One Foot in the Grave:
a Night Huntress Novel

by Jeaniene Frost
(Avon, $6.99, R) ISBN 978-006124509-1
****
Cat Crawfield is back and badder than ever in this sequel to Halfway to the Grave.  She’s also acquired a few new identities since then: Catrina Arthur, FBI Agent; Cristine Russell, an alias created by Homeland Security to conceal her after some  misunderstandings in book one; and Red Reaper, half-breed vampire hunter with a price on her head.  She’s relocated to Richmond, Virginia and now leads a team of hunters for Homeland Security. 

After being jailed at the end of book one, pathology reports reveal that Cat is not entirely human.  Enter Don, head of a special unit at Homeland Security, tasked with the job of protecting the human race by killing, and/or capturing and experimenting on vampires.  He thinks Cat’s half-breed status makes her the perfect weapon to lead his team of vampire hunters. 

Since it’s either work or stay in jail, Cat agrees to work for him. Now she leads a covert team of hunters who investigate supernatural crimes and track down rumors of the undead.  Little does Don realize that Cat’s skills were honed by a vampire mentor named Bones, who met Cat one night while she was out delivering some vigilante justice on the undead as cosmic payback for a vampire getting her mother pregnant.  Since he functioned as sort of a vampire enforcer himself, Bones proceeded to teach her everything she now knows about how to kill a vampire.  But the teacher-student relationship evolved into more, and at the end of the last book Cat vanished, leaving Bones “for his own good,” since they could have no future together. It’s been four years since they’ve seen each other. 

A recent supernatural crime in the house where she grew up sends Cat and her team to Licking Falls, Ohio to investigate. Some clues at the crime scene indicate to Cat that Bones has been there, and is possibly even the perpetrator, sending Cat and her team off to the caves where Cat and Bones first met and trained. 

And Cat’s best friend is getting married.  As Cat, the maid-of-honor, heads up the aisle to the altar, she senses a master vampire in the room.  When she gets to the altar, she discovers, much to her horror (and delight) that Bones is one of the groomsman.  When she sees him, she confronts how absolutely miserable she’s been without him. And as it turns out, Bones has been absolutely miserable without her. Unfortunately, Cat doesn’t see how the future of the relationship could be any different than it was before, so she tells herself to resist temptation.  In case you’re interested, her resolve lasts about 15 minutes, the duration of the ceremony. 

Bones and Cat as a couple are great together. Their attraction is undeniable, and their intimate encounters are spontaneous and erotic. They complement one another and not just sexually.    

I really enjoyed One Foot in the Grave. It is much tighter than Halfway to the Grave; Kat seems more sharply in focus, the relationship more compelling; the dialogue humorous; and the various plotlines are deftly woven into a satisfying conclusion. 

If your bookshelves are in need of a new vampire series, the Night Huntress series is a great place to start.

--Jean Ward


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