Something you should know about me: I judge.
When I read the author's bio (which I always do), I look at the photos. And I judge. I decide whether or not I could be friends with the writer, based on how they look in their photo. Deanna Raybourn and I would not be friends. She looks a tad airbrushed, and she's wearing a bad '80s sort of Twilight-meets-Mr. Rochester's Wife get-up that annoys me.
She's from Texas, which makes me wonder if her little costume speaks for how she thinks writers of gothic romances ought to look.
However, I do enjoy her books.
If you have not read her Lady Julia Grey series (Silent in the Grave, Silent in the Sanctuary and Silent on the Moor), DO IT. They are pretty well written, entertaining, have a good hook for their mystery, and she keeps you waiting for the romance between Julia and Nicholas Brisbane (who I picture looking like Clive Owen, for some reason).
Speaking of which, do you do that? Do you picture movie stars as the characters? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't.
Back to The Dead Travel Fast. I totally understand the "dead" part of the equation, but not so much for the "traveling fast." All of the dead seem to be from the tiny village in Transylvania, where the story is set. Theodora Lestrange (I blame Texas for that name - and before you Texans besmirch me, think of your own animus against the other 49 states in the union) is a ripe old spinster at 23, so, itching for an adventure and for a spark to her nascent writing career, she sets off for Romania to visit an old school chum. Naturally, she meets a tall, dark, gloriously handsome but maddeningly mysterious man, named Count Andrei Dragulescu. I think we're supposed to draw a line between Count Andrei and Count Dracula, because there are suspicions that Andrei the Hottie might want to suck your blood.
But back to the story.
Theodora gets caught up in a murder mystery, as well as the mystery of Count Andrei's family and the legends surrounding it. Are they vampires? Werewolves? Something worse? Something better?
I enjoyed this one. After the Lady Julia books, I'd grown accustomed to Deanna Raybourn's propensity to drag out romance and make you yearn for some lovin', touchin' and squeezin'. There is not much more of it here, but there is one scene that will get your blood flowing.
Like a lot of romance novels (although I bet Deanna Raybourn does not think of herself as a romance novelist), The Dead Travel Fast features a preternaturally gorgeous and masculine love interest, the type you wish existed in real life. There were a couple of twists to the book, one of which I saw coming a mile away, but the other was a pleasant surprise. And picturing Andrei makes it fun.