Twice-baked vampire, Gabriel Strickland, learns he has a chance at redemption when he’s whisked from his final demise into a purgatory secretly tucked in West Hollywood. Sixty creatures, including other dead vampires, pixies, a legendary Navaho stick man and bothersome leprechauns, struggle together to earn brownie points and wait out possible centuries of this purgatory. Gabriel receives dubious advice from the troll who runs the place, but there are always bugs in the pudding and he faces them all. Enter, the beautiful Dori Gallagher, who not only knocks Gabriel off his feet, but also an evil warlock who has designs on her. When menacing forces gather against Gabriel and everything he’s come to respect, it’s a fiery clash of the supernatural in one heroic effort to save his new reality.
(Excerpt from Amazon)
(NOT suitable for children. 18+ only. Sexual content. Language.)
Who doesn’t spend at least ten seconds of every day wondering how they’re going to die? I know the thought has crossed my mind a few times. It’s a natural thing. But if I wind up dying the way Gabriel dies… again… I think I’d laugh myself stupid. The irony in it was just too perfect.
This book was brought to my attention by the lovely Stuck in Book. Because of her disagreeing workload, she was unable to take the book on for reviewing, but was kind enough to ask me to step in, and I’m so glad she did!
Our story begins with Gabriel, an eighty-year-old vampire. He’s cool, suave, self-assured and a pinch of arrogant. But I guess he has the right to be, being immortal and all. Too bad for him that immortality doesn’t really last.
The author takes an interesting spin on ‘dusting a vamp’ as Buffy would say. I like it. We never stop to think, hey, when a vampire gets staked, what happens to him? I know I never did. That’s the world Ms. Riley-Magnus brings us into.
Now, Gabriel was all right. I can’t say I felt much for him. He was just too hotheaded, fast-tempered and some of his motives were questionable (like when he stole Dori’s house keys only after five hours of having met her and slept with her). But I LOVED Dori! Now there is a character worthy of reading. She’s in that gloomy place we’ve all haunted at some point in our lives, feeling drab, boring, alone, depressed, and worthless and positive that nothing will ever be all right again. She’s the kind of character that you feel for and can really see yourself being friends with (if she were real).
Then, like any good story, you have your villain. In this case, he comes to us in the form of a rich, handsome whackjob named Nathan Cook. The guy was what I like to call an idiot villain, the sort who always thinks his plots are so creative and awesome when in fact, they’re sloppy and never work. I think Ms. Riley-Magnus used him nicely as comical relief, because the real villains, the supernatural monsters chasing Gabriel were far more frightening than the witch/warlock hell-bent on possessing Dori’s pure energy, going so far as to kidnap her — and that’s where the story takes a swoop.
Up until that moment, things had been fairly clean cut, an easy pace. Then the adventure and suspense begins. Nathan is captured and things don’t turn out the way you would expect for him. Gabriel gets a new calling and Dori… well, Dori surprises us all.
What a fun read this was. Definitely something I would pick up on a lazy, summer day or in front of a roaring fire in the winter. I’m not usually a fan of whirlwind, love-at-first-sight-after-only-hours/days-of-meeting, but I really enjoyed this book and can’t wait to start book two, Monkey Jump.
So, in conclusion:
Will I read the next book? Yes.
Will I tell my friends about this book? Yes.
Did I enjoy it? Yes.
Airicka PhoenixBest-selling author of the Touch Series, writer of Paranormal & Contemporary Young Adult Romance