An Urban Fantasy series of books written by Jeaniene Frost, following the adventures of Catherine "Cat" Crawfield, a half-vampire, and Crispin "Bones" Russell, a Master vampire and bounty hunter. These books are told from Cat's point of view. The Night Huntress World books are set in the same universe, but feature supporting characters in the main roles. The Night Prince series is a spinoff featuring a new main character, Leila Dalton, a human with control of electricity and the power of psychometry. Vlad Tepesh (do NOT call him Dracula) is her love interest. Following that is the Night Rebel spinoff, with ancient vampire Veritas as the main character and Bones's friend and sire Ian as her love interest.
Cat Crawfield is a Half Vampire who hunts her father's kind in order to avenge her mother's rape. Then she meets Bones, a vampire bounty hunter who offers to train her in exchange for her help hunting down a particularly evil group of vampire criminals. Cat agrees, on the basis that the enemy of her enemy is the lesser of two evils, but the longer she knows Bones, the more she begins to question her closely-held belief that all vampires are evil.
Later, a shadowy government agency makes Cat an offer she can't refuse—lead and train their team of vampire hunters or go to prison. Commander Crawfield and her hand-picked team succeed beyond their expectations, but she still has unresolved issues with more than one vampire in her life. The series itself is seven novels, with some spinoff series, short stories and novellas.
- Halfway to the Grave (2007)
- One Foot in the Grave (2008)
- At Grave's End (2008)
- Destined for an Early Grave (2009)
- This Side of the Grave (2011)
- One Grave at a Time (2011)
- Up from the Grave (2014)
- "One for the Money" (2010)
- Home for the Holidays (2011)
- "A Grave Girls' Getaway" in Hex on the Beach (2021)
- Outtakes From The Grave (2015) (deleted scenes and alternate versions anthology)
- The Other Half of the Grave (2022) (first published as a partial web serial from 2019–2022)
Night Huntress World Stories
- Short Stories:
Night Prince Spinoff Series
Night Rebel Spinoff Series
Recommended reading orders can be found on the author's website here.
Tropes in the Grave:
- Abusive Parents - Justina convinces Cat that her supposed rape and ostracism for being a single mother is all Cat's fault, and that Cat has a monster inside of her she must fight to suppress. When Cat starts hunting vampires in high school, it's the first time that Justina ever shows pride or love for her daughter, not caring that her sixteen-year-old is risking her life to earn her mother's affection.
- The Alcoholic - Cat has high alcohol tolerance, inhuman levels in fact, and drinks gin like water. She also needs a freaking drink more often than would be healthy for a human; Bones comments that her gin bottle is like a security blanket for her.
- All Love Is Unrequited - For Tate at least.
- Badass Boast - Cat manages to completely wreck this in book 5. "...step right up and see if I don't eat the hell out of you next!" Followed by her husband and guy friends starting to snicker and one of them snarks out that the line should form to the right.
- Battle Couple - Neither Cat nor Bones are people anyone would want to encounter in a dark alleyway; together, they pose a formidable threat to anyone who dares cross them.
- Beautiful Dreamer - Bones thinks Cat is cute when she's sprawled on the bed snoring with her mouth open and hogging all the covers.
- The Bus Came Back - Timmie and even Winston the moonshine-loving ghost make brief appearances in book 5.
- Can't Act Perverted Toward a Love Interest - Gleefully inverted; Bones takes great delight in being as crude and as sexually explicit as he can, under the pretense of helping Cat overcome her blushing naivete.
- Character Development: Zig-zagged with Cat's mother who learns to tolerate vampires only to hate them again the next book. She finally gets over it.
- Child by Rape - Cat's mother was raped by a vampire, resulting in Cat's conception. Avenging her mother's rape and atoning for her own existence is Cat's primary motivation in the first book. Later we learn that Cat's father mindraped Justina only after the physical seduction had been completed, violating her mind, convincing her she'd had sex with a demon leading her to claim she'd been raped. Your mileage may vary on whether that's better or worse.
- Combat Pragmatist: When Cat complains that she would have killed Bones if he hadn't sucker-punched her, he responds by telling her that clean, honorable fighting only gets you killed, and to take every cheap shot and low blow to be the one who walks away. "Kick them when they're down" is the centerpiece of his fighting philosophy which she passes on to the soldiers she trains.
- Conspiracy Theorist - Timothy, Cat's next neighbor in the first book, is convinced the government covers up evidence of the supernatural (he's right). He later goes to work for "one of those magazines that give Cat's boss headaches".
- A Day in the Limelight - Each Night Huntress World novel focuses on a different supporting character from the main series.
- The Chessmaster - Marie Laveau apparently set up all of the events of books four and five. The woman loves to set up other people to do her killing for her.
- Chivalrous Pervert: Juan and Tyler, possibly Ian as well.
