Review: The Grave Watchers by Missouri Dalton
Sebastien Crowle is one of the Grave Watchers, Death’s own Men In Black spook squad. Selected by Death herself, the Grave Watchers protect the rest of the dead and punish transgressors with swift, sure justice. Sebastien, however, has a problem. He has become disconnected with life, rousing himself only to eat and do his nightly watch at the local cemetery. (He’s been depressed over the betrayal of a lover that he still finds himself pining for.) Pepper in some notable historical figures, cool weaponry, the cat you wish lived in your house, ancient Gods, hot men, and a nasty big bad. Mix a bit (this is more of a novella than a full blown novel) throw it in the oven, frost with a mystery to solve, and –voila! You have The Grave Watchers. A fun, if not entirely filling, romp – think cotton candy rather than a funnel cake. Both taste great, but the funnel cake sticks with you a little longer. GT thinks it’s “Worth a look”.
- Title: The Grave Watchers
- Author: Missouri Dalton
- Prominent Characters: Sebastien Crowle, Bones, Claude Roman
- Recommended reader age: 18+
- Sexual content level: light to moderate
- Classification: m/m
***** CONTENT ALERT: This is a review of a male/male paranormal romance book. If anything about that statement offends you or if you have delicate sensibilities, you may consider skipping this review. Nothing here is crude or explicit, but some of the visuals evoked might be disturbing to you. Consider yourself warned. =) *****
The Grave Watchers has an interesting premise – some of the recently dead are chosen by Death (a lady in this book – which I found refreshing) to protect the dead so that they may rest in peace (har-har). Some of them are notable historical figures, which I found entertaining (being a bit of a history geek), and others are just regular guys and gals, singled out for reasons known only to the Lady herself. There are also appearances of a secret society, vampires, gods, monsters, ghosts, a necromancer, KY Jelly, and a flirtatious waitress.
As I was reading this book I kept hoping for more. More character development, more pages, more verbal sparring matches, more descriptions of hot gay men in period clothing. I think that says that Ms. Dalton was definitely doing something right here, since I was engaged enough to be irritated that I consumed this book so quickly. The action sequences were done pretty well, and Sebastien felt like a character that I could like and sympathize with. He is smart, quick-witted, determined, focused, and unerringly loyal to his friends. In other words, a very likable protagonist I would have liked to spend more time getting to know.
This book actually had me wondering what Ms. Dalton could have done with a higher word count. I was drawn in and laughing at the antics of his cat Bones, long time friend and some time lover Claude, and the run-ins with various other Grave Watchers. Once the book picks up steam, it runs quickly from one situation to the next, rarely slowing down. When there is time for “fleshing out” of scenes, Ms. Dalton does a good job of giving her reader enough information to paint a mental picture of the situation, people, etc, as a good author should. It made me want more of those scenes and I was left feeling annoyed when I didn’t get them.
There were some problems with continuity that I picked up. For example, very early in the book it is stated that Sebastein has become so disconnected with life that he doesn’t even know the name of the town he is living in. Later, the name of said town is made clear (he does know it) and he is even concerned about it. I don’t know if this was meant as a plot device to show how he was returning to the land of the – well not living, ’cause he’s dead (undead? :) ) – or simply an oversight, but I found it jarring. There are also some minor spelling and grammar mistakes (not many, just a few) that I came across, but nothing that in any way impeded my ability to read and enjoy this book.
Black market organ harvesting can positively kill a good Saturday night.
Though I suppose if someone took my liver it could kill me. That’s one of the reasons I didn’t visit Thailand without friends.
Don’t we all have a relative we wish we could, ahem, shuffle off the mortal coil?
He’d been murdered by his sister for being an insufferable ass.
Man, this woman was just giving everyone whacks. Think it was PMS?
The first time I got my arm hacked off by a crazy woman with an ax. Lizzy something.
Oh, that damn morning wood, always giving everything away!
“It’s so nice to see I’m welcome.” He glanced down at my morning excitation with a smirk.
And finally, don’t we all need a watch cat? Although, on second thought, maybe not.
“Call him off!”
“Why? You were sneaking in to ravage me.” I could make that assumption with fair certainty by the bottle of KY on the floor.
If you like The Grave Watchers
I can recommend the Cassie Palmer series by Karen Chance (starting with Touch the Dark) for its action, adventure, multiple types of supernatural beings, a strong, funny protagonist and fast-paced story line.
You may also enjoy the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs (starting with Moon Called), which also has these elements, with the fun of a mystery to solve and Big Bads to slay.
Over all, The Grave Watchers is a fun, quick read with an inventive plot premise, likable, fun characters, some zippy dialogue, and the opportunity to really build a new mythos and world. A series or mini series featuring these characters would be welcome, as I would like to see some deeper character development and the use of some of the plot devices she has set up. There is the potential for loads of fun adventures with Sebastien and crew. (I’d also love to see some “on stage” sex, but that’s because I’m a smex scene addict. The lack of them made me sad and disappointed.)
missouridalton.com – Missouri Dalton’s website
missouridalton.blogspot.com – Missouri Dalton’s site on blogspot
torquerepress.com/ – Torquere Press, Missouri Dalton’s publisher and also publisher of LGBT romance of all kinds
patriciabriggs.com – Patricia Briggs’s website (author of Mercy Thompson series)
karenchance.com – Karen Chance’s website (author of the Cassie Palmer series)