Leslie Conzatti over at Upstream Writer put together a top 10 list of moments from the Grave Report Series (the first two books). I’m sharing her first two, and then giving you a link to the rest. If you’ve read the series, do you agree with her? What other moments would you consider. If you haven’t read the series, maybe this will give you a good introduction and spike your interest.
I didn’t get a chance to interview Mr. Virdi before the release of Grave Dealings, but two other authors did. I’m going to post excerpts from their interviews, and then send you to their page. Both are successful authors in their own realm. First, the interview from E. A. Copen, author of the Judah Black series and The Beasts of Babylon:
E.A: First of all, welcome and tell us a little about your new book.
R.R. Virdi: Grave Dealings is book three in the Dragon Award-nominated urban fantasy series, The Grave Report. It picks up with Vincent Graves waking up in a new body in Queens, New York, and already hunted by the paranormal instead of doing the hunting. No reprieve for our free spirit and paranormal investigator. He’s got 57 hours to find who’s behind a string of devilish bargains that’s leaving a line of dead bodies.
E.A.: It was really exciting to read! Now, I don’t want to spoil anything, but this book has a really unique monster. Can you tell us how you decide which monsters to use and where you find them?
R.R. Virdi: My passion of mythology. I love reading about it all the time anyhow. That gives me a near-encyclopedic knowledge to draw from, and then I just pluck what seems most fun to me, whatever I can twist.
The full interview can be found on Copen’s website.
The second interview was conducted by D. R. Perry, author of the Dragon Award nominated A Change in Time and the whimsical urban fantasy series about Providence Paranormal College.
D.R.- You’re ready to write and have your pen and paper or computer or microphone ready. What else do you need during your session?
R.R.- Music (without lyrics) really helps me focus. I’m ADHD, so the constant engagement without distracting lyrics helps me tune out other things and set a constant workflow/pattern. I prefer what some people call, “Epic music.” It’s bombastic, orchestral, evocative, stuff from movies, games, anime.
You can read the full interview on Perry’s website.
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.
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.
I don’t think there’s anything more exciting for an author than a new book release. I shared my excitement about E. A. Copen’s newest book “Playing with Fire” and told you that two of my favorite authors were about to release new books. The next book to be released will happen on November 13 when R. R. Virdi releases the third book in the Grave Report called “Grave Dealings.” The kindle book is available to pre-order right now at the link to the book above. I’ll be releasing my review of the book on Tuesday, November 13, but I wanted to let you know that this book was coming.
Virdi has become one of my favorite authors. Were he to release a phone book, or a cook book, I would be one of the first in line to buy it. I can’t give you any details of his new book, yet, but I can tell you what Mr. Virdi said about Grave Dealings on his preview page.
Don’t make deals with the paranormal. They’re better at it than you, and they never play fair.
Paranormal investigator and soul without a body, Vincent Graves, did just that—a deal made in desperation. Now it’s coming back to bite him in the middle of a case.
He has 57 hours to investigate a string of deaths involving people who’ve made some devilish bargains. Too bad devils don’t deal in good faith. It’d be easy enough, if he didn’t have to deal with things such as:
- Being hunted through the streets of Queens by a dark elf with a motorcycle fetish.
- Ending up the target of a supernatural hit.
- An old acquaintance dragging him to a paranormal ball where he could end up on the menu.
- And having one of his closest guarded secrets brought to light…
Not great for a tight clock, because if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this case in time, Vincent and company might just lose their souls.
Dirty deals are never done dirt cheap. And the supernatural always collect—big!
Again, trying to avoid spoilers, but I can tell you that this may be Virdi’s best book yet. I can’t wait to share my review of this book with you. If you like Urban Fantasy, and I’ll be honest, I didn’t know I liked it until “Grave Beginnings,” if you like Detective stories with a twist, you need to pre-order this book now! And, if you want to get a head start on the deaths and lives of Vincent Graves, you can check out the series page here. Go ahead and order them all. You’ll be glad you did.
One of the oldest Science Fiction (etc.) Conventions is Dragon Con. The nominations for Dragon Con Awards are out. I want to urge you to register to vote. Then, vote! If I may influence you on a couple of votes. Best Paranormal Fiction: I would suggest Dangerous Ways by R.R. Virdi. I really enjoyed this book and it’s worthy of this award. I should note that this is his second nomination. The other book I would recommend is A Change in Crime by D. R. Perry in the Alternate History Category.
So, how do you sign up to vote? Go to the Dragon Awards Voting Sign Up Page and fill out the form. Then, when you get the form, vote! Both of those authors I recommended are good indie authors, and we need to support them!
You will see one more review of R.R. Virdi’s work after this one soon. Then, I will be unable to review his work until Grave Report #3 (title unknown to us common folk yet) comes out. I am expecting it this year. He is becoming one of the most well known Urban Fantasy authors around. I highly suggest you check out his books. My review of Dangerous Ways is here. In the meanwhile, Grave Beginnings was the starting point. Here’s my review of Grave Beginnings!
Just When You Thought It Was Safe to Die
What do you get when you cross Mike Hammer and Jack Bauer…and then kill him? Meet Vincent Graves, a dead detective who solves crimes and isn’t afraid to bash in a few heads in the process, as long as he does it by the deadline. A real deadline it is, too. If he fails, he dies. Lon Chaney may be the man of a thousand faces, but Vincent, is the man of a thousand bodies…probably…but who knows. He keeps coming back as the victim of the crimes he solves and no one knows exactly how many crimes he’s had to take care of. Except, perhaps, his enigmatic handler, Church. Church doesn’t help Vincent much; he just gives him the time that Vincent has to solve his cases. He doesn’t tell Vincent his new “name” or even what kind of creature killed him. Did I fail to mention that Vincent is a paranormal investigator?
