Review: Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow

Death Takes a Holiday by Jennifer Harlow
Series: A F.R.E.A.K.S Squad Investigation (# 3)
Release Date: August 1, 2013
Publisher: Midnight Ink
Pages: 290
Source: book provided by NetGalley for review

If anyone ever needed a holiday, it’s Beatrice Alexander. Crushing a forty-foot snake with her mind? Easy. Dealing with the drama that’s tearing apart the F.R.E.A.K.S? Not so much. Being used as a tug-of-war rope between a wounded werewolf and vain vampire has stretched Bea to her breaking point. So she travels home to the sunny beaches of California for Christmas.

Despite the welcome distractions of family, friends, and her seemingly normal ex-boyfriend, her mind and heart remain thousands of miles away with her knights in tarnished armor. But a F.R.E.A.K. can never really go home again. After helping a teenage vampire companion, Bea and her family find themselves in extremely hot water with the vampire Lord of San Diego, who gives her an ultimatum—leave the F.R.E.A.K.S. to become his concubine or die.


Review:  I’m going to start by saying that I highly recommend that you don’t start this series with this book.  Not that it’s not good.  But more that there is so much alluding to events that happened in the first two books in the series, that you’ll likely feel a step behind if you start here.  I suppose I should also warn that I may end up with some spoilers in this review IF you’ve not read the earlier books.

Page one of this book throws Bea in danger facing a mythological creature.  Since it’s her story, you know she survives, but things just go downhill for her.  She’s caught in between the man… er, werewolf, she’s lusting over but who isn’t talking to her and her vampire best friend.  The two men don’t get along and the whole F.R.E.A.K.S. Squad is taking sides.  Bea decides she needs to escape and run home to grandma for a Christmas vacation.  Too bad the vacation wasn’t all that relaxing.

I’ll admit, I have some mixed feelings on this book.  In the end, it was a very enjoyable read and once I got reading it was hard to put it down.  But there were just some times that I wanted to throw my ereader across the room when it came to Bea’s emotional roller coaster.  While I totally understand the conflict that she was going through, I got tired of reading the same arguments with Will and internalization.  In fact, seeing as the “mystery” or “suspense” part of the book didn’t really happen until about two thirds of the way through the book, I think what would have made this better for me would have been less emotional stuff and more mystery.

On to that mystery… as this book is marketed as a mystery, I found it very interesting that it didn’t appear until so late in the story.  Much of the first chunk of the book is about Bea’s relationships with her grandmother, brother, best friend, ex boyfriend, Will and Oliver.  And even when we get to the mystery, there isn’t a lot of mystery.  I mean, outside of a chapter or two of being in the dark, it’s quickly revealed what’s going on and then it’s about how Bea and her squad are going to remedy the problem.  Don’t get me wrong, I liked the problem… just wish it had been explored more.

I liked this story, it just fell a little short of a great story for this reader.  I am rather curious to read the next book in the series to see where Bea’s budding relationship and of course what new adventure Bea and her co-workers find themselves in.