Just finished the first read for the new year: "Dead Sexy" by Tate Hallaway, featuring one of my favorite heroines: Garnet Lacey, a modern witch who has the goddess Lilith living inside her and is dating a vampire named Sebastian. This is book two in the series, although I've read it out of order. I still feel the third book (which I read first) is the best.
Here Garnet is dealing with her ex-boyfriend Parrish who is also a vampire and an FBI agent named Dominguez and the fact that someone is turning people into zombies. As usual, the story is so crazy and out there, and yet "Garnet" tells it all so matter of fact that it becomes part of the fun. Not as heavy-handed as the first book or as light and fun as the third, "Dead Sexy" deals a lot with issues of grief.
Spoiler alert: due to certain twists, Parrish must make it look like, and act like he is dead, which he does by being shot at. On pages 238-239, knowing she may not see Parrish again, Garnet tells Sebastian she is sad, and Sebastian tells her she must grieve. She thinks of others in her life who have died, and realizes that as ridiculous as it may seem, she needs to have a wake for Parrish. She writes an obituary for Parrish, then she writes a "remembrance" notice for each of her friends who had died. Soon she is recounting bits of details-twinkling eyes, salt and peppers hair- that leads to other things she wanted to remember like homemade bread and hand-sown belly-dancing dresses. Garnet writes stream-of-conscious poetic images of each person and realizes she should have done it sooner.
After the wake and a scene of zombie attack (to keep things fun), Garnet realizes there is something else she needs to do. She takes the broken necklace of one of her dear friends who has died, and stands out by the lake. Letting her fingers touch the beads one last time, she asks Sebastian to throw it into the heart of the lake. "I cried all the way home, but they were tears of letting go." (pg. 287)
I can't believe a silly, fun book about vampires, zombies and Wiccans could have at the heart of it a story about a woman learning how to grieve, let go, move on, and let someone into her life, thus moving on.