- Die or Fly: Bones uses this training technique a lot, more literally in This Side of the Grave when helping Cat master flying by telling her "fly or swim", though she can't die from falling in the river he tossed her into.
- Dhampyr - Cat is stronger and faster than humans, but not as much as some vampires, though her capabilities are stated as being at Master level. And while her eyes glow when she's emotional, she can't use them to mesmerize humans. On the plus side, since her heart still beats, vampires generally don't realize she isn't human until she's sliding a silver knife into their hearts.
- Exact Words:
- In Halfway to the Grave, Bones shakes down a murderous, rapist vampire for information, promising not to kill him in exchange for cooperation. However, Cat didn't promise not to kill him.
- In This Side of the Grave, Vlad is about to execute an enemy ghoul who gave no useful information they didn't already know. Cat tells Vlad, "He's done his best to tell you all he knows, so you need to let him go." Vlad opens his mouth to argue before he catches the emphasis and cheerfully complies. When the ghoul tries to leave, Cat kills him.
- Bones makes this work for him, because he's built a reputation for doing exactly what he says he'll do. When he threatens to, for example, rip off your stones and feed them to you, he isn't using hyperbole; he means he will literally do just that, which makes his threats especially effective. Conversely, he's trusted to honor any bargain he makes to the letter.
- Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In Into the Fire, Leila has been bound to Mircea so that if either dies, the other dies, so a shadowy group abducts Mircea and threatens to kill Leila unless Vlad kills Mencheres. They find another way, but Mencheres belatedly finds out and realizes that Vlad didn't tell him about the threat in case he ended up with no choice but to go through with it, and he's naturally upset.Mencheres: You would have widowed Kira. You would have brought war between our two lines, forcing Bones into a fight against your people that would have resulted in many deaths. Our allies would have been forced to choose sides, too, bringing more death, until you could have shattered the peace we've had since Apollyon failed to incite a war between vampires and ghouls—
[cuts off as he, Vlad, Leila, and Veritas realize that this is why the bad guys wanted Vlad to kill Mencheres]
- Expy: A bleach-haired, British vampire with strikingly sharp cheekbones, a fondness for nicknaming his love interest and a devil-may-care attitude? Yeah, Bones bears a very striking resemblance to Spike of Buffy the Vampire Slayer fame, though this diminishes substantially after the first novel when his appearance is changed.
- Fiery Redhead and Heroes Want Redheads: Cat, of course.
- Flight - Master vampires can eventually develop this ability if they live long enough.
- Friendly Neighborhood Vampire - Vampires do not need to kill their victims, so good guy vamps aren't uncommon. Bones especially, since he hunts down other vampires who murder, rape, and use humans.
- For Halloween, I Am Going as Myself: At one point, Cat dresses up as a fake version of herself (redying her hair red, fake tanner, slightly off fake contacts) to pass among the enemy as a Replacement Goldfish.
- The Gadfly: Ian. Just loves to get a rise out of people, for no other reason than he can. Spade relates a story showing this stretches back to their human days.
- Genetic Engineering Is the New Nuke: Cat's daughter, genetically engineered by an antagonist to be part vampire and part ghoul, becomes the focus of a potential war due to ghouls thinking she'll be used as a weapon against them.
- Glowing Eyes of Doom - Vampire eyes glow green when they're emotional or using their powers.
- Half-Human Hybrid: Cat's mother was human and her father was a vampire.
- Happily Married - Cat and Bones have a fairly healthy relationship as a couple, considering their weird past. While the fact that Cat was once tricked into marrying a different vampire named Gregor does put a strain on their relationship, they recover from that setback despite the odds.
- Hate Sink:
- Halfway to the Grave: The primary parties involved in the Human Trafficking network are power-hungry individuals motivated by self-interest.
- Hennessey puts on an act of being a gentleman, but in reality, runs a vicious human trafficking network which keeps women, especially the impoverished, as livestock and sex slaves, subjecting anyone who would betray him to the cruelest of fates. Hennessey first sells or rents the women to humans to use sexually, then to vampires to feed on and use sexually, then to ghouls to eat. Identifying Cat as his attempted murderer, Hennessey has her grandparents killed, then takes her mother hostage to trap her.
- Governor Ethan Oliver colludes with, and frequents, the human trafficking network, using its services for his own personal gain. Having originally used the brothels to rape women, Oliver arranges for the human trafficking network to make derelict women disappear so that he can claim to have cleaned up his state and bolster his political career, further intending to continue the process if he is elected President.
- One Foot in the Grave and At Grave's End: Max Williams, the estranged brother of Don Williams, the former FBI Agent turned vampire, who seduced, then psychologically tormented Justina Crawfield, is presented as an abusive deadbeat and the reason why Justina abuses their daughter, Cat Crawfield.
