Grave Dealings + Interview with R.R. Virdi

The Grave Report (Book 3)

Vincent Graves is back! If you’ve been following this blog for a while, you’ll know I’m a massive fan of R.R. Virdi, an insanely talented young author who’s taking the Urban Fantasy world by storm, all while being self-published. Twice nominated for a Dragon award, going up against big names like Jim Butcher and Larry Correia, his books are incredibly fun, fast-paced, and clever to boot. Now, finally, book 3 is out in the world – and it might just be his best yet.

Summary36428617

Don’t make deals with the paranormal. They’re better at it than you, and they never play fair.

Paranormal investigator and soul without a body, Vincent Graves, did just that—a deal made in desperation. Now it’s coming back to bite him in the middle of a case. He has 57 hours to investigate a string of deaths involving people who’ve made some devilish bargains. Too bad devils don’t deal in good faith. It’d be easy enough if he didn’t have to deal with things such as:

  • Being hunted through the streets of Queens by a dark elf with a motorcycle fetish.
  • Ending up the target of a supernatural hit.
  • An old acquaintance dragging him to a paranormal ball where he could end up on the menu.
  • And having one of his closest guarded secrets brought to light…

Not great for a tight clock, because if he doesn’t get to the bottom of this case in time, Vincent and company might just lose their souls.

Dirty deals are never done dirt cheap. And the supernatural always collect—big!

Musings

It’s easy to see why I’m still addicted to R.R. Virdi’s Grave Report series: every single one is better than the last, full of wit and humor and so much ingenuity your head will spin. The premise itself – a soul without a body who wakes up in the body of recently murdered victims and tries to solve their paranormal death – is so fantastic it could hit television any day and I would watch it obsessively.

This time, Vincent Graves is back in New York, and free to roam the city. Which means he’s sure to run into some old allies, as well as make some new ones. It was so great to see Ortiz again! I love her character, she’s so no-nonsense and badass. But I’m head over heels for the new kid – Kelly is ADORABLE. And genius! While Ortiz intimidates me, I wish I could be BFFs with Kelly. She’s savy and smart and altogether fun.

And the villain… oh boy, you’ll never see it coming! Per usual, Virdi makes it seem like you know where the story is heading, then throws you a sudden twist that makes you question everything. Peppered with awesome fight scenes, and with new dealings with the fae, this book is everything you want in Urban Fantasy, and more.

Now, for a few questions to the man of the hour! Let’s hear it for R.R. Virdi!

7769192Q: It’s so great to have you back with a new book! Tell us: what can we expect from Grave Dealings?

A: Grave Dealings picks up some time after Grave Measures. Vincent’s bounced around, done more cases, which haven’t been shown, and is finally back in the boroughs of New York. From the get-go he’s already under attack and being hounded through the streets of Queens, all before even having a chance at pissing someone off. Kind of unfair. There’s a string of artists and freelancers dying, and no one knows why. Guess whose job it is to figure it all out.

Q: The Grave Report series is so unique, but still manages to tick every box of what a reader wants. With your new book, do you try more to be original, or to deliver to readers more of what they want?

A: I try to deliver more of what I want, what excites me. It’s what I did with book one and seems to work. I’m of the belief in a world of 7 billion…people can and will like what you have to write and sell. It’s just the odds.

Q: The world you’ve created is massive and intricate, but also plays off some myths and folklore that readers are already aware of. At the same time, you introduce us to myths that are almost forgotten. What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

A: I love mythology and I research it for fun. That’s honestly one of the biggest reasons I do this. It’s why The Grave Report is a monster of the week style paranormal investigator series.

Q: What did you edit out of this book? What was your hardest scene to write?

A: Things edited out of this book are normally lines and small redundant bits that show up in most author’s works. Descriptions, maybe dialogue that’s gone on too long and made the point. Done over a novel this big, it adds up.

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

A: Oh. Yes. 😉 Best of luck finding them.

Q: We’re starting to get some answers as to Vincent’s past… and there are hints of something much bigger to come. Any clues you can give us, little teasers for the rest of the series?

A: Yep. That if you read them all, you’ll get the answers.

Q: While we’re now all eagerly awaiting the fourth book in the series, we’re also excited about your other books. Dangerous Ways was outstanding! May I ask what’s going to be next for your fans?

A: Well, I’m a bit torn. Fans want the second The Books of Winter. Which, to be honest, I really want to write. But, The Grave Report is more successful, and I have to eat. Really conflicted. But, I think I might take a risk and do the second The Books of Winter?

There you have it! Make sure to pick up your copy of Grave Dealings HERE so you can catch up on Graves’s latest wild adventure. Enjoy! 

