I took part as a Panelist in the 2021 BBNYA competition, and was lucky enough to read the novel which would go on to win. During the process, I read many excellent excerpts and full novels and so I know how high the standard was last year. I wasn’t at all surprised when May Day reached the final, and very pleased when it won. Even more exciting is the fact it’s part of a new series.
It’s not my usual genre, but Jaffrey had me at her description of Oxford students’ May Day tradition of hurling themselves off Magdalen Bridge. Our narrator, as yet unknown to us, tell us,
‘If it were up to me then I’d let Darwinism run its course, but apparently we have enough death to contend with in this city already… We’re not generally in the business of guarding the humans from themselves. We only exist to guard them from others like us.’
Jaffrey’s writing is sharp and her narrator, Jack, is a strong new character who isn’t afraid to call out institutional BS when she sees it. She’s also a Silver – a vampire. What follows is a superb crime novel set in a very recognisable Oxford which is experiencing a rise in vampire-based crime. As a Seeker, Jack and her colleagues are responsible of pursuing a ‘scab’ – a vampire who is killing humans to sate his need for blood, rather than the ‘sanctioned’ methods used by law-abiding vampires like them. There’s a lot of fun to be had setting fantasy characters in our own world, meaning this makes for an excellent read. The characters themselves are well-done, and there’s no doubt that Jaffrey knows her world well. The tensions, both political and personal, within Jack’s own life mean that she fits perfectly into the detective genre, with, of course, the added twist being that she was turned vampire twenty years ago. She has the requisite dark humour and I’m hoping we get more of her backstory as the series progresses. Genre-bending also allows Jaffrey’s characters extra powers, the ability to move around crime scenes without being noticed by the humans, and adds an further dimension to the plot. This is a very confident opening to what I expect to be a very strong series. Fans of police procedurals, fans of vampire stories, and fans of novels with simply cracking plots will love this novel. I’m a complete convert!
I received this book to read and review as part of the BBNYA 2021 tours organised by the TWR Tour team. All opinions are my own, unbiased and honest.
BBNYA is a yearly competition where Book Bloggers from all over the world read and score books written by indie authors. If you are an author and wish to learn more about the BBNYA competition, you can visit the official website http://www.bbnya.com or twitter @bbnya_official.
The sign-ups are now open for BBNYA 2022 for authors and panelists. Click here to enter:
Book Info for May Day
Publisher: Silver Sun Books
Length: 392 Pages
Date Published: July 9, 2020
Author Website: https://www.josiejaffrey.com/
Blurb for May Day
If the murderer you’re tracking is a vampire, then you want a vampire detective. Just maybe not this one.
It’s not that Jack Valentine is bad at her job. The youngest member of Oxford’s Seekers has an impressive track record, but she also has an impressive grudge against the local baron, Killian Drake. When a human turns up dead on May Morning, she’s determined to pin the murder on Drake. The problem is that none of the evidence points to him. Instead, it leads Jack into a web of conspiracy involving the most powerful people in the country, people to whom Jack has no access. But she knows someone who does.
To get to the truth, Jack will have to partner up with her worst enemy. As long as she can keep her cool, Drake will point her to the ringleaders, she’ll find the murderer and no one else will have to die. Body bags on standby.
May Day is the first book in Josie Jaffrey’s Seekers series, an urban fantasy series set in Oxford, England.
Josie is the author of multiple novels and short stories. Most of those are set in the Silverse, a pre- and post-apocalyptic world filled with vampires and zombies. She is currently working on a range of fantasy and historical fiction projects (both adult and YA). Ultimately, she hopes to be a hybrid author, both traditionally- and self-published. After finishing her degree in Literae Humaniores (Classics) at the University of Oxford, Josie wasn’t sure what to do with her life. She slogged through a brief stint working for an investment bank in London during the 2008 credit crunch, then converted to law and qualified as a solicitor specialising in intellectual property. She worked at a law firm for five years before moving to a UK- based international publisher in 2016. Whilst she loved law, in the end she didn’t love it quite as much as writing, which she now does almost full time. Josie lives in Oxford with her husband and two cats (Sparky and Gussie), who graciously permit human cohabitation in return for regular feeding and cuddles. The resulting cat fluff makes it difficult for Josie to wear black, which is largely why she gave up being a goth. Although the cats are definitely worth it, she still misses her old wardrobe.
Check out the other brilliant blog reviews and spotlights for Books 1 and 2 – Judgement Day.