Charlotte “Charley” Davidson is not your stereotypical Grim Reaper. She’s sexy, sassy, and likes to help dead people with unfinished business before they cross. She’s more of a bright light kind of girl than a hood with an axe. For her day job, Charley is an Albuquerque private investigator and a consultant to her police detective uncle. Lately, her nights have been steamed up with dreams of a hot mystery lover who may or may not be real. It’s chick-lit meets paranormal with a touch of mystery in the buzz-worthy First Grave on the Right.
Inevitably, this book will be compared to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. They both have feisty female protagonists, snappy dialogue, and zany characters. Veteran narrator Lorelei King also performs the Stephanie Plum books and is well-cast in this novel. What makes her fantastic in the Plum series is her ability to define the voices of all the secondary characters and inject them with interest and distinct personalities. In this performance, she does not disappoint. King seamlessly switches among the characters and has fantastic comedic timing. She elevates the work and keeps the laughs coming.
This is a debut novel from Darynda Jones. It will not be her last; this is clearly a launch for a series. There’s quite a bit of set-up as Charley begins to understand more of her abilities and the presence of other supernatural beings. Jones has created an interesting premise and characters. The mystery element is weak, however, and the writing is on the mediocre side. Jones is at her best with witty dialogue and keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Overall, it’s a fun, breezy listen and an enjoyable escape.
Fans of Janet Evanovich, Lorelei King, and paranormal romance will want to give this new series a listen. Julie MacDonald
A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. 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.
This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense. The audio includes a sneak peak of Second Grave on the Left.
Keep chilled: spend some more time with Charley Davidson.
©2011 Darynda Jones (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
The story might have been OK if the author wasn't so fixated on food and sex. In short I can only assume that the author was on a doozy of a diet when she wrote this ... far too many detailed descriptions of EVERY meal she took throughout the story... from the menu at top notch restaurants to grabbing a a bag of pretzels we had to hear about every morsel ... added to which we also heard how the 'heroine' was prone to stealing her friends' food off their plates too!
Then we had to endure the phantom sex, and the adolescent fantasies of all the main female characters ... so maybe it wasn't just food she was missing out on when she wrote this!
I have been happily married for 17 years, I have 3 children (12, 14, & 16), and 2 dogs. I am currently working on a 2nd degree. Life is chaotic and stressful, but I wouldn't change it. I am blessed and enjoying my life.
I am going two buy book 2 and book 3 after this review! That should let you know how much I like the book :)
I really like the character Charley, although I was not too sure of Reyes "son of Satan". At first I wanted the love interest to be Greyes (?), but "Bad" is growing on me. Can't wait to listen to the next book!
I couldn't put down this book I finished it in two days, didn't want to go to sleep just so I could keep listening. It was funny and well written, I can't wait for the sequel to come out in august.
Darynda Jones is an amazing writer hope to read many more books from her.
Reading the other other reviews I feel like I must have listened to a different book! I found many of the attempts at humor stale. The story line was mildly interesting but seemed more an excuse for erotica than a real story. I felt the reader could have improved it but her timing was all off which made the whole experience more tedious. I finished this book only because I started it and I will not read another in the series!
I ignore genre labels. Some of my favorite books are outside my genre comfort zone. Listening to audiobooks is still reading. Not theater.
This was often a side-splittingly silly book. It was totally unbelievable but that didn't matter. The plot was convoluted and difficult to follow but that didn't really matter ...much. The romantic hero was totally unappealing because he was either dead, Satan or nothing but grey smoke and it is hard to make any of that sexy. It is just creepy.
But the snappy writing, the quick one-liners and the silly naivete of the heroine made all of those faults totally unimportant. And the whole book was written so tongue-in-cheek that those really weren't faults. They were part of what made the whole package so fun to read.
Because of who the characters were, the story could have so quickly gotten bogged down into philosophical discussions of good versus evil, spirit versus soul, etc. The author could have easily pulled an "Anne Rice" on us. But she didn't. She kept it light, fluffy and entertaining.
