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Friday, May 13, 2016

Driving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper


HELL ON WHEELS

After failing as a magician's assistant, a photographer, and most recently, a bride, Miranda Puckett takes a position as a driver for Beeline, Half-Moon Hollow's premiere vampire concierge service.

Miranda's assignment? Driving Collin Sutherland, the world's most fastidious vampire from Washington to Kentucky, so he can deliver a mysterious black case to Council official Ophelia Lambert.

Collin, a paranoid, aristocratic vampire with a debilitating fear of flying, refuses to let the case out of his sight. Miranda needs this time on the road to decide whether to permanently cut her ties with the fiance that had an "emotional affair" with a childhood pal, but Collin’s neatnik tendencies are driving her around the bend. The man acts as if leaving a fast food wrapper on the passenger seat is reason for a full-on CDC de-contamination scrub-down of the car. All she can do is promise to stop intentionally doing the things that make his stiff upper lip twitch with irritation.

As more and more mishaps occur on the road trip from hell, Miranda and Collin work together to meet his delivery deadline. Hotel rooms are destroyed. Beloved cars are defiled. And somewhere along the line, client-driver hostilities become snarky flirtation.

Will Collin and Miranda make it to the Hollow in one piece? And if they do, will Miranda leave old, safe relationships behind for something new and well, just plain weird?


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If you thought Iris Scanlon was a hot mess of crazy, wait till you meet Miranda. She has Iris beat hands down, and when you hop in the car with her you'd best buckle your seat belt because it's bound to be a wild and crazy drive. On the plus side, she *will* get you where you're going. Eventually. And most likely in one piece.



Miranda's luck is so phenomenally bad you'd almost think she was cursed. The never-ending stream of mishaps she has to endure and make the best of quite often leaves you wondering what else could possibly go wrong. Turns out the answer is: quite a bit. To her credit, however, she never gives into the melt-down she most likely dearly wants to have at several points during the journey, but instead she keeps soldiering on, determined to carry out her mission and get Collin to his destination on time.

Collin initially makes you want to smack him and tell him to get over himself, but once the comedy of errors that is their cross-country journey progresses he gradually begins to make you like him. As he learns to (or is forced to) unbend more and more we start to see a different side of him. He may not win prizes as the most exciting romance hero, but he does prove to be sweet and eminently likeable.

The chain of disasters that befall Miranda and Collin start off amusing but eventually gets to the point that it seems more than a little bit absurd that so many things could possibly go wrong for them. Seriously, the laws of probability are surely stacked heavily against it. And yet, the whole thing is so over the top that it ends up being hilarious rather than eyeroll-worthy because of the level of absurdity that comes into play. As a side note, it was in this book that I first noticed Harper's apparent love of describing dingy hotel rooms and making her characters stay in one every chance she gets. The levels of filth and ewww factor are described in gleeful detail for almost every cockroach motel they are obliged to stay in.

A fun little book, you definitely won't want to miss this one if you're making your way through the Half-Moon Hollow series. While it does stand alone better than some of the other books in the series, Miranda and Collin do show up in later books, so knowing their story in advance does help a bit. Plus it's simply a few hours well spent reading it.

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