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Monday, March 21, 2011

Review: First Grave on the Right You by Darynda Jones

Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson, book 1
Genre: Paranormal, Romance, Mystery
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: E-book

“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”

Charlotte “Charley” Jean Davidson had always had the ability to see dead people. She is The Grim Reaper, but she is a modern version of it, she doesn’t go around wearing a black hooded robe and a scythe in her hand. She is more of jeans, T-shirt and cell phone kind of Reaper. She is also a P.I who works as a consultant for the police, usually helping her uncle detective Bob Davidson to solve murder cases with the help of the ghosts.
Charley is having again steamy dreams when the ghost of a lawyer named Sussman awakens her, he has just been murdered and needs Charley’s help to find who killed him.
Charley had a rough night and is tired but is her duty as a Reaper to help ghosts cross over, but many have unfinished issues, like Sussman, that needs to be solved before he can go through the light. The light being her! That’s why the ghosts find her; she is like a beacon light calling them. The ghosts cross over to the other side through her; she is literally, the gate to the other side.
Minutes later after being awaken her phone rings. It’s her uncle Bob calling her from a crime scene, he needs her help and asked her to come see him.
When Charley arrives to the crime scene with Sussman in town, she learns that this victim was one of Sussman partners in his law firm. Later on, they discover that their third partner was also murdered that same night. Now Charley has three ghosts with her who need her help.
She also has a mystery of her own to solve. She needs to know why she has been having those steamy dreams with a dark stranger during this last month. Also she is seeing more frequently the Big Bad, who actually looks more like a reaper with his dark hooded robe and big blade in his hand. But she is not afraid of him, ok, just a little bit, and with that description who wouldn’t be afraid. But Big Bad has always helped her and saved her many times from dangerous situations. And now she feels there is a connection between the dreams and Big Bad and she needs to find what it is. Her different investigations leads her to Reyes Farrow, she met him briefly when she was a teen in an event that marked her life drastically.
She discovers that he’s been in jail for murder for the last decade. And had an accident in jail couple of weeks ago where he was shot in the head and has been in a coma since. The estate is planning to disconnect him from life support in three days and now she needs to try to stop this from happening too.

Charley is an amazing character. She is a kick-ass heroin that sometimes get hers kicked. She is strong, funny, witty and caring, and she’s also the Reaper, what’s cooler than that. I love that she suffers from some kind of ADD and she gets easily distracted, but who wouldn’t with ghosts flashing left and right from you.
Charley had a difficult life, her mother died during labor and she has always felt kind of guilty about it. And being born different hasn’t been easy for her, not many people know her secret and from those who know just few accept her the way she is. But that doesn’t stop her. She does the best she can with what she has and usually in a very funny way.
I also like Charlie a lot, because we have a couple of things in common, like our need (not addiction) to coffee and we suffer from the same problem in the mornings.

While I normally weighed around 125…ish, for some unexplainable reason, between the hours of partially awake and fully awake, I weighed a solid 470.

Our mystery man Reyes is steamy-sexy-hot. He had also a very difficult life; for years he was abused by his father.
We don’t know much about his personality; just that he’s strong and takes care of his friends and people he cares about. He brings a big twist to the plot that would have you counting the days for the next book.

This book has very strong supporting characters especially Charley’s friend, neighbor and employee, Cookie, Charley’s uncle Bob and Skip-Tracer Garrett Swopes.
Cookie is a very loving and caring character; she’s always looking out for Charley and her needs.
Uncle Bob is a police detective with anger management issues and with a very dark sense of humor and even though he doesn’t show it much he loves Charley deeply.
Garrett is a strange character; he is coming to terms with Charley’s secret, being a non believer hasn’t make it any easy for him to accept what she is and can do, but he’s trying to leave his preconditions behind. He wants to believe because he cares for Charley. There is an obvious attraction between this two, but they pretend there is nothing there, making their conversations and interactions sometimes uncomfortable funny.

Darynda Jones surprised us with this, her debut novel.
First Grave on the Right is a well written, original, fast paced, and incredible funny book. It has mystery, romance, and suspense. Its characters are rich and complex, making it a very entertaining read.

I love the quoting of bumper stickers, random quotes and Charlie’s thoughts at the beginning of each chapter. There were some really hilarious.

If you love paranormal romance you have to read First Grave on the Right. I’m sure Charley Davidson Series would become one of the favorites paranormal series out there. It has already become one of mine.
I can’t wait to read the next installment, Second Grave on the Left.

Favorite quotes:
  • …her morning hair, a cross between disco and crack addict shaking in denial…
  • When Gemma was into foreign languages, I was into the hot Italian guy down the street.
  • I stood and walked around the desk so I could stand over him. Menacingly. Like Darth Vader, only with better lung capacity.
  • “Were you just possessed?” Cookie asked after a long moment, awe softening her voice. “ ’Cause let me tell you, sweetheart, if that was possession, I’m selling my soul.”
  • I had a stakeout to attend, which sadly involve neither steaks nor vampires.
  • “I whine more than a Goth with a blogging fetish. It’s really not that bad. I actually grew up rather happy. I had lots of friends. They were mostly dead, but still.”
Favorite bumper stickers and T-shirt quotes:
  • Never knock on death’s door. Ring the doorbell then run. He totally hates that. – T-shirt
  • Jenious – T-shirt (I want that t-shirt)
  • You know you have ADD when- Look! A chicken! – T-shirt
  • Do not disturb. Already there. – T-shirt
  • “Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.” – Bumper Sticker

My Verdict: 4½ Paws

Other books in the series
First Grave on the Right
Second Grave on the Left (08/16/2011)
Third Grave Dead Ahead


  1. Yup. Gonna read this. It sounds fantastic! Very nice review!

  2. Thank you Julie. And yes you have to read it. It was great!

  3. Thank you for posting this. Makes me want to read this title. And love the t-shirt quotes!!


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