Arc August: May Day by Josie Jaffrey Book Review

“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.”

Hey pals,

I got this book as a free arc in exchange for an honest review and sadly I did not enjoy this book much, I actually ended up DNF’ing the book. Reading the blurb and overview of plot, it sounded great. I love crime and detective stories and really enjoy working through a book trying to figure out a mystery, and I am yet to find an urban fantasy I enjoy but I like the idea of what it is meant to be. I was excited about the idea of combining vampires and supernatural elements with crime and detective plots.

I’m struggling to understand the audience of this book. There are many contradictory elements that suggest it could be YA or Adult Urban Fantasy, I think it’s meant to be Adult. The MC Jack falls flat for me in many ways. She comes across like a teenager who hasn’t settled into herself as a person, there’s a lot of telling rather than showing. The MC narrative tone is very juvenile and feels very YA, irrational and naive. MC and sidekick Cam are both Vampires that died at 18 and 19 respectively, Jack has lived for 20 more years since and Cam is unknown so I’m not sure if I should be expecting them to act 18/19 or almost 40. They are both working Vampire Detectives and Cam comes across older but the MC doesn’t. I assume it is adult because of the amount of casual swearing used, but also because they are detectives as a job vs. in YA like Nancy Drew or Scooby Doo, they’re kids in school still who like to solve crime in their spare time.

I’m very confused about the point in time this book starts, we get into an investigation and Jack is convinced Killian Drake (one of the head vampires) did it and she has this grudge with him that isn’t really explained enough. I know there is a short prequel, but I think it may have just been better to start with the prequel as the beginning of the book for the backstory to make sense because Jack just comes across really irrational in her hatred of him.

When it comes to the investigation related stuff, I’m not sure enough research was done into how this works, or if there’s an in world system for the Vampire Detectives, it hasn’t been made clear and padded out. It’s skimmed over in a lot of places and the people working the case don’t sound very professional.

I found it odd that the characters just got totally wrecked in chapter two. It didn’t really add anything to the plot and we didn’t learn anything about the other characters really. This is the kind of scene I would expect later in a book for an accidental admission of some kind, a revealed secret. Or early in the book to get to know the other character’s the MC will be working alongside but they all quickly dispersed and we were left with Cam and Jack talking about the case because Cam refused to talk about his personal life, it really did nothing for plot development or world building for me.

I find a lot of the writing will give you information, but then diminish what’s said. One example is speaking to Gabriella, Jack mentally notes that her clothes look expensive and would cost more than their work car “which isn’t saying much”, so a lot of meaning is lost with these filler sentences. Now I’m questioning, are her clothes actually expensive looking? I feel like that sentence quickly took back what was said and just think a better comparison should have been made. This happens a lot in the few chapters I read.

I’ve noticed every woman they meet is always the most beautiful woman they have ever seen. Every woman is just minimised to looking beautiful, I’m not sure how to tell all these characters apart when the first thing that’s said about them is they’re the most beautiful.


These were my main points of critique. Overall, I think that this book just wasn’t for me. I’ve seen many great reviews of the book, so if you enjoy this book then that’s great but it just didn’t really hit the mark for me. It was quite disjointed and confusing for me to read and I feel like maybe some of it would have made more sense if I read the prequel first, but as I said in a previous point, I think they probably could have done with being combined. Many books will start off with a prequel chapter for some scene setting and backstory before lunging into the main plot however many years later. I just didn’t connect with the MC, which makes reading difficult for me. It sucks too, coz there are some queer characters and some things I wanted to read and find out but I couldn’t push through the parts I wasn’t enjoying. I think I only really got partway through chapter 8 of this book, it was a slow start and I just wasn’t enjoying it personally. I’ll be giving this one star as I DNF’d.


That’s my review of my reading experience. I hope this was helpful to some people, I’ll also post a bit on my GoodReads. I was torn about writing this but I’ve tried to be respectful and honest about my experience. I’ll likely donate this book or pass it on to someone who wants to read it.

I’m hoping to review another arc I recieved, later this month, that’s more positive but don’t hold me to it but life does things sometimes. Hopefully I’ll be able to give you another Arc Review for Arc August. I was thinking of making a video as well but again I’m not totally sure yet! If I do, I’ll link the video and post here.

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~ Artie

2 thoughts on “Arc August: May Day by Josie Jaffrey Book Review

  1. Really great review — I often find book reviews don’t delve into the details you have and give information as to why something (in the case) didn’t click for you. It sounds like there needs to be clearer direction with this one. Thanks for sharing!

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