Title: Driving Mr. Dead
Author: Molly Harper
Narrator: Amanda Ronconi
Audiobook Length: 5 hours, 2 minutes
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Origins: Mine. All mine.
Release Date: 31 January 2012
“Miranda Puckett has failed at every job she’s ever had. Her mother just wants her to come home, join the family law firm, and settle down with Jason, the perfect lawyer boyfriend. But when Jason turns out to be a lying cheater, Miranda seizes on a job that gets her out of town: long-distance vampire transportation.
Her first assignment is to drive vampire Collin Sutherland from Washington to sleepy Half Moon Hollow without incident—no small feat for a woman whom trouble seems to follow like a faithful hound dog! And she has to do it without letting her passenger—the most persnickety, stuffy, devastatingly handsome vamp she’s ever met—drive her crazy. As she and Collin find disaster on the roads, they also find an undeniable spark between them. Could Miranda have found the perfect job and the perfect guy for her?”
Thoughts on the Novel: There is something about Molly Harper’s novels that always make me feel better. It sounds odd, but her stories are just so darn enjoyable that I always end them feeling happy and relaxed. She never fails to make me laugh out loud with her characters’ antics. Also, her use of pop culture references always gives me a little thrill, usually because they tend to be obscure but something I tend to adore. Case in point, most people I know have no idea who Henry Rollins is, but Miranda uses one of his songs as a ringtone. It is as if Ms. Harper and I like all of the same things. I take it as a sign we are meant to be best friends.
I know I always gush about Ms. Harper and her Half Moon Hollow series, but they are so much fun. Ms. Harper incorporates them with so levity that you cannot help but enjoy them. Yet, amidst all of the crazy antics of her characters, she also puts her characters through their paces when it comes to self-development. There is a realness to her characters that allows them to move beyond their paranormal characteristics and allows them to be relatable to readers. Moreover, her characters are empowering. Take Miranda in Driving Mr. Dead. She is a mess. The trouble that girl inadvertently gets into would be enough to make a sane person give up on life. Yet, through her cross-country journey from hell, she teaches readers that it is okay to make mistakes and that all you can do is learn from them and laugh at them. In fact, mistakes are what make you stronger. For a silly novel, it is an empowering message and is what I have come to expect from Ms. Harper.
Driving Mr. Dead is a fun little side story in the Half Moon Hollow annals. Miranda is just as goofy as I would expect, and the trouble that seems to follow her makes for some hilarious moments within the story. Collin is the perfect foil for her chaotic life, and their blossoming romance is swoon-worthy. Filled with all of the snark and humor I love, Driving Mr. Dead is a great way to spend a few hours.
Thoughts on the Audiobook: I met the lovely Amanda Ronconi at BEA this May and fangirled all over her. Not one of my prouder moments, but I would do it again in a heartbeat. She really is one of my favorite narrators of all time and is just the cutest person you will ever meet. Listening to her again during Driving Mr. Dead was a great reminder of why I love her so much. Her narration of all of Ms. Harper’s novels are perfect. She gets the sarcasm and the humor and does such an excellent job portraying it. In this one, she had the added challenge of performing an emotional breakdown and nailed it. She can go from thick Kentucky drawl to lovely Irish lilt to just the hint of a British accent with seemingly no trouble. Ms. Ronconi becomes Ms. Harper’s characters, and for me, there is no greater audiobook experience than when Ms. Ronconi is performing Ms. Harper’s manuscript.