The Dead Travel Fast [NOOK Book]


A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all

With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh—and a disappointed suitor—far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.

She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians,...

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The Dead Travel Fast

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A husband, a family, a comfortable life: Theodora Lestrange lives in terror of it all

With a modest inheritance and the three gowns that comprise her entire wardrobe, Theodora leaves Edinburgh—and a disappointed suitor—far behind. She is bound for Rumania, where tales of vampires are still whispered, to visit an old friend and write the book that will bring her true independence.

She arrives at a magnificent, decaying castle in the Carpathians, replete with eccentric inhabitants: the ailing dowager; the troubled steward; her own fearful friend, Cosmina. But all are outstripped in dark glamour by the castle's master, Count Andrei Dragulescu.

Bewildering and bewitching in equal measure, the brooding nobleman ignites Theodora's imagination and awakens passions in her that she can neither deny nor conceal. His allure is superlative, his dominion over the superstitious town, absolute—Theodora may simply be one more person under his sway.

Before her sojourn is ended—or her novel completed—Theodora will have encountered things as strange and terrible as they are seductive. For obsession can prove fatal…and she is in danger of falling prey to more than desire.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Excitement, danger, and romance await independent, headstrong writer Theodora Lestrange when she flees 1858 Scotland and miserable spinsterhood for the wilds of Transylvania, joining a childhood friend who will soon be wed. Ensconced in a crumbling castle steeped in sinister legend, Theodora finds herself drawn equally to its gloomy atmosphere and its rakish master, Count Andrei Dragulescu. Rita Award–winning author Raybourn (the Lady Julia Grey series) delightfully evokes the language, tension, and sweeping grandeur of 19th-century gothic novels. Theodora is a delightful heroine, so much so that cruel, petty, misogynistic Andrei never really seems worthy of her. The book unfortunately drags during the middle, and its leading man’s motives are confused throughout, but Raybourn’s intriguing treatment of vampire legends will delight fans of the genre. (Mar.)
Library Journal
Miss Theodora Lestrange received a small inheritance after her grandfather's passing, but she'd prefer to earn her own way as a successful authoress. When she gets an invitation to visit her old school friend Cosmina Dragulescu in Transylvania, Theodora accepts as she's curious to experience the world of Cosmina's girlhood stories (huge wolves, the walking dead) and perhaps find inspiration for a novel. Arriving at Castle Dragulescu, built into the side of a mountain in the Carpathians, Theodora realizes the most frightening things roaming the Carpathians are actually found inside the castle. VERDICT In a change of pace from her Lady Julia Grey Victorian mysteries (Silent on the Moor), Raybourn has written a wonderfully spooky, classic gothic romance but wisely adds a few modern touches for wider audience appeal. The characters are complex and charming, the suspense is palatable, and the ending is satisfyingly happy. A great choice for fans of Barbara Michaels, Mary Stewart, or Victoria Holt.—Stacey Hayman, Rocky River P.L., OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781459248076
  • Publisher: MIRA
  • Publication date: 8/15/2012
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 400
  • Sales rank: 197,243
  • File size: 669 KB

Meet the Author

Deanna Raybourn

New York Times bestselling author Deanna Raybourn graduated from the University of Texas at San Antonio with a double major in English and history and an emphasis on Shakespearean studies. She taught high school English for three years in San Antonio before leaving education to pursue a career as a novelist. Deanna makes her home in Virginia, where she lives with her husband and daughter and is hard at work on her next novel.


If there is one thing that novelist Deanna Raybourn has learned, it is the old adage "write what you read." Before penning her critically hailed debut, a spellbinding historical mystery titled Silent in the Grave, she spent years struggling to perfect the romance novel. Native Texan Raybourn wrote her first romance at the age of 23. Although she did receive some attention from potential publishers, she failed to publish the book. Ultimately, she stored it away in a box in her attic. Over the next several years, that manuscript would be joined by eight more, all written in the same lusty vein. That's when she finally had the revelation that would lead to her first published novel. "I lean more towards mystery and historical fiction in my reading, so I finally decided to write what I read," she explains on her website. "Apparently THAT is the magical formula for success, in case anyone is writing this down." Two years later, she had finished Silent in the Grave and Mira Books ("known in my house as The Finest Publishing Company on The Planet," Raybourn says) picked it up.

