Graveyard Shift (ParisDude’s Review)

Title: Graveyard Shift (Not Dead Yet #3)
Author: Jenn Burke
Publisher: Carina Press
Release Date: November 4, 2019
Genre(s): Thriller, Detective, Paranormal
Page Count: 259
Reviewed by: ParisDude
Heat Level: 1 flames out of 5
Rating: 5 stars out of 5


Shifting Into High Fear

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…

I do have my weekend routines, which many would view as boring. Shoot me, I’m an old fart, and for those who wonder: yep, I own it, alright? Well, I was able to do my Saturday chores (grocery shopping, laundry, a good three hours of writing, weekend cooking, quality time with the SO), and then I sat down to start a new book. This one. I thought I’d just check out the first chapters. Yeah, well… lo and behold, some hours later… I was through. Because this was highly addictive stuff which should come with the appropriate warning: “All ye who open this book abandon hope to do anything else ere you reach the last full stop.”

If you read this review, you won’t be able to say I haven’t warned you.

What you get is a fast-paced thriller (whodunnit with a twist) with… nothing predictible whatsoever. Of course, this is book #3 in a series, so those who have read the previous instalments know what to expect in terms of MCs and fictional universe. I’m not one of them. I came to this book a complete “Not Dead-Yet”-virgin, and I was simply blown. The MCs, Wes Cooper and his sweetheart Hudson Rojas, are a cute, endearing, loving couple, one in his early twenties, the other in his fifties (uhm, more or less… you’ll find out what I mean). They live in Toronto and work as private investigators. So far so good. But. Wes is—brace yourself—a ghost (not-ghost, as he always says, and he does have a point) plus a god. Hudson is a vampire. Amongst their besties, there’s another vampire, a human, and a witch. And during their current investigation, they stumble upon Hudson’s niece, who shares her bodily frame with (BLEEP! can’t tell, would be a spoiler), and upon countless shifters as well as a secret and ruthless European organization specialized in playing Interpol to the paranormal community. Our couple and their friends uncover a devilish vampire-plot to eliminate all shifters in the area, by one means or another; they unmask the mastermind behind all these happenings, an unwelcome revenant from Hudson’s painful past; they struggle, they fight, they…

You’ll find out. Once you’ve opened the book, I’m pretty confident you’ll find out, with bated breath more often than not, chuckling from time to time, and shedding the odd tear at one moment. Yes, I own this, too: I’m a huge fan of the universe Jenn Burke has created in this book and, I reckon, in the whole series (#1 & 2 on my ever-growing TBR as we speak). Everything looks exceedingly far-fetched when you look at it objectively. A ghost/not-ghost/god? What does that even mean? Vampires? Shifters? Witches? Evil spirits? In Toronto, of all places? C’mon, get real. But the author does the nigh impossible: in a few sentences, she makes her universe feel real, plausible, obvious, of-coursey. She tells a bit, she shows a lot. Just the way a good novel should be written. Her characters pulse with life (sorry, pun not intented), with their peculiarities, their passions, their hopes and fears, their past. Everything makes sense, one action links with the next. If you accept the initial premises (and why would you read fiction instead of scientific texts if that weren’t the case?), if you are willing to let yourself be drawn into this unknown world of paranormal girls and boys, you’ll be delighted to follow the story. The dialogues are witty and punchy (especially those between Wes, the first-person narrator, and his beloved Hudson), the plot engaging, with just the right amount of suspense to keep you going. Even if you realize quite quickly who really dunnit, you plunge forward because you have no idea how these heroes will be able to get out of the mess they’re in.

Well, not much sex in this book (just saying; if you really need’em sex scenes, hot and sweaty, no matter what, you could be disappointed), but clearly a deep and loving relationship between the MCs (they’re sooo sweet), plus a nice secondary romance with… HEA? No HEA? Once again, I can’t tell, I won’t tell. Anyway, I really loved this book—well-written, well-edited, well-thought-through, and as far as I could see, completely free of typos and grammar errors (contented sigh). The perfect kind of read for me.

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Advanced Review Copy

Galley copy of Graveyard Shift provided by the publisher in exchange of an honest review.


Dieter, born and raised in Austria, studied Political Sciences in Vienna in the early 90s. He's living in Paris, France, with his boyfriend and working as a graphic designer. In his spare time, he loves to write, read, cook, take photos, and travel as often as possible. He’s already published two short-story collections as well as four poetry collections. His first murder mystery novel “The Stuffed Coffin” featuring Damien Drechsler and the dashing Greek student Nikos has been released on Jan. 6, 2019, and is available in English, French, and German. By the way, the French version "Le cercueil farci" has won the prestigious Prix du roman gay 2019 in the category murder mystery. Dieter runs a gay book reviews site in French and is also writing reviews for Gay Book Reviews under the pseudonym of ParisDude.
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