Her secondary characters were well written and strong enough to not wilt away in the glow of the main character. I loved her best friend, the various apparitions in her life and especially, Rocket.
The narration was great
My only complaint is that the bits of information that actually moved the plot forward, that explained what was going on and ultimately, what would lead you to read the second and third books in the series were so buried under the pithy one-liners and double entendres, that if you blinked you missed them. I finished the book not sure I had a clue about what actually happened in the plot. And wishing she had focused more on certain traits of Charley, like the fact she had perfect memory of everything that happened from the second she was born. But this might have been a timing problem on my part. I'm not sure I was up for quite so much humor in my current read when I sat down with this book. And if you are not in the mood for good-natured silliness, the book can be unfulfilling. Like eating your favorite flavor of Ben & Jerry's when all you really wanted was toast. But that is not the author's fault.
I love the narrator, but that is the only good thing about this book. I am at a loss to understand all of the positive reviews. While some of the elements of a good story are here, they are not woven together into anything remotely resembling a plot. It is almost like the author wrote a series of short passages that someone later pieced together. Coupled with the lack of character development, this makes it almost impossible to care about the assorted individuals and events presented. So, unless you have a credit to burn, I???d pass on this one.
Paranormal novels come in two general flavors; those which take the heroine and romantic interests relatively seriously (think Laurel K. Hamilton and her ilk) and those which adopt a lighter, more traditionally chic lit approach with lots of frothy dialogue, breathy descriptions of the male romantic interest, etc. First Grave to the Right belongs to the second group.
Charley Davidson is a grim reaper who collects souls and sees (you guessed it) dead people, which might sound serious but isn't in Ms. Jone's novel. This particular grim reaper has bestowed individual names on her breasts and ovaries, one of which is (I kid you not) 'Scotty.' If you can read that sentence without having a gag reflex induced, then you're probably good to go for the entire novel with its lengthy descriptions of heavy breathing with the love interest Rais (an entity of unknown providence) as he makes her 'girl parts' tingle.
There is also lots of emoting as Charley blames herself for the bad behavior and foolish choices of everyone even remotely associated with her. Her stepmother's cruelty and the demise of a woman she had rescued from her abusive husband who decided she had to go back to her house one more time for a baby blanket are all viewed by Charley as her fault and a general indictment of her failures. Speaking as someone who's been around long enough to know that it's difficult to get people to take responsibility for the things they actually did, Charley's overactive conscience not only seems over the top but also tiresome. For a child to take her stepmother's cruel words about her paranormal abilities being somehow wrong or proof of Charley's essential badness is understandable; for an adult to do the same thing is merely pathetic.
The narrator Lorelei King does a very good job with the novel and is the only reason I was able to persevere to the end. Bottom line: chic lit and romance novel devotees will probably love this novel (and judging from the reviews do); those who like their paranormal adventures spiced with a little irony or whose blood sugar is likely to be overcome by too much cuteness should make another choice.
Just a book fool.
While this book is quite charming (in parts) and occasionally "laugh out loud" funny, at the end of the day we just didn't click. The actual plot line is a little weird and sometimes difficult to follow.
I have zero interest in book two or three or any other book that might be related to this one. NO, I did not hate it, and I might even recommend it. This book just wasn't my thang.
The story sounds interesting, woman who can talk to the dead, etc. after about 20 min into the story, starts the sex scenes. it almost seems like the author just threw it in to have a sex scene, it didn't really add to the story. I love a great sex scene, however, this story felt like all of the innuendos and lustings were just added for the effect, but didn't add to the story itself. I think that the storyline would have been great to follow the dead, the crime investigation, etc without the main character having to indulge us with her continual lustings. I felt as though the main character was immature and not that interesting. She made cynical comments that also didn't seem to always fit the story, I felt like those things were just put in later to try to make the novel more interesting to the consumer. I always try to read the ratings and the reviews before buying an audiobook, and this one was less than what I expected. Not one I would listen to again or recommend when there are too many great novels out there...
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