Raybourn's sprawling debut novel takes its title from a foreboding quote in the Bible's book of Psalms: "Let the wicked be ashamed and let them be silent in the grave." This is the final threat that London society hound Sir Edmund Grey receives before he unexpectedly falls dead in the middle of a dinner party. While his wife Julia initially believes Edmund's death to be the result of a preexisting heart condition, private agent Nicholas Brisbane informs her that he believes her husband's death to be of a more insidious nature. When Julia solicits Brisbane to find the killer, they are both drawn into a dangerous mystery and drawn to each other.

Silent in the Grave garnered much praise from Raybourn's fellow writers, the online community, and the literary press for its masterfully paced suspense and historical authenticity. Karen Harper, who wrote the bestselling thriller Hurricane, applauded, "This debut novel has one of the most clever endings I've seen." Dana Stabenow of declared that Raybourn has a "strong voice akin to Amelia Peabody's, a superbly realized setting—you'll choke on the coal smoke of Raybourn's Victorian London." Meanwhile, Publishers Weekly called Silent in the Grave a "perfectly executed debut," while Kirkus insisted, "Bring on the sequel"! That demand was promptly met, as Raybourn continues to add to her Lady Julia Grey mystery series.

Good To Know

Although Raybourn says that the ultra-busy schedule of a hot new writer does not allow for much free time, she admits that she regularly allows herself spare moments throughout the day to mourn the loss of her favorite show Will & Grace.

On her web site, Raybourn boasts, "I double-majored in history and English, which means I know how to find Jesus imagery in any book you care to give me, and then I can write a fifty-page paper about it with footnotes."

A few interesting outtakes from our interview with Raybourn:

"I taught English for three years, and my favorite lesson was my Trojan War lecture. It lasted three days. Aside from teaching, I was written up for insubordination at every job I ever had. The first book I remember writing was a diary of Marie Antoinette when I was in third grade."

"I read like a fiend. I knit badly, but I just learned to purl, so I'm hoping things will pick up. I am addicted to podcasts—I currently have 600 loaded onto my iPod that I have yet to listen to. I watch too much television, usually classic movies, the History Channel, or Will & Grace reruns. I adore astrology and am always downloading natal charts. I am a Gemini with Libra rising and a Pisces moon."

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    1. Hometown:
      Williamsburg, Virginia
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 17, 1968
    2. Place of Birth:
      Ft. Worth, Texas
    1. Education:
      B.A. in English and History, University of Texas at San Antonio, 1990
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

Edinburgh, 1858

"I am afraid we must settle the problem of what to do with Theodora," my brother-in-law said with a weary sigh. He looked past me to where my sister sat stitching placidly on a tiny gown. It had been worn four times already and wanted a bit of freshening.

Anna glanced up from her work to give me a fond look. "I rather think Theodora ought to have a say in that, William."

To his credit, he coloured slightly. "Of course she must." He sketched a tiny bow in my direction. "She is a woman grown, after all. But now that Professor Lestrange has been properly laid to rest, there is no one here to care for her. Something must be decided."

At the mention of my grandfather, I turned back to the bookshelf whose contents I had been sorting. His library had been an extensive one, and, to my anguish, his debts demanded it be sold along with anything else of value in the house. Indeed, the house itself would have to be sold, although William had hopes that the pretty little property in Picardy Place would fetch enough to settle the debts and leave me a tiny sum for my keep. I wiped the books carefully with a cloth sprinkled with neat's-foot oil and placed them aside, bidding farewell to old friends.

Just then the housekeeper, Mrs. Muldoon, bustled in. "The post, Miss Lestrange."

I sorted through the letters swiftly, passing the business correspondence to William. I kept only three for myself, two formal notes of condolence and the last, an odd, old-fashioned-looking letter written on thick, heavy paper and embellished with such exotic stamps and weighty wax seals that I knew at once who must have sent it. I hesitated to open it, savouring the pleasure of anticipation.

William showed no such restraint. He dashed a paper knife through the others, casting a quick eye over the contents.

