Cover Image: Not Dead Yet

Not Dead Yet

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

Wes Cooper was killed in 1933 and a witch brought him back to life. Almost. Wes isn’t quite alive, but he isn’t fully a ghost either. He can live in his corporeal body in the living realm, but in the otherplane he exists as a ghost, able to move through the realm invisible to the living world. This allows Wes to have a very successful career as a “recovery specialist” as he is able to sneak into places undetected and retrieve objects for a price.

Things are going well until Wes witnesses a murder while he is in the otherplane. He feels guilty that he doesn’t step in to try to help the victim soon enough and he wants to do more to help find her killer. But Wes can’t exactly go to the police and explain that he is essentially a ghost. So his friend Lexi convinces Wes to contact his ex-boyfriend, Hudson Rojas, who is a cop and who knows about about Wes’ supernatural status. The problem is that even after 33 years, Wes isn’t really over Hudson. The two broke up because while they loved one another, Hudson was too focused on his career, and Wes, after barely getting by for so long, was too focused on himself.

Hudson needs Wes’ help on the case as Wes can get access to places that Hudson can not. Things are tense between them at first, with Hudson running hot and cold, seeming to still care for Wes sometimes and pushing him away others. As the two dig further into the case, more murders crop up that appear to be connected. Soon, the threats are growing and they seem to be at least tangentially connected to a big secret that Hudson is keeping. Now the men must figure out who is behind the killings before they become victims themselves. And once they do, maybe they can figure out a way to rekindle the love they once had between them.

Those of you who read my reviews regularly know I am a sucker for creative world building in my paranormal stories. I am always looking for that little something extra that provides a new and interesting approach, and I have to say that Jenn Burke really delivers with Not Dead Yet. The whole premise is just so engaging; I loved the idea of Wes as a not quite ghost and it leads to so many clever story angles, as well as some really interesting relationship and character development. Here we have a man born in the 1930s, who has lived a lifetime already, but still looks like a young man. Even better, he is paired with a man he dated 33 years ago — a man who is a 58-year-old silver fox, almost unheard of in romanceland. Ah, I just adored everything about this dynamic. They are former lovers who are still yearning for one another. But at the same time, so much time has passed. Hudson has changed in innumerable ways, yet Wes is almost unchanged, both physically and emotionally. They each had their selfishness in their previous relationship, with Hudson focused on work and Wes on himself, and now the two have to figure out if they can give their relationship and each other the priority they deserve. I just loved these guys together and found them a fascinating and engaging couple.

On top of the great characters, Burke has pulled together a fascinating mystery/suspense with a great paranormal overlay. The case is twisty and exciting. It kept me guessing and the ending is intense. I appreciated the way the mystery ultimately pulls together so many elements from the characters and their backstories, from the world building, and from the paranormal elements. It all just comes together really well and kept me engaged and eagerly reading until the end.

There are some nice side characters here, particularly Wes’ best friend, Lexi, who is from the line of witches who saved Wes. There is also a young, baby vampire who ends up as part of their group, and there is kind of a fun “scooby gang” feeling as the four of them work together. They all know each others’ secrets, so they are able to research and figure things out that can’t be handled by the police. I also like the found family vibe we get from the group, especially as Wes and Hudson have both been so isolated for much of their lives.

A couple of small notes here. First, while it isn’t ever explicitly stated, Wes tracks pretty clearly along the asexual spectrum. It is mentioned many times how he rarely experiences sexual attraction and Hudson is one of the few exceptions to that. So it was really nice to see a character with some diversity in this area. Second, I’ll also mention that there is a big, shocking reveal in this story that you definitely don’t want to be spoiled about. Sadly, I made the mistake of reading the blurb for book 2 before reading this story and the surprise is given away in the first sentence. So definitely avoid that blurb and stick with reviewers you trust not to give spoilers for this story if you don’t want to ruin the fun.

Overall, I found this book just excellent in so many ways. It has great world building, wonderful character development, and a really fun and engaging mystery all wrapped up in a nice paranormal package. I am super excited for the next book in the series and to see what more there is to come for these guys.
Was this review helpful?
Fabulous start to the series from Jenn Burke, read in one setting. The MC's were great as were the secondary characters, looking forward to reading the rest of the series. iDef recommend.
Was this review helpful?
I can’t recall the last time a book surprised me as much as this one did. Even more I can’t believe how much fun it was to be surprised.