- One Grave at a Time: Inquisitor Heinrich Kramer is presented as a putrid, disgusting sadist who had gotten off in life on raping and abusing women underneath his self-righteousness. Kramer's delusions of piety do little to cover his hypocrisy and lust for control over others.
- Halfway to the Grave: The primary parties involved in the Human Trafficking network are power-hungry individuals motivated by self-interest.
- Heroic Bastard - Cat and her mother are both shunned by their small town for her out-of-wedlock birth. Bones is both a bastard and the Son of a Whore.
- Historical Domain Character - Vlad Tepesh, Doc (Holliday, one presumes) and Marie Laveau. Joan of Arc is mentioned as the only other dhampir known to exist. Menkaure/Mencheres and Djedefre/Radjedef were real Egyptian pharaohs. Kramer, mentioned above, was the real-life author of the Malleus Maleficarum. Lampshaded when Cat is amazed to learn that the Big Bad of the book is Cleopatra's daughter, and Bones points out that the sort of person who makes enough of an impression to be remembered centuries after their time is exactly the sort who's likely to catch the attention of a vampire who might turn them.
- Horror Hunger - Newly turned vampires can think of nothing but their hunger and will shred anything with a heartbeat to sate their thirst. As they age, they gain self-control, but a starved vampire may revert to this condition.
- Hunter Of Her Own Kind - Cat, a half-vampire, starts off murdering all vampires indiscriminately.
- Hybrid Monster - An idea that makes the supernatural world crazy is that Cat could potentially become a ghoul and then have both ghoulish and vampire powers. She decides not to do this, but her genetically engineered daughter Katie doesn't get the option, and becomes the first ghoul/vampire hybrid child.
- Hypnotic Eyes - Vampire mesmerism can be used to brainwash humans if they look at the vampire's eyes.
- I Hate You, Vampire Dad - After Ian became a vampire, he gave his three best friends the gift of immortality by turning them into vampires, two of them against their will. Two hundred years later, the two are still a bit sore about it but are generally civil, though in the third book Bones finally thanks Ian. And, of course, Cat's literal vampire dad is an asshole in oh, so many ways.
- Idealized Sex - The sexual encounters described in the books tend towards being rather passionate and elegant.
- Idiosyncratic Episode Naming - every one of the Night Huntress books has the word "Grave" in the title.
- The Infiltration - Dave does this in book 5.
- In-Series Nickname - Cat is the "Red Reaper."
- Involuntary Shapeshifting - Very rare, caused by a demon's marks transferring some of his power to the other person. It can be triggered by fear, anger, pain, stress, or hunger, and the affected person doesn't change back until they calm down.
- It Doesn't Mean Anything - Cat insists that her attraction to Bones is caused by alcohol, instead of revealed by it.
- It's Not You, It's My Enemies - This is why Cat leaves Bones.
- Just Friends - Cat and Vlad.
- Killed Off for Real - Randy, Rodney, and Don, though the last one returns as a ghost.
- Kiss of the Vampire - Vampire venom spreads through the donor's blood and arouses them. Vampires often use this as foreplay with their human lovers, although it can also be used to make rape victims less aggressive.
- Lap Pillow - When Cat is extremely drunk, Bones tells her to rest her head on his thigh. She thinks he's asking for something else, but he laughs and tells her to get her mind out of the gutter.
- Last of His Kind - Half-vampires are exceedingly rare, and the only other one on record, Joan of Arc, died before Cat was born.
- The Load - Cat's mother until Book 4.
- Luke, I Am Your Father: In One Foot in the Grave, it is revealed that Don Williams is Cat's uncle.
- Mandatory Motherhood: You'd think that marrying a vampire and becoming one yourself would mean that you stay childfree. Not if you're Cat, due to having her eggs stolen and fertilized.
- Master of Disguise - Averted, as eventually Cat has enough of a reputation that no matter what hair dye and contacts she uses, everyone knows who she is.
- Mayfly–December Romance - Bones, the 220-year-old vampire, and Cat, the 22-year-old half-vampire. Later Bones reveals that between her half-vampire blood and the occasional drinking of vampire blood, Cat can live for as long as he can, making this a May–December Romance.
- The Men in Black - Cat works for them as Special Agent Crawfield. They're an undercover operation of the government charged with studying and eliminating the undead.
- Mistaken for Cheating - Happens with Denise and Spade, when she's told that "the vampire" is in a bedroom with another woman. Becomes a Funny Moment when she furiously pounds on the door only to find she's got the wrong vampire. Aside from pissing off Ian, Denise wishes she did not know about Ian's genital piercing.
- Also happens with both Cat and Bones in book 4, after Bones appears to be seducing someone else in New Orleans and Cat is crashing at Vlad's.
- Mocking the Mourner: In "Devil to Pay": Xaphan torments Cat Crawfield with the voices of her late grandparents, who had been killed in the events of Halfway to the Grave.
