Diving Into Grave Dealings

At last! It’s here! Fans of The Grave Report series have been waiting anxiously for the latest installment of the series, Grave Dealings, for a long time. It was worth the wait. R.R. Virdi brings Vincent Graves to life again in another great story. Yes, I had an Advanced Reader Copy so that I could write the review below. (Just so you don’t think I’m trying to hide anything.) I can tell you how much I like it by saying that the first thing I did was order a paperback copy so that I had the book in my collection. The enjoyment of the book is well worth the price.

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I have got to find a different place to read the next Grave Report book. Seriously. The edge of my seat is so worn down from this most recent book that I’m sure I’d keep falling on the floor going through another action-packed story like Grave Dealings from the Grave Report. Grave Dealings lives up to, no surpasses the standards of excellence that Virdi has established in “Grave Beginnings” and “Grave Measures,” as Vincent Graves comes back for another amazing case.

For those of you not familiar with the basic concept, Vincent Graves is a paranormal detective with a bit of a twist. He’s dead. Graves isn’t even really his name. He doesn’t know what his name is. He comes back to life in the body of the victim of a paranormal crime with the responsibility to bring the paranormal criminal to justice – which is a gentle way of saying he has to kill them. He arrives in the most unusual circumstances, depending on how the dearly departed was disposed of. In Grave Dealings, Graves wakes up sinking into a watery grave. He has to extricate himself from his bindings, swim back to the surface, and then quickly find the nearest church where he meets his contact, Church, who gives Graves all kinds of information, as long as it isn’t about him or the case. In this episode, though, Graves is hounded by another monster who tries to kill him even before the case starts. And the fun begins.

(Note: there may be spoilers from here on out. Be forewarned)

Daniel Kim has been murdered by unknown paranormal creatures and dumped into the ocean. What better way for Vincent Graves to begin a case than falling deeper and deeper into the water. He gets out of the water, and begins his quest to solve his body’s murder. While Graves is trying to do that, other forces are seeking to kill him. Along the way he runs into an old friend who apparently had feelings for the person who used to inhabit the body Graves is using now. This makes for some awkward relationship issues along the way. We’re introduced to a new character who brings Graves and company into the 21st century with her computer hacking and blogging skills.

Graves and his old friend outwit the monsters trying to kill him, and discover who had put the hit out on him only to realize that this was part of an old deal comes back to haunt him, and he gets dragged to a paranormal ball in the Neravene. (Do be careful who you deal with, it will come back to haunt you in the most inconvenient ways.) During the ball, his services become a highly valued gift, when he proves himself in a life or death match; meanwhile, his “date” to the ball causes all sorts of trouble in what was a “coming out” party for her.

Still, the case goes on and the time Graves has left keeps dropping. Graves puts it all together when he notices how many friends of the meat skin he’s using seem to have been unduly successful, and yet, still were dying. In the end, Graves takes on the monsters killing Daniel Kim and his friends off and crushes them, solving the case so that he can say good bye to friends old and new and get ready to move onto the next case.

As you read through this book, you’ll realize that Virdi is holding a mirror up to society, and to each of us. What are our dreams? What are our ambitions? What would we do to accomplish those dreams? What kind of deals would we cut to gain success. You cannot read this book without reflecting on those questions, and the answers might scare you. Still Virdi does this in such a skillful manner that you don’t realize that you’ve done it until after you’ve finished reading the book.

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When Dreams Come True…

…with apologies to C.S. Lewis.

The topic for tonight’#5MinuteFiction was to write about a dream or a nightmare that came true. I thought about CS Lewis and the Voyage of the Dawntreader as I wrote. What would happen if ALL your dreams came true. (even the nightmares) Yes, indeed, dark fantasy. Even in the dark fantasy…there is heroic altruism. I’m such a hopeless positivist!  And, I’m such a hopeless positivist that I believe that you will like my story enough to head on over to Write on Wendy and vote for me since I made the finalists tonight. I sure would appreciate your support!

Here’s my #5MinuteFiction writing for this week. If I had given it a title, it would be “The Dreamhopper.”

“Deja Vu all over again,” Johnny thought with a wry smile. Then he shuddered as he remembered the dream. When he saw the Red Volkswagon heading his way, he jumped to the right and smiled nervously. In the dream he had jumped to the left.

“It’s a mirror. That’s your problem,” said a husky feminine voice behind him, “you can’t see the mirror so you think you’re safe.”

He jumped, startled by the sound. She looked familiar. Suddenly a his face became a picture of horror. She had been in his dream too. “What are you….”

“I know, I know. I was in your dream. You were in mine. Can we help each other to get out alive or will the dream come true?”

“But how…?” he sputtered.

She looked at him with disgust. “Does it matter how? Wait.” She stopped, pulled him back from the door and watched as a knife hit the wall right where his head had been. “We can work together, or we can die separately.”

“But how?”

“You ask far too many questions, ya know that?” she sneered. “It doesn’t matter. What matters is getting out alive this time.”

“What do you mean ‘this time?’” he asked.

She shook her head. “When I was alive, my dream came true and I died. Now, I search for ways to get in the dreams of others and help them get out alive. I’m hoping that I can come back to life. WATCH IT!” she grabbed him and threw him to the ground as a car raced by shooting out of its windows.

“What if….”

“Listen, my dream, my nightmare came true. I’m just trying to help others now. So shut up and do what I say. I want to get you out of here alive.”

Many thanks to our judge for tonight, Ruth Watson Morris. She generously made a copy of her book Fantacia available to those involved in #5MinuteFiction. (I won’t put the link here, you’ll have to go to Write on Wendy to get it and to vote!)