Book Review: Kalayna Price’s Grave Witch

Posted January 4, 2013 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Kalayna Price’s Grave Witch

Grave Witch


Kalayna Price

urban fantasy that was published by ROC on October 5, 2010 and has 325 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include Grave Dance, Grave Memory, Kicking It, Grave Visions, Grave Ransom

First in the Alex Craft urban fantasy series about a witch who communicates with the dead. Based in Nekros City.

My Take

A fascinating start in this complex-seeming series. Price twists the concept of witches and then twists family end over end. The surprises just don’t stop.

Mostly, the story raises lots and lots of questions as Price very busily introduced the characters whom, I assume, will be regulars in this series. A family that refuses to acknowledge her when they’re all hiding their own secrets. Friends who take the place of family and provide the necessary warmth and love. Coming to the attention of more powerful beings than Alex ever considered. New lovers, none of whom are human.

All sorts of truths being revealed. Some welcome, but most not much better than a sharp stick in the eye. Price certainly left us hanging and wondering what will happen next. I’m certainly anxious to get on to Grave Dance and get those questions answered.

The Story

It’s a big deal. Alex is the first witch who will raise a witness from the dead to testify at her murderer’s trial and it can only help her business’ bottom line.

The last thing Alex expects is to be hired by her sister. When Alex’s abilities couldn’t be kept hidden, her family made Alexis Caine disappear. They wanted nothing to do with her.

Now, Casey needs her to investigate the death of her fiancé, Teddy Coleman, and almost immediately the assassination attempts begin, missing Alex — thanks to Death — but taking down John. The police think it relates to the upcoming Amanda Holliday trial and insist on her accepting police protection. The surprise is who that protection turns out to be.

A more successful attempt is after the trial. After she tips the police to the invisible (to everyone else) tattoos on the governor’s body.

The question that arises, however, is how the ritual killings could possibly tie in with a body whose real owner is ticked off, no end!

The Characters

Alex Craft is in need of money. Her company is Tongues for the Dead and her abilities as a grave witch enable her “to bridge the gap between the world of the living and whatever plane Death existed on”. Fred is the resident gargoyle on Caleb’s property where Alex lives above the garage; PC is her dog. Caleb is fae; Holly is an assistant DA and a fellow housemate. Tamara is a charm witch who works at the morgue. Roy Pearson is a ghost who started following Alex from the morgue and has he ever got a complaint! I suspect he’s going to become a partner in her work.

The jeans-wearing Death is Alex’s friend. And he’s in love with her.

Detective John Matthews is with homicide and Alex’s friend; Detective Jenson is his partner and not one of Alex’s fans. Detective Falin Andrews just transferred in through Chief Reynolds‘ influence and he doesn’t want Alex anywhere around his body. He’s with FIB and he’s the Winter Queen’s lover and assassin.

Governor Theodore Coleman is a vice-presidential hopeful and Casey Caine, Alex’s little sister, is in love with him. She’s also flying under the radar. Lieutenant Governor George Caine is their father and a member of the HumansFirst Party. Rodger is the family butler. “Aunt” Margie has been her father’s personal assistant for practically ever. Tolver Graham is his new chief of staff. Pratt Bartholomew is the new lieutenant governor.

Rosa Hanks was the first. A norm. Bethany Lane is a wyrd witch; Helena Brothers is another wyrd witch; Sally; Michelle Ford was a telekinetic wyrd; Emily Green; Caitlin Sikes; and, Julie. Rianna McBride, another grave witch, was Alex’s roommate before she disappeared and became Coleman’s Shadow Girl. When Coleman dies and frees her, it turns out that Rianna is a changeling and must be in Faerie before the moon sets. Ashen Hughes is another grave witch and the first of three to confirm Alex’s findings.

Amanda Holliday is a victim. A five-year-old girl who was murdered. The police know who did it but lack the proof. It’s Alex’s job to bring her back as a witness. Lusa Duncan is the star reporter for Witch Watch. Tommy Stewart is the medical examiner’s intern and used to be friendlier to Alex.

It’s been seventy years since Magical Awakening, “the day the fae … announced to the world…that … [they] … existed”. The fae’s announcement was followed by the witches. FIB is short for Fae Investigation Bureau.

The Cover and Title

The cover is shades of medium gray with Alex the focal point in her hip-hugger blue jeans and deep red cropped and fitted tank top. She’s outside in a graveyard surrounded by tombstones and encircled by lit candles as a mist rolls in.

The title is more of an introduction to what Alex Craft is, a Grave Witch.