I'm a fan of Sue Ann Jaffarian's other mystery series, but don't tend to read vampire stories so wasn't sure what I would think, but I loved this whodunnit, which delves into the world of vampires and vampire envy. Madison Rose finds herself shocked to discover that vampires are real, and that she almost died because of them. She goes to live with her new vampire "grandparents," who wind up becoming the only family she has, only to become the target of those who think if they kill her, they are on the fast track to permanent (as opposed to retractable) fangs. Jaffarian sends up vampire envy while introducing a whole new cast of characters, including a vampire council, with her own twist on the genre. She manages to make this a believable world, as she did with Ghost a la Mode, and Madison is an engaging heroine who is by turns wary and curious about the undercover community that takes her in. If you're a Jaffarian fan, you'll definitely want to check this out, and if you're a newcomer to her work, you'll enjoy the sly humor as well as the covens, clubs and coffins that populate Murder in Vein.
on November 17, 2011
"Murder in Vein" is the first in a new series of supernatural mysteries. Author Sue Ann Jaffarian, who already has two successful mystery series to her name, boldly takes on two very dedicated fan bases with the new Madison Rose Fang-in-Cheek series: lovers of mysteries and lovers of vampire novels. Neither group of readers is always easy to please, but if any author is capable of such a feat, it is Jaffarian.
Known for her blend of humor and mystery, Jaffarian adds a dash of horror and romance to her newest novel. The book beings with what seems to be a new trope in vampire lit - the damsel in distress waiting to be rescued by the handsome, romantic, "bad-boy-who-really-wants-to-be good" vampire. Jaffarian quickly turns this scene on its head and from this moment forward the readers knows that they are in for something other than the usual teen-lit vampire romance. Instead of a heroic, yet damaged male vampire, Madison Rose (not Rose Madison as she is quick to point out) is rescued by Doug and Dodie Deadham, an elderly couple of vampires out for an evening stroll. To further disrupt the reader's sense of equilibrium, this seemingly grandparent-like duo proceeds to viciously kill and eat another person while in the process of helping Madison.
This opening scene sets the tone for the rest of the book. The novel is a blend of humor, strange circumstances, and enough mystery to keep the plot moving. Madison is a young woman with a troubled past and despite their strange meeting, she comes to find a pseudo-family in the Deadhams and their strange vampire community. She meets the others in their circle, including a bevy of mysterious men: the equally troubled human detective Mike Notchey who also moves in the vampires' world, Samuel De La Croix, the charming and mysterious leader of the local vampire group, and Colin Reddy, the afore-mentioned "bad-boy-who-really-wants-to-be good" vampire that seems to be a required character in the vampire lit genre. Not that I'm complaining... His English accent, his aloof attitude, and his adorable interest in Madison are enough for this reader to want to see him stick around long into the series. The reader should be wary of judging Madison too quickly, however. She is no pushover and thankfully, not looking to jump into bed with every vampire who crosses her path. Readers who are frustrated by the female characters of other vampire lit series who lose all sense of reality once confronted with the "glamorous" world of vampirism will find Madison's skepticism and distrust refreshing.
Jaffarian has the unenviable task of trying to establish a set of characters, a mystery, and an entire vampire mythology in a single novel. For the most part she succeeds. However, if one part of this triad suffers it is the mystery. For the most part it serves as a fitting vehicle to introduce the author's take on vampire lore, but in the end it is a pretty straightforward plot with few surprises. Mystery lovers will have to look beyond the oft repeated story of missing girls and mysterious organizations and instead focus on what makes this particular take fresh: a feisty heroine in the form of Madison Rose who has to solve a series of very human-like of murders while coming to terms with the very inhuman world she now finds herself inhabiting.
I look forward to seeing if Jaffarian is able to bulk up the mystery in the second book now that her vampire world is sufficiently established. Even if she doesn't, I will continue to enjoy this unique blend of two well-trod genres.
on February 17, 2013
My review assumes you've read a synopsis elsewhere.