In Grave Beginnings, Vincent begins his short-lived case by clawing his way out of a casket that had just been buried. Then, without knowing the name of the body he has come back in, he meets Church who gives him 24, no, make that 13 hours to solve the case. In that time he has to figure out who he is, who and what killed him, and then dispatch the monster to its eternal punishment. Along the way, Vincent is joined by an FBI agent who helps him figure out what’s happening. Meanwhile, she doesn’t know he’s dead. And she doesn’t realize that they are dealing with a supernatural world until things become obvious.
Vincent and Ortiz, the FBI agent, take on this case wisecracking their way through New York City as the clock keeps winding down. Along the way they meet all kinds of supernatural creatures: some who would be just as happy to kill as help, others who are out for blood, while others just enjoy killing their prey, and Vincent and Ortiz are their prey. In the end, as destruction reigns all around them, Vincent and Ortiz make life and death decisions that ultimately end the chase. Who lives and who dies? You’ll have to read it to find out. It’s a great read and I am looking forward to more Case Files from the Grave Report.
FYI! This entry was the champion for this week. I am therefore adding the badge of victory!
The theme of tonight’s #5MinuteFiction was “For today’s writing prompt: In keeping with the paranormal theme, write a story in which your character carries a secret in his or her blood.” TBH, there were some good stories there and I am waiting on my vote for a little bit! I am including my entry below:
“Blood calls to blood.” John couldn’t remember how many times his mother had told him that, but it was never important before tonight. As the searched the bushes for the lost girl, his blood started rushing, almost screaming in his veins. This girl was kin and he hadn’t known it.
He couldn’t tell the others – they wouldn’t understand. He slowly led the search party away from their original objective. It took awhile for anyone to say anything. When Frank pointed out that they had strayed from their original path John muttered something about “feeling it in his blood” and moved persistently through the tangled underbrush.
He thought about the purges and how he had barely survived when his mother hid him just before she was taken away. He knew that he couldn’t explain what was happening. The blood screamed louder and off in the distance they heard a short cry. He wondered if it was her. He wondered if she realized what she was feeling.
All those thoughts ran through his mind quickly when out of the brush a figure broke into a run holding the girl. She hadn’t been lost; she had been taken and now her blood called out to his in an almost deafening cry of fear. He called out and the team tracked the kidnapper down, rescuing the poor frightened child. John focused on her and as their blood calmed down together he quietly told her not to say anything; that they would talk soon. After so many years he had finally found another. To think that it was his best friend’s child.
Check out the competition at Wendy’s Blog
Would you like to win the book I am reviewing below? I have an autographed copy of The Land Beyond the Portal available for one lucky winner. Here’s what you need to do:
1) Share this post
2) Give me the URL where you shared the post in a comment below.
3) This contest will last at least one week and I’ll need at least 5 entries. If I don’t have 5 entries in a week, it will last as long as needed. (Come on, I paid for this book just for you, so the least you can do is encourage others to read the review and share it!)
4) Winner will be announced in this location.
Now for the review:
The Land Beyond the Portal by J. S. Bailey
Laura is seeking to find herself. A bout of injury induced amnesia has left Laura clueless about everything but her first name. Stuck in an old house in the middle of a blizzard, she looks around the house trying to find anything she can about herself. When she gets to the basement she discovers a room below the basement. As she walks into the room an unknown force transports her to a warm summer day in the middle of a pasture.
She is discovered by a young boy who, with his sister, has wandered farther than he should have while exploring. As Laura enters what appears to be a quaint medieval village she begins a journey that moves from trying to discover her own identity to unlocking the mysteries of the village. She is taken in by the village’s benevolent leader, only to find that many do not see him as benevolent as the rumors start flying about him. The rumor mill appears to be an attempt to replace him. The villagers talk in glowing terms of their deity, but underneath their praise is a strong measure of fear. What happened to the village leader’s boy who disappeared years ago? What happened to his daughter who disappears at the festival in honor of the village deity? As Laura seeks to unlock those mysteries, and prove that the village leader didn’t murder his missing daughter she also has the seemingly impossible task of finding her way back home.
As the book concludes, all of the loose ends are tied together as Laura and the other time travelers lead their friends to discover the truth behind the village deity, the ugly rumors about the village leader and how people are traveling in time. They also discover the location where the daughter had been spirited away, uncover the mystery of the missing son and ultimately who Laura really is.
Bailey sets an amazing web of confusion in this book that ultimately resolves satisfactorily in the end. One of the best messages that I got from this book is the reminder that God is present wherever and whenever you might be. Another time traveler reminds Laura of her love of the true God and under the power of prayer they embark together on some dangerous journeys seeking to solve the mysteries. Some of the people whom Laura thought she could trust turned out to be involved with the evil influence in the land and others turn out to be quite different and more helpful than they first appear.
I really enjoyed reading this book. It has good characterization and the descriptions of the valley where the village is located make you feel like you are actually there. Even more than that though is a story line that draws you in and makes you wonder what will happen next. Once I started reading, I didn’t want to stop reading until I was finished. If you’re looking for a fun read that touches on suspense, hints at the paranormal and even includes science fiction, this is a book you will love.