Undead and Unwed: A Queen Betsy Novel: 1 Massmarknadsbok – 2 Mars 2004
Utdrag. ©Omtryckt med tillstånd Alla rättigheter förbehållna
The day I died started out bad and got worse in a hurry.
I hit my snooze alarm a few too many times and was late for work. Who wouldn’t hit the snooze to get another nine minutes of sleep? No one, that’s who. Subsequently, I almost always oversleep. Stupid snooze button.
I didn’t have time for breakfast. Instead, I gobbled a pair of chocolate Pop Tarts while waiting for the bus. Mmmm…chocolate. My mom would have approved (who do you think got me hooked on the darned things?), but a nutritionist would have smacked me upside the head with her calorie counter.
The bus was, of course, late. You gotta love the Minnesota Transit system. Six buses for a population area of a quarter million. When they weren’t late, they were earlyI’d lost count of the number of times I’d stepped outside only to see my bus disappearing down the street. Schedule? What schedule?
When the bus, late again, finally did lumber into sight, I climbed on and sat down…in gum.
At a nine A.M. meeting (to which I arrived at 9:20), I found out the recession (the one the economists have been denying for years) had hit me right between the eyes: I had been laid off. Not unexpectedthe last time good old Hamilton & Sons had been profitable I’d been in high schoolbut it hurt, just the same. Losing a job is the worst. You know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that somebody doesn’t want you. Doesn’t matter if the reasons are personal, financial, or practical. They just don’t want you.
Hamilton & Son, realizing about a year too late that they had to slash costs, decided administrative layoffs were the way to go as opposed to, say, cutting the six figure salaries of senior management. The clerks and secretaries had been deemed expendable. But vengeance would be ours. Without us, those twits couldn’t even send a fax, much less run the company.
With this cheerful thought, I cleaned out my desk, ignored the way my coworkers were avoiding looking at me, and scuttled home. I consoled myself by stopping at the Dairy Queen for a blueberry milkshake. Signs of spring: robins, new grass, and Dairy Queen opening for the season.
As I walked through my front door, still slurping, I saw my answering machine light winking at me like a small black dragon. The message was from my stepmonster, and from the racket in the background, she was calling from her salon: “Your father and I won’t be able to make it to your party tonight…I’m on new medication and Iwejust can’t. Sorry.” Sure you are, jerk. “Have fun without us.” No problem. “Maybe you’ll meet someone tonight.” Translation: Maybe some poor slob will marry you.
My stepmonster had, from day one, related to me in only one way: as a rival for her new husband’s affections. Worse, she never hesitated to play the depression card to get out of something that was important to me. This ceased bothering me about a week after I met her, so I suppose it was just as well.
I went into the kitchen to feed my cat, and that’s when I noticed she’d run away again. Always looking for adventure, my Giselle (although it’s more like I’m her Betsy).
I looked at the clock. My, my. Not even noon. Time to do the laundry and gouge out my eyes, and the day would be complete.
Happy birthday to me.
As it turned out, we had a freak April snowstorm, and my party was postponed. Just as well…I didn’t feel like going out, putting on a happy face, and drinking too many daiquiris. The Mall of America is a terrific place, but I’ve got to be in the mood for overpriced retail, rowdy weekend crowds, and six-dollar drinks.
Nick called around eight P.M., and that was my day’s sole bright spot. Nick Berry was a superfine detective who work ed out of St. Paul. I’d been attacked a couple of months before, and…
Okay, well, “attacked” is putting it mildly. Like using the word “unfortunate” to describe World War II. I don’t like to talk about itto think about itbut what happened was, a bunch of creeps jumped me as I was leaving Khan’s Mongolian Barbecue (all you can eat for $11.95, including salad, dessert, and free refillsquite the bargain if you don’t mind your clothes reeking of garlic for hours).
I have no idea what my attackers wantedthey didn’t take my purse or try to rape me or even babble about government conspiracies.
They came out of nowhereliterally. One minute I was yawning and fumbling for my keys, the next I was surrounded. They clawed and bit at me like a bunch of rabid squirrels while I fended them off with the toes of my Manolo Blahniks and screamed for help as loud as I could…so loud I couldn’t speak above a whisper for three days. They stankworse than my kitchen that time I went to the Cape for two weeks and forgot to empty my garbage before I left. They all had long hair and funny-colored eyes and they never talked to me.
