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Wednesday, March 30, 2011

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, Book 1) by Darynda Jones

Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Pages:  320

(Released:  February 1, 2011)


From the Cover:

Charley sees dead people.

That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.”

But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all.

In fact, he might be something else entirely.

Charley has always been different, from the time she was a little girl, when she tried help a woman in the grocery story, until today, when she's trying to help the three lawyers who turn up on her doorstep. Dead. Charley is a private investigator, working first with her father, and then with her Uncle Bob, a detective on the Albuquerque Police Force, to solve crimes. She's also a Grim Reaper, it's her job to let souls use her body as a gateway, to cross over into the next plane. But to do so, she usually has to find out how they were killed, deliver a message, or help their loved ones, the dead can be demanding.

There's something else dancing around Charley's soul and her body, a dark Entity that has captured her attention, in more ways than one. He's always been with her, but never like this. He likes to come to visit in her dreams and lately, in her shower, and he goes by the name Reyes Farrow. Reyes is dark, bold, and everything Charley needs, except for corporeal. And for another one thing, Charley's not sure if he's altogether human (aka Son of Satan). There's also a sexy PI/bounty hunter, Swopes, he'd like to take up some of Charley's time, but he's a nonbeliever.


First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones is a fun little paranormal romance/mystery that won me over with it's quirkiness, snark, sass, and dripping sarcasm. Charley's defense mechanism for keeping people at arm's length, don't let them too close and they won't treat her like a leper. On this current case, three lawyers show up dead at one of the murder scenes and later at her apartment. As she works the murder case (the lawyers have no idea who offed them...), she discovers the bad guys are running a human trafficking ring, one that's involved with another case she's working on, a teenager who has sought her out too. While all this is going on, Charley is having a serious romance, and doing the horizontal mambo (sort of), with a guy who visits her dreams. She's drawn this man, Reyes, only to find out she met him as a teen when forced to help her stepsister, and now he's in a prison hospital ward, waiting to have life support terminated. But, he's so alive in her dreams, she can't let him go. Reyes Farrow is the Entity dancing around her, her guardian angel (devil... so to speak) and she can't wait to have more of him.


First Grave on the Right is nothing but fun. Charley is an irreverent character, not afraid to push the boundaries. Don't get me wrong, this little novel isn't all about fun and games, or just a hot romance between Charley and her nighttime visitor, there's a good mystery here too begging to be solved. There are some great supporting characters too, Cookie, Charley's best friend and girl Friday, Charley's aunt, the Asian guy who hangs out in the corner of her apartment, and her kind of, sort of spirit guide.... he's just a kid, but helps her go where others can't. It would be nice if all Charley had to do was ask those who come to her, what's happened or who killed you, what exactly do you need and how can I get your loved ones to listen to me... and they had an answer ready, but it's just not the case. And crimes have to be solved with cold hard evidence, and it's not easy to put a dead guy (or girl) on the witness stand. If you enjoy good old fashioned mysteries, give this one a try, excellently executed whodoit. If you are a fan of paranormal romance, pick this one up, the romance is scorching hot. For me, I'll be looking forward to Ms. Jones's summer release, Second Grave on the Left and later, Third Grave Dead Ahead. Can't wait to see what happens with Reyes and the bevy of dead people who stroll into and out of Charley's mad and crazy life.

(From the author, Darynda Jones's website)

(Release Date:  August 16, 2011)
 From the Cover:

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!***

*If you have not read book one, stop now!*

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously?

After dragging Charley out the door and trying unsuccessfully to stuff her into a trunk—mostly ‘cause Charley pitches a fit—Cookie finally explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. After a brief investigation, Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. They head to the parking lot only to be accosted by a frantic husband with a gun. After some soothing words and a few deep breathing exercises, the husband, aka Warren Jacobs, hires Charley to find his wife. He explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?


