TITLE: Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs (Jane Jameson #1)
AUTHOR: Molly Harper
PUBLISHER: Pocket Books
YEAR: March 31, 2009
Purchased for the Kindle on Amazon.com
SYNOPSIS via AMAZON:
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?
Vampires meeting at the Cracker Barrel? Dr. Seuss quotes? This was definitely my kind of read. Let me preface this by saying that the Sookie Stackhouse novels are what turned me on to Urban Fantasy as a genre. I loved the world-building, the characters and the great take on vampires being outed to the human world. Molly Harper’s Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs shares some similarities to the Stackhouse novels – a setting in a small, southern town, vampires living openly among humans on synthetic blood, the idea of using the supernatural community to bring to light the pervasiveness of prejudice, and a small town girl as a lead character. The difference for me is the voice. Jane Jameson is a fantastic lead character. She is smart, witty (with a touch of snark that’s not over the top), and endearingly awkward at the right moments. She is a character you want to spend more time with and I highly recommend that you do.
In addition to the wonderful Jane, the supporting characters are also strong. In particular is Jane’s love interest, Gabriel Nightengale. He is a 154 year old vampire, a bit stiff and definitely old-fashioned. Harper does a wonderful job of building tension between Gabriel and the young, sarcastic Jane. This tension keeps the reader on edge, always wondering when and if these two are finally going to get together. What I also liked is that Harper was not afraid to make Gabriel imperfect. She makes a point to remind us about the true nature of vampires, something that Jane herself must come to terms with as well. There was a little twist close to the end that had me reassessing my view of Gabriel, and I liked that I had that moment.
The rest of the supporting cast is great – her best friend Zeb (reminiscent of Steve Zahn) is wonderful and the chemistry between he and Jane highlights a great friendship; a ghost for an Aunt; and a dysfunctional family round out some of the main characters. Finally, each chapter is headed by a quote from the Guide from the Newly Dead, a book Jane studies throughout the novel. These quotes are hilarious and add to the tone of the book. For example:
“While it’s tempting to try to resume your normal social activities with still-living friends, you must understand that some people will have difficulty adjusting to your new condition. Warning signs that loved ones may be planning to stake you include a sudden interest in carpentry and staring at your chest to gauge where your heart is located.
—-From The Guide for the Newly Undead”
The only minuses with Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs are the mystery and the world-building. The mystery surrounding the murder of a vampire and a series of death threats made against Jane and her dog, is not really much of a mystery. I figured out who the villain was fairly quickly. Though I will say that the reveal has Jane uttering a couple of the best lines in the book. Also, while the world-building was not that original, I didn’t mind. It makes me curious to read the next books in the series to see how the world and these relationships develop over time.
All in all, I highly recommend Nice Girls Don’t Have Fangs. It is a fun, witty, take on the vampire genre with an endearing lead character who made me laugh out loud.
Thanks to My Bookish Ways for clueing me into to this series!