Miranda, daughter of two lawyers who own their own firm, has been a disappointing daughter. She doesn’t want to practice law, doesn’t want to marry her lawyer fiancé, and generally doesn’t want to conform to her family’s expectations. Unfortunately, every time Miranda thinks she’s found the perfect job for her talents and personality, some weird disaster happens and she ends up unemployed again.
She’s got a new job now — one she thinks she’s going to love. She’s a chauffeur for vampires. For her first assignment, she has to drive Collin Sutherland across the country. It doesn’t sound like a difficult job, but whenever Miranda’s involved, things always go awry. Even before Collin gets in the car, Miranda’s series of unfortunate events has started.
I knew going in that Driving Mr. Dead wasn’t really my thing — I’m not crazy about vampires, paranormal romance, or sarcastic female leads. I read this, though, because 1. I try to regularly read books that are out of my normal comfort zone, 2. It’s a short book, so I didn’t have to invest much time, 3. I got it really cheap at Audible and 4. It sounded like it might be entertaining.
For a book that I didn’t expect to love, Driving Mr. Dead did turn out to be pretty entertaining. I was listening on audio and multi-tasking while I listened, which worked well since the plot moves very quickly, is a little predictable, and requires no special cognitive skills. Molly Harper’s writing style is pleasant and the narrator of the audio version, Amanda Ronconi, is excellent.
The characters are likable — Molly Harper gives Miranda a backstory and a current dilemma (with her fiancé and job situation) that made me care. Miranda isn’t as sarcastic as some of her urban fantasy contemporaries (thank you, Ms. Harper) and she occasionally made me chuckle (e.g. “I have a feeling that when I look up ‘hoyden’ in the dictionary, I’m going to be really pissed at you”). I didn’t really perceive Miranda to be as eccentric and chaotic as I was supposed to. To me, she just seemed like a confused young woman who couldn’t decide what to do with her life. Collin is handsome and a bit irritating in his fastidiousness. I had a hard time believing in the romance between him and Miranda since the two have opposite personalities. But Driving Mr. Dead is a book that asks me not to think too hard, and I’m perfectly willing to comply.
Driving Mr. Dead is a spin-off novella from Molly Harper’s NICE GIRLS series and the beginning book in her HALF MOON HOLLOW series which is about the vampire concierge service in the town of Half Moon Hollow. Based on this sample of Harper’s writing, I’d recommend that paranormal romance fans give Molly Harper a try.
Half Moon Hollow (Jane Jameson, Nice Girls) — (2009- ) Publisher: Maybe it was the Shenanigans gift certificate that put her over the edge. When children’s librarian and self-professed nice girl Jane Jameson is fired by her beastly boss and handed twenty-five dollars in potato skins instead of a severance check, she goes on a bender that’s sure to become Half Moon Hollow legend. On her way home, she’s mistaken for a deer, shot, and left for dead. And thanks to the mysterious stranger she met while chugging neon-colored cocktails, she wakes up with a decidedly unladylike thirst for blood. Jane is now the latest recipient of a gift basket from the Newly Undead Welcoming Committee, and her life-after-lifestyle is taking some getting used to. Her recently deceased favorite aunt is now her ghostly roommate. She has to fake breathing and endure daytime hours to avoid coming out of the coffin to her family. She’s forced to forgo her favorite down-home Southern cooking for bags of O negative. Her relationship with her sexy, mercurial vampire sire keeps running hot and cold. And if all that wasn’t enough, it looks like someone in Half Moon Hollow is trying to frame her for a series of vampire murders. What’s a nice undead girl to do?