Kate’s Review: “The Ravenous Dead”

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Book: “The Ravenous Dead (Gravekeeper #2)” by Darcy Coates

Publishing Info: Poisoned Pen Press, March 2022

Where Did I Get This Book: I received a print copy of this book from the publisher.

Where You Can Get This Book: WorldCat | Amazon | Indiebound

Book Description: He’ll never let go

Keira, hired as Blighty Graveyard’s new groundskeeper, lives surrounded by the dead. They watch her through the fog. They wordlessly cry out. They’ve been desperately waiting for help moving on—and only Keira can hear them. But not every restless spirit wants to be saved.

Sometimes the dead hate the living too much to find peace.

As Keira struggles to uncover the tangled histories of some of the graveyard’s oldest denizens, danger seeps from the darkest edges of the forest. A vicious serial killer was interred among the trees decades before, his spirit twisted by his violent nature. He’s furious. Ravenous. And when Keira unwittingly answers his call, she may just seal her fate as his final intended victim.

Review: Thank you to Poisoned Pen Press for sending me a print copy of this book!

Another week, another “Gravekeeper” book! While I do love the really scary stuff that Darcy Coates has concocted in the past, it’s also kind of nice to have a comparatively lighter horror story to tackle. The second book in the series, “The Ravenous Dead”, ended up being a pretty fun beach read for me on my vacation at the beginning of March, as while it’s eerie and admittedly scarier than “The Whispering Dead”, it’s also light hearted enough that it just fit in with the relaxation I was going for.

“The Ravenous Dead” is the second book into the “Gravekeeper” series, and we pretty much jump right back in where we left off. Keira is still living in the groundskeeper cottage at the Blighty cemetery, still able to see the lingering ghosts in the graveyard that she can potentially help cross over, and still doesn’t remember much of her past before waking up here. She’s still chummy with Zoe and Mason, and is trying to help ghosts, maintain friendships, and stay under the radar lest the mysterious group chasing her previously pops back up. I find it awesome that Coates can write some pretty zippy and humorous dark fantasy as well as the horror that she is so good at, and “The Ravenous Dead”, while having darker horror bits, is still very accessible and, dare I say, cozy. I love that Coates does this as easily as she does her very scary stuff.

But, cozy or not, I also liked that this one was a bit darker than “The Whispering Dead”. I totally get that the first book in a series has a lot of groundwork to lay, and I also understand that the Gravekeeper books are a bit more on the dark fantasy and light hearted side. And that works just fine overall. But I was pretty pumped when Keira first encountered the ‘shade’, aka the spirit of the potential serial killer that is not only still fully invested in causing death and destruction, it can also attack and ‘kill’ ghosts that are in the cemetery. It reminded me a bit of the Peter Jackson horror film “The Frighteners”, and it upped the ante for stakes in this book as Keira not only has to worry about a mysterious group coming after her, she now has to worry about being hurt or killed by one of the things that she is sticking around Blighty to help. It also made her inner conflicts about confiding in Mason and Zoe about her ghostly abilities all the more pressing, as she doesn’t want to put them in danger, but could really use their support. It just made the horror elements all the darker, and given that when Coates REALLY goes to town on the horror like in some of her other books, it’s VERY satisfying for the reader. So it was nice seeing shades of that in this one.

And the cast of characters and overall setting is still pretty fun. I’m warming up to conspiracy theorist Zoe, I still like Mason’s earnest personality (and I like that while there is kind of something going on between him and Keira, it isn’t obsessed over), and I still like Keira’s spunky and sometimes exasperated attitude. And there are also more fun interactions with the townsfolk of Blighty, like perky florist Polly and her morose goth son, or kindly pastor Adage who is still letting Keira stay in the groundskeeper cottage. Coates just knows how to make Blighty seem like a quirky little community that has a lot of charm to go around.

“The Ravenous Dead” was a fun follow up to the first book in the series, and next week I am moving onto the most recent “Gravekeeper” book “The Twisted Dead”. And on top of that, I’m going to run a giveaway of all three “Gravekeeper” books, so definitely check back in soon! Darcy Coates is still keeping me entertained and intrigued, and I can’t wait to see where Keira goes next!

Rating 8: A well done and darker sequel that explores more of the downsides of being able to see ghosts, “The Ravenous Dead” keeps with the quippy atmosphere while still finding grim scares.

Reader’s Advisory:

“The Ravenous Dead” is included on the Goodreads lists “Psychic/Paranormal”, and “2022 Horror Novels Written by Women and Non-Binary Femmes”.

Previously Reviewed:

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