"More debts," he said with a sigh. He reached for the ledger, entering the numbers with a careful hand. It was good of him to settle my grandfather's affairs so diligently, but at the moment I wanted nothing more than to be rid of him with his ledgers and his close questions about how best to dispose of a spinster sister-in-law of twenty-three.

Catching my mood, Anna smiled at her husband. "I find I am a little unwell. Perhaps some of Mrs. Muldoon's excellent ginger tea might help."

To his credit, William sprang up, all thoughts of me forgotten. "Of course." Naturally, neither of them alluded to the happy source of her sickness, and I wondered wickedly how happy the news had been. A fifth little mouth to feed on his modest living in a small parish. Anna for her part looked tired, her mouth drawn.

"Thank you," I told her when he had gone. I thrust my duster into my pocket and took up the paper knife. It seemed an act of sacrilege to destroy the seal, but I was wildly curious as to the contents.

Anna continued to stitch. "You must not be too impatient with William," she advised me as I began to read. "He does care for you, and he means well. He only wants to see you properly settled."

I mumbled a reply as I skimmed the letter, phrases catching my eye. My dearest friend, how I have missed you…at last he is coming to take up his inheritance… so much to be decided…

Anna chattered on for a few moments, trying to convince me of her husband's better qualities, I think. I scarce listened. Instead I began to read the letter a second time, more slowly, turning each word of the hasty scrawl over in my head.

"Deliverance," I breathed, sinking onto a hassock as my eyes lingered upon the last sentence. You must come to me.

"Theodora, what is it? Your colour has risen. Is it distressing news?"

After a moment, I found my voice. "Quite the opposite. Do you remember my school friend, Cosmina?"

Anna furrowed her brow. "Was she the girl who stayed behind during holidays with you?"

I had forgot that. After Anna had met and promptly married William at sixteen, I had been bereft. She had left us for his living in Derbyshire, and our little household never entirely recovered from the loss. She was but two years my senior, and we had been orphaned together in childhood. We had been each other's bulwark against the loneliness of growing up in an elderly scholar's household, and I had felt the loss of her keenly.

I had pined so deeply in fact, that my grandfather had feared for my health. Thinking it a cure, he sent me to a school for young ladies in Bavaria, and there I had met Cosmina. Like me, she did not make friends easily, and so we had clung to each other, both of us strangers in that land. We were serious, or so we thought ourselves, scorning the silliness of the other girls who talked only of beaux and debut balls. We had formed a fast friendship, forged stronger by the holidays spent at school when the other pupils who had fewer miles to travel had been collected by their families. Only a few of the mistresses remained to keep charge of us and a lively atmosphere always prevailed. We were taken on picnics and permitted to sit with them in the teachers' sitting room. We feasted on pastries and fat, crisp sausages, and were allowed to put aside our interminable needlework for once. No, we had not minded our exile, and many an evening we whiled away the hours telling tales of our homelands, for the mistresses had travelled little and were curious. They teased me fondly about hairy-kneed Highlanders and oat porridge while Cosmina made them shiver with stories of the vampires and werewolves that stalked her native Transylvania.

I collected myself from my reverie. "Yes, she was. She always spoke so bewitchingly of her home. She lives in a castle in the Carpathians, you know. She is kin to a noble family there." I brandished the letter. "She is to be married, and she begs me to come and stay through Christmas."

"Christmas! That is months away. What will you do with yourself for so long in…goodness, I do not even know what country it is!"

I shrugged. "It is its own country, a principality or some such. Part of the Austrian Empire, if I remember rightly."

"But what will you do?" Anna persisted.

I folded the letter carefully and slipped it into my pocket. I could feel it through my petticoats and crinoline, a talisman against the worries that had assailed me since my grandfather had fallen ill.

"I shall write," I said stoutly.

Anna primmed her lips and returned to her needlework.

I went and knelt before her, taking her hands in mine, heedless of the prick of the needle. "I know you do not approve, but I have had some success. It wants only a proper novel for me to be established in a career where I can make my own way. I need be dependent upon no one."

She shook her head. "My darling girl, you must know this is not necessary. You will always have a home with us."

