EIGHTH GRAVE AFTER DARK (Charley Davidson #8) by Darynda Jones-a review
ABOUT THE BOOK: Release Date May 19, 2015
With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale. Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.
Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally he swears he’s fine.
While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….
REVIEW: EIGHTH GRAVE AFTER DARK is the eighth installment in Darynda Jones’s adult, urban fantasy Charley Davidson series focusing on part time PI/ full time grim reaper Charley Davidson. This is the continuing story of Charley’s life as the Grim Reaper, the corporeal spirits who have yet to pass, and the man to whom she has pledged her undying love-the son of Satan-Reyes Farrow. Lucifer has targeted Charley and her unborn daughter for termination using any means necessary including hellhounds and demons. The series should be read in order for cohesion and the ongoing history between Charley, Reyes and the end of the world.
NOTE: If you have not read the series, there will be some spoilers in my review.
Told from first person point of view (Charley Davidson) the storyline focuses on the wedding between Charley’s BFF and assistant Cookie, and Ubie (Charley’s Uncle Bob) and, the impending birth of Charley and Reyes daughter. While Charley prepares for her best friend’s nuptials, a missing persons case is brought to Charley’s attention with the belief that Charley’s special abilities are necessary to solve the case. The problem-Charley and Reyes have taken up residence in a former convent believing the Hounds of Hell can’t enter the sacred grounds and Charley is unable to cross the perimeter without placing her life in danger. And of course, Charley comes across the spirit of a young nun who hasn’t been able to crossover, in the hopes of finding someone to solve her murder and the case of her missing sister.
EIGHT GRAVE AFTER DARK is a revealing storyline where the true purpose of several secondary and supporting characters comes to fruition including the perpetually silent Mr. Wong and the twelve sent. The notion of the ‘twelve sent and the twelve summoned’ is partially revealed, and with it, my belief that throughout the series, some of the reluctant spirits and supernatural beings who have stayed behind and attached themselves to Charley, have a larger purpose in Charley’s life than fodder for one liners and the bane of Charley’s existence. I suspect the series will reveal a few more ‘spirits’ and guardians whose purpose is to defend and protect the ‘daughter’ in the upcoming war.
The ensemble cast of characters includes many of the previously introduced spirits, ghosts, demons, and one particularly sexy biker dude. Osh returns as protector but his connection to Charley goes much deeper; Angel keeps secret Reyes plans for the future; Rocket announces the impending death of someone we all know and hate. Charley’s sister Gemma and step-mother Denise play a much larger role than in the past but a role that is not high on Charley’s list of things to do or forgive. Garrett Swopes continues to decipher the ancient prophecies, while Strawberry Shortcake pops in with little bits of information. Cookie’s daughter Amber’s role in Charley’s life has yet to be revealed, but this powerful little teenager is more than just a pretty face and gaming nerd with her bestie Quentin. Artemis returns as our favorite supernatural canine.
Our heroine will continue to place herself in danger and with it comes the anger and ire of her beloved Reyes. There are secrets between our leading couple; secrets that could prove dangerous and deadly, but Charley and Reyes do not confide with one another-there is an aura of mistrust and misunderstanding.
Darynda Jones continues to use humor, amazing one-liners, sexual innuendo, euphemisms and sarcasm throughout the storyline. Once again, each chapter is introduced with a t-shirt slogan, meme or bumper sticker pointing out that all is not running smoothly in Charley’s life. The friendship between Charley and Cookie continues to be amazing; and Charley’s love for Reyes Farrow is all encompassing and forever. We could all do with a little heat and fire in our lives.
EIGHTH GRAVE AFTER DARK is a character driven storyline where everyone has a purpose and place in Charley’s life- said purposes and places are finally being revealed. Many questions will be answered; some have yet to be addressed; and in the end, Charley and Reyes’s must make a heartbreaking decision that will affect them all. . You can’t go wrong with a little Darynda Jones and Charley Davidson in your life.
Series Reading Order and Previous Reviews
First Grave on the Right
Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Straight Ahead
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Fifth Grave Past The Light
Sixth Grave on the Edge
Seventh Grave and No Body
Eighth Grave After Dark
Copy supplied by St.Martin’s Publishing through Netgalley.
Reviewed by Sandy