I had the barest of ideas going in. I’m the worst at reading and retaining what a blurb tells me, well, if I read the blurb at all. I knew this was some sort of ghost story. So,to me, ghost stories are one thing, romances with ghosts are totally another. They always seem to make me feel just so sad. I mean, even when they aren’t supposed to feel that way there are just so many things that can’t help but be sad.

This felt like that. Even when I tried to keep an open mind it was always a niggle. I hurt for Wes and even more so when he found Hudson again. It was not good and I couldn't in a million years see how it ever could be.

And then, BOOM! I can’t even tell you how shocked I was. How fucking pleased this twist made me. I am so glad that there weren’t a ton of reviews and the few I skimmed over (thank you Heather) left out this brilliant surprise/shock.

So, this was good. I mean, there were a lot of bits and pieces to this book and all of it was good. Second chance romance, witches, ghosts, friends and family. Mystery and murder (my old friend). All of it was good. There was a lot of story and it kept me completely entertained. I was on the edge of my seat, I was laughing, I was sad, I was excited and most of all, I was intrigued.

I almost didn’t request this because of my ghost sadness. I am so glad I did. This was really a refreshing and interesting take on PNR and Mystery.

Very well done and thank you, thank you, thank you for there being two more books. I did not know this going in but hoped and hoped and hoped there would be.

PSA. Don’t read spoiler tags and just let yourself be surprised. It will be so worth it.

Good stuff man, good stuff.
Was this review helpful?
Loved this. Excellent slow burn, second chance romance. Witty and fast paced with a great plot, an endearing narrator and a second (non pov) MC who ticks all my boxes. 

Can't wait for the sequel.
Was this review helpful?
I really tried to get into this book but I just really couldn't which made me sad.
I also see its a series? Duology? Trilogy? 
I will wait till the books are completed
Was this review helpful?
This book is not at all what I expected it to be. Paranormal romance where one of the characters is an immortal being who is a ghost (but kinda isn't) and works as a thief? Cool. I can deal with that. Trying to figure out how a HEA is going to work between an immortal being who doesn't age and his ex-boyfriend who is now much older, and seemingly going to die old? Seems like a book that's going to end in tragedy.

BUT HEY. There's a plot twist I did NOT see coming.

Wes is dead. But through witchy magic, has ghost-like abilities, even though he also has a physical body that will stay young forever. He can get away with being in his late twenties, early thirties, and he mostly converses with his clients through burner phones. While worker one day, he witnesses a murder while in his ghost form. Which begs the question of how do you call in a murder if you weren't technically there to witness it?

Events lead him to his ex-boyfriend he hasn't seen in years. Hudson is a detective and older than when Wes saw him last. But the feelings they had for one another hasn't disappeared, even if things ended badly between them. Hudson hadn't been ready to come out and Wes wasn't given up his job as a thief.

I thought the beginning of this book was strong. I was intrigued by the characters and I love a good murder-mystery. There were some really funny parts in this book that I absolutely LOVED. The banter between Wes and Hudson are great. This is a second-chance slow-burn romance, and that bit of it was really well done. And I liked the twist in the story.

Even though this is contemporary (in the way that it's set in modern times with a paranormal element), it didn't jump out to me that this story has an ace character. It went unsaid, and I didn't even pick up on it until I read some other reviews? Being demisexual, I do feel a bit dense in retrospect for NOT picking up on it, and I would have loved for it to have been spelled out on the page? There's hints at Wes being ace that I can point to after the fact, but even if the characters are older, just bringing it up instead of dancing around the topic would have been really nice. Especially since it's said outright multiple times that Hudson is gay.

And with all that being said, the ending fell apart for me. It's that moment in a mystery novel where everything is getting revealed and the pieces should have been coming together, this book just seemed to get really convoluted and the answers came out of nowhere? The big reveal felt really random and out of left field. I love a good mystery with lots of suspense, especially when there’s a paranormal element involved, but this plot just didn't do it for me.

Thankfully, the characters were compelling enough to keep reading and I am looking forward to reading book two in this series for more Wes, Hudson, Lexi, Evan, and Isk!