I opened my mouth to retort, then bit the words off sharply. I might have wounded her with them. How could I express to her the horror such a prospect raised within me? The thought of living in her small house with four—now five!—children underfoot, too little money to speak to the expenses, and always William, kindly but disapproving. He had already made his feelings towards women writers quite clear. They were unyielding as stone; he would permit no flexibility upon the point. Writing aroused the passions and was not a suitable occupation for a lady. He would not even allow my sister to read any novel he had not vetted first, reading it carefully and marking out offending passages. The Brontës were forbidden entirely on the grounds that they were "unfettered." Was this to be my future then? Quiet domesticity with a man who would deny me the intellectual freedoms I had nurtured for so long in favour of sewing sheets and wiping moist noses?

No, it was not to be borne. There was no possibility of earning my own keep if I lived with them, and the little money I should have from my grandfather's estate would not sustain me long. I needed only a bit of time and some quiet place to write a full-length novel and build upon the modest success I had already enjoyed as a writer of suspenseful stories.

I drew in a calming breath. "I am grateful to you and to William for your generous offer," I began, "but it cannot be. We are different creatures, Anna, as different as chalk and cheese, and what suits you should stifle me just as my dreams would shock and frighten you."

To my surprise, she merely smiled. "I am not so easily shocked as all that. I know you better than you credit me. I know you long to have adventures, to explore, to meet interesting people and tell thrilling tales. You were always so, even from an infant. I remember you well, walking up to people and thrusting out your hand by way of introduction. You never knew a stranger, and you spent all your time quizzing everyone. Why did Mama give away her cherry frock after wearing it only twice? Why could we not have a monkey to call for tea?" She shook her head, her expression one of sweet indulgence. "You only stopped chattering when you were asleep. It was quite exhausting."

"I do not remember, but I am glad you told me." It had been a long time since Anna and I had shared sisterly confidences. I had seen her so seldom since her marriage. But sometimes, very occasionally, it felt like old times again and I could forget William and the children and the little vicarage that all had better claims upon my sister.

"You would not remember. You were very small. But then you changed after Papa died, became so quiet and close. You lost the trick of making friends. But I still recall the child you were, your clever antics. Papa used to laugh and say he ought to have called you Theodore, for you were fearless as any boy."

"Did he? I scarce remember him anymore. Or Mama. It's been just us for so long."

"And Grandfather," she said with a smile of gentle affection. "Tell me about the funeral. I was very sorry to have been left behind."

William had not thought it fit for a lady in her interesting condition to appear at the funeral, although her stays had not even been loosened. But as ever, she was obedient to his wishes, and I had gone as the last remaining Lestrange to bid farewell to the kindly old gentleman who had taken us in, two tiny children left friendless in a cold world.

Keeping my hands entwined with hers, I told her about the funeral, recounting the eulogium and the remarks of the clergyman on Grandfather's excellent temper, his scholarly reputation, his liberality.

Anna smothered a soft laugh. "Poor Grandfather. His liberality is why your prospects are so diminished," she said ruefully.

I could not dispute it. Had he been a little less willing to lend money to an impecunious friend or purchase a book from a scholar fallen upon hard times, there would have been a great deal left in his own coffers. But there was not a man in Edinburgh who did not know to apply to Professor Mungo Lestrange if he was a man of both letters and privation.

"Was Mr. Beecroft there?" she asked carefully. She withdrew her hands from mine and took up her needlework again.

I looked for something to do with my own hands and found the fire wanted poking up. I busied myself with poker and shovel while I replied.

"He was."

"It was very kind of him to come."

"He is my publisher, and his firm published Grandfather's work. It was a professional courtesy," I replied coolly.

"Rather more a personal one, I should think," she said, her voice perfectly even. But we had not been sisters so long for nothing. I detected the tiny note of hope in her tone, and I determined to squash it.

"He has asked me to marry him," I told her. "I have refused him."

She jumped and gave a little exclamation as she pricked herself. She thrust a finger into her mouth and sucked at it, then wrapped it in a handkerchief.

"Theodora, why? He is a kind man, an excellent match. And if any husband ought to be sympathetic to a wifely pen it is a publisher!"

I stirred up the coals slowly, watching the warm pink embers glow hotly red under my ministrations. "He is indeed a kind man, and an excellent publisher. He is prosperous and well-read, and with a liberal bent of mind that I should scarce find once in a thousand men."

"Then why refuse him?"

