Thursday, February 21, 2019

Not Dead Yet by Jenn Burke

Dying isn’t what it used to be.

Wes Cooper was dead. Then he wasn’t—though he’s not exactly alive, either. As an immortal not-ghost, he can transition between this world and the otherplane, which makes him the perfect thief for hire. For seventy years he’s made a “living” returning items to their rightful owners, seeing his fair share of the bizarre in the process. But he’s never witnessed murder. Until now.

His latest mission brings him more than he bargained for: a very-dead actor who is definitely going to stay that way. It’s just Wes’s luck that his ex-boyfriend, Detective Hudson Rojas, is assigned to the case. Hudson broke Wes’s heart years ago—and could again, given he’s rocking a hot silver-fox look that shouldn’t be legal.

As they work together to track down the murderer before anyone else gets hurt, it becomes clear Wes and Hudson have unfinished business. And when a secret Hudson’s been keeping threatens more than just their happiness, it might mean the end of their not-life together—permanently.

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Book 1
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Carina Press – Harlequin

Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

3.5 stars

This book starts with Wes’ story. The 110-year-old isn’t completely a ghost and he’s not exactly a thief. When he witnesses a murder in his ghostly form, he gives his witness statement to Hudson, an ex-boyfriend police detective. What starts as an awkward situation quickly turns into a nightmare involving all sorts of supernatural beings.

I have to admit that it took me quite a while to get into this story. There are some holes in the supernatural worldbuilding that I found distracting and the characters are fairly simplistic for the first half of the story. I feel like the murder investigation goes around in circles for a while before it actually gets exciting. Thankfully, the book gets better. By the halfway point, I was enjoying the story and by the end I couldn’t put it down.

Wes is funny and sweet and he’s somehow managed to avoid adulting for more than 100 years. At the start of the book he is almost irritatingly clueless, but he becomes more likeable once he starts helping Hudson with his investigation. Hudson is pretty awful at the start. He plays hot and cold with Wes and he is completely emotionally closed off for the first half of the book. I still have a lot of unanswered questions about his age and his appearance and I didn’t like him at all until he thaws and reveals a few key secrets at the half-way point. There is definitely some unresolved relationship angst between Wes and Hudson but I’m not sure there’s ever any real romance.

I actually think the story gets more enjoyable when Hudson and Wes’ friends get more involved. I loved Wes’ witchy best friend Lexi and I enjoyed Evan the baby vamp. This story works best when it’s a fun Buffy/Bitten gang of supernatural friends caper.

I have to admit that I really struggled to follow parts of the storyline in this book. At the start of a urban fantasy series I need a bit more structure and explanation before I can fully get into the altered world and understand what’s going on. Without revealing spoilers, I feel like there are a few continuity gaps in the world building. I’m also not sure how much of the world building in this book is original. Parts of this feel like fanfic and some scenes were a bit too close to moments in popular UF writing/television. Wes is a refreshingly original character but much of the rest of the book feels a little bit tired.

Jenn Burke has loved out-of-this-world romance since she first read about heroes and heroines kicking butt and falling in love as a preteen. Now that she’s an author, she couldn’t be happier to bring adventure, romance, and sexy times to her readers.

She’s been called a pocket-size and puntastic Canadian on social media, and she’ll happily own that label. Jenn lives just outside of Ottawa, Ontario, with her husband and two kids, plus two dogs named after video game characters... because her geekiness knows no bounds.

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Reviewers on the Wicked Reads Review Team were provided a free copy of Not Dead Yet (Not Dead Yet #1) by Jenn Burke to read and review.

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