- Title: Grave Witch
- Author: Kalayna Price
- Series: Alex Craft #1
- Cover Art: Aleta Rafton
- Paperback: 336 pages
- Publisher: Roc (October 5, 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0451463803
- ISBN-13: 978-0451463807
- Review copy source: Kalayna Price
- Reviewed by: Abigail
As a private investigator and consultant for the police, Alex Craft has seen a lot of dark magic. But even though she’s on good terms with Death himself—who happens to look fantastic in a pair of jeans—nothing has prepared her for her latest case. Alex is investigating a high profile murder when she’s attacked by the ‘shade’ she’s raising, which should be impossible. To top off her day, someone makes a serious attempt on her life, but Death saves her. Guess he likes having her around…
To solve this case Alex will have to team up with tough homicide detective Falin Andrews. Falin seems to be hiding something—though it’s certainly not his dislike of Alex—but Alex knows she needs his help to navigate the tangled webs of mortal and paranormal politics, and to track down a killer wielding a magic so malevolent, it may cost Alex her life…and her soul.
Whoever thought Death could be hot? Kalayna Price, apparently, and wow is she right. GRAVE DANCE introduces us to a dark and dangerous world full of devious fae and deadly magic that has been appropriated in to every facet of life. Throw in two impossible romances and a fantastic new heroine and we get an excellent urban fantasy debut.
Alex Craft is a grave witch P.I. Her talent lies with death, or rather being able to access the overlaying land of the dead (for a price) and raise Shades (the emotional remnants of the deceased). The world at large has mostly acclimated to the existence of Fae and Witches, but there are political groups who persecute her kind, like Humans First Party, led by Lieutenant Governor George Caine, Alex’s estranged father. She also happens to be a close personal friend of Death (think Brad Pitt in Meet Joe Black with a lackadaisical teasing quality), who seems to have more than just a professional interest in her.
So yeah, Death is drop dead gorgeous, but I don’t want him to overshadow all the other good aspects of this book. There are a lot of unexpected moments in GRAVE WITCH and no one is what they seem at first glance. Death might drop in for coffee and a confusing caress or he may show up to collect the soul of a loved one. Friend is often indistinguishable from foe, and the people Alex loves are usually the ones with the biggest secrets. It was that uncertainty that kept me so intrigued from start to finish.
There is a lot of Laurel K. Hamiliton’s early Anita Blake books in GRAVE WITCH mixed with Tanya Huff’s Blood Lines series (both Alex and Vicki are myopically challenged). The writing isn’t quite as strong as either of those series, but the characters, world building and plotting were top notch. I tore through this book in record time and each chapter was better than the one before (no small feat). GRAVE WITCH is one of the most promising debuts I’ve read this year. I’m already planning my next appointment with Death when the next Alex Craft novel, titled Grave Dance, is released in Summer 2011.
Sexual Content: A moderately graphic sex scene.
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