I replaced the poker and turned to face her. "Because I do not love him. I like him. I am fond of him. I esteem him greatly. But I do not love him, and that is an argument you cannot rise to, for you did not marry without love and you can hardly expect it of me."

Her expression softened. "Of course I understand. But is it not possible that with a man of such temperament, of such possibility, that love may grow? It has all it needs to flourish—soil, seed and water. It requires only time and a more intimate acquaintance."

"And if it does not grow?" I demanded. "Would you have me hazard my future happiness on 'might'? No, it is not sound. I admit that with time a closer attachment might form, but what if it does not? I have never craved domesticity, Anna. I have never longed for home and hearth and children of my own, and yet that must be my lot if I marry. Why then would I take up those burdens unless I had the compensation of love? Of passion?"

She raised a warning finger. "Do not collect passion into the equation. It is a dangerous foe, Theodora, like keeping a lion in the garden. It might seem safe enough, but it might well destroy you. No, do not yearn for passion. Ask instead for contentment, happiness. Those are to be wished for."

"They are your wishes," I reminded her. "I want very different things. And if I am to find them, I cannot tread your path."

We exchanged glances for a long moment, both of us conscious that though we were sisters, born of the same blood and bone, it was as if we spoke different dialects of the same language, hardly able to take each other's meaning properly. There was no perfect understanding between us, and I think it grieved her as deeply as it did me.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 62 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 62 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2010

    Don't Bother

    A typical Harlequin romance. No plot to speak of. Characters were one dimensional and the ending was telegraphed by the second chapter. Have read the Lady Julia Grey books and enjoyed them for their sizzle, fast pace, and good characterizations. This book falls flat in all areas.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    A must read, fun read.

    I am not a huge fan of the vampire genre, but I thought Deanna Raybourne's twist on a Dracula-esque story was very enjoyable. It kept my interest, and in fact I couldn't turn the pages fast enough! There was a little romance in this book, but it wasn't written cheaply or without feeling. I love trying to figure out her puzzles. The characters were fun and made the story more interesting. Very enjoyable and spooky.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not terrible, but...

    You're not going to get that time back, either. It should have been a fun spin on the Dracula story with a young woman travelling to Transylvania and coming into contact with vampire legends - and maybe reality? I read the book because I have enjoyed Deanna Raybourn's other books, but this just didn't work for me. It seemed like Raybourn was slumming it a little; I bet it was fun to write, and easy, but probably because it ended up being pretty paint-by-numbers. I actually didn't remember what this book was about until I saw the cover again a couple weeks later. Not a good sign. Her "Lady Julia Grey" series, which starts with "Silent in the Grave" is even more escapist-y fun, but smarter.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 6, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Eyre meets Julia Grey

    I, like many others that have read this book, are big fans of the Lady Julia Grey series. Of course, we will all compare it to the series and I did at first. I was a little disappointed because I felt it didn't quite stand up to the excellence we had come to expect from Lady Grey. After I stopped comparing and let myself be swept away in the story, I found it rather enjoyable. It's a dark gothic tale in a very interesting setting. This sort of reminded me of Julia Grey meets Jane Eyre. The dark castle, the master who can't be understood or tamed, the girl not sure if she will have her happy ending all mixed with murder & mystery. It was an easy read with a surprising ending. As long as you don't go into it expecting to find the same quality as the Grey series, I think you will find it enjoyable.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 15, 2012

    Not up to the author's usual standards....I love her Lady Julia

    Not up to the author's usual standards....I love her Lady Julia series, but I started just skimming this one to finish it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 2, 2011

    Fascinating reading

    Since I love and have read her Lady Grey novels, I deided to purchase this Deanna Raybourn book. I have not quite finished, but am intrigued by it. I would highly recommend it.

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  • Posted May 6, 2011

    i just love her!

    I just finished it.....always sad to come to the end of one of her stories. This was as eloquently written as everything else she has published, and i am excited to read the next one she publishes!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 6, 2011

    Amazing read!!!

    I could not put this book down. The author really knows how to write sensually without being smutty. I felt like a kid eating a piece of cake, quick to finish because it tastes so good but sad once the cake was devoured. I anticipate the next book I read from this author.

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  • Posted December 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Jane Eyre meets Dracula.

