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Embrace the Grim Reaper (Grim Reaper Mystery #1)

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3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  455 Ratings  ·  100 Reviews
Casey Maldonado’s life is over—at least as she knows it. In one brief moment of fire and wrenching metal, everything important was gone. The car manufacturer was generous with its settlement, but it can never be enough. Her family and friends—not to mention her lawyers—want her to go for more. More money. More publicity. More everything. But Casey is done. No financial gai ...more
Kindle Edition, 329 pages
Published May 25th 2011 by Poisoned Pen Press (first published March 30th 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Janet Windeguth
The book has a strong premise, but just doesn’t follow through. I kept skimming through all of Casey’s soul-searching to get to the meat of the plot; still not sure why Casey is running from the car manufacturer. I won’t be continuing on with this series.
Una Tiers
Oct 01, 2016 Una Tiers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a rather quirky paranormal mystery with parallel plots, a good twist on the usual protagonist role in a dark setting. It was longer than necessary. The author wanted to show what they knew at the cost of economy of words.
Doris Ann
Dec 16, 2009 Doris Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
EMBRACE THE GRIM REAPER is something very different. Casey wishes her life was over. The auto manufacturer whose faulty design was responsible for the fiery crash that took her husband and young son, but which she, to her regret, survived. She gets a handsome settlement, but the car maker keeps trying to find her, thinking that she will bring a large and publicity grabbing law suit. She doesn't want that. She travels, sometimes sleeping rough and hitching rides with various and sometimes unsavor ...more
Nancy
Mar 12, 2012 Nancy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
Eh. I noticed the author was an award winner so I chose this book at the library. I felt like vital details about the main character's life were lacking and because of that, I did not feel a strong connection. And I really hate books that read like a movie. Which this one did near the end of the book. It was quite a realistic book until the end. Then it was just too melodramatic. And how "convenient" that her unhidden talents throughout the whole book show up at the end to save herself and other ...more
Lily
Apr 12, 2012 Lily rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked up this novel for a quick, easy read. I figured, it sure sounds pretty interesting. But I didn't expect that I would give this a 5 star rating. I expected to enjoy it, that it would be 'Meh', and move on to the next book on my list... but what I got was a pretty intense story, told in such a way, that I couldn't bear to put this book down for one second. Unfortunately, us humans must eat, sleep, work... But I still managed to gobble this novel up in a couple of day's time.

It was a pret
...more
Pamela
Oct 25, 2011 Pamela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
The story of a young woman who lost her husband and son in a horrific car accident ends up travelling the roads of the US by hitching rides and walking. However, she is not alone. She has a travelling companion, who just happens to be Death. She begs Death to take her, but is continuously refused. I found the concept to quite intriguing. Granted this is Book 1 of a three-book series, I found the novel to lack depth when it came to the characters, especially Casey the heroine, and the actual stor ...more
Sonja Arlow
Well as an audio book experience this was good enough (as well as the fact that I only paid R20 for the book and Audio book as part of an Amazon special) however the actual story was very light in plot, character development and conclusion.

The only redeeming character was Death, who accompanied the main protagonist, but sadly he didn’t really feature too much in the story. Casey's irrational behaviour, constantly running away from the car manufacturer who's faulty car parts caused her husband a
...more
Christina
Nov 15, 2016 Christina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-reads
I was actually presently surprised when I read this book. I was expecting the relationship between death and the main character to be something totally different. I liked how they treated each other more like siblings then anything else. I also was not expecting who the killer was at the end. good book.
Angela
Oct 18, 2016 Angela rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The main concept of this book is that the main character interacts with the Grim Reaper, while very few others can see him. His comments lead her to investigate an apparent suicide and the plot goes from there. The mystery was rather simple and the enjoyment in this book lies in the characters, including and especially the Grim Reaper. The problem with the book is that in order to maintain the concept, the character must stay as miserable as she is in the beginning. That means no character devel ...more
Autumn
Jan 13, 2017 Autumn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
quirky, interesting twist with death as a ride along character, but just couldn't get excited about it or understand decisions made by main character...
Lynn
Sep 28, 2016 Lynn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Listened to book #2 before this one. I think it's a case of the narrator making the book better than it is. Did not enjoy book #1.
Vivian
Apr 03, 2011 Vivian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Casey is a woman on the run. She's not running from the law or from an abusive relationship, but from her past. We learn that Casey's husband and son were killed in a car accident. She subsequently learns that their car had known mechanical problems and the manufacturer wants Casey to remain silent. Not really a problem since she doesn't want to discuss her husband and son with anyone, except possibly her travelling companion, Death or the Grim Reaper.

