First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #1
First Grave on the Right is the smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.
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.
This is a thrilling debut novel from Darynda Jones, an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.
First Grave on the Right is the winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book.
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Quick review this week because I’ve been absolutely swamped at work…
My Team Tynga’s Reviews co-blogger Lili has rhapsodized about the Charley Davidson books so I thought it was high time I tried them out. And I really liked what I’ve seen so far, in FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT.
Charley is the wise-cracking-est protagonist I’ve read in quite some time. Sometimes the humour is dry, sometimes it’s a little slapstick, and sometimes it’s quite sly, which is when I’ve enjoyed the narrative the most. Charley’s internal monologue is absolutely delightful and her out-loud comments can be even better! Charley could be such a mess with all the ghosts and whatnot but she’s remarkably well grounded from someone who can remember every instant of her life and has been interacting with spirits for just as long.
In contrast to the humour in the narrative and Charley’s speech, the plot has some serious, heavy moments. Charley’s job as a reaper is an important one and she’s lucky to have family that believe in her and are willing to work with her to solve mysteries. She helps ghosts find resolution, and often helps her uncle solves crimes while she’s at it. Her current mystery involves three dead attorneys who won’t go into the light because of their unresolved issues, which are primarily their deaths. It’s fun watching Charley interact with their ghosts while pretending not to be talking to the air. She has to be seriously grateful for the invention of cell phones!
While solving the attorneys’ murders, Charley is also trying to figure out what to do about Reyes. Without spoiling it for you, Reyes has links to Charley’s past and also her abilities, which makes him quite the mystery. Charley finds him in the strangest place when he comes back into her life and it’s a very intriguing storyline. Jones had me on the edge of my proverbial seat, wondering what the outcome would be. And Jones doesn’t keep us waiting beyond FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, which makes me really happy. She reveals Reyes’ connection to Charley and, as a result, I’m very curious about the next book in the series.