REVIEW:  Not Quite Dead by Sela Carsen

REVIEW: Not Quite Dead by Sela Carsen

Dear Mrs Carsen,

notquitedeadlg2.jpg Thanks for sending us a copy of your ebook “Not Quite Dead.” I think it’s the first time I’ve read a book featuring this particular type of paranormal hero and to be honest, I’m still trying to name him. Is he a zombie? Or should we just settle on the term “undead?”

He’s gorgeous, he’s got great manners, he’s got a mission to accomplish. The only drawback? He’s been dead for a hundred years.

This one starts out with great humor and eerie suspense as we watch the cynical heroine, Sabine watching her flaky cousin Lily and Lily’s goth friends trying to raise the dead. Then to everyone’s surprise, including Lily and Co, it works. And what’s even more surprising is that in addition to raising a dead guy, there’s also a vampire involved in the goings-on in the old Louisiana cemetary.

The humor continues as Sabine tries to maintain her poise and manners while dealing with an undead man who’s invaded her house – which used to be his house 120 years ago, as he tries to figure out how he’s going to get his revenge on the people who killed him. At this point, we get lots of cooking. I was puzzled by the amount of cooking. What we never get is Willem making any comments on how his house has changed, beyond figuring out the bathroom fixtures, which I thought a little odd. And why could Willem not go out in sunlight? Because his revenge was on a vampire?

It’s at the point where Willem and Sabine head out into the night to try and track down Willem’s killers that I got confused. They have a run in with Richard, an old friend of Willem’s, who also happens to be the vampire. Nothing is accomplished in this scene which ends with a few smart mouthed comments from Sabine after which she and Willem just walk off. What? Where’s Richard’s super speed? Why doesn’t he go after them? Or try to explain what’s going on? And why does Sabine have to be the inexperienced lover? During her love scenes with Willem, she acts like a clueless nineteenth century virgin instead of a grown twenty first century woman. I think she’d know a little bit more about seduction just from having watched movies or read books.

I was also surprised that Sabine didn’t have a clue about her ancestry. I would think someone would have mentioned something over the years. The showdown with Rose in the cemetary also proved a WTF? moment. You did explain it later but while it was happening I kept saying to myself, “WTF? What is Rose? Why is she faster than Richard who’s a vampire and whose super-speed you’ve mentioned? How did she do what she does to Sabine? And how does Sabine end up overcoming her? I’m still fuzzy on that part.

Unfortunately, the second half of this novella didn’t match the great start it began with. And when I still have questions about how things happened even after days of pondering a story, it’s not a good thing. I’d be interested in trying something else by you in the future but this one gets a C.