Undead and Unreturnable
Grade : B

Undead and Unreturnable is the fourth Betsy Taylor book, the chronicles of a shoe-obsessed secretary who gets hit by a car and wakes up as undead Queen of the Vampires. This would obviously freak out most people, and Betsy's (mis)adventures as she tries to cope with drinking blood and sleeping all day and her new relationship with the scary but sexy Eric Sinclair have been some of the funniest reading in recent memory. MaryJanice Davidson has set herself a high standard with the first books, and this book does a decent, if not quite spectacular, job of keeping it up.

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As Betsy tries to plan her wedding - without the smallest help from Sinclair, which annoys her greatly - she's also trying to cope with the birth of her half-brother, and wondering how he can possibly top her half-sister Laura, who happens to be the daughter of the devil. Plus there's a fiend still living in her basement, ghosts keep popping in with disturbing regularity to ask Betsy (the only one who can see them) to take care of their last earthly concerns, and there are hints of trouble in the wider world of vampires. Being queen is not just fun and games, that's for sure. But Betsy handles it the way she handles everything, with a wisecrack and a do-something attitude.

That's really most of the story. Don't expect tight plotting and deep meaning, just a wild, zany, and totally unpredictable ride. There is a serial killer on the loose, and Betsy's ability to see ghosts comes in handy as the killer gets a little close to home, but I think that plotline is there just to give Betsy something to do. There's anguish about the wedding, more development with Laura and Betsy beginning to hang out and act like sisters, and finally something for Jess besides serving as Betsy's sidekick and bankroll. As part of a series, this book is great; it carries on several continuing plot threads, weaving in some new ones. You really should start at the beginning of the series, though, or it will make no sense whatsoever.

After four books, only one unfortunate thing has begun to stand out: Betsy is not really all that... how to put this... smart (hey, even Betsy knows she's not the brightest bulb in the room). She's got a smart mouth, but the things she does and the scrapes she gets herself into are wearing a little thin. This is not a fatal flaw, just a noticeable one. See, if she were a little smarter in the first place, she might not wind up in so many situations where she needs to wisecrack her way out. Take her wedding to Sinclair; did anyone else expect this to go off without a hundred hitches? Me, neither. Among other things, Betsy's postponed it four times already by the start of the book. It's really too bad that Sinclair can't read Betsy's mind during sex, because that's what the poor guy needs, a little warning of what's to come next. My favorite moment in the book stripped Sinclair and Betsy of some of their longest-held assumptions. Her reaction to the possibility that she might lose him was one of Betsy's finest moments, ever. And as for adding a little vulnerability to Sinclair, if Davidson builds on the possibilities hinted at in that scene, I will be bribing the bookstore clerks to get me the next book early.

If you've been reading this series and are as addicted as I am, go buy this book (and try not to gasp over such a short book costing so much); why haven't you already? If not, get your hands on the first three as well and read them in order. It won't take long, and will all be worthwhile.

Reviewed by Diana Ketterer
Grade : B

Sensuality: Hot

Review Date : October 28, 2005

Publication Date: 2005/11

Review Tags: Vampires

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Diana Ketterer

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