Tag Archives: gritty literature

Grave Beginnings: #IndieAuthorsBeSeen #1

 

I’ve been doing mainly three things this month:

  1. CampNaNoWriMo
  2. Plumbing the pits of hell Searching for a job
  3. Rediscovering my love of reading.

There’s something about spending 4 years reading Moby DickMadame Bovary, The Sound and the Fury and other books that you’re “supposed” to read that makes you never want to pick up another book as long as you live. While I was getting my degree, my reading-for-pleasure speed was slower than an AT&T representative stuck in quicksand. (That’s really, really slow in case you were wondering.)

After graduation, I decided to see how dead my love of reading was. I elected to use some of my graduation money to buy myself some books for pleasure. R.R. Virdi’s Grave Beginnings was the first book I bought. After finishing this fast-paced, gritty-yet-humorous urban fantasy, I’m pleased to report that my love of reading was only mostly dead.

 

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Which, as Miracle Max points out in the best movie ever The Princess Bride, is “still slightly alive.”

It turns out that R.R. Virdi is a bit like Miracle Max himself. I sped through Grave Beginnings like a strapping young Cary Elwes saving his lady love, and I didn’t even need Inigo and Fezzik to wheel me around in a wheelbarrow for a while first.

Okay, so all references to my favorite book and movie aside, Grave Beginnings is a complete and utter treasure.

The plot

Vincent Graves is a soul without a body–or at least he doesn’t remember what his actual body looks like, where it is, or what happened to it. He wakes up in the bodies of people who have been murdered by supernatural baddies, and it’s up to him to solve the case. Each time he awakens in a new body, he’s given a tattoo of how many hours he has to solve the case. This time, it’s 13. This time, he’s in the mysteriously-young body of a guy who should be much older according to his records. This time, he has to deal with a plucky, sassy, and perceptive cop who won’t leave him alone.

This adventure is Castle-meets-Supernatural-meets-Aladdin-meets-something-Joss-Whedon, and it’s awesome.

Why you need to read it:

1) Great characters

I was going to leave it at this, but because this is an indie book with a small fandom, I’m going to gush about the characters here because I have no where else to do so.

  • Vincent Graves: 1st person protagonist who doesn’t make me feel as though I’m reading a teenage girl’s diary, which is rare and very appreciated. Plus, with a story like his, we definitely don’t just want Vincent for his body.
  • Ortiz: FINALLY. A strong female character who is not straight out of the Strong Female Character(!) mold. Ortiz is real, relatable, compassionate, and flawed in ways that aren’t pulled out of the Strong Female Character Flaw Jar (just $19.95 if you order today).
  • Church: Maybe I’m biased because I ALWAYS crush on the sidekicks and am a hopeless fangirl, but I really love Church’s mysterious character and dry wit. He’s kind of a dreamboat. *Sighs and adds another one to the List of Characters Kate Post Would Totally…* You know what? You don’t need to know the full title of that list.
  • The Villain (no spoilers): Does. Not. Disappoint. Let’s just say that if you read Grave Beginnings, you’re in for some hot times.
  • Assorted excellent side characters, particularly a curmudgeonly gnome that reminds me of Supernatural‘s Bobby Singer.

2. Excellent authorial voice

Virdi’s a snarksassin, and it comes out in his work. You’ll be engaged from page 1 to the very end.

3. Fantastic pace and speed

There’s never a moment when putting down this book seems a good idea.

4. A+ use of mythology

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5. Sarcasm and puns: they’re what’s for dinner.

Not buying this book would be a grave mistake indeed.

TL;DR

This is an excellent book. While it does have a few editing issues that I, as a card-carrying member of the Grammar Police, could not ignore in good conscience, it more than makes up for it in other areas. Great characters, great story, and a great–if Grave–beginning. I already bought the sequel, Grave Measures, and I can’t wait to start reading.

Get Grave Beginnings hereGrave Measures here, visit the author’s website here, and follow R.R. Virdi on Twitter here. He posts some great stuff from time to time. For more indie books to read, check out 6 Summer Reads That Deserve Your Money On #IndiePrideDay, and 9 Canadian Indie Books That Deserve Your Money On #CanadaDay/#IndiePrideDay.