Bitten to Death is the fourth book in the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin.

I rate this series as one of the better urban fantasies being written at the moment.  I picked up the first book, Once Bitten, Twice Shy, because the publishers were selling it for half the usual price.  (I think this is a good move by publishers – make the first book in the series cheap to hook you in – I find this also works with free ebooks.)

Jaz Parks is an assassin for the CIA.  She was the leader of a team dedicated to killing rogue vampires and other supernatural creatures, but they all (including her fiance and sister-in-law) died.  Jaz was brought back to life by a mysterious higher power, which has given her heightened sensitivity to supernatural stuff.  She is now partnered with the CIA’s top assassin, the vampire Vayl, as his assistant.  Though Jaz’s actions, we see she is a natural leader.  She has a quirky way of looking at the world, with her brain often throwing up hilariously inappropriate comparisons.

In the first two books, Jaz begins to come to terms with the death of her fiance and understand what happened the night they all died.  There were a few scenes where I nearly cried, which is extremely rare for me!  The mystery and the bad guys were good but I remember this series for the emotional stuff, the character development.  It’s not just Jaz who has stuff to deal with, the team Jaz and Vayl gather all have their own quirks and moments of growth.

In Bitten to Death, Jaz, Vayl and David (Jaz’s twin brother, seconded form the Special Forces) are in Greece to negociate with the leader of Vayl’s old Trust.  (A Trust is a tight-knit group of vampires, Vayl is one of only two vampires who have left a Trust and lived.)  When they arrive, the leader is dead, the Trust in disarray, and their plans to take down the series arch criminal look very much in doubt.

Jaz doesn’t have too much emotional stuff to deal with in this book, that’s left for Vayl to cover.  I felt it was good for her character to have a slow down on the big heavy emotions and realistic in that it takes time to absorb changes made.  Jaz still has to face her reluctance to form friendships and how that is isolating her, and she and Vayl’s nascent relationship is growing in a satisfyingly slow manner.  (In contrast to many other urban fantasy series; they’ve only kissed a handful of times and this is the fourth book.)

I look forward to reading One More Bite, the next book, which has just been released in the US, and will be released on Jan 29 in the UK.

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