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Grave Illusions

(Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter #1)

3.44  ·  Rating details ·  784 ratings  ·  85 reviews
New York City is in the grasp of a deadly, unseen enemy. At least unseen by normal society. Lieutenant Jess Vandermire, New York City police officer, is uniquely specialized to recognize and fight this threat. It's her job to forge a black ops team, an assortment of men and women who wouldn't be considered for the job under normal circumstances. But these aren't normal cir ...more
Paperback, 188 pages
Published February 15th 2007 by Imajinn Books
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Average rating 3.44  · 
Rating details
 ·  784 ratings  ·  85 reviews

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Dec 16, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Disclaimer: The eARC for Dead Rising (Templar #I) was kindly provided to me via Netgalley.

Cover Art:
Unimaginative & unappealing
Alternating POV (Jess & Britt)
Grave Illusions is set in NYC.
The hero is a human named John "Britt" Britain. Britt's life took a turn for the worse when he made the mistake of confronting his partner of corruption. During which Britt & his partner got into a physical altercation resulting in his partner's death & Britt's removal from the NYPD.
Mar 15, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
The life of ex-cop John Brittain is circling the drain since getting tossed off the force two years ago for the suspicious death of his partner. Since then he's been driving a cab and drinking too much, lost his wife and is living in near squalor in a questionable part of town. Even worse is his lack of concern for how far he's fallen. Then one night he slips out of the bar and is approached by a gorgeous leather-clad woman who presses him up against the wall and turns him on, propositions him, ...more
I realized a few pages in that this seemed familiar, but initially put it down to reading a short story in the same universe as this looked like it was only published in August. Unfortunately for me I discovered I'd read this some years ago, and still had the same opinion as before.

Jess is a vampire with a heart of gold... wait, I mean a good heart... and a loving brother who keeps reminding her of her innate goodness thereby preventing her from slipping into evil vampire mode.

Definite bonus p
May 30, 2011 rated it liked it
(Storyline 4-Stars) (Writing 3 1/2-Stars)

Low-rent covers aside, this is a pretty good UF/Vamp series. The books lean a bit more towards UF than PNR, but there is a strong romantic element-without the sex. The first book has a couple of issues like: cheesy villain dialogue, mediocre writing, typos, & plot inconsistencies, which seemed to cheapen a relatively good book. The writing is greatly improves & the editing is much tighter as the series progresses, but a few typos & mistakes still remain.
Dec 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: readerwoman
Relationships are hard under “normal” circumstances. Add to the mix a top-secret black ops NYC police team, two dedicated and stubborn cops, and a dark and nasty strain of local vampires, and you have all the ingredients for a first-class paranormal mystery...

For the entire review please go to the Best Paranormal & Urban Fantasy Review site on the web, Bitten By Books for the review of Grave Illusions in it's entirety. You won't be sorry.
Janet Robel
Good set up for the first book in this series. I liked the action scenes but couldn't honestly say I was riveted to the pages. While not as fast-paced as I would have liked, the characters are likable and I still thought it was fun. The cliffhanger ending has me intrigued enough to warrant reading the second book. ...more
This was a real interesting start to a new series and I really liked it
Oct 21, 2017 rated it liked it
Grave Illusions is the first book in the Jess Vandemire, Vampire Hunter series. The story has a lot of promise, but the execution needs some work. I found some of the scenes fell flat and left me scratching my head. I felt like I was missing things. And Jess and John had little to no chemistry. Hopefully the next book in the series will fill in some blanks, but I’m not sure I’ll give it a chance.

*ARC provided by NetGalley for an honest review.
Sadie Forsythe
Nov 07, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dnf
DNF 30%

I was not enjoying this book. I found it repetitive and too heavy on the tell. Mostly, I hate to say it, but I just didn't think it was very good. So, I opted not to read anymore.
Jun 03, 2020 marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: freebie
🎁 FREE on Amazon today (6/3/2020)! 🎁
Jun 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, vampires, 2011
I know, I know. I only gave this two stars, and yet I'm writing a review.

I read it from digital cover to digital cover. And I enjoyed it. It isn't great literature, nor is it intellectually challenging in any way... and I love fluffy mind-candy stories as much as the next reader. But seriously, where was the editor? Granted, the typos and whatnot did not detract from the overall story, but again I ask, where was the editor? And why did they not catch so many of the typos and errors?

