh and on going. Well, the way I saw it, it felt like the second choice more than the first, and I think one or two things were unnecessary for this story. Or, at least, they could have been done differently, without "stealing" so much attention from other things I think were more important.

Since this is subjective to any reader, I can say that some of the elements, even though they are not necessary, were still interesting and allowed Wes and the others to face situations, even personally related, which might not otherwise. Again, it depends on how important they can be or the same time, I think some elements were a way for the author to close up some loose threads and this helped with the vibe of solving issues. If there is one thing I can say about all this is that the story was very fast paced and I read the book very quickly, because there was always something happening.

I cannot say this is a bad book, no. I think it fulfills all the boxes when it comes to plot and development, but there was still something missing.... more or less... especially the romance was not as special as I imagined it could be, since this is the last story. I am hoping, however that we will see these characters in the spin off too, perhaps more about them will be shared then. As for this one, I think it worked but not without some flaws.
Grade: 7/10

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