Wrong Side of the Grave by Bryna Butler

Wrong Side of the Grave

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An alien who feeds on vampires is stumped when the recently dead in Point Pleasant, West Virginia, are apparently no longer dead in Butler’s (Book of the Lost, 2013, etc.) YA supernatural thriller.

Eric Jansen is just your typical teenager and drummer for a rock band. Except, when not in human form, he’s a red-eyed, centuries-old alien who has spurred the local Mothman legend. His food source on Earth is vampires, allowing him to work in cooperation with a secret government agency. But he becomes the men in black’s first suspect when bodies at the funeral home start sitting up, walking, and talking. He and his human bestie, Bridget, initiate their own investigation, while the city folk crowd the cemetery, convinced that subterranean loved ones will soon awaken. Eric, however, fears that someone may be on to him when Bridget suddenly disappears. This entertaining novel navigates well-trod ground with style. The vampires, for instance, seem like typical bloodsuckers but are actually aliens that Eric’s kind has followed to Earth. Both Eric and Bridget are cynical but charmingly so, and endless alien-related puns never get old, like Eric’s suggestion that “people who live in invisible spaceships shouldn’t throw stones.” Along with a grand plot and vibrant characters, including the enigmatic Agent Hisato Ikeda, who Eric thinks might be an alien, Butler delivers a notable mystery/thriller. Dramatic tension is wielded expertly; Eric and Bridget, for example, distrust a funeral director and news reporter, who may have their own agendas. Butler dabbles into Eric’s background but doesn’t overdo the flashbacks. The same is true for aliens in general; readers only glimpse the interior of Eric’s concealed spacecraft (and hear what can only be presumed is alien profanity: “Slux!”). Romance between Eric and Bridget is wonderfully understated, as everyone but the couple appears to recognize that they’re more than just friends. Limitless possibilities to explore their relationship, as well as a lingering unconquered foe, give the next book of the proposed series a smashing head start.

Butler revives the moribund with her fresh take on aliens, vampires, and the undead.

Pub Date: Feb. 21st, 2015
ISBN: 978-1507898079
Page count: 264pp
Publisher: CreateSpace
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1st, 2015


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