    I know I know, a weird combo. A pretty good read about a writer name Theodora who goes to Transylvania to visit her friend Cosmina who's getting married. All the while hoping to start on her novel, if the right moment of inspiration intervenes. That's when Theodora meets Cosmina's fiance, the Count Andrei. While there, she soon learns of the local legends involving vampires and werewolves. The setting was interesting as the same can be said for the characters who helped keep the story interesting. There were some creepy and weird moments. Didn't expect some of the twists and turns that happened throughout the story. I don't why why but while the ending was good, it seemed like something was missing. Maybe it's just me? Liked how Tycho the dog had a role in the story instead of just being in the background. Don't see more of that in other books. Recommend Dead Travel Fast if you like stories with vampires and or a good mystery.

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  • Posted October 10, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent read

    A real page turner. Could not put it down. Recommend the book. Murder, mystery, love and the paranormal. What more could you ask for in a book.

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  • Posted September 18, 2010

    Awesome read!! Another great story from an awesome author

    I just finished reading this book and truly loved it. It had all the chills, thrills, and romance. Can't wait for her next book.

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  • Posted July 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Gothic castle, foreign setting, who do you trust????

    Taking a break from the Lady Julia series, Deanna Raybourn offers us a new character, different but similar is some ways as Lady Julia. The setting is Transylvania, the castle is gothic, and the characters there are anything but usual. I found this tale very enjoyable, reminiscent of Jane Eyre. Until the end, the true characters are not revealed. And, is it really vampires and legends come to pass or human nature? While I prefer Lady Julia, this was another Deanna Raybourn novel I just could not wait to get back to reading. Well done.

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  • Posted June 28, 2010

    Liked it didn't love it

    I am a big fan of the Lady Julia Gray series. So while I'm waiting for the 4th book in that series, I thought I'd give The Dead Travel Fast a shot.
    This was a book I could read a few pages at a time and then go do some housework. I enjoyed it . . but it wasn't a "can't set this book down" type of book.

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  • Posted April 18, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Mystery, murder and a bit of romance

    I love Ms Raybourn's stories. I first read the Lady Grey Series, enjoyed them all and am anxiously waiting for the fourth in the series (Nov 2010). Lady Grey's intelligent, pert, honesty is the perfect match for the dark, mysterious Bisbane. In The Dead Travel Fast, we have a new heroine, who is different than Lady Grey, but still a strong, intelligent woman, who knows her own mind. The superstitions and legends of the Romanian people added an interesting twist to the mystery. I love that Ms. Raybourne's heros are dark, mysterious and romantic and her heroines are intelligent and strong (not fall in love at first sight and will do anything to win you romances). Her books are well-written adventures, with a touch of romance, that never disappoint.

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  • Posted April 8, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A Bump in The Night

    Deanna Raybourn once again takes us back in time. She has left Lady Julia Gray behind and brought us a new heroine in Theodora Lestrange.
    Theodora is left homeless and lost when her beloved grandfather passes. She longs to be self sufficient and seeks out a way in which to do just that. Her best school chum invites her to her wedding in Transylvania and she jumps at the opportunity.
    Ms. Raybourn takes Romanian folk lore and our own personal fears and intertwines them with romance and intrigue. She had me sleeping with the light on in fear of the strigoi.
    While I did not enjoy this book as much as the Silent series I certainly hope she publishes again and soon. Beach reading season is coming and this book is just the thing for an afternoon on the sand wher you are safe and warm. Vampires don't like the sun right?

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  • Posted April 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    atmospheric gothic mystery

    With her Lady Julia Grey novels, Deanna Raybourn has proved herself a master at creating evocative, atmospheric settings and her decision to set her latest Gothic novel, The Dead Travel Fast, in a mysterious and darkly exotic, feudal Transylvania castle can only be labeled as perfectly brilliant.