I liked the
I'm going to start by saying that I ultimately enjoyed this book. However- yes, there's a 'however'. However, the first 25% of the book was very repetitious. Jess wants Britt to join her uber-secret team, Britt wants to know why she's trying to keep it secret, Jess won't tell him, Britt declines to join. Until the next night when they meet up randomly and Jess asks Britt again to join her uber-secret team... lather, rinse, repeat. Throw in some repressed sexual desire- by both of the main charac ...more
Apr 13, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Adults ( Paranormal Mystery Lovers)
Before reading this book, I briefly looked over the reviews. Some people gave the book 1 or 2 stars and I became hesitant to read it. However, the book was free on and I liked the book description. Boy, I am glad that I decided to read it. While the story was not stellar, it was pretty good. It has everything I love in a book: interesting characters, fast pacing, deviations on the vampire theme and mystery.

Jess Vandermere is a vampire turned over 80 years ago. Her younger brother is a
This book starts with a promising idea - a vampire who is a vampire with speical ablities because her brother, a priest, saved her soul when she was turned, hunts down other vampires in the City of New York. I have to Gardiner full credit for keeping vampires as overall evil, yet explaining how her lead vampire Jess and second vampire James, are different. It worked.

Sadly that was the best thing about the book. I should admit that I didn't finish this one.

The problems are many. First there is no
Jul 12, 2016 rated it liked it
This was a pretty cool premise.

Vampire cop, Jess Vandermire, is recruiting a team to help her track down and neutralize a growing vampire army. Jess is not your typical vampire as her brother, a priest, fought for, and continues to help her fight for her soul. Through prayer and meditation, she is able to overcome some of the typical vampire weaknesses.

John Brittain is an ex-cop haunted by his past and the death of his partner. He's approached by Jess and has a chance to clear his name and becom
I received a copy of this book from NetGalley. John Brittain is an ex-cop. He loved the job, but got into a fight with his partner, and his partner died. It was an accident, and he could never understand how a punch to the stomach could ruin his life. Now Brit makes his living as a cabbie. When his old boss Drake calls him about a job, he has no idea what the job could be. He meets Jess Vandermire, his new lieutenant if he takes the job. They won't give him any details until he joins the team. W ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
This is the first book of a promising vampire series. We are introduced to Jess, a police lieutenant in charge of a very special force, one that hunts vampires. Strangely enough she's also a vampire but thanks to her brother, she was able to save her soul and not turn evil.
One of the new recruits for the team is John, an ex-cop with a few issues, the bigger being that the rogue vampires have taken a rare interest on him.
Against the odds, they develop a strong connection. But being different spe
Kel (Faerie-bookworm)
I received a copy from NetGalley for an honest review.

This was a fun read, I love urban fantasy... the action, adventure, and a little bit of hotness. I love the fact that the vampire hunter is also a vampire, it adds a funky little twist to it. This takes place in New York City where most of the world doesn't know that vampires exist yet there is a special ops unit with the police to hunt them down. Even with having a unit very few cops know about the vampires and it makes for some interesting
Mar 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
This was quite good. A cop thriller with vampire division in the police department. I enjoyed it so much I finished it in 2 days. Can't wait to read something else by this author. ...more
Jan 30, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018
Action and romance abound in this story of vampire fighters versus powerful vampires. Vampire fighters working from inside the NYPD are trying to learn why vampires are showing themselves. Why are they banding together against humans?
Mar 06, 2018 rated it liked it
A nice fluff read if you like paranormal romance. Not heavy on the smut, but there's definitely a slow burn romance taking place. There's some grammar and typo errors that may bug some readers. ...more
Marsha Keeper Bookshelf
Aug 16, 2015 rated it really liked it
First reviewed at Haunted Bookshelf