- Monster/Slayer Romance: Cat, the half-vampire vampire hunter falls for master vampire Bones.
- Nigh-Invulnerability: Denise is ridiculously hard to kill later in the series, to the point where she survives a public beheading.
- Not Hyperbole: Bones has this as a character trait. He makes the usual threats such as "I ought to rip off your stones and feed them to you," but he is known to follow through on them quite literally. This is his way of making sure people take his threats seriously.
- Our Demons Are Different - There are two kinds of demons, those in their own corporeal bodies and those possessing hapless victims. A possessor cannot be killed, as they simply jump away into the nearest living thing when their current host dies. Corporeal demons are stronger, vulnerable to salt, cannot cross thresholds without an invitation, and may be killed by being stabbed in the eyes with a knife made of demon bone.
- Our Ghosts Are Different - Sentient ghosts are rare, and are created when a person felt an unusually strong emotion at their time of death. They can only be seen by the undead and a few humans (mostly crazy ones). They cannot possess humans but they can experience sensations such as drinking alcohol by passing through the human's body.
- Our Ghouls Are Creepier - Ghouls are a sister race to vampires, created when a human drinks vampire blood during life and is given a ghoul heart transplant after death. They must eat human flesh on occasion but generally stick to raw meat. They can only be killed by decapitation.
- Our Vampires Are Different - Vampires can only be killed by beheading, fire, or shredding their hearts with a silver knife. They are inhumanly fast and strong, and only need to breathe during unusual physical exertion. They can mesmerize humans with their glowing eyes, and wipe their memories or give them orders. Their blood can temporarily transfer some of their powers to humans. Their secret society has an elaborate hierarchy based on lineage from a Master vampire.
- As for Cat... when she decides to go full vampire, she basically becomes literally the world's weirdest supernatural creature. She's occasionally alive with a heartbeat again once in a while, needs to feed off other vampires instead of humans, and absorbs the powers of master vampires or ghouls for a couple of months after drinking their blood.
- Powers Do the Fighting: Menchere's extremely powerful telekinesis lets him toss around a whole squad of vampires, all at least 500 years old, without having to move a muscle. Marie Laveau can summon Remnants to kill a person by drawing her own blood; she just surreptitiously nicks herself with a ring on one of her fingers.
- Prone to Sunburn: Vampires can withstand the sun, but will quickly develop nasty sunburns which will, almost as quickly, heal and peel, only for the process to repeat with continued exposure.
- Retcon: The entire plot of book 4 is based on one. Oops! I Forgot I Was Married happens, as Cat was seduced and brainwashed by a master vampire at sixteen, and was talked into marrying him. After the vampire was caught at it, Mencheres wiped her memory of the whole thing.
- Second-Act Breakup - Twice; first Bones leaves Cat until she can figure out how she feels about vampires, and then Cat writes Bones a "Dear John" Letter.
- Signature Move - Cat (a) hangs around looking sexy in bars in order to trap bad vampires, and (b) likes to almost stab them in the heart when a guy is on top of her. The former eventually starts to bite her in the ass when by book 3, the vampire population keep spotting her despite her various hair dyes. One even goes so far as to check her red armpit hair stubble. This sort of thing eventually leads to Cat having to quit her job and train someone else to pose as the bait.
- Son of a Whore - Bones's mother was a prostitute, also making him a Heroic Bastard.You bastard!Since the day I was born.
- The Spook: Hennessey, the human trafficking ringleader from Halfway to the Grave, is an enigmatic and cruel figure; his origins are vague, his original name is never revealed, and the only thing that is revealed about him is his role as a prolific slaver.
- Super-Senses/Super-Speed/Super-Strength - all in the domain of vampire superpowers.
- Torture Always Works - Vampires can mesmerize humans, but they frequently torture each other for information. This is considered reliable.
- Training from Hell - Bones puts Cat through this, regularly beating her unconscious and chasing her through dark forests at breakneck speeds.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods - Their venom acts as an aphrodisiac and they have centuries of experience to back it up with.
- Vampire Hunter - Cat tries this on her own at first, as a self-taught and mostly lucky amateur. After Bones teaches her, she works for the government training and leading their special agent vampire hunters.
- Van Helsing Hate Crimes - Cat is convinced that all vampires are bloodsucking demons. After she learns that not all of them are evil, she has the realization that some of the vampires she killed may just have been looking for a snack and/or a one night stand, and killing them may not have been self-defense.
- Wham Episode - most of the books have a lot of this going on.
- Your Costume Needs Work: In First Drop of Crimson, Mencheres is forced to turn Kira into a vampire, and the villain deliberately leaks video of this, which ends up on the news and YouTube. YouTube commenters, being a special brand of stupid and horrible, post such gems as "Worst actress ever," "Should have had more blood," and "WTF is up with the lame glowing eyes?"