Madison Rose is a young woman that life has treated very badly since the age of 8. She's learned to defend herself with a sharp tongue and a high wall of distrust. Once on her own, she got into trouble through bad choices and decided she wanted better for herself, cleaned up her act, got a steady job, a small studio apartment and was going to night school. I had a lot of empathy for this basically decent young woman. She spoke and behaved like a real person would in the same circumstances.
She'd spent so much of her life with normal seeming people doing evil, life with the vampires wasn't a stretch for her sense of "normal" with the difference being these were vampires trying very hard to retain as much of their humanity as they could. They were however, as they occasionally needed to remind her, basically animals. It took her a long time to adjust to that aspect. The irony was, these "animals" were the first group of people that treated her with true kindness and affection. For the first time since she was 8, she had a sense of family and trust.
I read some of the reviews and wonder if we were reading the same book. This woman had her own strong sense of morals. She wanted to be respectable and respected. The few times in her life that she crossed that line, no matter whose fault, she felt great shame. She DID NOT swoon, or gasp, or giggle, or stammer, or get weak kneed, or any other of the commonly written idiocies. She DID NOT drool over the handsome men she met. She DID NOT bed down with any of them, and she DID NOT have repetitive inner dialogue about sex. She was in survival mode and for once we have a heroine savvy enough to know that when you are at risk and need to be alert, thought of sex must slip down in your list of priorities. This is a pet peeve of mine. So many of these Urban Fantasies have the damsel in distress forget all about survival and slip into hot, drooling speculation at the first sight of something that looks good. Sorry, somebody's trying to kill me, THAT'S going to be my focus and nothing much else. At no time did I moan at something Madison said or did. This is VERY unusual. I get really tired of how some of these women are being written.
The mystery plot was an actual mystery and was pretty decent. The vampires were in general, interesting characters. There were even moments where we got a flash of a different point of view that allowed for a bit of sympathy. The world the author built was feasible, so it was easy to suspend disbelief. The heroine reacted and spoke like a real person would. I wanted to know what happened to this group and I was able to get completely immersed in the tale. I would HIGHLY recommend this book. If it were under $3, I'd already have the 2nd one half read. Good going Ms. Jaffarian. Keep up the good work.
PS...Another of my pet peeves was avoided. This is a stand-alone book. You want the 2nd in the series simply because you want to know more about their lives, not because it has a cliff-hanger ending. That's exactly how it should be.
on October 9, 2011
3-1/2 stars: Hmmm...what do I say about this book? I have really mixed feelings about it, hence the 3-1/2 stars. I couldn't quite give it 4 (when I compare it to other books I've given 4 stars to) yet it doesn't quite rate a 3.
The book started off very shaky for me. The writing felt very unpolished and perhaps that is why I didn't quite get sucked into the story immediately. The writing left me feeling ambivalent to all the characters and what was going on plotwise. As the book progressed, the writing improved; it felt more like an experienced writer to me and I was able to get into the story more. I plowed through the book in about a day, so I can't say it didn't keep my attention, but something was just missing from it. Maybe it was a connection to the characters. I really liked Dodie, Doug and Samuel, but I just couldn't rally any special feeling for Madison, Colin or Mike. I didn't dislike them, I just didn't care all that much about them.
The storyline was good but nothing spectacular. Again, it held my attention but didn't elicit any strong feelings. I will say that by the end of the book, the characters had gained enough potential that I will probably give the second book a try and see if my ambivalent feelings for this book were just a matter of having to "get into the series". I have had other series where I didn't love (or hate) the first book but the second book really sucks me in.