***Thanks to the Carina Press for providing me an ARC on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review***
Was this review helpful?
Reviews by the Wicked Reads Review Team

Sarah – ☆☆☆
3.5 stars

This book starts with Wes’ story. The 110-year-old isn’t completely a ghost and he’s not exactly a thief. When he witnesses a murder in his ghostly form, he gives his witness statement to Hudson, an ex-boyfriend police detective. What starts as an awkward situation quickly turns into a nightmare involving all sorts of supernatural beings.

I have to admit that it took me quite a while to get into this story. There are some holes in the supernatural worldbuilding that I found distracting and the characters are fairly simplistic for the first half of the story. I feel like the murder investigation goes around in circles for a while before it actually gets exciting. Thankfully, the book gets better. By the halfway point, I was enjoying the story and by the end I couldn’t put it down.

Wes is funny and sweet and he’s somehow managed to avoid adulting for more than 100 years. At the start of the book he is almost irritatingly clueless, but he becomes more likeable once he starts helping Hudson with his investigation. Hudson is pretty awful at the start. He plays hot and cold with Wes and he is completely emotionally closed off for the first half of the book. I still have a lot of unanswered questions about his age and his appearance and I didn’t like him at all until he thaws and reveals a few key secrets at the half-way point. There is definitely some unresolved relationship angst between Wes and Hudson but I’m not sure there’s ever any real romance.

I actually think the story gets more enjoyable when Hudson and Wes’ friends get more involved. I loved Wes’ witchy best friend Lexi and I enjoyed Evan the baby vamp. This story works best when it’s a fun Buffy/Bitten gang of supernatural friends caper.

I have to admit that I really struggled to follow parts of the storyline in this book. At the start of a urban fantasy series I need a bit more structure and explanation before I can fully get into the altered world and understand what’s going on. Without revealing spoilers, I feel like there are a few continuity gaps in the world building. I’m also not sure how much of the world building in this book is original. Parts of this feel like fanfic and some scenes were a bit too close to moments in popular UF writing/television. Wes is a refreshingly original character but much of the rest of the book feels a little bit tired.
Was this review helpful?
I wasn't sure what to expect from this because it looks like a trashy romance novel, but I was so surprised by it! I loved the main character, and the romance was solid. I loved the world and it was just overall a really enjoyable read. 5/5 stars!
Was this review helpful?
Yet another pleasant surprise by a new to me author. (I love it when that happens, don’t you?) 😉

This book had pretty much everything. A new PNR twist, a second chance romance, a great mystery, some really great supporting characters, a touch of humor and a surprise twist.

I have to admit that it took me a while to figure out Hudson. I loved Wes from the start and since Hudson hurt him, he had a lot to prove. Once the pieces fell into place, I couldn’t help but fall for him too.

And now’s where things are about to get vague. See, I can’t say much more without giving away Hudson’s secret, which is totally worth the wait… sorry? What I can tell you is that I loved the twist, I loved the mystery and I loved the characters. I also can’t wait till the Not Dead Yet series continues.
Was this review helpful?
This was a really great story that can go a long way! Wes died in the early 1900's, but was brought back, kinda. He doesn't age, doesn't change, but has the ability to turn into a ghost. So naturally, he's a recovery specialist. And he is pretty good at it. This caused issues with his long time boyfriend in the 80's. A cop isn't too keen on dating someone who obtains things for a living. Nevermind that being a gay cop in the 80's was career suicide. But like other relationships in Wes' life, he knew it would have to end eventually. Being perpetually 20somthing make it hard to have long lasting relationships.

But while on the ghost plane, Wes witnesses a murder. And he has no choice but to call his old cop boyfriend, Hudson, and let me know what he saw. No one else would believe him, being part ghost and all. But Hudson seems to have some new secrets of his own, and just one look at Hudson sends Wes' heart into over drive. The time apart had dampened the pain of their breakup, but being together and working together puts Wes right back to being head of heels in love with Hudson again.

I love Wes' snarky attitude. Being 20something for the last 100 years means that he hasn't really had to growup all the way. Hudson's no nonsense attitude balances Wes perfectly. You will laugh and scream at these characters in the best way. And while this is a HFN ending, I think that there are a lot of places this story can lead to, and I am hoping we get to see more of the characters in this book.
Was this review helpful?
I LOVED this book. It was unique and the characters are so loveable. 

