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Wet Grave (Benjamin January #6)

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4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  524 ratings  ·  33 reviews
In such stunning novels of crime and character as Die Upon a Kiss, Sold Down the River, and A Free Man of Color, Benjamin January tracked down killers through the sensuous, atmospheric, dangerously beautiful world of Old New Orleans. Now, in this new novel by bestselling author Barbara Hambly, he follows a trail of murder from illicit back alleys to glittering mansions to ...more
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Published April 29th 2003 by Bantam (first published 2002)
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Toni

The title of Barbara Hambly's novel comes from the expression that "White men come to Louisiana seeking treasure and find a wet grave." (This is paraphrased.)

Once again, Barbara Hambly draws on history to create factual episodes, atmospheric scenes, and bring to life colorful characters, and as usual, the story is fascinating. I enjoyed it all--up to a point. One character introduced was so delightful and captivating that when he was very abruptly and unexpectedly killed I stopped reading right
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Sandra Carrington-Smith
Not usually a fan of historical novels, I hesitated somewhat when I picked up a copy of Wet Grave by Barbara Hambly, but as fate would have it, I did buy the book, and I am ever so grateful I did. The story takes place in 1830s New Orleans, and highlights a time in history when justice was an elusive luxury, especially if one was a freed colored citizen.

Benjamin January, the well educated son of a placeé – a former slave kept as a mistress by the man who bought and freed her – who is now a surg
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robyn
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kate
A fine mystery although since I've not read any others in the series I was slightly confused by the fast-forward review of the story so far. Benjamin January is a free Black man in 1830s New Orleans, angry about the uninvestigated murder of a poor woman who was once part of the demimonde, in love with an intelligent teacher whom he would like to make his second wife, frustrated with his mother, his lack of money, his sisters...The very intricate web of the story makes for occasionally confusing ...more
Doris
Masterful tale of the seedier side of New Orleans. Benjamin January, the son of a former slave and himself a former slave, was educated in France as a surgeon, but works mainly as an allaround man in his home of New Orleans.

In this novel, he is summoned to attend when a former slave, now a drunk prostitute, is found dead, slashed to death, in her own home. Ben recognizes the woman as a former society woman, a beauty who was all the rage many years before.

Friends and foes alike try to discourag
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Cynthia
I really like this series! This series isn't an 'easy' read tho, as Hambly really immerses the reader into the time period with appropriate dialect/slang/names/history...I often found myself reviewing the same sentance a couple of times in order to get things in it's proper place/meaning! In her writing one can almost see/smell the atmosphere it all takes place in! It involves the gulf coast & it's weather, belles & slaves, pirates & even buried treasure!
I might've been tempted to ac
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Colleen
Jul 18, 2008 Colleen rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in New Orleans, slavery, a ripping good read, Outlander series.
A great and accidental "historical fiction" find at the library.

Main character Benjamin January is a free man of color in New Orleans, 1812, in this 6th book of 8 about him. He is a surgeon and has studied medicine in Paris, but was born a slave. He becomes involved in solving two mysterious deaths which affect him personally, and almost loses his life in the process.

The story is packed with historical information about Old New Orleans, compelling characters, gritty action, descriptions you ca
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Jamie
A good read, if not my favorite of this series. Benjamin Janvier's quest for justice for a murdered woman of color, a former courtesan fallen into abject poverty, leads him to a fantastic plot involving smugglers and pirates. Unfortunately this isn't quite as interesting as it sounds, but the setting and the characters are great, and Hambly's writing is excellent, as usual.

There are some interesting flashbacks to Benjamin's younger days in New Orleans, and this book is a very nice chapter in Ben
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Unwisely
I still love these books, but this was totally not my favorite in the series. It's not just because there was no Hannibal (no, he didn't die, thankfully), but somehow I didn't get into this one. Picked it up and the end part was interesting enough that I stayed up to finish it, despite the ludicrously over the top nature of the last few chapters. It honestly reminded me of an action movie - one crisis would be solved and another even more ridiculous one would pop up.

I was surprised to read that
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Kara

So, we’ve got pirates, buried treasure, love, murder, birth, marriage, armed rebellion, leprosy, and a hurricane – shake all together and you’ve got yourself a good read.

What I didn’t like (view spoiler)
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Murvin
In line with the January series this book reveals severe limitations in the ability of the writer. After several readings of the main character I found it quite difficult to accept the conclusions finally arrived at between January and his fellow slaves;although he himself was "free". The decisions arrived at I think reveals certain limitations and prejudices on behalf of the writer.I never considered myself the most insightful reader but the main character after many readings truly reveals hims ...more
Libby
This series is exceptional in its accuracy to its historical place and time, and in its characters, who seem so real that you can hear them exhale. Wet Grave is the 6th novel about Benjamen January, freeman of color in 1830's New Orleans. The series started well and has gotten better with each new book. I have begun to anticipate the actions of each of the finely crafted characters and to cherish their quirks and habits. OK, so I'm hopelessly hooked. Try them, you too can be addicted!
Rebecca Huston
Another knockout historical mystery from Barbara Hambly. This time, there are several murders, family secrets, nasty doings on the waterfront, and pirate treasure in New Orleans in the 1830's. While it's not necessary to have read the previous books, it does help to understand the overall arc of the series. And a lovely surprise at the end.

