Book Review - Graveyard Blues by Reina Salt

If you've been following this blog, first THANK YOU!! Second you may remember my book review of The Long Drunk by Eric Coyote. I have been reading up a storm lately and loving it. I finally finished Graveyard Blues by a lovely human being, and professed monster sympathizer Reina Salt. I also have the honor of calling her friend. Our paths crossed years ago while I resided in the Pacific Northwest. I rustled up a part-time job at a local video store where she was already employed. We hit it off immediately. She's delightfully quirky and hyper-intelligent, with a vast sea of knowledge on her varied interests. The only other person I know that is as well-read as her is Ben; and she's seen a wider variety of movies than me! Her taste in music is extensive; and she complied two CDs for me before I moved away.

Graveyard Blues (Night Blues), the first novel in a series, is a strong debut. Any horror, more specifically, zombie aficionado will love it! Nerd that I am, a highlight of this book for me was learning new words. I had to download the free dictionary so I could look up the definitions of some words. Like I said, hyper-intelligent. All three words I looked up started with S... that means absolutely nothing - I just thought it was funny. I also learned that zombies aren't just the mindless, staggering human-flesh eaters I understood them to be.

The novel shifts between three viewpoints - the main characters Hettie and Henry, and The Killer. Hettie is murdered at the beginning of the novel and becomes the zombie who needs help tracking down The Killer. Henry is a retired detective who lives with with his two dogs - Devil (a chow) and Pepper Mama (a pug). Henry was definitely my favorite, and considering how much more fleshed out his personality is (and that she told me) Henry is Reina's favorite as well. He's given all the best, funniest comments and thoughts (of which there are plenty - I guffawed countless times!)

Reina's descriptive abilities are superlative. She sets an effective creepy mood, punctuated by laugh-out-loud moments; and she pulls no punches when describing the horror her characters experience. Her alliteration and humor are reminiscent of Stephen King. The novel's pacing is solid and the relationship between Hettie and Henry evolves organically. His first encounter with her is as she stumbles, bloody and naked across his lawn in need of sustenance. With nourishment and rest Hettie comes around. Here we learn this isn't the first time Henry's encountered the walking dead. He's also haunted by his history of not being able to save female from horrific demises, and that serves as a driving force to help Hettie. By the end their rapport is akin to a much-older-brother and sister.

A wondrous supporting character is Baba, a witch doctor who owns a shop "Graveyard Blues: Mojo bags, supplies and magical solutions." She also serves as romantic interest for Henry. Baba enables Hettie to get assistance needed for the showdown her killer, who is a supernatural being. Ultimately this sets the scene for a greater underlying conflict, which I am anxious to see play out in the following novels!

Up next is Leaving Town by Lester Thees. He was gracious enough to send me a free copy of his novel after reading my review of A Long Drunk. I can't wait to tell you all about it!


Tonight's dinner is brought to you by none other than myself, of course, but courtesy of Guy Fieri. This coyote quesadilla is a sublime treat for the taste buds, but definitely time-consuming! This is the only recipe of Guy's I've made because most of them require a significant block of time to create. Not that the end result isn't worth it, I just don't have gads of time to put them together. If you can find a hole in your schedule to make it, this cheesey, gooey, smokey-spicy concoction will send you to flavor heaven for sure! 


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