Dying for a Living Boxset – a review

Time for another review, this time of a Boxset, usually a daunting reading prospect and yet a great way to tackle a series. However, they are hard to review without giving away too much, so beware there may be spoilers ahead.



“This boxset includes the first three novels in the Jesse Sullivan series, for one lower price. Books Dying Light (Book 4) and Worth Dying For (Book 5) are not included.

Fans of contemporary and urban fantasy will enjoy this series. Don’t be surprised to find dark humor, lots of snark, and a murder mystery, all wrapped up in a single thrilling, action-packed narrative.

Called “addictive” by New York Times Bestseller Darynda Jones, those interested in strong female protagonists are sure to take a shine to Jesse Sullivan, the reluctant anti-hero of the series.”


As I said when I reviewed the first novel in the Jesse Sullivan series, I was “hooked from the first few words of the blurb”, immersing myself in the light-hearted style the author used. The opening novel portrays a quirky heroine, a young woman that dies for a living, a ‘necronite’. who can be sarcastic in the face of death.

I liked Jesse and warmed to her, her kooky habits, like wearing shoes that didn’t match, and to her best friend, lover, and sidekick, Ally Gallagher. Their relationship is complicated not only by Lane, Jesse’s comic-store running boyfriend, but also by the attempts to kill her for good. Yes, ‘necronites’ can die in certain circumstances, so I was never able to relax and think that Jesse would always survive.

The tone of the first novel might have been light-hearted, with great humour, but it had darker moments especially towards the end as we discover who is opposed to the ‘necronites’. Book 2 builds on all the elements, with Jesse and her friends in mounting danger. Without spoilers, I can say that everything I enjoyed about Book 1 is there as we learn more about the dangers they face.

I found the writing swept me along with its mix of humour and mounting threat. Jesse’s relationships complicate events, and this area of personal conflict – told from her first person perspective and from Ally’s 1st POV – worked well. The sexual dilemmas felt realistic, even if the lesbian emotions and thoughts were outside my experience. However, unsurprisingly when you read her bio, Kory M. Shrum captures this with taste and style.

The third novel departs from the first two Books, in being told from the perspective of Jesse’s boss Brinkley. In many ways this darker Book is backstory to the events in the opening two volumes, and yet it closes at the same point as Book 2. As I read the revelations, I was even more engrossed in the characters. Gradually, I began to realise that there was a whole side to events that neither Jesse nor Ally were aware of. After reading Book 2, I was ready to take a break from the series, but now that I have learned so much more, I want more.

One niggling problem is the antagonist, whose abilities reminded me as the Books progressed of a successful TV show that aired from 2006 to 2010. That will stop me re-reading the three Books, although not from tackling the next one. Maybe the protagonist will change in ways that I can’t envisage.


Here is the link to my 23 Jun. 2015 four star review on Amazon for Book 1 Dying for a Living (Kindle Edition). I wrote…

Chuckled as she died

“Hooked when I read the first few words of the blurb for “Dying for a Living”, I was unable to put down this first novel in the Jesse Sullivan series.

“On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally.”

You have to read on, especially when confronted with Jesse, a ‘necronite’ that can be sarcastic in the face of death. The irritation was more amusement than frustration, as I had to keep laughing and loving her. The light-hearted style and the humour seeps through the novel, especially when Jesse’s clients make such comments as: “Ms Sullivan is like a human Chihuahua who barks at anything that moves.”

There are other well-portrayed characters, like Ally her assistant/lover/friend, and Lane her comic-store running boyfriend, and her boss Brinkley. Their contribution is crucial to the unfolding story in which someone is trying to kill Jesse and her necronite colleagues. And yes, necronites can die if they lose their head. Literally.”


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