**Note on Kindle edition: First let me say, I checked this book out from my library's Overdrive system, but my understanding is that the kindle files we download to read are the same ones that we would get if we bought it from Amazon, since you download library books directly from Amazon. Anyway, the file for this book was less than spectacular. First off, lots of words were pushed together with no space between them. Second, there were stray marks in the text throughout the book. At first I thought I had some dirt on my screen, then realized it wasn't my screen but the file itself. I found it rather annoying and thought other Kindle readers considering purchasing this book might want to know. Since I was just borrowing it from the library I just dealt with it, but if I had purchased it for $9.99 (which is the current price at the time of this review), I would have contacted Amazon to return it. I know this is something that probably due to the file provided by the publisher, but still thought it should be noted.
on August 11, 2010
I'm a long time fan of Sue Ann's books, and she never ceases to amaze me with the depth and breadth of her interests. First murder, then ghosts and now VAMPIRES!!
I believe 'Murder in Vein' is Sue Ann at her writing best ... funny, intriguing, engaging and literate. And her character development is wonderful! Madison Rose (what a great name!) is in for the ride of her life when she gets involved with the neighborhood vampires. What is she thinking??? Find out by reading 'Murder in Vein'. You won't be sorry.
I can't wait for the next in the series :-)
on March 5, 2013
I've been a fan of author Sue Ann Jaffarian for years. It began with her Odelia Grey series then continued with the Granny Apples books. However, I just wasn't interested in reading about vampires. Part of me I'll admit was kind of disappointed that Ms. Jaffarian seemed to just be jumping on the band wagon by doing a vampire book. As part of her fan club on FB I read many comments along the same lines and then how they all loved the book and maybe even more so than her more prolific series. I put it on my wish list and when it came up as a deal of the day not too long ago I took the plunge. So glad I did! I love her take on vampires and the culture surrounding vampire lore of late. Book #2 is on my wish list and now my only complaint is that there doesn't seem to be solid plans for any further stories in the Madison Rose world.
on February 16, 2013
I love paranormal romance, and I love mysteries, so I thought this book would be a great fit for my tastes. The vampire element, however, was much more explicit and violent in this novel than in others I have read and even romanticized and glamorized the drinking of blood, something I found disturbing. I know it's a book with vampires as a main part of the plot, but I wasn't expecting to learn so much about the social groups that seek out the vampiric lifestyle. And the leaders punishing a guilty vampire-wannabe by drinking her blood as a group? Disgusting and unsettling. It was an interesting read, but I won't be seeking out any sequels or other books by this author in the future. One novel was enough for me.
on February 5, 2012
I wasn't too sure what to expect from this series. I enjoy the vampire genre but you never know what you are a going to get. I was so pleasantly surprised that I have become a die-hard fan of Sue Ann Jaffarian. The writing style is fun and witty, the story line in this series keeps you coming back for more. I have now read both of the books in this series and can't wait for more Madison Rose! These are not your tame, sappy vampire books. These characters have a depth that allows them to work their way into your heart and soul. Sometimes you love them, sometimes you hate them and sometimes, you just want to smack them upside the head. All of the characters are multi-dimensional, noone is just what they appear on the outside and Sue Ann Jaffarian writes them in such a way that makes you want to know more about them and what makes them who they are. Yes, there are the norms for vampire books but what's really nice about this is that the tortured characters have found ways to work through and past the hard parts of their lives, just like the rest of us. They are ever evolving, they are very real.
on February 14, 2011
I've read Jaffarian's other mystery series, but not the one with the ghost. I found the mystery series an ok, easy, breezy read. I started off not liking this as much. I found many of the characters, including Madison, kind of unlikeable. I ended with a positive impression, but would recommend people get the book at the library first before spending $10+. I am interested to see what happens next with Madison and whether or not I warm up to the other characters.
Without spoiling, I will say the very ending was a surprise. Perhaps realistic though.
I did not find this book to be excessively bloody or violent even if the majority of the characters weren't vampires, it is labeled as a mystery. That usually entails death and unpleasantness.
on February 4, 2013
I absolutely loved the Madison Rose series. I have NEVER been one to watch vampire movies or read the books; but because I really enjoyed Sue Ann's other books and really like the way she creates, thought I would try them on for size (so to speak). Am so glad I did!! Great writes resulting in great reads. Thus the Madison Rose series has become my favorite of the Sue Ann Jaffarian works.