[Review] FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones

I was crusing through Chapters last week, looking for books to gift myself for my birthday. Whenever I go to Chapters, I have to look through the shelves of horror, romance and fantasy to find urban fantasy titles, but I always stroll through the mystery aisles, too, because I like mysteries. This is how I came upon a great new urban fantasy author. In fact, I was stopped by the great cover of the second book in the series, but the first in the series has an equally great cover.

       I do love these clever covers! Well done, St. Martin’s Press!

I was equally impressed when I opened the cover of FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT and saw glowing blurbs from J.R. Ward, MaryJanice Davidson, Jayne Ann Krentz, Gena Showalter, and Kresley Cole. Great bunch of authors, but they seem like an odd choice when you’re going to shelve the book in Mystery. How’s an audience supposed to find it?

At this point I was confused. The back of the book tells me the main character is a grim reaper. She see dead people and as a private investigator, she ends up working murder cases. Sounds urban fantasy. So where does this book fit in? The back cover calls it “paranormal suspense”. Is this is some kind of new genre? Or is someone trying very hard to avoid describing the book as urban fantasy or paranormal romance? Hmm.

So I flipped open to the first chapter and found a voice that was humourous, reminding me of Janet Evanovich. I kind of spiralled down into the story from there.

Cover Copy: Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. 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 (like 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. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

My Thoughts: Charley Davidson is a grim reaper. She sees dead people and helps them get to the afterlife. She’s also a private investigator and takes on a few cases, but mostly she uses the title to help her police investigator uncle solve murders. Things are going along as normal for Charley until three lawyers are murdered and Charley’s life is on the line. But things are looking up when she is saved by a mysterious and sexy entity.  The relationship is hot, steamy and not of this world. Charley becomes determined to learn more about this entity, who might be tied to a human she once met.

Charley Davidson is so likeable, you’ll want to take her home. Though at times the voice can get annoying (it’s set in Albequerque, but sometimes the characters sound like they’re in New Jersey), she makes interesting choices and is fun to watch. She’s a fighter. She takes risks. She lives with ghosts. She’s survived assult. And then there’s her steamy romance with some kind of otherworldly being.

If you like a steamy paranormal romance crosscut with lots of action and mystery, this is the book for you.

Rating: A
Series: Charley Davidson #1
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press, 2011
Acquired: Purchase

Get it– Amazon | Chapters/Indigo | Goodreads | Kobo | Sony

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2 comments on “[Review] FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones

  1. That sounds like a brilliant book – one more to add to my wish-list. Thank you!

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