Help didn’t come, but the bad guys ran away. Maybe they were rattled by my voicewhen I scream, dogs howl. Or maybe they didn’t like the way I stank of garlic. Whatever the reason, they ran awayskittered away, actually. While I leaned against my car, concentrating on not passing out, I glanced back and it looked like a few of them were on all fours. I struggled mightily not to yark up my buffet, ginger tea, and sesame breadno way was I pissing away that $11.95and then called 911 on my cell phone.
Detective Nick was assigned to the case, and he interviewed me in the hospital while they were disinfecting the bite marks. All fifteen of them. The intern who took care of me smelled like cilantro and kept humming the theme from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. Off-key. This was actually more annoying than the sting of antiseptic.
Anyway, Detective Nick called and we chatted and, long story shot, I promised to come in to look through the Big Book o’ Bad Guys one more time. And I would. For myself, to feel empowered, but mostly to see Nick, who was exactly my height (six feet), with dark blond hair cut regulation-short, light blue eyes, a swimmer’s build, and dimples! He looked like an escapee from a Mr. Hardbody calendar. I’ve broken the law, Officer, take me in.
Making Nick my eye candy would be the closest I’d gotten to getting laid in…what year was it? Not that I’m a prude. I’m just picky. I treat myself to the nicest, most expensive shoes I can get my hands on, which isn’t easy on a secretary’s budget, and never mind all the money my dad keeps trying to throw at me. If I used his money, they wouldn’t be my shoes. They’d be his. Anyway, I save up for months to buy the dumb things, and they only have to go on my feet.
Yep, that’s me in a nutshell: Elizabeth Taylor (don’t start! I’ve heard ‘em all), single, dead-end job (well, not anymore), lives with her cat. And I’m so dull, the fucking cat runs away about three times a month just to get a little excitement.
And speaking of the cat…was that her telltale Riaaaaoooowwww! from the street? Well, super. Gisele hated the snow. She had probably been looking for a little spring lovin’ and got caught in the storm. Now she was outside waiting for rescue. And when I did rescue her, she’d be horribly affronted and wouldn’t make eye contact for the rest of the week.
I slipped into my boots and headed into the yard. It was still snowing, but I could see Gisele crouched in the middle of the street like a small blob of shadow, one with amber-colored eyes. I wasted ten seconds calling herwhy do I call cats?then clomped through my yard into the street,
Normally this wouldn’t be a problem, as I live at the end of the block and it’s a quite street. However, in the snow on the icy roads, the driver didn’t see me in time. When he did, he did the absolute worst thing: slammed on his brakes. That pretty much sealed my doom.
Dying doesn’t hurt. I know that sounds like a crock, some touchy-feely nonsense meant to make people feel better about biting the big one. But the fact is, your body is so traumatized by what’s happening, it shuts down your nerve endings. Not only did dying not hurt, I didn’t feel the cold. And it was only ten degrees that night.
I handled it badly, I admit. When I saw he was going to plow into me, I froze like a deer in headlights. A big, dumb, blond deer who had just paid for touch-up highlights. I couldn’t move, not even to save my life.
Gisele certainly could; the ungrateful little wretch scampered right the hell out of there. Me, I went flying. The car hit me at forty miles an hour, which was survivable, and knocked me into a tree, which was not.
It didn’t hurt, as I said, but there was tremendous pressure, all over my body. I heard things break. I heard my own skull shatterit sounded like someone was chewing ice in my ear. I felt myself bleed, felt liquid pouring from everywhere. I felt my bladder let go involuntarily for the first time in twenty-six years. In the dark, my blood on the snow looked black.
The last thing I saw was Gisele sitting on my porch, waiting for me to let her in. The last thing I heard was the driver, screaming for help.
Well, not the last. But you know what I mean.
- Utgivare : Berkley; Berkley Sensati utgåvan (2 Mars 2004)
- Språk : Engelska
- Massmarknadsbok : 288 sidor
- ISBN-10 : 042519485X
- ISBN-13 : 978-0425194850
- Läsarålder : 18 år och uppåt
Populäraste recensionerna från andra länder
Betsy is a former model and is still a fashion fanatic. At the start of the series, on the morning of her disastrous 30th birthday, she is working as a secretary. Her main interests are designer shoes, designer clothes, and her cat. In quick succession she gets fired, loses her cat, and is killed in a car accident. It is a great surprise to her when she rises again as a most unusual vampire. It is even more of a surprise when, through a sequence of bizarre events, she becomes queen of the vampires.