(Release Date:  To Be Announced)

From the Cover:

***WARNING: MAJOR SPOILER ALERT!!!***

*If you have not read book one, stop now!*

Charley Davidson—grim reaper extraordinaire, private investigator . . . meh—is practicing her profession under the influence, caffeine and copious amounts of it, due to an extreme desire to induce insomnia. Every time she closes her eyes, Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan, is there. Only thing is, he’s a tad peeved. She did bind for all eternity, so it’s hard blame him. But 13 days without a wink is bound to bring out the crazy in a girl. So, when a man hires her to find his wife, Charley accepts the job with one goal in mind: Put the man behind bars, and not the wet kind. She can sense the guilt waft off him and vows to find the woman’s body and prove he’s a murderer.

In the meantime, Reyes is back in prison and none too happy about it . . . so Charley thinks, until she is carjacked by the dark-haired rake, who swears the very man he went to prison for killing is not only alive, but close by. And he wants Charley to find him.

While a visit to her old friend Rocket sheds no light on Reyes’s situation, Charley finds out the man’s wife is still alive and time is running out. Finding her before she dies would be a miracle, but she has to try. Together with the help of a fashion-impaired receptionist named Cookie, Charley sets out to bring the bad guys to justice. She just hopes Reyes is not one of them. And that she’s not hallucinating from her self-induced bout with insomnia.

I received my review copy from PTA Reviewer Rewards and the author.  All opinions expressed are my own.
Charley Davidson—grim reaper extraordinaire, private investigator . . . meh—is practicing her profession under the influence, caffeine and copious amounts of it, due to an extreme desire to induce insomnia. Every time she closes her eyes, Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan, is there. Only thing is, he’s a tad peeved. She did bind for all eternity, so it’s hard blame him. But 13 days without a wink is bound to bring out the crazy in a girl. So, when a man hires her to find his wife, Charley accepts the job with one goal in mind: Put the man behind bars, and not the wet kind. She can sense the guilt waft off him and vows to find the woman’s body and prove he’s a murderer.
In the meantime, Reyes is back in prison and none too happy about it . . . so Charley thinks, until she is
Charley Davidson—grim reaper extraordinaire, private investigator . . . meh—is practicing her profession under the influence, caffeine and copious amounts of it, due to an extreme desire to induce insomnia. Every time she closes her eyes, Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan, is there. Only thing is, he’s a tad peeved. She did bind for all eternity, so it’s hard blame him. But 13 days without a wink is bound to bring out the crazy in a girl. So, when a man hires her to find his wife, Charley accepts the job with one goal in mind: Put the man behind bars, and not the wet kind. She can sense the guilt waft off him and vows to find the woman’s body and prove he’s a murderer.
In the meantime, Reyes is back in prison and none too happy about it . . . so Charley thinks, until she is carjacked by the dark-haired rake, who swears the very man he went to prison for killing is not only alive, but close by. And he wants Charley to find him.
While a visit to her old friend Rocket sheds no light on Reyes’s situation, Charley finds out the man’s wife is still alive and time is running out. Finding her before she dies would be a miracle, but she has to try. Together with the help of a fashion-impaired receptionist named Cookie, Charley sets out to bring the bad guys to justice. She just hopes Reyes is not one of them. And that she’s not hallucinating from her self-induced bout with insomnia.
carjacked by the dark-haired rake, who swears the very man he went to prison for killing is not only alive, but close by. And he wants Charley to find him.
While a visit to her old friend Rocket sheds no light on Reyes’s situation, Charley finds out the man’s wife is still alive and time is running out. Finding her before she dies would be a miracle, but she has to try. Together with the help of a fashion-impaired receptionist named Cookie, Charley sets out to bring the bad guys to justice. She just hopes Reyes is not one of them. And that she’s not hallucinating from her self-induced bout with insomnia

5 comments:

BJS said...

Love the book covers and I think I will have to read these...

Darynda said...

Thank you so much for this AMAZING review!!!
~D~

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi B!

Yes, these are lovely and the story instead are full of fun. I think you'll enjoy them.

Dottie :)

Dottie (Tink's Place) said...

Hi Darynda!

Thanks for stopping by!

Thank you for a fun read, and an excellent whodunit! So much fun. Love Charley's character!! Oh, and Reyes... too yummy!

Dottie :)

carolsnotebook said...

Sounds like a fun series.

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