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Tombyards and Butterflies

Montague & Strong Case Files #1
by Orlando Sanchez

I’m a sucker for a good Urban Fantasy novel, so of course I was incredibly excited to start reading this one when it came my way. In short, it’s terribly fun: incredibly fast paced and with a fantastic cast of characters, you’re going to want to add this to your TBR!

Summary34419392

An emissary from the Dark Council has just materialized in the office of the Montague & Strong Detective Agency, and makes Simon Strong an offer he can’t refuse. Charon is missing. The legendary ferryman responsible for transporting sorcerer souls across the river Styx hasn’t been seen in days. And with each passing hour, those unable to cross the river are left to walk among the living, tilting the world further out of balance.

Meet Simon Strong, an immortal, who is also the best private detective in New York City. Together with his surly partner-Tristan Montague, a mage of indeterminate age, they must find the Ferryman and get him back to work before another Supernatural War ravages the earth, destroys humanity, and Simon’s local coffee shop.

Time is running out. His landlord wants the rent and Karma with a capital K is paying him a visit, and she can be a real…

Join the Montague & Strong Detective Agency and help them locate Charon, so he can restore balance to the universe, put the dead sorcerers to rest, and maybe solve the age old conundrum-coffee or tea?

Musings

Meet Simon Strong: an immortal and a detective. His partner, Tristan ‘Monty’ Montague is a mage; not a wizard, and don’t you dare ever calling him a sorcerer. When an incredibly deadly emissary from the Dark Council breaks into their offices and gives them a job, they know it’s something they can’t refuse. She can’t be involved, so you know it’s going to be bad.

Simon wasn’t always an immortal: we learn more about this curse, and the person behind it, as the story progresses. He’s still getting used to it, and doesn’t want to test how far this immortality goes. There’s a mark on his arm that links him to a god, who seems both intent on protecting him and making his life a miserable hell. Maybe both at the same time.  The author leaves a lot of the backstory unspoken, so there are details with the characters yet to be revealed. It showed them all to be complex and exciting.

My one qualm with the book was that I felt like I was reading a sequel. Many times the characters referenced a moment in their shared history that seemed like something I should have know about. This is the same with Simon’s relationship with Karma: when she first appears, she isn’t given a name in the entire chapter, and I was left confused until she was properly introduced later on. It’s like I skipped the Pilot Episode entirely – but this might not be a bad thing.

The writing style took me a bit to get into, but once I did, the ball was really rolling. I loved the character of Simon, with his funny quips and witty remarks, always breaking the tension with a joke. He seems like someone you’d want to be friends with. And Monty? Still a bit of a mystery, but one I’d really like to uncover.

The overarching plot was masterfully crafted and exciting to unravel. There’s so much happening in this book you, you wonder how it fits in only 300 pages. It’s fast paced and exciting, with fun characters along the way.Seeing Hades, for example, working at the head of a fancy company; or the special Uber created just for people in supernatural muck; these were proof of fantastic world building and a fun and enjoyable read. And if you love puppies, you’re going to adore Peaches!

All in all, if you love UF, then this should be on your shelf. It’s fun, enjoyable, and a series I personally will be reading a lot more of. Enjoy!

Dangerous Ways

by R.R. Virdi

Those of you you have been reading this blog regularly probably are aware of my obsession with this amazing self published author, R.R. Virdi. He’s the author of the Grave Report series, nominated for a dragon award, overall amazing person, and about to launch a new series, “The Books of Winter,” an Urban Fantasy world that’s set to become a classic. I’ve had the privilege of reading Dangerous ways – the first book – and I have a lot to tell you!

Summarydangerous-ways

Jonathan Hawthorne has lived over a century beholden to one rule: do not meddle in mortal affairs. He’s broken it twice. So when he crosses paths with Cassidy Winters, he’s forced to interfere again.
Strike three. And the third time’s not the charm.
Hawthorne is swept along as Cassidy slips through the cracks in reality. And being hunted by bands of monsters doesn’t help.
To find the answers they need, they’ll have to play in a dangerous world. One where the odds and rules are stacked against them. They will have to navigate magical courts, queens and lords all while trying to keep Cassidy out of their scheming hands.
If they fail, she will end up a pawn in a plot that will consume them all.
Hawthorne will have to face the consequences of his past, and risk his future to ensure Cassidy can have one of her own.
For a man with all the time in the world–it seems to be running out–fast!

Musings

Fans of the Grave Report series will be pleased to know that the author has kept the same wit and charm that draws you into his works. We’re exploring much much more of the world that Vincent comes from, from a completely different angle. The worldbuilding that has gone into this series is outstanding: from the Trolls to the Magic itself, the creative twists to the lore will have you spellbound.

