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Bitten to Death
Jennifer Rardin
Orbit, 320 pages

Bitten to Death
Jennifer Rardin
Jennifer Rardin was born in Evansville, Indiana in 1965. After a youth spent reading fairy tales, nordic myths and supernatural legends, she chose to go to college and major in English. Her first novel was Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

Jennifer Rardin Website
ISFDB Bibliography

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Michael M Jones

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Once again, secret agent extraordinaire Jaz Parks has been sent on a dangerous mission. Along with her mentor/sort-of lover Vayl, she's been dispatched to Greece, to infiltrate a Vampere Trust, a secretive community of vampires that once played home to Jaz's number one target, the terrorist Edward "The Raptor" Ramos. Unfortunately, the mission's pretty much screwed before Jaz and Vayl even arrive, since the leader who invited them is dead, and there's something of a power struggle going on between those who'd take his place. To really twist the knife, one of the prime contenders used to have a 'thing' with Vayl -- in fact, he turned her into a vampire a while back, and she has every intention of rekindling the relationship, no matter how much Jaz objects. So now Jaz, Vayl, and Jaz's brother David have to navigate through deadly vampire politics as they hunt down Edward Ramos and dispatch him once and for all. But the Trust holds many secrets, from horrifying bloodsports involving werecreatures in the basement, to mutilated and treacherous vampires lurking in the shadows, to powerful artifacts which would definitely help decide the victor in this struggle. Can Jaz work through her fraying relationship with Vayl and still pull off a near-impossible mission, or is The Raptor destined to slip through her fingers yet again? And will Vayl finally find his reincarnated children, a meeting which is destined to kill him?

What can I say about this series that I haven't already? Bitten to Death is the fourth in the continuing adventures of Jaz Parks and her merry band of troubleshooting misfits, and as usual, they're in fine form. This time, the action is primarily set in Greece, adding yet another exotic port of call to their itinerary, and for much of the book, things are focused pretty tightly upon Jaz, Vayl and David. Later on, we see another one of Jaz's friends, and would-be suitor, Cole, but two other main characters, the inventor Bergman and the oracle Cassandra, are sent to the sidelines for the duration, allowing us to concentrate on Jaz and Vayl and the people introduced for this storyline, such as the werebear, Kozma. There's plenty of action and intrigue in this book, as our heroes investigate the secrets of the Trust and its unpredictable, occasionally treacherous members, and one heck of a payoff when Jaz finally comes face to face with Edward Ramos, who has escaped her numerous times before. The ever-changing relationship between Jaz and Vayl goes through a few major bumps as well, thanks to the interference of his ex-girlfriend, a nasty piece of work named Disa who has major plans for Vayl for the next few decades.

If you're in the mood for fast-paced supernatural adventure, the Jaz Parks series never fails to deliver. Imagine if Buffy grew up to work for the CIA, and you've got a halfway decent idea of the niche these books occupy. Snappy dialogue, deadly intrigue, crisp action sequences, an enjoyable cast of quirky characters, and locations not usually visited in urban fantasy all help to separate these books from the rest of the genre. Bitten to Death is another excellent installment in Jaz Park's adventures, and it definitely progresses the overall storyline quite satisfactorily. Well worth checking out.

Copyright © 2009 Michael M Jones

Michael M Jones enjoys an addiction to books, for which he's glad there is no cure. He lives with his very patient wife (who doesn't complain about books taking over the house... much), eight cats, and a large plaster penguin that once tasted blood and enjoyed it. A prophecy states that when Michael finishes reading everything on his list, he'll finally die. He aims to be immortal.


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