Welcome to this week’s “meeting” of the Preternatura Book Club! Today, we continue with the first book in Jeaniene Frost’s Night Huntress series, Halfway to the Grave.
We’ll finish up Halfway to the Grave next week. After that, I’m going to let the book club go inactive for six weeks or so and do a series of shameless self-promotion posts, talking about Royal Street, introducing some more of DJ's playlist, and providing some behind-the-scenes info until after the first of the year. In January, we’ll start another read….Suggestions on what to read next? Here are some ideas:
--Continue with the second Night Huntress book, One Foot in the Grave.
--First book in fellow Alabama author J.F. Lewis’ Void City series, Staked.
--First book in one of my favorite series, Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files, Storm Front.
--First book in another favorite must-read series, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Moon Called.
--First Black Dagger Brotherhood book by JR Ward, Dark Lover.
HALFWAY TO THE GRAVE, CHAPTERS 23-24
Expecting some action today—last week, Cat literally strapped on the weaponry (Bones is kind of his own weapon) and were getting ready to go after Hennessey, who’d killed Cat’s grandparents and kidnapped her mother in an attempt to draw Bones out. The plan is for Bones to go inside and distract the vampires, then Cat will come in, knives blazing—they know the vampires will consider her harmless since they don’t know about her vampire half.
They meet a vampire named Vincent, aka Switch—Hennessey’s enforcer, who Cat thinks looks somewhat like a Boy Scout. Cat pretends to be a scared human (doesn’t have to pretend too much) while he drives them to a ramshackle house out in the woods. There are seven human heartbeats in the house—one of which belongs to Mama Cat, who they shove in the window so Bones can see she’s alive.
Bones goes inside with the vamps, and Cat calls the cops, telling them she knifed the two detectives earlier and giving them her location. Then she cranks the car and drives it full-force into the house. She’s shocked to see 25 vampires besides Hennessey—way more than they’d expected. But Cat’s on fire, and she and Bones—who was in the process of getting chained up—kick some vampire butt. Cat shoves her mom outside. There is much knifing of hearts and twisting of necks and cracking of skulls before the police arrive.
Cat sees Hennessey and Switch crawling away, and manages to kill Hennessey. She urges Bones to go after Switch, and turns to the cops with her hands raised. (Loved these lines: “You’re under arrest,” a panicked officer wheezed, the whites of his eyes rolling in his head….”Thank God,” I replied.)
Cat had been shot in the melee, but is handcuffed to the stretcher rather than treated. A Lieutenant Isaac takes her out of the ambulance and drives her away from the gaping EMTs and cops, and it doesn’t take long for Cat to release he’s a vampire flunky, or Renfield—he smells like them. She manages to overpower him, take his guns, and put the squeeze on some sensitive real estate. He finally tells her that it’s Ohio governor Ethan Oliver who’s working with Hennessey. Good scheme. Hennessey takes the scum off the streets, Oliver looks like he’s cleaning up crime in Ohio, everybody makes money, everybody wins. Cat’s outraged because she voted for the guy. He also tells her there’s a bomb in the trunk that was supposed to go off at the hospital where the rescued girls were taken.
Cat forces Isaac to drive her to the governor’s house, and strips off her blouse and bra in order to look like just another hapless human being brought in for snacks and entertainment. As soon as they get in the gates, Isaac yells for help, and Cat goes into fight mode. She gets shot again, by the governor himself. Holding Cat at gunpoint, he tells his goons to leave them alone, then says he doesn’t care that Hennessey is dead—there are other vampires who’ll work for the kind of money they’re making. He has aspirations to be president.
Cat flashes some vampire eyes at him, which distracts him enough to give her the advantage. She snaps his neck just as the police crash in, and promptly surrenders. Arrested again.
Kind of a practical issue…Cat seems to have an unlimited supply of silver knives at her fingertips, and she throws them, which means she no longer has them (unless she goes to retrieve them, which is unlikely). Where the heck is she PUTTING them all?
These days, Hennessey could probably get elected. He’d have the vamps enthrall or kill anyone who couldn’t agree on the such-and-such bill. Just sayin’.
Cat has really, really burned her bridges with the human world—or at least it looks that way at this point. How’s she getting out of this one?