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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Every Little Bit Helps

There is a great way to support up and coming artists of all types: Patreon. With Patreon, you can choose artists that you like and support them by giving them as little as $1 per month. Artists offer different incentives for increasing levels of support, making you a part of an exclusive club. Let me put you at ease on one point: I am not asking for money through Patreon, so this post is meant for information only. Of course, I know many different people who have set up Patreon accounts for their work as an author. I want to highlight a couple. The link to their Patreon account will be connected to their names.

The first is E. A. Copen. She does a great job of crafting her stories and making you stay up way later than you planned when you start reading her work. She is best known for her Judah Black novels set in a small town in west Texas called Paint Rock. (And I love the stories not just because I’ve lived in Paint Rock!) She just released Beasts of Babylon which is different – a paranormal western horror story which I really enjoyed and she’s also got a new series called Broken Empire coming out soon. She’s an author that deserves any kind of support you can give.

The second is R.R. Virdi. He’s best known for his Grave Report Series (Grave Beginnings, Grave Measuresand the soon to be released Grave Dealings) and the first of the Books of Winter, Dangerous Ways. He has some other things coming out as well and the man’s creativity and talent are mind-blowing. He and Ms. Copen are friends. I found out about Ms. Copen through Mr. Virdi. Both of them are wonderful people and if you start supporting them, I have no doubt that one day, you will thank me.

Obviously, there are other authors and artists on Patreon. You may need to be on Patreon. Many of the artists of the middle ages had wealthy sponsors who allowed them the chance to paint. Your support can make you a digital age sponsor where, no one person can sponsor another completely, but working together, we can help support the arts.

Unleashing the Dragon! (A Review of Grave Measures)

I can’t imagine anything worse than waking up dead. Well, ok, you could wake up dead in a mental hospital. Want it worse? You could wake up dead in a mental hospital, in a strait jacket, and find out that one of the patients is someone who worked with you in the past…and that’s the reason she’s in the hospital. Yep, the wise-cracking Vincent Graves is in trouble again.

Grave Measures is the second book in The Grave Report series and R. R. Virdi outdoes himself in this tale. Patients are dying without explanation and Vincent Graves comes back as one of the dead patients. (Can you imagine the confusion for the staff and the other patients who knew that Charles had died. Who would they tell without someone thinking they were crazy?) At least this time it didn’t take Vincent too long to learn something about his body. And when he runs into the mysterious Church, he’s given 44 hours to solve the paranormal crime.

Helped once again by Agent Ortiz who had didn’t realize she had worked with Graves before, you know, the new body thing, she puts Vincent in a class of guys with tattoos on their arms. They pick up a child who converses with ghosts, especially her own sister, and embark on a case that involves many trips into Virdi’s fantasy world: the Neravene. The “extra time” Graves gets to solve this case is needed because Neravene time does not run at the same level as our time. Well that, and the story gets complicated.

Graves and friends race against time knowing that anyone of them could be the next victim. They chase the killer down through long forgotten passage ways of the hospital trying to save the little girl before it’s too late. As appears to be the case with Vincent Graves, cleaning up the mess creates an even bigger mess before it’s all over. The action is hot and heavy in this story so get yourself a nice, cool glass of ice water, sit back, and enjoy the book. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, Grave Measures was nominated for a Dragon Award!