May Day by Josie Jaffrey – ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Vampires, murder investigation, competing love interests, dark humour…. Yup. That was a good risk. 😍
For a captivating mystery blended with delicious sensuality, for humor both dark and light, for intense personal introspection from the main character
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one. It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake. When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does. To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die. Body bags on standby.
Although I don’t usually read mysteries, the blend of vampires and the offbeat main character made me take a chance on this one. I am so glad I did!
It’s a mystery at heart, and I absolutely did not guess the resolution. That, for me, is a large part of what makes reading a mystery fun: the ah-ha! moment when it all pieces together at the end. However there’s enough puzzle remaining that I’m ready to read the next book already! I want to know how the others fall into these shady dealings.
As for vampire lore, there wasn’t much that was particularly unique. That was fine though, because it felt more like a incidental aspect rather than the primary focus. The idea behind marking and scenting and whatnot worked well with the relationship interests though, so it’s definitely not a forgotten about characteristic of the story. It provided that unique flavor that when blended with everything else worked to make this book just that much more notable.
And finally, there’s the third main element here. I’m reluctant to call it a “romance” or “love interest” because it was way wilder and sometimes a bit darker than either of those suggests. And BOY did it work! Jaffrey got those steamy moments absolutely perfect, and seamlessly woven into the rest of the plot. They build on each other, rather than being aside and separate. For a book that isn’t specifically focused on a romance, that’s a master skill. Plus since Jack is bi, there’s a bit of something for most people to enjoy. 😉
Overall this was a fantastic introduction to Jaffrey’s work, and I’m grateful there’s already a completed series set in the world she’s created, because I can’t wait for more!
Thanks to the author & publisher for a free ARC I’m exchange for an honest review!
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