Croak by Gina Damico: Bloodshed & Brimstone

I kinda love everything about this book; the cover, the fact that is about the supernatural but not vampires, the kick butt female main character, the mystery, the smart and funny sidekicks and that it is the first of a series.  Now that my opinion is out of the way, on to the good stuff!

The book starts with Lexington Bartleby in the principals office.  Turns out, she bit one of her classmates.  And apparently this is a list of offenses that have been going on for some time now.  Than we cut to Lex’s house where her mom is tying her to her chair (in an act to protect herself) so that her parents can break the bad news to her: she is going to be spending the summer in upstate New York with her crazy Uncle Mort on the farm, so hopefully she can work off some of her rage.  After they break the news, we get to meet Lex’s twin sister, Cordy, who is Lex’s only real ally.  Lex admits to Cordy that she has no idea where all this rage within her comes from and that it is not something she enjoys.  She kind of understands why her parents are sending her away and hopes that maybe this will help end her rage.

Lex takes the bus to New York where her crazy Uncle Mort throws her onto his motorcycle and wisks her away to the beautiful town of Croak.  Lex finds out that her uncle is no farmer, but is actually a Grim Reaper and that she is one, too.  As a matter of fact, all 85 residents of Croak are know as Grims and they are responsible for taking souls all along the east coast out of their dead bodies and giving them a transtiton into the afterlife, so they are not stuck forever on Earth as ghosts.  Lex finds out that she is really good at what she does and finds herself not being quite as angry as she was before.  She makes really good friends with the other Juniors (kind of like Grims-in-training) and things are looking up for Lex until she and her partner, Driggs, begin to discover bodies with no obvious cause of death.  The two decide to figure out what is going on and the story unfolds from there.

This is Damico first book and I think she did a wonderful world of painting the Grim world. I am not familiar with any kind of lore about the Grim Reaper, but Damico filled in all the details, and gave everyone specific tasks and jobs and made the whold world very interesting, clear and believeable.  She made sure there were no glaring holes anywhere, so you don’t think “this is really stupid and unbelieveable”.  Instead you think “this is a really cool world and I see how it could coincide with our world and we would never know about it”.  My only issue with her writing is that she uses a lot of foreshadowing, so I figured out some things before Lex did. So, instead of being shocked to find something out, I more feel like it’s about time Lex figured it out. I have started reading the second book in the series and have already found this to be true in the second book as well.   But, all things said and done, I would highly reccommend this book to anyone who enjoys supernatural stories.  I think this series may become one of my favorites.