Written by: Alice James @ToniWindsor
Published by : Rebellion Publishing @Rebellionpub
“Toni Windsor is trying to live a quiet life in the green and pleasant county of Staffordshire. She’d love to finally master the rules of croquet, acquire a decent boyfriend and make some commission as an estate agent.
All that might have to wait, though, because there are zombies rising from their graves, vampires sneaking out of their coffins and a murder to solve.
And it’s all made rather more complicated by the fact that she’s the one raising all the zombies. Oh, and she’s dating one of the vampires too. Really, what’s a girl meant to do?”
They aren’t exactly universally loved are they?
Name one from literature? It might take a while.
Can’t think of one can you?
It’s all right neither could I.
Well after you read Grave Secrets you might just have a new found respect for the peddlers of houses because Toni Windsor is the hero Staffordshire deserves, but not the one it needs right now. So they’ll hunt her. Because she can take it. Because she’s not our hero. She’s an exceptionally chatty guardian with a love for shoes, a watchful protector. A Necromancer Estate Agent.
Alice James has created a fantastic protagonist in Lavington Windsor. Likeable, enjoyable and above all believable.
James creates characters it’s very difficult not to feel invested in. Seemingly throwaway characters are fleshed out to the point you feel you might have met them. You come to care about recurring characters very quickly and the main characters you either love or hate depending if the author wants you to or not.
Peril is handled very well in this book. When characters are in danger, you feel they are in danger. The first meeting with the Vampire Big Kahuna Benedict Akil was particularly fraught. Also when characters are feeling something else you feel that too, but more about that in a minute.
This book is funny. I mean laugh out loud funny. The author has a fantastic grasp of observational humour and amusing little every day occurrences. It reminded me a little of how Terry Pratchett deftly wielded humour in his writing.
A clever Who Dunnit weaves it’s way leisurely through the entire book and you get an almost “Murder She Wrote” vibe from Toni Winsdor. If Jessica Fletcher sold houses and banged Vampires that is.
Talking of banging, there is a lot in this book. Sex scenes in fiction generally are not easy to read or I imagine write. Alice James nails it – so to speak. The erotic sections of Grave Secrets are just that. Erotic. I had to clutch at my pearls more than once and this is a testament to her skill as an author.
World building in this is excellent. It’s entirely believable that Vampires have emerged from the shadows and live among us. That the old guy who sits in the corner of the pub every night is a 300 year old bloodsucker. The back story, lore, politics of the Vampire world and even terms used like “Assemblage” and “Coterie” build this world of Vampires living amongst us. But even world building in the sense of describing the area of England the books are set in is excellent. Grave Secrets should be handed out by the Staffordshire Tourist Office because after reading it I really want to go there. After just one book I feel I know it such are the authors descriptive talents.
I listened to the Audio Version of Grave Secrets and it’s read by the author herself. it’s an outstanding performance and sometimes you can hear the joke coming because you hear Alice James smile at her own work and it’s so endearing. If you have an audible account this is well worth your credit.
I’m making no secret of the fact I loved this book. It made me laugh, it’s exciting and 100 percent hornier than any book featuring an estate agent should be.
I for one can’t wait for Toni Windsor’s next adventure.
You can buy Grave Secrets for Kindle HERE
You can buy Grave Secrets in Paperback HERE
You can buy Grave Secrets in Audiobook HERE