We’re introduced to a new character, Johnathan Hawthorne, an immortal who cares too much about helping us mere mortals – though admittedly, it’s not like he plans to get swept up into other people’s messes . When Cassidy Winters – Cassie – falls into his life, he has no choice but to help her. He’s a girl who can create rips in the universe… and every faction wants a piece of her.

It’s a race against the clock, a fight against his own institution, a desperate quest to help this girl and stop the people who want her dead. This of course means dragging some unwilling allies along into this, or traveling to places where they’re not exactly welcome. No one said it was going to be easy.

There’s just so much to love about this book. The effortless style that sweeps you into the narrative and sucks you into the plot – it seems as though the author had as much fun writing it as we have reading it. And truth is, this thing is a monster of a book: it’s about the size of  A Game of Thrones, though I admit I read Dangerous Ways in half the time because it was just so impossible to put down.

If you need a book to gift your friends this holiday season, might I suggest this one. It’s fun, exciting, and absolutely huge to boot! You’re going to need a copy yourself – but you only have to wait until December 14th.

Grave Beginnings

By R.R. Virdi

Reviewed by SA

This week has been crazy! I’ve had my wisdom teeth out, which has made me less productive, which is weird because I thought it would give me more time to read. Thankfully, though, I have JUST the book to recommend to you all: the first book I ever reviewed, or at least, seriously reviewed; a fantastic, self published novel which deserves the spotlight. I’m talking, of course, about the amazing first novel of R.R. Virdi, “Grave Beginnings,” a unique urban fantasy story which grips you and won’t let you go.

Summary

Thirteen…
As far as numbers go, it isn’t a great one. Hell, it’s not even a good one and Vincent Graves is going to find out just how unlucky of a number it can be.
Because someone, or something, is killing people in the Empire state, and whatever it is, it gives people everything they ever desired and more. And it’s the more that’s the problem!
Well…it’s one of the problems.
Vincent’s investigation also seems to have drawn the attention of a relentless FBI agent and then there’s the little bit where he has only thirteen hours to solve the case, or he dies.
Talk about your literal deadlines…
…No pressure.
By the end of this case Vincent will come to understand the meaning of an age old proverb: Be careful what you wish for – because you just might get it!

Full disclosure, I love supernatural detective novels, but I have a hard time finding ones that are actually intelligent books. A lot pander to the reader, and have no true essence, no meat. They start to blend together, becoming boring, repetitive, copies of one another.

Not so for Grave Beginnings. Right from the the beginning, the reader is dragged into the story and clings on tight for the thrill ride. It’s almost impossible to put down – as a matter of fact, I read almost the entire book in one sitting. it’s addicting, catchy, and it’s one of those books you want to shove into your friends hands as soon as you can.

The story centers around a soul who wakes up in the body of a dead man. This soul, Vincent Graves, is somehow caught between this world and the next, and to move on, must solve supernatural murders by inhabiting the recently deceased. The man he is now walking around as – Norman – recently came about an extreme bout of luck, which left him looking younger, thinner, and with a lot more money in his pocket. But it didn’t last long, because something put him in the ground quite soon after. Our hero has thirteen hours to solve his murder, before he must move on again.

Virdi masterfully plays with the myths of the supernatural, introducing us to a whole new host of characters, drawn from the most unlikely of folklore. It’s always great to see a fresh take on the supernatural: too often these days authors limit themselves to taking old myths and making them sexy for a general audience. You won’t find that here – no sexy vampires or werewolves, thankfully! Instead, some intriguing myths that I don’t want to spoil for anyone. Also, gnomes. There are gnomes, and not in the way that you might think.

Graves is a character with a lot of spunk and sass. He’s witty, and sometimes uses pop culture references to help deal with an impossible situation. It makes it a whole lot of fun to read his point of view: as serious and deadly his situation may be, he always has time for a funny remark. It adds so much depth to his character: as weird as it might be for him to be trapped in between bodies like this, he’s still a fascinating person in and of himself.

Seriously, this book should be a TV show. Or a movie. The plot is just so fun, so compelling! Ask anyone who’s read this novel, they’ll all tell you just how much they adored it, or how they devoured it. It’s pure , intelligent, fun. If you like the Dresden files, Supernatural, or Castle, then you’ll adore this novel.

Now here’s the awesome news: it comes out in print TOMORROW. As in, starting tomorrow, you’ll be able to buy this fantastic novel and hold it in your hands; you’ll be able to put it on your bookshelf, sure, but more importantly, you’ll be able to shove it into all of your friends hands. because you know that’s what I’ll be doing.