One Grave at a Time by Jeaniene Frost - WARNING! I cannot review this book without spoiling the others in the series. Read no further if you're planning on reading this series and don't want it spoiled for you.
How do you send a killer to the grave when he’s already dead?
Having narrowly averted an (under)world war, Cat Crawfield wants nothing more than a little downtime with her vampire husband, Bones. Unfortunately, her gift from New Orleans’ voodoo queen just keeps on giving–leading to a personal favor that sends them into battle once again, this time against a villainous spirit.
Centuries ago, Heinrich Kramer was a witch hunter. Now, every All Hallows Eve, he takes physical form to torture innocent women before burning them alive. This year, however, a determined Cat and Bones must risk all to send him back to the other side of eternity–forever. But one wrong step and they’ll be digging their own graves. From JeanieneFrost.com
Being such a huge Jeaniene Frost, I automatically bought this book without putting much thought into it. Why would I? I loved her books! But reading as many books as I do, sometimes I only have a hazy memory of what happened in the previous book. This was the case with This Side of the Grave, I couldn't remember too much of what happened, so before I opened One Grave at a Time, I reread my review of the previous book. Which reminded me that I found the last book a little disappointing. There was a "Oh no!" moment, worrying that this book might go along the same route, but I pushed it aside. Different book, different story, no reason why it should be disappointing. And it wa a lot better than the previous one!
I know I've said it before, but authors really do amaze me with the plots they come up with. Seriously, a murderous ghost who's already dead, so you can't kill him? That's just clever! What was also pretty cool was the fact that the ghost, Heinrich Kramer was actually a real person way back when. An actual witch hunter, who not only murdere innocent women at the stake, but tortured them into confessing - if they didn't, they were burned, because they were obviously lying; if they did, they were burned, because they're a witch - and raped them. Nice guy, huh? And that's what makes this book so awesome, and much more credible; its villain actually existed, but not only that, he existed and was truely evil. We already hate him for who he was, so we're already rooting for this guy to get whatever Cat and Bones throw at him. It just intensifies when the character is brough to life in the pages, and we see what Frost has made him into now. Ooooh, do we want him to get it!
But how on earth can you fight someone you can't touch? To make things worse, this someone has poltergeist powers, so can throw things - like, say, silver knives. Aimed at your heart. It's just genius! Cat and Bones have no idea what they're supposed to do. And even when they do come up with a plan, they have no idea if it's going to work because it's never been done before. This all adds to brilliant action scenes, because there's very little they can do to stop him, but a lot of damage they can do to him. And time's a-ticking when on Halloween, Kramer will be flesh again, and will torture, rape, and burn the innocent women he has chosen as targets. They have to stop him! And the action scenes once Kramer has a body? Dear god, it's horrific!
Despite all that, there were some areas that seemed lacking for me. There was less humour, less emotion, less romance between Cat and Bones, and so on. The key word here is "less"; it's not gone completely, but it's almost like Frost has taken a step back. The emotional depth that was so strong in previous books where I felt like I could cry is kind of shallow in this book. I guess that could be because with such a deadline of only a few weeks to try and find a way to stop him, to find his accomplice who's going to grab the targets for him, find out who the targets are to keep them safe, and live when Kramer is throwing things at you at every opportunity, all before 31st October, there's little time to waste on emotion, you've just got to push it aside and do.
However, there was a brilliant moment when Bones had to force Cat to realise this may be one time when they don't win, and that she would have to let it go if they couldn't stop him. With Cat being such a fiercely strong woman, the idea of giving up, of allowing Kramer to kill innocent women every single year for all eternity, because they simply couldn't stop him, is just completely abhorrent to her. But it's a strong possibility. It was a great moment!
There are some things that are left to be continued in the following books, such as the fact that Don is now a ghost after his heart attack in the previous book, and Cat is having trouble finding him a way to cross over. And an arrogant git with a superiority complex, Madigan, has taken over Cat's old team, who's going to cause all kinds of trouble, but has an ulterior motive behind it all. It seems it's ultimately to make Cat's life hell, but he's keeping his cards close to his chest.
Over all, a pretty awesome book! Just so clever! Not quite on par with some of Frost's previous books, but still amazing. I'm looking forward to seeing what comes next. Frost's next release will be Once Burned, the first book in the Night Prince series, set in the same world as all Frost's others, but starring Vlad! Once Burned is due to be released on 27th March 2012.
Published: 5th September 2011
Publisher: Avon Books
Buy on Amazon US
Jeaniene Frost's Website
Other books in the series/world , in reading order:
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress Book 1)
One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress Book 2)
At Grave's End (Night Huntress Book 3)
Destined for an Early Grave (Night Huntress Book 4)
First Drop of Crimson (Night Huntress World Book 1)
Eternal Kiss of Darkness (Night Huntress World Book 2)
This Side of the Grave (Night Huntress Book 5)