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Halfway to the Grave (2007)

Jeannie Frost
Avon (October 30, 2007)

I’m not exactly proud of this one. But after a hard week and an on-coming cold, sometimes you need to slum a little bit. Halfway to the Grave is book one in the Night Huntress series and centers on half-human, half-vampire vampire hunter Cat. This is pretty standard Harlequin-Romance-meets-Vampires stuff and I’m not quite sure what kind of review to give it. It’s not good. But it’s not really supposed to be either. I will say this – I really hate the whole “I’m leaving you for your own good” thing, and despite the, shall we say, limits of the book, I’m still kind of curious to see what’s going to happen in the next one.

One other thing. Halfway to the Grave seems so similar to the Anita Blake series that Laurell K. Hamilton does that it makes me wonder if the whole adult vampire romance novel has its own genre now. Consider:

Sarcastic (almost annoyingly so) heroine? Check.

SEXY vampire with a foreign accent? Check.

Heroine has a supernatural ability that her religious conservative family isn’t too comfortable with? Check.

Sexy vampire has a horrific youth that involves poverty and abuse? Check.

Sexy vampire has a horrific past that required him to be a prostitute? Check.

Sexy vampire and sarcastic heroine initially try to kill each other but then she grudgingly agrees to work with him? Check.

Sexy vampire falls in love with said heroine BECAUSE she tried to kill him when they first met? Check.

Sarcastic heroine falls in love with sexy vampire and has a crisis in which she must re-examine everything she thought she knew about the undead? Check.

Sexy vampire gives sarcastic heroine a makeover because she is an innocent at heart and really doesn’t know how to dress all that well? Check.

You get the idea. I think, as a whole, I like the Anita Blake series better. The first five or so books in the series are actually pretty clever and engaging, but then it pretty much jumped the shark. But Hamilton’s series is better because there is so little restraint that what was vice become virtue. As a review on NPR wrote, “It’s kind of like a car wreck: You can’t turn your eyes away.” The Anita Blake series is a true guilty pleasure in every sense of the word, Jean-Claude is just about the sexiest vampire ever, and no one does it better than Hamilton. But, better to just pass on both and read some of the more interesting vampire stuff out there. Unless, of course, you’re in the mood to slum and I won’t hold it against you.