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Publisher's Summary

Contemporary fantasy in the world of Strange Practice, starring Dr. Greta Helsing, whose family has been keeping the supernatural community not-alive and well for generations.

When Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, is unexpectedly called to Paris to present at a medical conference, she expects nothing more exciting than professional discourse on zombie reconstructive surgery and skin disease in bogeymen - and hopefully at least one uneventful night at the Opera. 

Unfortunately for Greta, Paris happens to be infested with a coven of vampires - and not the civilized kind. If she hopes to survive, Greta must navigate the darkest corners of the City of Lights, the maze of ancient catacombs and mine-tunnels underneath the streets, where there is more to find than simply dead men's bones. 

Dr. Greta Helsing novels

  • Strange Practice
  • Dreadful Company
©2018 Vivian Shaw (P)2018 Hachette Audio

Critic Reviews

"Shaw's elegant writing make this series a standout in the genre." (Booklist)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Okay but too many vampires and self-righteousness

**MAJOR SPOILERS INCLUDED**

I am personally VERY TIRED of vampire stories. I get that she is a Hellsing and there’s gotta be vampires at least in the wings... But the reason I came into the first book was NOT for vampires. I loved seeing her talk about mummy metatarsals and diagnosing ear infections in ghouls. Please give more of that. Please give me more about how she treats zombies for decay! Please let me hear at least part of the conversation she must eventually have with Dr. Faust about demon physiology. And for *Sam’s sake* please give me something more creative than another twice-darned vampire-centric story!

Unrelated to above, there’s a part the story that *really* bugged me and this is where the SPOILERS come in... The nasty vampire coven under Paris is quickly discovered to have turned a 17-ish year old girl without her permission. Every character has an angry focus that this girl is a child. Which is true, and I appreciate their anger. But it’s really, really important that she’s just a child. Only a child. OMG they turned a child. And NO consideration is given to the numerous other members of the coven who, regardless of their age, may also have been turned against their will and held to bear their terrible new burden in this hellish little coven. Nope. It’s all about the child. And the rest of them are slaughtered like dogs. May I also add that this is just after one of the shittiest vampires of said coven is humanized and pitied too? And then they give a flimsy excuse to kill all of them that sounded a lot like: “They’re just too far gone.” It really rubbed me the wrong way. So self-righteous.

Moral inconsistencies aside, I must reluctantly admit that the story was fascinating. I loved seeing how all the characters separately held different parts of a mystery and how they reacted to stuff based on only the information they had. Obviously, the reader gets all the parts first and knows exactly what is going on most of time which was a bit frustrating - but if you are invested in the characters like I was, it was interesting to see the parts and characters slowly meld together. Also, the body glitter joke was hilarious. And the little monsters were adorable.

Beside the story, the writing in this book was a lot more “Hollywood-ish”. In the first book, the writing was a bit awkward and repetitive, but the focus on thoughts and feelings was actually somewhat refreshing from the kind of “Hollywood-ish” writing I’ve been seeing in a lot of fiction lately. What I mean by that is: there was more action, more characters and more perspective switches. This is not a bad change. It’s got 100x better pacing and flow and is certainly less frustrating to listen to than the first book... But I feel like the author lost a bit of her unique tone. If she writes another book, I hope she can reclaim a bit of that uniqueness in some way.

People have really been harping on the narrator but I thought that the narrator has improved since the last book. Again, her “voices” don’t sounds stellar to me, but they were a bit easier to differentiate than the last book. Also, maybe I was imagining it, but I felt like she was more expressive as well.

A lot of people have been mentioning the new pronunciation of Fastitocalon. In the last book, she pronounced it “fas-tee-tow-KAY-lon” but in this one she pronounces it “fas-tee-tah-ka-lon”. A google search tells me that the first pronunciation is closer to correct... so... the change is very odd. Maybe it was changed for the nickname “fas” to make more sense? Or maybe the author requested the change? I have a hard time believing that a professional narrator would make that big of an error so I feel like there has got to be a good reason for it.

Also, the sound designer/engineer was paying attention this time because the pauses between chapter and perspective switches were on point.

Would recommend to anyone who likes vampire novels and who wants a relatively good story that they don’t expect to think about too much.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Better than the first

The author has done a better job with her sort of writing style in this one. I was curious about how the second book in the series would turn out, and I wasn’t disappointed. That said, it’s always refreshing to come across stories about supernaturals like Vampires that portray them as realistically pompous or vile or even trite as any human. The romance element is still understated. Importantly, the “monsters” are interesting, even supposedly cute. If you weren’t certain about the first book, give this one a try before making up your mind. Ms. Hampton’s narration is as good as ever. I wasn’t bothered by the changed pronunciations. She’s a fine narrator.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

What happened with the narrator???

Had to abandon very early after the narrator mispronounced Fastitocalon multiple times. Ruthven also sounded completely different than the previous performance. I am sure the content of the story is excellent and I will just read the book version.

I loved Strange Practice so much I listened to it multiple times and was looking forward to this release for ages. Disappointed not to have these companions for my commute.

11 of 13 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

So lovely

A fantastic follow up to Strange Practice. This book is of a similar scope in size of the adventure, but with new stakes and new threats in a new location. The heart, compassion and care that was a huge part of my love of the first book is retained, with additional characters added into the mix. The worldbuilding is charming, and there is the addition of adorable magical monsters to boot. I found this book to be a deeply pleasant way to spend 11.5 hours of my life. Also, while I know some listeners have mixed feelings about the narrator, I love her voice, accent and inflection. Yes, the pronunciation of some names has been adjusted, but I assume this was not the narrator being capricious, but instead getting feedback from the author or finding information about historically correct pronunciation and updating it for book 2. For me, it didn't detract from the performance.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

love!

loved the first one & loved this one even more (despite some name pronunciation changes by the narrator)

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Smart and Thrilling!

Dr. Greta Helsing is quickly becoming one of my favorite heroines. She is smart, not a damsel, and as a doctor for the paranormal, she has some very interesting stories. This book follows her to Paris for a paranormal medical conference. Everything seems pretty par for course until she is kidnapped by a vampire who has a score to settle with her friend, Ruthven.

Then she is thrown into a cell in the Paris catacombs, where she encounters several new (to me) monsters and ends up providing care to the overly-dramatic vampire coven keeping her prisoner. I don’t want to give too much away, but I was thrilled with the work in of the Phantom of the Opera.

In short, Vivian Shaw is a wonderfully-talented-author, who has a real gift for giving her characters life. If you’re into vampires, the paranormal, fantasy, and the like, I can’t recommend this book enough. I’m personally, already dying for the third installment, Grave Importance, to come out. Can’t wait.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Wonderful story, writing, and narration

I liked this book even better than the first. Hoping that the author will continue the series!

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Spooky, engaging, and totally delicious!

I have already listened to it twice. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a getting dropped into a technical and immersive world. Greta Helsing is a fully realized character who takes the audience through the story and all of its quirks with an easy relatability. The real world take on monsters and mythology is refreshing and exciting.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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excited to read the second, & not disappointed!

I loved Strange Practice, and was so glad to feel the same way about this book. Shaw's writing is artful and almost poetic, while never becoming pretentious or lofty. I'm in love with the world she has created, and the characters I have come to know. this was a true pleasure to read (well, hear!). the narrator was just as fantastic as before, and her voice has a richness that adds so much. bravo, and can't wait for the next one!

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars

Stopped after 20 minutes

I don't understand ,even though it's the same narrator as the first book she still mispronounced the name of one of the main characters several times in a very grating manor . I tried to just come back to it later and power through but it was just too distracting.