FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones
FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is the first novel in Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Charlotte aka Charley is a part-time private investigator and a full-time Grim Reaper. NOT a Grim Reaper in the guise of a dark cloak, skeletal hand and sickle, but a sexy, self-assured, slightly supernatural woman who helps people cross-over between the planes. And of course…she sees dead people. But these dead people usually want something from Charley and her natural ‘sparkly’ personality seems to attract the recently deceased.
Charley’s father is a retired police office and is aware of his daughter’s ability to communicate with those who have yet to cross., but to what extent is a mystery. And Uncle Bob (aka Ubie) frequently calls upon Charley to assist with murder investigations and the victim’s accountings of the events. A recent trio of murders, all partners in a law firm, have everyone looking to Charley for help including the three late lawyers. But there are those who refuse to acknowledge Charley’s ability to speak with the murder victims, and although her track record at solving the murders and uncovering clues is 100%, the non-believers will be harder to convince. But when all the clues start pointing to a possible connection between a controlling strip-club owner and a human trafficking ring, it is Charley who convinces the others, to allow her to go in undercover.
There are several secondary storylines including a domestic abuse case and missing children. And it is Charley who feels the effects of failure when she realizes that all was for not. We get a glimpse into Charley’s past including her step-mother’s anger and Charley’s desperation to save a young man from a brutal beating that could have ended his life. But life has a way of coming full circle, and some of those she has touched, will remember her for what she has done.
Darynda Jones use of spunky language, double entendre, and euphemisms will have you laughing and asking….”did she just go there?” And wait until you meet “Danger” and “Will Robinson” & “Beam Me Up “ and “Scotty” snort as well as a whole host of intricately named ‘characters’. Garret Swopes as the detective who loves to hate Charley, adds another dimension to a cast of characters with otherwise fruitful intentions. Angel, as the thirteen year old spirit who remains behind to watch over his mother: Mr. Wong-the other resident in Charley’s apartment, Cookie as Charley’s assistant and BFF, and Charley’s Aunt Lil who makes a ‘mean cup of coffee’. But it is Reyes Farrow that will grab your attention and make you sit up and ask….”what the hell…literally?”
Reyes has and will figure prominently in Charley’s life: from the day she was born. But it is her ‘erotic’ dreams of passionate kisses and sexual need that will open Charley to another existence. An existence she never thought would merge. Throughout her life, there has always been another-one who has played guardian and self-appointed executioner whenever and wherever Charley’s life was threatened. Big Bad has always lurked in the corners whenever Charley was in need, but it is his true identity that will push Charley beyond the boundaries of good and evil. And with it comes the knowledge that perhaps she has known who he was-all along. And one should always ask—before taking the devil into your bed!!! But it is Charley’s relationship with Reyes that will open up new possibilities and perhaps end her life-all in the name of heaven. For one is the portal and the other is the key.
First Grave on the Right is an amazing storyline and great introduction to Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Written in first person POV, I love how we hear everything Charley thinks, surmises and holds back. I look forward to Darynda’s cast of characters and spirits, as well as Charley’s extended family. But it is the relationship between Reyes and Charley that forces my eyes open into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to catch another glimpse of what can only be called-perfection in the male of the species. Darynda’s sense of humor, sarcasm and use of bumper sticker quotes alone make this an exceptional series.
1. First Grave on the Right
2. Second Grave on the Left
3. Third Grave Dead Ahead
4. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
5. Fifth Grave Past The Light (2013)
Reviewed by Sandy