Wes is able to turn into a "ghost" and he uses those skills to help people recover items either stolen or left behind. Even though he got a second chance at life he's not really living, he just doesn't want to admit that. 

Hudson is Wes's ex-boyfriend. They were great together, they were in love, but one thing after another stood in their way of happiness. 

Neither man will admit it, but they never got over the other. 

When they meet again it's because Wes was the witness to a murder. 

They're forced to reveal long-buried secrets, their feelings, and a serial killer. 

What I liked best about this book was how refreshing it is. Not only is the premise different, but it had a few surprises that I didn't see coming. There were some things I was able to guess but there's a big twist that took me by surprise and I fell in love even more. It's hard to shock me because I read a lot and have seen pretty much everything, so when an author is able to pull off a surprise I bump the book up immediately. 

Wes and Hudson try so hard to not be together, but as the book unfolds you can see each of them struggling with holding back the love they have for one another. I can't wait for more of this series so we can see how they grow as a couple and as people. 

These characters are fresh and interesting and they can get into a whole lot of trouble in the next book, I'm excited for it.
Was this review helpful?
I’ve always enjoyed this author, whether she writes alone or with a partner, but I must say I think this is my favorite of her works to date. Not Dead Yet is a fun, exciting paranormal romance featuring two interesting heroes and a cast of secondary characters who I can’t wait to get to know better. It’s also a second chance romance which is absolutely my jam. 

Wes Cooper is a ghost. Sometimes, anyway. He uses his ability to ghost in and out of existence in his work as a recovery specialist. Recovering what you ask? Well, anything and everything and most of the time the rightful owner doesn’t want to let go of it. But it keeps the bills paid and Wes living comfortably. Then he walks in on a murder in progress and his life is turned upside down. 

He makes an anonymous call to the police, but after talking to his best friend he also makes a call to this former lover… who happens to still be on the police force. He and Hudson haven’t seen each other for 33 years, but Wes is just as attracted to him as the day they met. This Hud seems a little darker, a little harder, but just as unforgiving of Wes’s recovery jobs as he ever was. But they begin to work together anyway.

There is so much to love about this PNR. I went in expecting another tropey, ghostly paranormal and was pleasantly surprised to discover that everything about this book felt fresh. I can honestly say I haven’t read anything like it. The mystery was very well done and left me a bit surprised at the end. 

The romance between Wes and Hudson was super sexy and I enjoyed seeing them make their way back to each other emotionally. I won’t go into the reasons why they broke up, but it was realistic and I expect these characters to have to continue to deal with it as the series progresses. They have a lot of history between them and behind them, I have a feeling it’s going to take a while for them to work through it. Which is fine by me, I’ve got a little crush on snarky, cranky Wes. 

I’m absolutely stoked that this is going to be a series. I’ve already put book two on my TBR list. Give Up the Ghost has a release date of June 3, 2019 and I can’t wait. 
Final grade- B+
Was this review helpful?
Wow! What an excellent supernatural, mystery, slow burn and second-chance romance novel, I absolutely loved this one. 

Wes isn't exactly alive or dead - a spell gone wrong has his trapped in his non-aging body, with abilities to slip between our world and another mystical one. It's helped him with his job - "retreivement specialist" (read - thief), although it was point of contention with his then-boyfriend of over thirty years ago, Hudson Rojas. But when weird things start happening, Wes reaches back out to Hudson and discovers some things - major things - have changed since he last saw him. It's hard to say anything else without giving away spoilers, all I can say is, I was NOT expecting what happened and I absolutely LOVED it!

I adored Wes and everything about him - his snark, his attitude toward his job and his non-life life, and I loved that he was somewhat asexual, more likely on the demisexual spectrum, and I love that representation in this story. I also love that Hudson totally got it and was okay with it, didn't make it into a thing. I also loved Hudson being a bit gruff and standoffish at the start of their reunion, it made sense and worked for me as we got to know him better. But I loved the connection between the two right from the start. 