Casey hitches rides, first from motorcyclist
...more
Chibineko
Overall, I liked this book well enough to where I'll watch for the next audiobook. However at the same time, I'm not so eager to read the next volume to where I'd pick up the paperback book. I'm pretty aware that a good chunk of my enjoyment came from listening to Tavia Gilbert's excellent narration.

I do have to disclose that this isn't the type of cozy mystery that I usually like to read. Normally if I pick up series mysteries, I like the ones that are relatively wrapped up by the volume's end
...more
Molly Hall
Mar 29, 2013 Molly Hall rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Embrace the Grim Reaper by Judy Clemens is one of those books that happened to catch my eye as I was browsing through the library: A very moody cover, with lots of grays and greens, it prominently depicts a scythe leaning against a tombstone. Unable to resist that lure, I read the description on the front flap and decided to give it a try. And I'm happy to say, I wasn't disappointed.

Casey Maldonado should have died in the fiery car crash that killed her husband and infant son. But Death had othe
...more
The Haunted Reading Room 2017 - Year of Lovecraft
A Supernatural Urban Fantasy that quite took me by surprise; I expected a good book, and I found an excellent book. Much more there is than meets the surface eye in “Embrace the Grim Reaper,” first of a new series by author Judy Clemens. (Well, not too new-this book was published in 2009, the sequel in 2010).

Casey Maldonado lost her very infant son and her husband in an automotive event, a faulty fuel pump on a proclaimed line of “green” hybrids. Casey herself would have died in the explosion h
...more
Cathy Cole
I am a long-time fan of Judy Clemens' other mystery series featuring tattooed dairy farmer Stella Crown, so I looked forward to reading this first in a new series. As I turned the pages, I enjoyed being immersed once more in Clemens' writing style, and I quickly warmed to her main character. Casey Maldonado is an extremely likeable-- and extremely sympathetic-- character. With such a tremendous tragedy in her life, you can't help but want things to turn the corner and start to go well for her. E ...more
Kribu
Dec 25, 2011 Kribu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, read-in-2012
When I picked up Embrace the Grim Reaper, I expected it to be a little more... fantasy? urban fantasy? Something like this, from the description.

In actuality, it's pretty much a straightforward mystery, with the occasional appearance of Death (who may or may not be imaginary, although others being able to see him too implies he's not only in Casey's head) being the only supernatural element about it.

Fortunately for me, I like straightforward mysteries. And somehow Embrace the Grim Reaper won me
...more
Barbara M
I've really enjoyed Clemens first series with Stella Crown; the dairy owning, motorcycle riding, tattooed main character. This s a diversion for Clemens, a bit of reality along with a supernatural twist; Death is a character. Her Death is male and very well done. He's a bit funny and mostly non-threatening, he isn't the Devil, but he is Death and so that comes with some expectations. The reason she and some others can see him is very believable. This Death shows up eating junk food or playing wi ...more
Nikki
Casey Maldonado survived a flaming car crash. Now she's walking, with Death as her only companion. Yes, THAT Death. Were it not that a few other people -- mostly children -- can see and hear him too, I would have thought that Death was like Ian Rutledge's Hamish in the Charles Todd books - a figure who may or may not be in any sense "real." Death is not as helpful as Hamish, though; Casey really does her own investigating.

This is the first of a series, and there are still many unanswered questio
...more
Nichole ~Bookaholic~
So, I have had this book for a while, picked it up while it was free and then I forgot about it until I was playing with the whispersync match on amazon...the audio popped up at a really really good price and bonus, Tavia Gilbert was the narrator..it was so good I could not just listen to the audio for my commute, I ended up going back and forth between the two.

It was a good read that sucked me in from the beginning. I was having a love/hate relationship throughout the story, I hated not "having
...more
Barbara
May 02, 2012 Barbara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Description of this book on Goodreads explains the back story/history better than the book does. You eventually understand more as the books goes on, which is not bad. I don't mind learning slowly and in pieces.

This is a very thoughtful book. I really appreciate that, especially after all the cozy mysteries I have read. Cozies have their place, but they can be too simplistic and almost stupid at times. This is in no way simplistic or stupid at all.

