Rochelle’s #CBR5 Review # 24: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave

This is a first book, and first books can be rough.  I’m not sure yet how I feel about Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series.  Charley is a grim reaper who lives in Albuquerque and works as a PI.  She can see and talk to dead people.  She is the portal to Heaven and the dead pass through her.  Some dead people stay behind, some want help finishing business – last words or finding a killer, and some just aren’t ready to cross.

I’m on the fence about this series.  It could either be good popcorn fun, or annoying.  I mostly like Charley.  She’s pretty funny, and her funny is both her nature and a coping mechanism.  Because her life isn’t so funny.  She has the potential to be a thoughtful multi-faceted character.  The other characters seem like things for Charley to bounce off or react to, but not like characters in their own right.  This could become a problem if it doesn’t change in the next couple of books.

My biggest concern with the series is the character Reyes Farrow.  Reyes is currently in a coma, but is able to non-corporeally visit Charley and make out with her.  I’m just going to go ahead and spoil this right now, because it isn’t a surprise when it is revealed: Reyes is the portal to Hell.  The physical embodiment of the portal to Hell is obsessed with the physical embodiment to the portal to Heaven and he wants to make the sex with her.  This is no ThunderSex (TM), partly because when they do finally make the sex, he is incorporeal.  He does give Charley orgasms that make her see the birth of the universe and reveal his entire history.  I don’t have a problem with romance or sex in books.  I don’t mind paranormal sex.  But Reyes, he could be a problem.  He is the character that will decide whether I like this series enough to continue beyond book three, or throw my kindle down on a soft surface and declare myself “over it!”  He has the potential to undermine Charley’s good qualities.  Or he could become an interesting antagonist.

I will definitely read the second book, but the first book hasn’t sold me on the series.

Malin’s #CBR5 Reviews #93-94: Charley Davidson book 4 and 5 by Darynda Jones

Rating: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet – 4 stars
Fifth Grave Past the Light – 4.5 stars

At the beginning of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, a few months have passed since the end of book three, and Charley isn’t doing all that well. She’s not really left her apartment, which is now stuffed full of boxes full of random useless stuff she’s purchased from late night shopping channels. Her best friend/next door neighbour/overqualified personal assistant Cookie has cancelled all her credit cards, and insists on ganging up on her, along with her uncle Bob, and her sister Gemma. They claim that she’s suffering a mild case of PTSD (they’re right) and they insist that she leave the apartment, and start getting her life back in order. When a desperate young woman shows up on her doorstep claiming someone is trying to kill her, but everyone around her just thinks she’s insane, Charley decides that enough is enough, and promises to help. She’s decides that the best way out of her financial difficulties is serving Reyes with a hefty bill, since she technically performed the job he hired her to do. Now she just has to find him.

In Fifth Grave Past the Light, Cookie and Charley discover that they have a new neighbour, and it’s the drop dead gorgeous Reyes Farrow himself. Charley is hoping to prove to her uncle Bob that Reyes is not the arsonist who’s been burning down old buildings all over Albuquerque, but it does seem suspicious that all the same buildings are ones that Reyes at some point lived in, growing up. She’s made peace with her father, whose bar, previously mostly a cop hangout, is now a super popular lunching spot for women of all ages. Charley’s apartment is slowly filling up with young dead women, all of them blond and killed gruesomely, clearly by the same serial killer. Despite Charley’s Reaper powers, she’s unable to get any of them to communicate with her, they’re too traumatised, even after death. When it seems like Charley’s sister Gemma may be the serial killer’s next intended victim, it becomes crucial that she discover the killer’s identity as soon as possible.

Full review on my blog. 

Malin’s #CBR5 Books #69-71: Charley Davidson books 1-3″ by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right – 3 stars

Second Grave on the Left – 3.5 stars

Third Grave Dead Ahead – 4 stars

Charley Davidson is a private investigator in Albuquerque. She’s also the Grim Reaper. She can speak every language in the world, she pretty much remembers every thing that’s happened in her life, from the moment she was born, and dead people pass through her as a portal to the next world. Because she constantly sees dead people, she’s been able to help her father (now a former cop) and uncle (still a cop) solve crimes since she was a little girl. It’s much easier to solve a murder if the dead person can tell you who did the deed. Her office is above her father’s bar, and her best friend and next door neighbour is her extremely over qualified secretary. Charley loves coffee, slogans with cheesy sayings on them (most chapters begin with said cheesy lines), and has a dreadful relationship with her stepmother.

As the first book begins, she’s been having super sexy dream encounters with a mystery guy. Who sort of reminds her of the scary dark presence that’s been shadowing her on and off since the day she was born, and who’s even saved her life on occasion. As Charley’s dream encounters continue, she starts getting tiny hints as to who her shadowy seducer may be, and she tries to discover his true identity while also trying to solve the murder of three lawyers.

In the second book, Cookie, Charley’s secretary and best friend drags her out of bed in the middle of the night because a close friend of hers has disappeared, and sent a text asking Cookie and Charley to help. As they start investigating, it turns out that several people Mimi (the missing woman) went to high school with, have started turning up dead recently. Reyes Farrow, Charley’s mysterious life-long protector, has abandoned his corporeal body and is determined to let it die. He’s not at all impressed when Charley is determined to track said body down to save it, as he claims the dangerous entities that have control over it, are trying to trap her, and want nothing more than to see her dead.

In the third book, Charley is doing everything in her power to stay awake. Every time she falls asleep, Reyes is there, accusing and upset because of what she did at the end of book 2. Hence, Charley pretty much mainlines caffeine and does her best to never sleep. She’s trying to solve a missing person’s case, prove that an arrogant doctor is a ruthless murderer, and the less sleep she has, the crazier and more unpredictable things become. Reyes also wants her to prove that Earl Walker, the man he was sent to prison for killing, is still alive, so he can clear his name.

My actual review is on my blog.

SeaKat’s CBR5 Review #9 First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the RightI was beginning to think that paranormal romance novel writers were running out of supernatural characters to star in their steamy tales. Vampires have been played out for a while. Werewolves aren’t quite as overdone, but that’s because there’s a fundamental difficulty in making a sprouting hair and a snout sexy. Ghosts and witches have been staples for a while, so they’re not particularly fresh. Speaking of “not fresh”: Zombies? Come on. No one wants body parts falling off in the middle of a love scene. So I have to applaud First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones for coming up with the Grim Reaper 2.0 – sexier, sassier, and scythe-free.