Blog Tour Book Review: MAY DAY by Josie Jaffrey

I received an ARC as part of the blog tour in exchange for an honest review. It has not affected my opinions.

Title on smoke next to image of book
Genre: Fantasy (paranormal mystery)
Age Range: Adult
Star Rating: 4 stars
Series: yes - book 1
CW: Sexual assault, drug and alcohol abuse

Synopsis:

Book cover for MAY DAY: title in silver before title and back of head

If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.

It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake.

When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.

To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die.

Body bags on standby.

Synopsis taken from Goodreads. Add to your shelves here.


Review:

MAY DAY is a genre-blending first instalment in a paranormal murder mystery. I loved this noir-esque story as it serves for a very engaging plot line as clues, red-herrings, and new mysteries to solve.

For me, this book was ALL about the voice. From the first chapter and the complete dress down of student (as a student, yes, many of my peers are that stupid), a bitingly funnily, snarky voice is carried throughout. It’s self aware and completely unapologetic.

I loved the setting – UK SETTING! It’s so obvious that Josie knows Oxford well, with the little details of the buildings or streets. I’ve been really struggling with contemporary fantasy at the moment because they’ve been American ones, and I find the culture just a bit too different that it needs more world building than it gets. Therefore, a UK-set contemporary fantasy is so refreshing, a familiar setting interwoven with a vampire underbelly.

I think this is deeply linked to her other series – the Sovereign and Solis Invicti – as there were some terms I recognised from THE GILDED KING, and her website seems to imply they are. However, as I’ve only read two of her books, I’m not quite sure how they link – given this is modern day Oxford and they are dystopia/post-apocalyptic.

Jack’s romantic life is… messy to say the least. What I didn’t like was the cheating element of it. Sure, they haven’t made promises and “it’s an accident”, but the other love interest isn’t asked if she was OK with Jack making out with the other person. At least it’s handled in such a way that makes it clear it was a bad choice, but I wish there’d been a different way to have romantic complications than that.

There’s a lot still left hanging at the end of the book, the main mystery solved but it’s clearly part of a larger series. I’m interested to see what happens next!


Read my reviews of other books by Josie Jaffrey:

Adult:

Seekers (this series):

Sovereign:

Young Adult:

Deluge:

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