Grave Illusions is the First in the Series, Jess Vndermine, Vampire Hunter. This award winning series first started in 2007, but since I recently came upon a soon to be released e-reader ARC of the latest novel in this series I felt it right and wise to go back to the very beginning. There are hundreds of amazing series out there on the shelves unread by me, so I’m sure this will not be my last discovery of a series that is well worth the time and money to inve
BookAddict  ✒ La Crimson Femme
Where has this author been? How have I missed her books? Ms. Gardiner is a new to me author and she has been around for a while. Thankfully, I have found her now and I'm keeping an eye out for her books. Jess Vandermire is a cop turned against her will into becoming a vampire. She is putting together a task force to take down vampires. This is all covert and one of the men she wants on her team is ex-cop John Brittain. John is persona non grata because he is a cop killer. Even worse, he kills hi ...more
Brenda Franklin
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
I really loved the concept of your leading lady, Jess, being saved by her brother through baptism. It was a completely different take on the world of vampires than anything I’ve read recently--something I found so refreshing. Though her outfit is a bit ridiculous for fighting, and I mean more so the six inch heels with the built in spike, who doesn’t like having a woman in leather kicking butt? I would have gone with cotton because it breaths, but we all have our different tastes.

You’re leading
Sep 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: reviewed
Jess Vandermire is a vampire and the leader of a secret police force that keeps the bad vampires from killing humans. What she tries to keep quiet is that she is a vampire, too. Now, she needs to find more recruits to help and John Brittain fits the bill. Britt, as he is called, was taken off the police force two years ago because he accidentally killed his partner. Now he is full of guilt and feels his life means nothing except helping his dead partner’s wife and child by sending them money ano ...more
Sharon Tyler
May 12, 2016 rated it liked it
Grave Illusions is the first book in the Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter series by Lina Gardiner. Lieutenant Jess Vandermire, New York City police officer, is uniquely specialized to recognize and fight an unseen threat. It's her job to forge a black ops team, an assortment of men and women who wouldn't be considered for the job under normal circumstances. For her, it's all about retribution until ex-cop John Brittain is recruited to her team. Suddenly, her priorities aren't quite so easily defi ...more
Kathryn Patterson
Oct 31, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: vampires
"Grave Illusions" by Lina Gardiner introduces us to an alternate universe with vampires hiding in the shadows, a somewhat vanilla vampire world with no overt magic, no werewolves, and no zombies. Jess Vandermire is a cop who turned into a vampire, learned to cope with her condition, and became a cop again. She now leads a special ops unit that tracks and kills rogue vampires.

When I first read about this book, I was extremely excited. I love vampire books, the various flavors of vampirism, and un
Mary Mattson
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it

This is a vampire story, BUT not a run of the mill vampire story. The vampires in this story are all dark evil characters. There are sexy characters, just not the vampires, except Jess, of course. Jess was saved from this darkness by her baby brother Regent, who is a priest. When she was changed fifty years ago, Regent prayed over her, baptized her. He was able to recover part of her soul through hard work and prayers, daily. Regent fought side by side with her against the evil vampires, but now
Mar 14, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Ex-Cop, John Brittan Sat In A Bar Drinking Whiskey, With His Last Swallow He Knew He Had To Go Back To His Tiny Fourth Floor Apartment, He Just Could Not Get Over Killing His Partner And Two Years Later He Still Sent Money To Randy's Widow And His Child. John Felt So Guilty That He Never Cared That His Ex-Wife Took Everything When She Divorced Him. The Nightmare Was Still Fresh In His Mind And He Would Have Gladly Gone To Prison But He Left His Career When No Autopsy Was Done. Now He Drove A Cab ...more
Nov 13, 2015 rated it it was ok
The story had significant flaws to me, but I liked it enough to want to read the second book. I was expecting an urban fantasy read and I would say GI is a weak PNR instead. I say PNR because Jess and Britt are attracted to each other and just as much time is spent on that (and their struggle going farther because one's a vamp and the other isn't which seemed really forced after Jess' first acknowledgement of what she is to Britt) as on the fighting the bad guy element. As a PNR it fails because ...more
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Lina Gardiner was born and raised in New Brunswick. She has a deep appreciation of the beauty and the special attributes of her province. As a test to see if she could make it as a writer, she wrote an article on the Fundy Trail Parkway and got the cover story in the magazine We're Home New Brunswick.

That was her sign to dive into her lifelong dream of writing. After that, she wrote a short story

Other books in the series

Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter (5 books)
  • Beyond the Grave (Jess Vandermire, #2)
  • Grave New Day (Jess Vandermire, #3)
  • Grave Expectations (Jess Vandermire, Vampire Hunter, #4)
  • Graves of Retribution (City of Bones #3)

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