First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

“Apparently, this really was Kill Charley Davidson Week. Or at least Horribly Maim Her…. It would probably never get government recognition, though, destined to be underappreciated like Halloween or Thesaurus Day.” 

Redonk Nutshell: The Grim Reaper/human Private Investigator tackles investigations and begins to crack the mystery of the intriguing Entity that’s been following her her entire life

Twenty-something Charley Davidson has been different since the moment she was born. She can say that with certainty because she can remember it clearly.  Being born, that is.  It was the first moment she saw Big Bad, the hooded shadowy figured that christened  her “Dutch”. From thenceforth, Charley could see the departed.  In fact, as she grew older she realized it was her job to help them cross over, a grim reaper of sorts without the death and macabre.  She becomes essential to her father & uncle, both cops with the local police department, in solving murder cases.  When her dreams start repeating the arrival of a darkly sensual relentless presence, Charley takes it upon herself to track down what on earth is haunting her.  And when she discovers who and what he is, she realizes the world as she knows it is about to change.

From the first few words off the page this book roars into a hilarious drive. Charley quips nonchalant one-liners that enable her to deflect the judgement of those around her – she is rather strange, though, talking to people “that aren’t there” – except for Cookie, her friend and neighbor and her dad and uncle, who know of her ability.  I literally giggled like a lunatic while reading this book.  It’s SO funny.

“My fore-parts, as you so ineloquently put it, have names.” I pointed to my right breast. “This is Danger.” Then my left. “And this is Will Robinson. I would appreciate it if you addressed them accordingly.”  After a long pause in which he took the time to blink several times, he asked, “You named your breasts?” 

I turned my back to him with a shrug. “I named my ovaries, too, but they don’t get out as much.”

There’s a great amount of action and adventure, a thrilling mystery that Charley works to solve.  And we can’t forget Reyes, the man she’s working tireless to track down, the man who haunts her dreams.  Oh…Reyes.  There’s quite a bit to him, parts I can’t really reveal here for fear of giving too much away.  But it’s lovely.

“Where you just possessed?” Cookie asked after a long moment, awe softening her voice. “‘Cause let me tell you, sweetheart, if that was possession, I’m selling my soul.” 

This was a fantastic start to a series I anxiously await to read more of.

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones, 310 pgs, 2/1/11

Rating: B

Romance: 1/5     Raunch: 3/5

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