Follow The Artsy Reader on

#TheWriteReads #BlogTour Book Review: May Day by Josie Jaffrey (Plus Prequel Killian’s Dead)

My dear bookish friends!

I’m starting today’s blog tour review with a question: What do you do if you hold in your hands a prequel to a novel, and the novel itself? Which one doe you pick up first? Well, I did the wrong thing in this scenario and started with the novel, lol! But in the end, it all worked out. So in order to make the suspense stronger, I will review both books in this order for you too 😁

Big thanks to Dave @TheWriteReads for having me on this tour, as well as to the very lovely author Josie for sending me arcs of both stories! Also – if you haven’t already done so you should really visit her website and check it out regularly! She always has lots of bookish updates and when she has new books coming out, you can send a request for arcs on her website! So definitely keep a close eye on it.

But now, without further ado, let’s start with the first book as well as the prequel to Josie’s new Seekers series!

What’s the book about? (from Goodreads)

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.

May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.

My Review

First of all, I have to tell you that I love the cover of May Day so much, even though it made me expect something totally different – but I was not surprised in any negative way, not at all. When I got to make the banner for this TheWriteReads tour, I hadn’t read the book yet. So I looked at the cover closely and it immediately made me think of Transylvania and Dracula. Well, I was not far off with the vampires (lol), but the setting was all wrong! Instead of an old gothic story, Josie Jaffrey presents to us a modern-day urban novel, set in Oxford and sprinkled with vampires for good measure.

A HUGE, huge plus here is that at the end of the book, we get a list of content warnings. Now, maybe it would have been better to place this at the front of the book, but it is there, and I think this is the first book I have read that had one of these, and I think it really should become a standard.

So when we look at the story itself, I loved reading about vampire detectives. I think that’s another first for me actually! But don’t think of Sherlock Holmes when you hear the word ‘detective.’ That’s not the vibe I got at all, but it is still equally amazing (and I’m saying that as a huge Sherlock Holmes fan here!). What I really loved was that this book made me think and guess along to the whole murder mystery.

I found it fun to read about Jack, our heroine here. She hasn’t been a vampire for very long and neither had she been part of the “Oxford Seekers” (the detective agency) for very long. So she isn’t immediately successful, but she is determined, and she doesn’t give up, something that I realised while reading the prequel Killian’s Dead is one of Jack’s outstanding characteristics. She may not be one of those characters you immediately fall in love with, but you don’t hate her either. You want to go on this adventure with her, and decide later. For my part – it took me until I picked up Killian’s Dead then until I knew that yes, I definitely liked Jack.

Something else I really like about May Day is that it gives a new spin on the vampire myth. You now, by now we had the evil Dracula type often, we had the vampire slayer and the nice, beautiful, vegetarian vampire, but now we get the vampire detective. It’s actually been a while since I read a new vampire story (apart from Midnight Sun), but you can always count on Josie Jaffrey for new vampire fun (this rhymes!)!

I rate this book with 4 out of 5 stars, because I really liked it, but there wasn’t this ‘omg-I-love-this-so-much-I-never-want-it-to-end’ kind of feeling there. It’s a good, solid story, it has interesting characters and a mystery that kept me guessing and will keep you hooked, and if you are a fan of vampire stories or murder mysteries, this is definitely the book for you!

Now, let’s move on to the prequel of May Day!

What’s Killian’s Dead about? (taken from Goodreads)

Love is for losers.
Jack doesn’t care about anything except music. All she wants to do is find a decent gig, stand by the speakers and let the bass roll through her. It’s the only reason she gets out of bed.
Until she meets Winta. In the space of a second, everything is different. Winta knows what she wants and for one night, what she wants is Jack. It feels like the start of forever.
Then Winta disappears and Jack faces a choice: should she go back to her life, or track down the only girl who can change it beyond recognition?
One things’ certain: Jack has no idea what she’s getting herself into.

My Review

This short story tells the tale of how Jack became a Seeker and it’s set prior to the novel May Day.

I loved reading more about Jack, learning what she was like back then as ‘just a normal girl’. Her heart beat for music, and she loved spending nights out in bars near the stage because of that. But then she met Winta – a very special character, and they spent the night together. And then another, and then…Winta’s gone.

I loved finding out about Jack’s kind of obsessive character. Not only was she obsessed with music, but then also with Winta – and she didn’t let go of her, even when finding her meant putting her own life at risk.

Another character we meet here was Killian – someone I would have liked to read more about in May Day, too.

I can’t really say much more because I would give too much away. Overall, this is a very enjoyable short story and I think if you want to start the Seekers series, start with this one (don’t do it like me!!!).

Another 4 solid stars from me!

(Btw. Did somebody else immediately think of Amy Winehouse when looking at the cover of Killian’s Dead???)

So tell me, will you be picking up this mystery series packed with vampires and vampire detectives soon? Or have you read it already? If so, what did you think?

Do let me know! And please make sure to have a look at the other stops on this awesome (as always) TheWriteReads blog tour!

Thank you all so much for reading!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow The Artsy Reader on