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Strange Practice
Cover of Strange Practice
Strange Practice
Dr. Greta Helsing Series, Book 1
In this delightfully witty fantasy adventure, Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, must defend London from both supernatural ailments and a bloodthirsty cult.
Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.
Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.


Strange Practice is the first novel in Shaw's debut series, the Dr. Greta Helsing Novels - perfect for fans of Neverwhere and V. E. Schwab.


Dr. Greta Helsing Novels

Strange Practice

Dreadful Company

In this delightfully witty fantasy adventure, Dr. Greta Helsing, doctor to the undead, must defend London from both supernatural ailments and a bloodthirsty cult.
Greta Helsing inherited the family's highly specialized, and highly peculiar, medical practice. In her consulting rooms, Dr. Helsing treats the undead for a host of ills - vocal strain in banshees, arthritis in barrow-wights, and entropy in mummies. Although barely making ends meet, this is just the quiet, supernatural-adjacent life Greta's been groomed for since childhood.
Until a sect of murderous monks emerges, killing human and undead Londoners alike. As terror takes hold of the city, Greta must use her unusual skills to stop the cult if she hopes to save her practice, and her life.


Strange Practice is the first novel in Shaw's debut series, the Dr. Greta Helsing Novels - perfect for fans of Neverwhere and V. E. Schwab.


Dr. Greta Helsing Novels

Strange Practice

Dreadful Company

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About the Author-
  • Vivian Shaw was born in Kenya and spent her early childhood at home in England before relocating to the US at the age of seven. She has a BA in art history and an MFA in creative writing, and has worked in academic publishing and development while researching everything from the history of spaceflight to supernatural physiology. In her spare time, she writes fan fiction under the name of Coldhope.
Reviews-
  • Publisher's Weekly

    May 1, 2017
    In this comic supernatural mystery debut, Wright assembles an appealing, amusing collection of London’s modern undead and the humans who care for them. Dr. Greta Helsing continues the family business of discreetly providing antibiotics to ghouls, bone replacements to mummies, and pints of blood recovered from medical facilities to vampires. She joins several supernatural entities and an archivist at the British Museum in stopping a group of homicidal monks with burned skin, glowing blue eyes, and antique weapons who are targeting both the supernatural population and humans they deem wicked. Shaw excels at depictions of long-lived characters who combine old-school aesthetics with an appreciation of modern conveniences; readers will be amused by ancient entities coopting modern technology. Her idea that immortals make friends with families of humans through several generations makes sense. But characters recapitulating old angst feel shallow and inauthentic, exposition is directed at no one in particular, and a devil-ex-machina ending devalues the work of the team. Shaw has plenty of room to both to continue developing the relationships inside the ensemble cast and add more quirky players in the planned sequel.

  • Kirkus

    June 1, 2017
    Murderous monks run amok underneath London in this contemporary supernatural tale.Thirty-four-year-old Dr. Greta Helsing has run a very specialized clinic for five years after taking over for her late father, Wilfert Helsing: she treats the "differently alive" (aka vampires, ghouls, mummies, etc.) that roam in the shadows of London, keeping to themselves and avoiding the public eye. When her good friend Edmund Ruthven, a 400-year-old vampire, calls to tell her that Sir Francis Varney, a very famous vampire, showed up on his doorstep gravely wounded, she can't get there fast enough. He has a cross-shaped stab wound that's making him very ill, and he tells of an attack in his flat by a bunch of men (or are they?) dressed like monks, chanting strange phrases. The garlic they drenched his home in added insult to injury. It's a strange story, but when Greta is attacked in her own car by one of them, who tries to slit her throat no less, seeing is believing. She escapes and gets the dagger after spraying her assailant with a heaping helping of pepper spray, hoping it will get them closer to finding out what they're dealing with. Meanwhile, a vicious killer inevitably dubbed the "Rosary Ripper" is stabbing people to death and leaving cheap plastic rosaries in their mouths. Could it be the work of the rabid monks? Greta, Ruthven, Varney (who's having an existential crisis), along with old friend of the family Fastitocalon (of still undetermined supernatural stock) and August Cranswell of the British Museum, are keen to find out and stop the madness, and the killing, for good. Shaw's affection for her characters is obvious, and Greta is a sensitive, genuinely nice person who loves her job, is unerringly discreet, and cares deeply about her patients, even ones that try to kill her. She's always innovating new methods of treatment, such as replacing the bones of a mummy's foot so entropy won't set in or treating depression in a rat fur (with tails)-draped ghoul chieftain. Readers will look forward to more of Greta's adventures. An imaginative, delightfully droll debut.

    COPYRIGHT(2017) Kirkus Reviews, ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.

  • Library Journal

    July 1, 2017

    When Greta Helsing is summoned to help the wounded vampire Sir Francis Varney, it is just another work assignment. A physician to London's supernatural creatures, she keeps their secrets and heals them as best she can. Her new patient had been stabbed by men dressed as monks, chanting about doing God's will and wielding unusual weapons. With the help of Lord Ruthven (another vampire of a different variety than Varney), an old family friend who happens to be a demon, a pack of ghouls, and a human scholar, Greta is determined to discover who is attacking both the human and supernatural community of London. Shaw's lively debut introduces a great cast of characters who should sustain this new series for many volumes to come. VERDICT Fans who enjoyed gaslamp fantasies such as P.N. Elrod's The Hanged Man or Viola Carr's The Diabolical Miss Hyde will appreciate how Shaw brings her Victorian monsters into the modern age.--MM

    Copyright 2017 Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

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Strange Practice
Dr. Greta Helsing Series, Book 1
Vivian Shaw
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