Book Review: "Grave Illusions" by Lina Gardiner

Grave Illusions (Jess Vandermire, #1)Grave Illusions by Lina Gardiner
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

"Grave Illusions" by Lina Gardiner introduces us to an alternate universe with vampires hiding in the shadows, a somewhat vanilla vampire world with no overt magic, no werewolves, and no zombies. Jess Vandermire is a cop who turned into a vampire, learned to cope with her condition, and became a cop again. She now leads a special ops unit that tracks and kills rogue vampires.

When I first read about this book, I was extremely excited. I love vampire books, the various flavors of vampirism, and unusual situations that different authors create to test out vampires. I also like a good romance, and "Grave Illusions" held the potential for an excellent romantic vampire murder mystery.

Alas, but the book doesn't quite measure up. John Britton stands up as a three-dimensional character, with Jess running a close second. But the rest of the people are not well defined; more than two-dimensional but not quite fully formed. The narrative also starts out rather slow, and takes about a third of the book before the pace picks up.

As for the plot, I wouldn't say Ms. Gardiner left plot holes, more like plot gaps. I found places where the narrative missed details that made the flow of the words stutter. For example, at one point John and Jess are talking in an office when Jess hears someone outside. Suddenly, John's taking his jacket out of an SUV without leaving the office. Too much of the intermediate action is implied, leaving plot gaps.

But the story has a lot of potential, and I intend to read the sequel to see if the pacing problems work out now that the universe is established.

I give this story a 3.5 stars out of 5.

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