May 23, 2013

REVIEW: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1), by Darynda Jones
Published February 1, 2011
Publisher:  St. Martin's Press
Format: audiobook - borrowed from the library
Genre:  Urban Fantasy, Adult Paranormal Romance
To Buy:  Amazon  * Barnes & Noble * Book Depository

Rating:  4 STARS

(From Goodreads) 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.

Even though First Grave on the Right has been out for more than two years, it seems that just recently, I've been hearing more and more people talk about it and post reviews about it. And, all the reviews that I've heard have been glowing. Not wanting to be the last kid picked for the kickball team, I had to get to this book to see what all the hubbub was about. 

And, now I know. First Grave on the Right. was fun with a capital F. And Darynda Jones is a literary maven with a capital M. Okay, and L. How is it possible that I spent at least half the span of this book laughing my ass off? I mean, it's about serious topics like human trafficking, domestic violence and child abuse. Don't get me wrong - Jones doesn't treat these as laughing matters. Not at all. But, let's face it - these are pretty heavy subjects. The hilarity just lightens the load. 
“Maybe I needed sensitivity training. I once signed up for an anger management class, but the instructor pissed me off.” 
Charley Davidson is the grim reaper. Unlike in most books, she is totally alive, doesn't wear a cloak, doesn't wield a wicked scythe, and doesn't come to collect souls when a person's number is up. She's actually a private investigator who is extra good at what she does because she can see and talk to and touch dead people. After the wrong has been righted, they pass on to Heaven, and they do it through her. What a fresh and inventive take on the whole grim reaper bit!
“You called me at four thirty-four....I hate four thirty-four. I think four thirty-four should be banned and replaced with something more reasonable, like, say, nine twelve.”
Charley's only weakness appears to be an enigma named Reyes Farrow, a man who she met ten years ago and now chooses to ravish her only in her dreams. Although in front of every other person - alive or dead - on the planet, Charley has a smart ass comeback always ready to fire of at a moment's notice. In Reyes' presence, though, she's a blathering idiot. It's kind of hot, actually. And, that's the perfect way to describe Farrow. That dude is sex on a stick. And completely and utterly mysterious. You don't find out exactly what his deal is until the end, and I was totally in the dark until the big reveal. I loved that.
“Just in case, though, I stormed into my apartment, tossed a quick hello to Mr. Wong, then rummaged through my entertainment center to lay out all my exorcism equipment. I kept it in my entertainment center because exorcisms were nothing if not entertaining.” 
Charley's relationships with her quirky neighbor Cookie, her crusty uncle Uncle Bob (UBie for short) and her dubious cop friend Garrett Swopes are the icing on the cake. Although, at times I found Charley to be leaning toward unnecessarily bitchy than snarky, especially toward Swopes, her interactions with these characters were endearing and funny.

The mystery was good (albeit a bit convoluted), and I liked how it switched back and forth between the main mystery and the Reyes mystery. It wasn't too much of any one thing. And, although the main mystery was solved, the Reyes mystery is just beginning, and that alone keeps me wanting more. I certainly hope he and Charley get things straightened out. Because they are definitely made for each other.

2 comments:

Danny said...

I absofreaking adore this series!!! It's hilarious and Darynda Jones just knows how to create funny with a capital F :))) so glad you like the series!!

Dj Mordia said...

Great review! Anyone who is out to buy English books online, must add this book in the list.