Wes, Hudson, Wes's friend Lexi, and their new friend Evan (who totally needs a man of his own!), must all work together to find out who is behind the killings and other mystical happenings surrounding them. Along the way, Wes and Hudson start making their way back to each other - although it's a slow, slow burn for these two in reconnecting (which I absolutely loved.) I loved all the little moments - Wes and Hudson both appreciating the magnificence that is Chris Evans splitting a log with his bare hands (because - amen!), a Mr. Pointy Buffy reference, some sweet moments, and a lovely sexy buildup to the ending. 

CANNOT wait for the next book in this series! While this does end with a very solid HFN, there are questions unanswered and more to come for this group of friends, this family of freaks. 

I received a review copy from netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
Was this review helpful?
This is such a hard book for me to review. If I were to review it as a paranormal murder mystery, it would be a perfect, solid 5*. As a romance, I would give it about 2*, since there's not much of it, and what was there, wasn't great. 

Like I said before, the plot was amazing. It was gripping, fascinating, with great pacing, twists and turns. I loved it! I couldn't put it down. The combination of paranormal with police procedural really worked for me. I was hooked.

But. And, as they say, this is a Big But.

The romance. Oh the romance. It was awful. It took me some time to grow to like Wes, but once I got there, I was all in. He was wonderful and sweet and tried so hard. He deserved so much. What he didn't deserve was a partner who constantly put him down, disrespected him and insulted him repeatedly. I'm okay with animosity (at start of a romance), but I still need to feel the characters respect each other. Hudson treated Wes like shit, and didn't really stop until maybe 70% in? I spent most of the book wishing Wes would just drop him into an active volcano and go off with Evan and Lexi, who were absolutely wonderful. Honestly, the book kicked up a notch when Evan showed up, it was like magic.

I know Wes and the book and everyone else describes Hudson as a hot and cold person, but that doesn't excuse the fact that the only way to get him to stop insulting Wes for a moment and told him how he really feels was to drug him on a magic drug. I'm sorry, but as a romance, that's unacceptable.

I would still recommend this book for lovers of paranormal investigation stories, but steel yourself for a tooth-grinding romance.
Was this review helpful?
You know that person who reads all the spoilers, skips to the end of the book, wants to know who won the game before the watch the recording? That is me! Suspense is not my friend. I like to know what I am in for.
That being said, I did not skip to the end of this book. It never even occurred to me. I just read and read and read until I got to the satisfying end.
Hudson is Mr. Grumpypants. I had tears in my eyes by the end of chapter 2 because he played his role so well.
I also laughed throughout the story.
"Suck my toe, Hudson!"
And I was anxious as things started to heat up on the mystery front. I could not put this book down!

The paranormal aspects are really interesting. Wes as a ghost that essentially inhabits both the living and non-living is cool. Lexi, her family connection to Wes and their friendship was just another layer of entertainment. Then we got Evan, who I just wanted to cuddle until all his worries went away. I hope he gets his own book.

There was a lot to enjoy here.
-Second chance romance
-Super slow burn (which is both delicious and frustrating)
-Age gap (LOL)
-Ace rep
-Paranormal aspects

One warning, do not read the blurb for book 2 because it has a major spoiler. (That was my good deed for the day).

I can't wait for more in this series!
Was this review helpful?
Wes is the embodiment of the title of this book. He is not dead yet? He was killed and was reinvigorated and now uses the peculiarities of this state to make a living in a unique way. He is about his business when he witnesses a murder that shakes him. It encourages him to contact his ex-lover Hudson, who was a cop when they were together 33 years before but is now a detective to give information. There is still something there between them, despite the passage of time but they initially continue to dance around the fact that they are drawn together. The case that reunites them and a series of subsequent deaths keep them in each others orbits. The emotion that is between them is the glue that helps move the reader through strange situations that culminates in them really becoming a couple again. This was a good first installment in this series and I am really looking forward to the next book.
Was this review helpful?
This book is number 1 on my reread list.

And not just because I lost my notes about it. I’m kinda freestyling this review for now and I will come back later to update trigger and diversity information.

But I don’t need my notes to remember how much I enjoyed reading Not Dead Yet. It’s one of those stories you end up really feeling with and cheering for the characters – and not just for them to get their heads out of their asses for fucks sake!

I’m a sucker for slow burn romance and this book has one of the most delicious slow romances I have ever read. And that even though Wes and Hudson had been romantic partners before. 

