Book Review: Not Dead Yet by Peter James—and a Giveaway

Not Dead Yet 2Not Dead Yet
Roy Grace Series #8
Peter James
Minotaur Books, October 2013
ISBN 978-1-250-02966-9
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

Days before one of Hollywood’s hottest stars, Gaia Lafayette, leaves home for a movie role on location in Brighton, England, there is a bungled attempt on her life. The whole city of Brighton awaits Gaia’s arrival, including her dangerously obsessive Number One fan looking for revenge and an anxious Detective Superintendent Roy Grace, charged with protecting Gaia.

When a mutilated torso is found on a chicken farm miles away in the countryside, Roy Grace has no reason at all to connect this to the star’s visit to the county. But as events rapidly begin to unfold, Roy Grace and his police team find themselves in a desperate race against time to save Gaia’s life from a clever maniac who will stop at nothing to kill her.

When it comes to crime novels, there’s not much I like more than a British police procedural and the Roy James series is among the more accessible, meaning easy to read and absorb. I’m glad to say that Not Dead Yet is a welcome successor to the previous books even though I found it just a little too long.

Having to protect a visiting American celebrity, Gaia, is bad enough but Detective Superintendant Roy Grace soon finds that this is not just a babysitting job when it becomes obvious that a lot of people hate this woman, perhaps enough to do her real harm. While that’s going on, a torso found in East Sussex proves to be difficult to identify without any of the usual methods involving fingerprints, facial reconstruction and so forth and, when they finally do identify the victim, the possible connection to Gaia is alarming.

Meanwhile, at home,  Roy and his fiancee, Cleo, are expecting a baby at any moment and Detective Sergeant Glenn Branson has his own troubles with a problematic marriage but may finally have his shot at being lead inspector.

The numerous story arcs and characters occasionally become a little overwhelming but Mr. James neatly entwines them to make a coherent and engaging tale full of distractions and puzzles; all the twists and turns kept me turning pages long into the night. By this point in the series, I’m emotionally invested in Roy and the people in his life—although I find Cleo a bit boring and I’m tired of ex-wife Sandy—and Not Dead Yet makes me even more eager to continue with the next book, Dead Man’s Time.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, November 2013.

To enter the drawing for a print copy of
Not Dead Yet by Peter James, leave a
comment below. The winning name will
be drawn Tuesday evening, December 3rd.
This drawing is open to residents of the US.

Book Blitz: The Last Bastion of the Living by Rhiannon Frater

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Title: The Last Bastion of the Living
Author: Rhiannon Frater
Publication date: June 12th 2012
Genres: Adult, Horror, Science Fiction

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Synopsis:

The Bastion was humanity’s last hope against the fearsome undead creatures
known as the Inferi Scourge. A fortified city with a high wall, surrounded by lush
land rich with all the resources needed to survive, protected by high mountain
summits, and a massive gate to secure the only pass into the valley, the Bastion
became the last stronghold of the living on earth. But one fateful day, the gate
failed and the Inferi Scourge destroyed the human settlements outside the walls
and trapped the survivors inside the city. Now decades later, the last remaining
humans are struggling to survive in a dying city as resources and hope dwindle.

Vanguard Maria Martinez has lived her whole life within the towering walls of
steel. She yearns for a life away from the overcrowded streets, rolling blackouts,
and food shortages, but there is no hope for anyone as long as the Inferi Scourge
howl outside the high walls. Her only refuge from the daily grind is in the arms
of her lover, Dwayne Reichardt, an officer in the Bastion Constabulary. Both are
highly-decorated veterans of the last disastrous push against the
Inferi Scourge. Their secret affair is her only happiness.

Then one day Maria is summoned to meet with a mysterious representative
from the Science Warfare Division and is offered the opportunity to finally destroy
the Inferi Scourge in the valley and close the gate. The rewards of success are
great, but she will have to sacrifice everything, possibly even her life, to accomplish
the ultimate goal of securing the future of humanity and saving it from extinction.

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Purchase Links:

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Black Friday special— 0.99¢ Amazon only

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The Badass Heroine
By
Rhiannon Frater

The Last Bastion of the LivingI’m not going to lie. I need to be honest with you from the start. The honest to God truth of the matter is that I hate/despise/loathe a lot female characters that fall under the “badass” heroine banner.  I often have to suppress the deep, dark desire to give them a roundhouse kick to the face.

Well, if I could actually manage to do a roundhouse kick. I’m not that limber.

Though there are plenty of amazing, strong female characters that I absolutely love with all my heart, there are a smorgasbord of female characters that really rub me the wrong way. The reason for this is simple. Badass has been confused with women who are just plain bitchy, self-centered, and mean.

I didn’t really realize how ingrained the bitchy heroine had become in entertainment until I saw a script for one of my books. The heroine uttered a lot of really mean, nasty comments in the first few pages of the script and I was stunned by how awful she came across. I spoke to the scriptwriter about the added dialog and he answered, “Oh, I added that because I wanted her to come across as a strong.”

“Uh, strong doesn’t mean bitchy,” I said carefully. To my surprise, and relief, he agreed and those lines were removed.

But after that event, I realized that was exactly why some heroines really rub me the wrong way. To make a woman appear strong, a lot of writers have defaulted to making her really bitchy, egocentric, and often just plain mean. It hurts me whenever I see this trope in a book, movie, or TV show. A woman doesn’t have to be a bitch to be strong or badass.

A badass female character should be someone you can see as a friend. Someone you love, cheer for, and believe in. You understand they’re flawed, but that’s okay. As they keep working hard to overcome all their obstacles and achieve a happy ending, you’re invested in their journey.

Even when my heroines have something exceptional about them like Vanguard Maria Martinez in THE LAST BASTION OF THE LIVING, they exist realistically in their circumstances. Maria’s military training, intelligence, and determination to accomplish her mission all contribute to her badass factor.  But the power that compels her to do extraordinary things isn’t her anger at an unfair world, but her love for a man who loves and respects her. Maria not only serves The Bastion, but her own heart. She struggles with fear, suffers loss, and knows that she may lose her life in the battle against the Inferi Scourge. But victory means freedom from the undead hordes and the ability to build her life with Dwayne, the man who sees beyond her hard veneer to the woman she is inside.

My goal when writing my strong female protagonists is to create realistic women who have strengths and flaws just like everyone else does.  I don’t create perfect people that have nothing bad happen to them. Or women that all the men want to be with and all other women hate. I create women who could live in our own world very easily. They could be your neighbor, friend, or family member.

In the end, I think Maria Martinez is a badass heroine because her strength doesn’t come from being bitchy, but from being a woman willing to do her very best to overcame the most terrible odds.

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About the Author

Rhiannon FraterRhiannon Frater is the award-winning author of over a dozen books, including the As the World Dies zombie trilogy (Tor), as well as independent works such as The Last Bastion of the Living (declared the #1 Zombie Release of 2012 by Explorations Fantasy Blog and the #1 Zombie Novel of the Decade by B&N Book Blog), and other horror novels. Her next novel for Tor, Dead Spots, will be published in 2014. She was born and raised a Texan and presently lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and furry children (a.k.a pets).  She loves scary movies, sci-fi and horror shows, playing video games, cooking, dyeing her hair weird colors, and shopping for Betsey Johnson purses and shoes.

You can find her online at:

Website 1  //  Website 2  //  Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Blog  //  Pinterest
Email: rhiannonfrater at gmail.com

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