Bookshelf spotlight: Jaz Parks

I first came across the Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin in a charity shop in Saffron Walden when I was living there. Books 1-6 were a ridiculous 50-75p each, so of course I was going to get them. Plus the blurb of book one sounded just fun enough that I thought I might like the series.

Turns out, I was correct, so tracked down the last two books. Sadly, the author had passed away before I discovered this series, and before the last book was published. But thankfully she did get the final volume completed beforehand – I know, I’m heartless, but priorities; and with Jordan dying before he could finish Wheel of Time, it’s definitely a concern.

Jaz Parks works for the CIA. She’s a black ops agent and assassin, with a twist. Jaz has been assigned to protect the CIA’s top assassin – a vampire. Why does the top assassin need protecting, or was this just the excuse she was given? She is still struggling with an event that happened in her recent past when an operation went horribly wrong and almost her entire unit was killed by vampires. I want to say that she has some memory gaps about that night and what went wrong, and you come to know the full story through several books. But it’s been years since I last read these books, so my memory is a tad unreliable. There’s also some stuff around her mother, that is interesting to uncover. And you know that there is something different about Jaz, but you’ll go on a journey to discover what that is.

Vayl is the CIA’s top assassin. A master of black ops, he has never failed. He’s also a 291-year old vampire. Assigned to protect Vayl, if such a formidable creation can be said to require protection, is Jasmine Parks – ‘Jaz’ to her friends. A young lady with exceptional talents and secrets of her own.

In a world where the bad guys aren’t always human, the CIA needs some very specialised help.

Book one blurb

Jaz is snarky and generally fun to read, which is helpful as the books are all written from her point of view.

“Get outta my way, you old bat”, I muttered under my breath as an elderly woman who shouldn’t have been driving a golf cart much less a Lincoln Town Car at this time of night putt-putted down the street in front of me, her blinker announcing she meant to make a right turn sometime before she reached the ocean.

Each book in the series has it’s own set of events that need to be dealt with, so each have a natural ending. However, there is also a larger story being threaded through each book, and I enjoyed finding the answers and seeing how that played out, just as much as the individual stories for each book.

I don’t read much urban fantasy, but this is a series that has earned its place on my bookshelf and will be read again in future. It’s great to pick up when I want something a bit lighter, and a bit more fun – despite that the content can also be quite heavy at times.

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