01/01/2011. Contributed by Sarah Bruch
pub: Atom/Little Brown. Another One Bites The Dust (a Jaz Parks novel book 2) by Jennifer Rardin. 318 page paperback. Price: GBP 6.99 (UK). ISBN: 978-1-84149-639-9.
check out websites: www.atombooks.co.uk, and www.littlebrown.co.uk and www.JenniferRardin.com
‘Another One Bites The Dust’ is the second book in the ‘Jaz Parks’ series and follows on nicely from the previous book, ‘Once Bitten, Twice Shy’. I’m not sure if you could read these books out of order. Many of the characters from the last book re-appear in the second book along with some new evil beings.
This adventure starts out with the gang, Jaz, Vayl, Cassandra, Cole and Bergman, finding out their next target is an ancient Chinese vampire with a bit of a thing for dragons. He has recently stolen a piece of Bergmans’ technology from the CIA called Dragon Armour You can probably see where this is going. This makes him the most highly protected individual in the world with the armour bonding to him and making him impervious to water, fire, firearms, blades and pretty much anything you’d want to throw at him. Oh and it allows the wearer to breath fire through nose holes in the hood, too. As is usual in a ‘Jaz Parks’ novel, this almost impossible task is added to with the extra horrors called reavers - creatures with an extra eye who survive by killing innocents and consuming their soul. Although there are loads of new baddies, Jaz and her team still have Ramos firmly in their sights.
Each of the main characters in this second book get a good chance to show a little bit of what makes them tick. I really enjoyed finding out some of their history and some of the reasons why they react to situations as they do. There's lots more about Jaz trying to accept her past and becoming closer to her family. Jaz seems to be having difficulties in this adventure, dealing with the fact that she's part of team. After what happened to her previous team, I honestly don't blame her. I definitely found myself worrying more about the characters in the book this time, having already become ‘friends’ with them in the previous book.
Jaz adds another symptom to her list of crazies, she now has terrifying sleepwalking episodes. Not normal sleep walking neither, these often culminate with her being found in a seriously dangerous situation. It seems to me that Jaz has reached the end of her coping mechanisms with regard to her history. These dreams are her mind affecting her body trying to make her accept or at least consider what has happened to her. I found myself torn while reading this novel as to whether I was more interested in the actual case or in how Jaz manages to solve her own dream related problems.
There are a few romantic scenes between Vayl and Jaz but not enough to make this a romance, thank goodness. I don't mind the odd scene of that nature but much prefer the action and humorous ones. The humour in this book is fantastic, I found myself laughing out loud on a number of occasions, earning myself some weird looks. Jaz has loads of fantastic one-liners through the book, some of which she actually says out loud, others only we're privy to. I noticed a lot more references to current TV in this novel, references to ‘Family Guy’ and even Disney movies!
There are some sections in this book that I found hard to follow, especially when things moved from real-life to dream sequences. There has to be a better way of doing this, however, maybe the confusion is meant to be there because Jaz is feeling just as confused by what's happening.
The more I’m reading of this series the more I find Jaz to be a kind of supernatural Stephanie Plum (Janet Evanovich's bounty hunter). They're both more than capable of getting themselves into all kinds of awkward and embarrassing situations.
I think Rardin has managed to tread a very fine balance between the darker and gorier moments and the lighter humorous and even romantic moments in this book very well. There is a fair bit more gore in this novel than the last one or at least I noticed it more in this novel.
This is a series of books I’m going to want to read through to the end!
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