Underdead (Underdead Mysteries, Book #1)
by Liz Jasper
Release Date: September 28th, 2011
2011 by Liz Jasper (originally published 2008 by Cerridwen Press)
Ebook Edition; 236 Pages
Genre: Paranormal Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Author
2008 Eppie Award Winner for Best Mystery
4 / 5 Stars
Newbie science teacher Jo Gartner thinks her life has reached an all time low when she realizes the biggest excitement of her year is the staff Christmas party. Then she gets bitten by a vampire. Sort of. And then she’s a murder suspect. The police are at her door, the Undead are at her windows, and her vampire traits are growing harder to hide by the minute. If she doesn't figure out who to trust she won't be alive long enough to worry about all those papers she still has to grade.
Underdead is one of those novels that I needed to read right at the moment. With everything falling apart around me, the light tones of this paranormal novel took me away from my troubles into a world in which I was completely familiar (in terms of school and marking) and into one that made me laugh. Underdead was suspenseful, but at the same time it was lighthearted and downright fun.
Jo Gartner is one of those leads that I always like as she is tall and beautiful with red hair, but at the same time has no idea how sexy she is or how beautiful she is to others; that is until she gets bitten by a sexy vampire one night and suddenly finds herself surrounded by a bevy of men vying for her attention. And yet, this novel wasn't really about Jo and her relationships, it was about her coming to terms with her transformation into a vampire, and some of the moments were downright comical. Her allergy to the sun, and trying all different sorts of skin creams and other things to try to cure the rashes on her face and body, her sudden allure and how she could mesmerize people into doing what she wanted, and my personal favourite, the sudden craving for blood and anything meat-related. The episode in the kitchen where she bit into every food item she had in her possession trying out her teeth was priceless.
Most of the secondary characters were just as interesting. I really enjoyed the scenes with Jo's mother, a woman who is somewhat domineering and overbearing, and pretty much frightens everyone around her, and yet I adored her. And I would really love to know who Jo's mother's hairdresser is as his name shows up quite a bit in the novel with quite a bit of information; who is he and how does he know so much? The only person I wasn't so crazy about was Gavin, the cop who was protecting Jo. It seemed to me that he was continually yelling at Jo for everything she did and I'm surprised she put up with it the way she did. I know he was protecting her, but the act quickly got annoying. Hopefully his character will develop a bit in the sequel.
I thought the story was funny and intriguing, but at the same time I realized at the end that I really didn't learn very much about the vampire coven or why Will, the head vampire, wanted Jo so badly. A lot of information was kept from the reader and only little tidbits of information was given to us; on the other hand, we did learn a lot about Jo's school and the people around her there so that was quite interesting. And I have to say, I didn't figure out the who-dun-it, though I should have with a little thought. I think I got caught up in the vampire stuff and didn't pay enough attention to the other things going around Jo. I also thought the ending was somewhat abrupt and was surprised when I reached the last page as it didn't feel complete. I understand that more will be revealed in the next book, but I still like my endings to be endings, if you know what I mean.
Underdead was an interesting twist on the usual vampire novel and I really enjoyed it. It was more light-hearted than some of the vampire novels I have read lately, and there were many scenes that I found very amusing; it made me wonder what I would do if I was in her situation. I am definitely looking forward to reading Underdead in Denial, the next novel in this series.