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I Belong

Early Review: Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

Title: Death Takes A Holiday

Author: Jennifer Harlow

Genre: Urban Fantasy/Mystery

Series: A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation

Publication Date: August 8, 2013

Format: Paperback, 288 Pages

ISBN-10: 0738727121 (Midnight Ink)

ISBN-13: 978-0738727127 (Midnight Ink)

Reviewed by: Kristie


A supernatural love triangle + one indecent proposal Beatrice Alexander can crush a sixty-foot snake with her mind, but she can’t take any more of the drama that’s tearing apart F.R.E.A.K.S. Should she give it all up — her job as a secret agent and the possibility of a relationship with Will, the gorgeous werewolf? Bea’s hoping to get it all figured out on a trip home for Christmas. But soon her hunky ex-boyfriend wants to rekindle their romance. Then, a powerful (and super hot) vampire lord offers Bea an impossible ultimatum: leave San Diego and her family forever — or become his lover.

Quick & Dirty: A slow start but eventually turns into an entertaining, fun novel with an unseen twist.

Opening Sentence: I hate running.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

Death Takes a Holiday finds the F.R.E.A.K.S. squad bickering amongst themselves, torn to sides in a fight between Beatrice, Oliver and Will. Ever since the fight in Dallas, when the team lost a valuable member and almost lost Beatrice, Will has been making life frustrating for Beatrice. All Beatrice wants is for Will and Oliver to get along (and have a great makeout session with Will) but since Will won’t even look at her or even speak more than one word to her, Beatrice decides that drastic measures are in order to try and make peace again. Bea corners Will into talking but when another fight breaks out between him and Oliver, she gives them an ultimatum, make up or never talk to her again.

The Christmas holiday is coming up so Beatrice decides to take some much needed time off away from the stress of Will and Oliver and to decide if she wants to continue on as a part of the F.R.E.A.K.S. squad. Bea visits her grandma Liz and her friend Rose in San Diego, where the weather is nice (definitely not the icy cold Kansas weather she has been trying to get used to) and she can do plenty of shopping for the Christmas holiday.

Once is San Diego, Bea takes a walk down memory lane, remembering why she left and wondering if she should stay. Everyone comments on how much Bea has changed since she left for Kansas. Bea runs into an old flame at a party, an ex-boyfriend who’s heart she broke. She decides to go on another date with him, which only leads to a disaster when she tries to save a girl’s life from a vampire that is about to kill her. There is more to the story but I’m definitely not going to elaborate so as to not completely ruin the story as Beatrice is drawn into the web of a vampire who controls the area of southern California. The vampire wants Beatrice as his bride or dead if he can’t have her.

Death Takes a Holiday does start off slow and it seems that it takes a while before events pick up steam. A lot of relationship drama moves the story ahead but it is when Beatrice meets Steve (the old flame) for her date that the mystery really starts to unfold. One thing I really liked about Death Takes a Holiday is that I thought it would go one way but completely takes me in another direction that I just didn’t see coming. I always knew that one character was a scuz-bucket but just not how much of one.

Beatrice is quickly becoming the Anita Blake of telekinetics. The men in her life are intensely attracted to her and her power. She’s attracted to most of them but the one man she really wants is the one who keeps pushing her away. I will say that Will was quite aggravating in this novel, I understand his hangups, but he seriously needs to change his anger issues and stop taking them out on Bea. Oliver is quickly becoming my favorite although Connor with his sexy accent may give Oliver a run for his money.

Overall, the slow beginning to Death Takes a Holiday sets the scene for all the upcoming events that take place later but once the mystery kicks in, it becomes a very entertaining novel. My rating wavers from 3.5 to a 4 because of the slowness at the beginning but if you enjoy novels with quirky humor, fun (sometimes frustrating) characters and a world that is just as strange, the F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation series is a fun one to try out.

Notable Scene:

“You will remember nothing about the past two days. You will not remember following Beatrice to the Lipmann residence. You will not remember Moon, Mariah, or coming to the club tonight. You will leave here and never return.” He breaks eye contact to look up at me. “What shall I replace the memories with?”

“He met friends for bowling, took me out to dinner, dropped me off at home, went to work the next day, and was coming to meet me here for drinks.”

Connor turns back to Steven and repeats my words verbatim. “And now you will wait outside for Beatrice.” He breaks the gaze. “Release him.”

Neil releases the catatonic Steven, who stands up like a good puppet and walks past the still seething vamps. The bleeding waitress snarls at him, but Steven doesn’t register her presence. He should come out of it when I meet him outside. Until then, he’ll be trapped inside his own head. I loathe taking his memories and free will, but he’ll be safer this way. The front door slams shut.

“First that mongoloid, then Oliver,” Connor says. “You have abysmal taste in men.”

“Oh, shut up,” I say.

You are holding the gun,” Connor says. “But now that the not so good Samaritan has departed safely, what comes next? Do you prove my suspicions correct by firing? Or may we continue our conversation in more comfortable surroundings and with less firepower?”

“You know, for a man with a shotgun to his head you sure are calm, especially considering you’re so convinced I’m here to usurp your throne.”

“I am over six hundred years old, this is not the first and will certainly not be the last time I find myself in this predicament.”

A F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad Investigation:

1. Mind Over Monsters

2. To Catch a Vampire

3. Death Takes a Holiday

FTC Advisory: Midnight Ink provided me with a copy of Death Takes a Holiday. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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