Needless to say vampire politics of the same nasty kind interfere with her life, but our heroine wins through in the end, displaying unexpected strength and compassion. A light weight book, but very funny.
Still laugh-out-loud funny. I raced through this book cover to cover, loving Betsy's ditzy and self-obsessed attempt to adjust.
For those who are not aware of the series, here the list of Queen Betsy stories I read to date:
1) "Undead and Unwed (Undead Series)"
2) "Undead and Unemployed (Undead Series)"
3) "Undead and Unappreciated (Undead Series)"
4) "Undead and Unreturnable (Undead Series)"
5) "Undead and Unpopular (Undead 5)"
6) "Undead and Uneasy"
7) "Undead and Unworthy (Undead 7)"
8) "Undead and Unwelcome (Undead 8)"
9) "Undead and Unfinished"
10) "Undead and Undermined (Undead/Queen Betsy)"
In my opinion you will get most out of these books if you read them in order. I would start with "Undead and Unwed" and work on from there. Know there are more recent book but have not read them yet.
It is not a great literature and it does not pretend to be (I think that was clearly established from the first book) so I find the negative reviews a bit petulant to be honest, you can't start moaning about short chapters, bad writing and unlike-able characters after 9 books into a 10 book series.
If you want an easy read novel a decent story and have some laugh then go for it.
It begins the "Queen Betsy" comic vampire series, in which the initial group of stories consists of the following six books:
1) Undead and Unwed
2) " Undead and Unemployed (Undead Series) "
3) " Undead and Unappreciated (Undead Series) "
4) " Undead and Unreturnable (Undead Series) "
5) " Undead and Unpopular (Undead 5) "
6) " Undead and Uneasy ".
There is also a "Queen Betsy" novella, set at about the same time as book six, in Davidson's collection " Dead Over Heels ," one of the three paranormal romance stories in that volume, and another in the similar collection "Undead and Underwater."
There is also a follow-up series, which MJD describes as "a new story arc" featuring the same central characters, begining two months after the events of both "Undead and Uneasy" and "Dead over Heels".
The follow-up "Queen Betsy" series consists as at December 2013 of
7) " Undead and Unworthy (Undead 7) "
8) " Undead and Unwelcome (Undead 8)
9) " Undead and Unfinished (Undead Series) ".
10) " Undead and Undermined "
11) "Undead and Unstable"
12) "Undead and Unsure"
"Undead and Unwed" is told in the first person by Elizabeth Taylor, who prefers to be called Betsy for obvious reasons. Betsy is a former model and is still a fashion fanatic: at the start of the book, on the morning of her disastrous 30th birthday, she is working as a secretary. Her main interests are designer shoes, designer clothes, and her cat. In quick succession she gets fired, loses her cat, and is killed in a car accident. It is a great surprise to her when she rises again as a most unusual vampire.
Mary Davidson has great fun with the incongruity of mixing up the vampire genre as in Laurell Hamilton's "Anita Blake: Vampire Hunter" series (or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer") and Chick-Lit romantic comedy. This book is way over the top and very funny. Perhaps the author goes slightly too far when she has a group of rebel vampires bribe Betsy to take on the local evil Master Vampire by offering her a neat line in designer shoes, but the book is always good fun.
An interesting comparison with other authors who have written entertaining comedies by combining incongruous genres would be with Marianne Mancusi and Robert Frezza.
In the same way that this book gets plenty of laughs by combining chick lit with Vampires, Frezza write two very funny books which combined Vampires and Science Fiction ("McLendon's Syndrome" and "The VMR Theory") and Mancusi combined chick lit with time travel in "A Connecticut Fashionista at King Arthur's Court" and "A Hoboken Hipster in Sherwood Forest." Anyone who likes this book is likely to enjoy all four of those, and vice versa, if you have read and enjoyed one of those books you may well enjoy this one.
OK, this is never going to win the Booker Prize or any other great award for classic literature, and it is fairly raunchy, so not suitable for children. However, if you have the right sort of sense of humour, it is pretty good fun. I can recommend "Undead and Unwed" and also enjoyed reading the rest of the series.
There is no doubt that Betsy is shoe-obsessed, but she is not self-obsessed: she is a great character.