Driving Mr. Dead: Entertaining paranormal romance

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fantasy book reviews science fiction book reviewsDriving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper paranormal romanceDriving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper

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.

Publication Date: January 31, 2012. A standalone novella introducing a new side of Half Moon Hollow — featuring a freewheeling courier and the stuffy vampire she has to transport. Miranda Puckett has failed at every job she’s ever had. Her mother just wants her to come home, join the family law firm, and settle down with Jason, the perfect lawyer boyfriend. But when Jason turns out to be a lying cheater, Miranda seizes on a job that gets her out of town: long-distance vampire transportation. Her first assignment is to drive vampire Collin Sutherland from Washington to sleepy Half Moon Hollow without incident—no small feat for a woman whom trouble seems to follow like a faithful hound dog! And she has to do it without letting her passenger—the most persnickety, stuffy, devastatingly handsome vamp she’s ever met—drive her crazy. As she and Collin find disaster on the roads, they also find an undeniable spark between them.  Could Miranda have found the perfect job and the perfect guy for her?

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KAT HOOPER, who started this site in June 2007, earned a Ph.D. in neuroscience and psychology at Indiana University (Bloomington) and now teaches at the University of North Florida. When she reads fiction, she wants to encounter new ideas and lots of imagination. She wants to view the world in a different way. She wants to have her mind blown. She loves beautiful language and has no patience for dull prose, vapid romance, or cheesy dialogue. She prefers complex characterization, intriguing plots, and plenty of action. Favorite authors are Jack Vance, Robin Hobb, Kage Baker, William Gibson, Gene Wolfe, Richard Matheson, and C.S. Lewis.

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  1. I enjoyed this one, although it is a pretty simple story. I was soooo disappointed in the reveal. There was all this build-up as to what was in the delivery. Other than that, I thought the story was a nice quick romance. It didn’t really even need any paranormal, although I suppose the details helped move the story.

    I’ve tried other titles by the author and never finished them. I think if a book is really a romance at heart, trying to insert too many details just ends up dragging. This particular book is short and sweet.

    • That’s disappointing that you didn’t like the other books because I bought several of them and was hoping I’d like them.

  2. They’re not terrible. But they aren’t any deeper than Driving. It’s not that I’m looking for high literature, but I tried the Werewolf one and had it been shorter it might have held my attention. I don’t mind fluff, but it has to move along and have enough of a plot to hold my interest. I got bored about 2/3rds of the way through and wandered off without getting back to it.

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