Book Review: Another One Bites the Dust by Chris Marie Green

Another One Bites the DustAnother One Bites the Dust by Chris Marie Green

Genre: Urban Fantasy

Series: Book 2 of Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire

Publisher: Roc (November 4, 2014)

Author Information: Website | Twitter

Mogsy’s Rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Another One Bites the Dust continues the Jensen Murphy, Ghost for Hire series which has the distinction of being one of the few urban fantasies out there featuring a dead girl as the protagonist. Jensen isn’t just technically dead, living dead, or undead – she’s DEAD dead, an ordinary California girl who was murdered in the woods by a serial killer in the eighties. She’s back now in modern times, pulled out of her time loop by a psychic named Amanda Lee.

Together with her ghostly friends and Amanda Lee, Jensen is putting her talents to good use by helping catch bad guy and solve mysteries, including that of her own murder. This second novel puts her skills to the test with a tough case involving a woman and her hotheaded and potentially dangerous boyfriend who might be just be a few short fuses away from snapping.

The neat thing is, ghosts in this series have quite an arsenal of abilities up their sleeves to go about investigating these kinds of situations, including creating hallucinations, entering dreams, or getting a feel for someone’s emotions and thoughts simply by making contact with them. This is just one example of the many unique ideas found in the first book, which impressed me enough to want to continue the series. I’m also quite invested in Jensen’s personal story, given how the mystery and details surrounding her horrific murder have been greatly built up. I’d like know who killed her, and hopefully see Jensen find closure and make peace with the fact that her life was so unfairly cut short.

What surprised me was that my wish might be granted sooner than I thought. I know there are at least three books planned so far for this series, and I did not expect it to even begin delving into Jensen’s death until at least the third installment. There are a lot of things going on in this book as a result – first, we have the main storyline involving Heidi and her concern for her friend Nichelle who is dating the loose cannon/possible psychopath Tim. Second, we have the major side plot in which Jensen does some independent investigating into her murder and makes some huge discoveries. Third, we get the chance to follow up with Gavin and Wendy, the siblings we got to meet in book one. Jensen still has some residual feelings for Gavin that she needs to resolve, not to mention her reluctant attraction towards “Fake Dean”, the mysterious supernatural entity that has taken on the guise of her old high school sweetheart.

Not surprisingly, Jensen is kept quite busy throughout this book, and we jump along with her from one event to another. I’m not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, the book feels very scattered. But on the other, you’re never going to have an opportunity to be bored. In the end, the pros and cons probably balance each other out, though I do wish we could have slowed down just enough to have gotten to know the side characters a bit better, especially Jensen’s group of “ghost budders” who so delighted me in Only the Good Die Young. Personalities like Twyla, Randy, Scott and Louis were pivotal in making the first book grow on me, and I just can’t get enough of them.

Poor Jensen, though. I think the author is attempting to inject a bit of romance into the series by giving her these complicated feelings for both Gavin and Fake Dean, but I just can’t help but feel both these relationships (if you can even go as far as to call them that) are simply doomed. The girl is a ghost, while one of the guys is very much alive and the other is some weird, ethereal and celestial…thing. Fake Dean is very much a big question mark, and it is still unclear whether he is a force of good or evil in Jensen’s life. In any case, I’m not getting a sense of chemistry between either of these pairings so admittedly, any romance is falling flat.

Still, overall we’re definitely getting somewhere with the main story. I am loving the tone of these books, enjoying the way light and dark mingle. We have some humor and cheerful interludes provided by the banter and camaraderie of the ghosts mixed with the creepy and disturbing circumstances of Jensen’s murder as well as the grim nature of the cases she and Amanda Lee decide to take on. The antagonist in this novel is a very troubled and unstable individual, and the few glimpses we get into his mind and into his dreams aren’t very pleasant at all.

All told, this was an enjoyable follow up. The series might not be blowing me away quite yet, but I like how it’s bringing something unique to the genre and the new ideas are enough to make me want to stick around, and I am also very curious how things will end up for our protagonist.

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A review copy of this book was provided to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. My thanks to Roc Books!

15 Comments on “Book Review: Another One Bites the Dust by Chris Marie Green”

  1. Sorry it doesn’t blow you away but at last you have a good time with the books. I enjoyed this one a little more than you but in any case I’m curious to see how the third one is and learn more about what will happen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It just seems to go nowhere…unless something truly miraculous happens like she comes back to life or something, but I don’t think that’s happening and I wouldn’t want it to, honestly.

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  2. Hmm our review copy never arrived lol. I’m quite surprised and then not surprised that ghosts have an arsenal of tricks up their sleeves. I’m just so used to them being mostly powerless unless they are one of the evil kind right. But I guess you can’t have a completely powerless mc

    Like

  3. It’s nice to see a ghost lead with super powers. I’m also glad she’s not saving the mystery of the character’s death for later in the series. Yeah, it’s hard to have a romance with one of the characters dead. The humor is what makes me want to read it even though the powers sound awesome!

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  4. I’m not sold on this series. I like the idea behind Green’s ghosts, sounds like there’s definitely potential there but it hasn’t reached “I need to read this status” yet. Also I have to say, I love my UF romance subplots, so when they fall flat it always makes me sad. Maybe plasma/ethereal/energy creature guy will be a more viable love interest in book 3, sounds like the mortal has got to go.

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