So about one year and one week ago, I published my (first ever!) book review for Drew Hayes’s THE UTTERLY UNINTERESTING AND UNADVENTUROUS TALES OF FRED, THE VAMPIRE ACCOUNTANT (aka FRED). I absolutely adored it and ever so much wanted a sequel, and thank goodness Hayes did too, because this summer he gave unto the world UNDEATH AND TAXES.
And there was much rejoicing!
After the events of FRED, our favorite Undead American returns triumphant after conquering in all his quiet nerdy might the Certified Public Parahuman Accountant exams. And while one may assume this would condemn him (or bless him, from Fred’s perspective) to a nightlife behind a desk crunching numbers, it actually gets him into more trouble than even he could possibly expect.
Right out of the gate, he gets caught up trying to stop the kidnapping of his first client’s daughter, then later on while trying to make a deal with another client, gets trapped in a living, breathing haunted house with many living, breathing humans, one of whom is intent on bulldozing said living, breathing house.
You know it!
I called the first FRED book a nerd lark. I expected the same of UNDEATH AND TAXES and it did not disappoint. We get to see the same cast from the previous book:
- Krystal–Fred’s girlfriend, devil host, and resident ass-kicker
- Albert–zombie, accounting assistant, and unlikely hero
- Bubba–werepony extraordinaire and just a sweetheart of a trucker
- Gideon–my absolute favorite character and holy crap, read “An Accountant in the Warehouse” and TRULY KNOW FEAR AT THE SIGHT OF HIM SUPER PISSED AND IN A TUX
(I know I’m leaving some people out, but you should totes get a copy and read about them for yourself.)
What stood out for me was that UNDEATH AND TAXES really could’ve just been FRED PART II and it really wasn’t. Fred and the gang get to grow and get more accustomed to parahuman society. We see how Fred’s not a hero in the sense that he’ll charge off into battle and flex his vampire strength around, but in the sense that he knows what the right thing to do is, even if it’s also a really, bloody stupid thing to do. We get to see the real heart of Albert, chosen for a destiny that he’ll perform on his own terms (his own sweet, peaceful terms or you can just eff off) with his bestie in tow. Even the new characters we’re introduced to open up a broader world to the cast, and their reactions and choices truly show how far they’ve come along, individually and together as friends.
**WARNING: FANGIRL THEORY APPROACHETH**
**I will also take this time to voice my suspicions that the FRED universe and the NPC universe (also written by Hayes) coexist within the same realm. If this is the case, Hayes – you’re a magnificent bastard. Keep it up. If you aren’t sure what I’m talking about, you best read yourself some NPCs and UNDEATH AND TAXES right now. I’ll be here.**
I’m looking forward to the next sequel – I hope you all will too.
About UNDEATH AND TAXES
After discovering just how filled with magic, intrigue, and adventure the parahuman world of being an Undead American can be, Fredrick Frankford Fletcher did exactly what was expected–he became a certified parahuman accountant. Myths and legends, as it turns out, are not so great at taking appropriate deductions and keeping their receipts, and Fred is more than happy to return to a life others view as woefully dull, expanding his accounting business to cater to various monsters and their respective financial needs.
Said monsters are, unfortunately, still spectacular at pulling Fred into trouble, though. And despite merely wanting to stick with simple paperwork, Fred once again finds he is going to have to deal with enchanted weaponry, government agents, possessed houses, and one enigmatic dragon’s interest. In the parahuman world, any business can turn deadly, even one as mundane as accounting.
About Drew Hayes
Drew Hayes is an aspiring author from Texas who has written several books and found the gumption to publish a few (so far). He graduated from Texas Tech with a B.A. in English, because evidently he’s not familiar with what the term “employable” means. Drew has been called one of the most profound, prolific, and talented authors of his generation, but a table full of drunks will say almost anything when offered a round of free shots. Drew feels kind of like a D-bag writing about himself in the third person like this. He does appreciate that you’re still reading, though.
Drew would like to sit down and have a beer with you. Or a cocktail. He’s not here to judge your preferences. Drew is terrible at being serious, and has no real idea what a snippet biography is meant to convey anyway. Drew thinks you are awesome just the way you are. That part, he meant. Drew is off to go high-five random people, because who doesn’t love a good high-five? No one, that’s who.