Death, the Grim Reaper, is an interesting chara
...more
Elizabeth
Death follows Casey, the main character, around in this book because he thinks she's going to do interesting things. He has a minor place in this book - more as a shadow over the main character than a full character himself.

Casey has chosen to be a vagabond temporarily and Death manipulates her choices to put her in the situations he wants to see play out.

The author handles this premise well. It doesn't feel gimmicky and it's unique. Casey's character is a little thin but this is the first in
...more
Viccy
Dec 15, 2009 Viccy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Casey Maldonado ends up in Clymer, Ohio, along with her constant companion, Death, the Grim Reaper. He has already taken all that is dear to her, her husband, Reuben and her infant son, Omar. Now Casey longs for Death to take her, but he just wants to do interesting things with Casey. Clymer has just experienced two serious blows: the imminent move of the biggest employer in town to Mexico and the suicide of one of the favorite people in town, or was it? Death wants Casey to investigate. Casey f ...more
Janice
Mar 15, 2012 Janice rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I liked this book almost all the way through, until the end, which felt very contrived, as if the author were working very hard to tie all ends together, and do so as fast as possible. Otherwise, it was a good story, although less supernatural than I expected. It is mostly a good mystery, that centers around a young woman who has suffered tragic losses, and who comes to a new town, as she tries to escape her past. As she becomes involved in the lives of people in the town, and in the towns' even ...more
Ellen
Apr 10, 2011 Ellen rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: not-romantic
This is yet another book series that I have managed to read out of order. However I am very happy about it as I believe if I had started with embrace the Grim Reaper I would have never moved on to the second one. Embrace the Grim Reaper is a very interesting book has great characters and it absolutely hilarious take on death. However this book feels to me as though it was a warm-up there was a little too much time spent getting into the head of the main character is a little too much explanation ...more
Gina
Oct 19, 2011 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved the premise of this novel. The heroine suffers and unimaginable tragedy and gains Death as a companion...literally. The quirky small town characters combined with a mystery and a junk food eating, wise-crackin' Death (who in turn comforts and challenges the heroine) made for a fun but dark read. Overall, great stuff. So why just 3 stars? This is the first book in a series and it shows. Plot points are left unresolved, character development lacks and is at times very inconsistent, and I d ...more
Ellyn
Jun 04, 2009 Ellyn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Casey Maldonado lost her husband and baby boy in a car crash that only she survived. Now she hitch hikes across the country with Death as her unwanted traveling companion. When she arrives in Clymer, Ohio she is caught up in the mystery of a company shutting down and the alleged suicide of one of its employees.

I liked this well enough. The main mystery didn't really interest me, but I found Casey's background and her relationship with the Grim Reaper compelling. It was a pretty easy read, but I
...more
Ithlilian
Dec 19, 2014 Ithlilian marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
I think I missed the memo to read the jacket to figure out what was going on. We are thrown in the middle of a story with no background info, and while sometimes that is not a problem, here the plot isn't strong enough to make up for the lack of sympathy for the main character. It doesn't make much sense to me because it seems like that background story really would have helped draw the reader in. Instead, I'm supposed to care about a random small town and the strange Death character. I'm not wi ...more
Gloria
May 09, 2009 Gloria rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like lighter suspense
Shelves: mystery, cozy-reads
The cover and title would lead a reader to think this myster is closer to the horror genre, but in reality, it is closer to the "gentle reads" genre. The opening reveals that something troubling has clearly happened, but soon witty conversations with "Death" and small-town scenes take over featuring small-town theatre, bed and breakfasts, diners, and more. The ending was not particularly satisfactory, but the characters and overall writing were pleasing. No sex, swearing, and only implied violen ...more
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Death 2 11 Mar 22, 2012 04:38AM  
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Judy Clemens is the author of LEAVE TOMORROW BEHIND, the newest book in the Anthony and Agatha-nominated Stella Crown mysteries. She also writes the Grim Reaper mysteries, and wrote LOST SONS, which is a stand-alone.

She lives in the beautiful state of Ohio with her family.
More about Judy Clemens...

Other Books in the Series

Grim Reaper Mystery (4 books)
  • The Grim Reaper's Dance (Grim Reaper Mystery, #2)
  • Flowers for Her Grave (Grim Reaper Mystery, #3)
  • Dying Echo (Grim Reaper Mystery, #4)

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