For the longer review, please go here:
http://www.epinions.com/review/Wet_Gr...
Kim
Delicious detail evokes a sense of physical presence, while the mysteries require immersion in the historical context. There is invariably a section in each book of this series where I get bogged down, and think maybe this one isn't quite as good as I remember the last one being... but by the time I finish the book, I'm enthralled and as impressed as ever with Hambly's mastery of mystery as a medium for conveying the complexities of human history.
Melinda
Gave this book 100 pages and could not care about the protagonist. A sweeping novel detailing of LA in prime slave-times 1800's. Beautiful details of French/Spanish LA, slave life,debauchery and murder. Sadly I could not get into this book, it did not flow or reach a rhythm/pace. Found writing clear, lavishly descriptive and odd paced/slow. Would I rec. to others, depends on their mood and taste. Will try another to see if I can like January...
Joyce
Hambly taps into yet another colorful part of New Orleans lore, the pirate coterie surrounding Jean Lafitte. Jean Lafitte National Historical Park encompasses sites in both the city of New Orleans and the bayous of Acadia, and this novel follows along to both locations. It seems strangely apropos to read it right now, while we all wait for the giant Deepwater Horizon oil slick to ooze over Barataria Bay in slow motion.
Kitty Tomlinson
Benjamin stumbles into major trouble when he starts looking into the death of Hessy LeGros (once the jeweled mistress of a corsair). This leads him into the swamps around New Orleans and those looking for Jean Lafitte's supposed buried treasure!!

Hambly does atmosphere like no other!! I'm from Louisiana and she had me feeling the humidity like it was a new experience!!!
Karen
I like anything written by Barbara Hambly. I first found her in fantasy and she has three trilogies that are favorite. Her use of metaphor is wonderful. Then I found her in mystery and have enjoyed her Benjamin January series—such interesting characters. The first in this series is A Free Man of Color.
Denise
I love this mystery series about old New Orleans. They are well researched and I always learn something. This one was mainly about pirate activity. The main character is so unique and interesting; a free man of color working as a surgeon and musician in pre-Civil War New Orleans.
Anne Kaufhold
A historical mystery, one of my favorite series. I have reread it several times. I'm drawn to the wealth of detail that the writer provides. I think I read most books for their plot, but these for the setting. I believe Ms. Hambly has a background in history, and it shows.
Jinjer Stanton
What I love about this series is how it immerses the reader in the time and place of the action. This is the one in the series that I missed and it contains life-changing events beyond murder and inhumanity. If writers are going to include romance, this is the way to do it!
Kim
I love all of the Benjamin January books. This one was satisfying for the development of the relationships between the characters. The plot really took a backseat to that for me, but it was a perfectly acceptable mystery. Can't wait to get the next one!
Katrina
I love this series of historical mysteries set in New Orleans in the 19th century. Hambly's writing is, as always, evocative and her characters fascinating and well-developed. I just wish she was still writing fantasy...
dianne budd
Aug 27, 2007 dianne budd rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone visiting New Orleans
a good intro to the unique history of this city - currently still in crisis - but 200 years ago it was French, Spanish and just discovering the Kaintucks - with a large population of well educated, land holding "free coloreds"
Yan
Happiness! Sadness! Alligators! This book has it all. :D

Now I have to be budget conscious and wait a whole three days till pay day to buy the next one...
Olivia
That greatest of all treasures, the book-you've-never-heard-of-randomly-picked-up-in-the-library-that-ends-up-being-wonderful. So far, at least.
Paul
This one involves pirates and a hurricane! Good stuff...and, as always, very thoughtful social commentary along the way.
Cissa
I really love this series, and this is a great book therein. It is very satisfactory how everything played out here.
Julie
This book has emotional depth and a silly, silly plot with a silly, silly ending.
Karen
Enjoying these. Always enjoy the historical part of an historical mystery.
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10333
aka Barbara Hamilton

Ranging from fantasy to historical fiction, Barbara Hambly has a masterful way of spinning a story. Her twisty plots involve memorable characters, lavish descriptions, scads of novel words, and interesting devices. Her work spans the Star Wars universe, antebellum New Orleans, and various fantasy worlds, sometimes linked with our own.


"I always wanted to be a writer but everyone
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More about Barbara Hambly...
Children of the Jedi (Star Wars) Dragonsbane (Winterlands #1) The Time of the Dark (Darwath, #1) Those Who Hunt the Night (James Asher, #1) The Armies of Daylight (Darwath, #3)

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