Aside from that perfect romance we get treated to so much humor! I was grinning madly so often while reading and I would love to tell you why but I can’t because you have to experience every little scene for yourself. But after you have read it come talk to me about it!

Usually I end up with a clear favourite character and then a favourite minor character. Sometimes that’s even the same person. But having to choose from this cast? Impossible. 

Okay, enough gushing about the characters and their love (I could go on but not without spoilering you and that’s not fun).

I’ll try to become a serious reviewer. Just for a moment.

Let’s talk about world-building. Because Not Dead Yet has it. Aside from the really believable (urban) fantasy aspects that I can totally believe happening around us I love how new Wes’s abilities are. I have read about two other ghostly characters that I can think of right now – although one of them is a reaper so not a ghost at all – Wes and his state of being is so interesting.
Jenn Burke put so many thoughts and details into this character that I just… I’m without words. 

And there went my being a serious reviewer. But you just can’t be that with this book! And I haven’t used this many exclamation points ever I think. That may tell you how excited I still am about this story even though I have read it back in November!

Last Words: After rereading it I will end up rereading it again!
Was this review helpful?
Best line: “Suck my toe, Hudson!”

Whatever context you are picturing for that order, it’s probably wrong.

Not Dead Yet is a fun paranormal romance between a thief (sorry, “recovery specialist”) and his ex-boyfriend, who is a cop. The twist is that Wes is able to carry out his thefts on a separate plane of existence from our own due to being brought back from the dead by a witch. Being able to turn invisible and walk through walls—handy talents for a guy who steals stuff for a living. He’s also seemingly immortal, which means that when he sees his ex, Hudson, again after 33 years, he still looks like a 20-something, while Hudson is now 58.

At first, I was a little unsure how a romance could work between a guy who doesn’t die and one who isn’t all that far off from retirement age. But that’s what plot twists are for, I guess. 😉

It’s a good read overall. I did get somewhat tired of the way Hudson blows hot and cold about Wes, which went on a little too long for my tastes. The worldbuilding could have been a bit more detailed, too, because I don’t feel like I ever quite got a handle on what exactly Wes’s abilities were.

I’m not sure it’s ever addressed specifically in the book, but Wes seems to be gray ace/demisexual. It was a plus for me to have that sexual orientation woven into the romance between Wes and Hudson.

I’d recommend this for readers looking for a paranormal romance that has a fresh twist on the genre.

A copy of this book was provided through NetGalley for review; all opinions expressed are my own.
Was this review helpful?
Une résumé qui avait de quoi attiser ma curiosité. Un univers que je découvre. Et pour une première rencontre c’est une très belle surprise….

L’histoire suit celle de Wes et Hudson. Le premier a été assassiné en 1933 mais a été ramené à la vie par une sorcière. Du coup, il se retrouve être à moitié humain et moitié fantôme. L’autre est un flic qui est profondément enfoui dans son placard et qui a rompu avec Wes, il a de cela bien longtemps.

Tous deux vont se retrouver face à un cas très étrange qui ne cesse de s’intensifier avec le nombre croissant de victimes mortes. Aucun d’eux ne s’était préparé à cette tournure des évènements. Mais au fur et à mesure que le danger augmente, ils vont devoir faire face à leur passé s’ils veulent d’un avenir…

En bref… Un urban fantasy comme je les aime. Merveilleusement bien écrit. Avec le parfait mélange d’humour, de rebondissements, de danger, de tension, de passion, de sensualité et de sensations fortes. Et un duo unique dans leur genre qui a su me séduire chacun à leur manière. Tout ce qu’il faut pour passer un excellentissime moment. L’univers de Jenn Burke me plait beaucoup et je n’ai qu’une hâte c’est de retrouver notre duo dans la suite de leurs aventures…. À découvrir !
Was this review helpful?
I found this book interesting and I really liked the idea of Wes being a sort of ghost/resurrected, 1/2 alive kind of character - it was different and complex. However, it did take me awhile to warm up to both Wes and Hudson and neither will go down as favorite characters. I loved the secondary characters though and eventually I did end up liking both Wes and Hudson.

I found the world building well done and the mystery was very interesting. There were some twists I didn't see coming and I didn't figure out who the villain was until the very end. I'll definitely be interested in the next book to see what happens.
Was this review helpful?