    The death of Miss Theodora LeStrange's grandfather and guardian has left her at a impasse. Never one to desire marriage and motherhood she can either move in with her sister - and her many children - or marry a man she likes but does not love. Neither option is particularly appealing to Theodora when her rescue from domesticity arrives in the form of a letter from her school-friend Cosmina, inviting her to come to Castle Dragulescu in Transylvania prior to her upcoming marriage. Convinced this is the opportunity she has been waiting for to write her long-dreamed of novel, Theodora convinces friends and family to let her travel halfway around the world to a place steeped in tradition and superstition. Upon her arrival at Castle Dragulescu, Theodora is delighted to discover more than enough inspiration for her novel - the crumbling, yet majestic castle, the superstitious villagers, howling wind and dangerous wolves, not to mention the enigmatic Count Andrei Dragulescu himself. A figure cut for the most dashing adventures surely. But when a strange, horrifying murder strikes at the castle and rumors of supernatural involvement begin to swirl round, Theodora finds her pragmatic intellectual ideals sorely tested as the chilling and diabolical sequence of events unfold.

    It is with a heavy heart to say that I truly struggled with this novel - I must have picked it up only to set it down again about twenty different times in the course of a couple of weeks; each time succumbing to the temptation of other, more shiny books. And it makes it even harder to admit when I say I have truly, truly been looking forward to reading it. That's not to say I wasn't impressed with Ms. Raybourn's latest offering - oh no, I was quite enthralled in fact. Perhaps I just wasn't in the proper frame of mind for such a dramatic and chilling Gothic novel. Over the course of Theodora's narrative I seemed to come across each and every ingredient necessary in crafting a traditional Gothic tale as if I was reading with a checklist in hand: the dark, creepy castle; the mysterious and handsome feudal lord with a libertine past and hidden depths; superstitious townsfolk; the first person, diary-style narrative; the introduction of supernatural elements all combined to create a truly haunting narrative -- just not anything particularly unique. Except for the added twist of Theodora's sleuthing - very much reminiscent of Lady Julia's adventures in that just when you think you've got it all figured out, another shocking revelation comes to light. Still, Ms. Raybourn is one of those authors who I have come to trust implicitly and although I didn't *love* The Dead Travel Fast, I very much liked it. And if I say I'm seriously anticipating the next Julia and Brisbane adventure -- Dark Road to Darjeeling -- like wow and boy howdy, would you even hold that against me?

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  • Posted March 29, 2010

    Engrossing gothic tale

    Evocative of both Shelley's Frankenstein and Stoker's Dracula, this engrossing tale kept me bewitched from start to finish. Exquisitely drawn characters and tight plotting kept the story moving forward. I too, along with Theodora, fell under the spell of Count Dragelescu. Best read on a dark and stormy night! I expect nothing but the best from this author. If you haven't read her backlist, do so today. Loved all the Julia Grey titles as well.

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  • Posted March 28, 2010

    I Also Recommend:


    Characters not as well developed as in the "Silent" books; seems to me this must have been written before the Lady Julia series and only published recently.

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  • Posted March 20, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Another great work from Raybourn

    As I fan of her Julia Grey series, I was excited to see a new entry from Raybourn. But, I was also a little apprehensive that she was writing something new and that I might not like it. However, I enjoyed the book very much and was glad I picked it up. I like that her books come out in paperback, since hardcovers take up so much space. Raybourn is a good writer, but for those looking for a straight mystery, this is not the book for you. It's definitely a romance, thriller, mystery hybrid, that may not please everyone.

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  • Posted January 25, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    This is a terrific gothic romance

    In 1858, writer Theodora Lestrange hates her life in Scotland as everyone she knows wonders why she remains a spinster though she enjoys writing spirited books under the pseudonym T. Lestrange. Needing to escape the misery, she heads to Transylvania to attend her best friend Cosmina's wedding in Hermannstdat, Transylvania.

    Theodora is put up in a dilapidated castle that the locals whisper about in fearful ominous tones. She finds herself feeling different about the castle; perhaps because she is attracted to the owner Count Andrei Dragulescu. However, though he reciprocates her deep feelings, he has a secret that if she learns he will have to leave her dead.

    This is a terrific gothic romance starring a wonderful courageous heroine who while in seeming danger reflects back to her last comment in Edinburgh: "What could possibly happen to me in Transylvania?", obviously everything. The story line is fast-paced as Theodora and readers unravel the truth behind the local legend of the vampire and of her enigmatic host. Although Andrei never seems quite worthy of Theodora, fans will root for the brave woman as she learns that The Dead Travel Fast when the heart is involved.

    Harriet Klausner

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