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MaryJanice Davidson: Undead and Unreturnable


Crescent Blues Book Views Berkley Sensation (Hardcover), ISBN 0-425-20816-8

Book: maryjanice davidson, undead and unreturnable
Vampire queen and shoe addict Betsy Taylor still can't get her life in order. Everything seems to be going well -- she and vampire consort Eric Sinclair plan a wedding for February. No, April. Wait, July. September. Absolutely in September. Her relationship with her daughter-of-the-devil (literally) sister Laura goes well. And George the Fiend, who lives in the basement of her mansion, shows a lot of promise at becoming more human, er, vampire and less feral.

Then Detective Nick Berry turns up at her home again to warn her of a serial killer on the loose -- and Betsy sure fits his "type." Yeah, yeah, whatever. Serial killers can't hurt the undead. And to add further insult, Antonia the Ant (Betsy's stepmother) finally gives birth to Betsy's half brother, Jonathan, who Betsy instantly likes because he cries all the time except when Betsy holds him. Serves the bitchy stepmom right.

But then Betsy and Eric begin having serious relationship problems, and more ghosts show up to beg for Betsy's help AND a sweet but annoying young mortal Jon wants to write Betsy's biography for a college class. How in the world can a vampire get the Christmas shopping done with all this nonsense going on?

MaryJanice Davidson's fourth Undead and novel turns out to be very thin on plot. The serial killer plot seems like it should be the main thread to the story, but it gets little bits here and there and a chunk at the end. Most of the story goes through the relationship troubles, which just drag things down a bit. And the book clearly sets up at least one more, as Laura begins showing some behavior which troubles the vampires. (I just checked Davidson's web site and it looks like she plans several more. Meh. I'm not sure I can handle much more of Betsy's silliness.)

I also really hate cutesy in-jokes. At the end, a copy of Jon's biography goes missing, and Eric makes a snarky comment about how it could go mainstream as a book called Undead and Unwed -- the title of Davidson's first book in the series. Undead and Unreturnable makes for a quick and sort of amusing read, but it rates as the literary equivalent of marshmallow fluff or Peeps.

Jen Foote

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