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.
©2010 Darynda Jones (P)2010 Macmillan Audio
My review: For a few years, I’ve been fascinated with paranormal TV shows and movies. Until this, I’d never delved into a paranormal audiobook. First Grave on the Right is Darynda Jones’ first novel that hit a home run in my book. Jones covered all the bases by adding paranormal twists, sultry romance and humor.
This novel, the first in a series, centers around Charlotte “Charley” Davidson who works as a part-time private investigator with her Uncle Bob and against her will and better judgement, a full-time Grim Reaper. She doesn’t wear a cape or carry a scythe, but she does see dead people. Everywhere. For instance, Mr. Wong hangs out in a corner of her apartment and Aunt Lil, a toothless elderly woman wonders around the kitchen and “makes” coffee. Normally, Charley helps the deceased “go into the light” but sometimes things get complicated when they stick around and wear out their welcome.
As the story progresses, we follow Charley as she investigates the death of three lawyers who have came to her for help and she ends up risking her life over and over. Charley is miraculously saved numerous times by “Bad”, an Entity who has followed her since birth and tends to show up when her life is endangered. Then there’s Reyes… a boy she saw beaten by his father when she was younger. It’s really intense to see how the plot thickens and boils together when we learn the truth about Reyes, “Bad” and everyone in between.
This audiobook was recently released on February 1, 2011, a great day being that it was my 28th birthday, so it had to be good, right?! The writing is so clever and Jones has led us into a wonderful series. Charley is interesting, funny and intelligent. I can’t wait for the next novel, Second Grave on the Left to hit the market.
Narrator Review: Lorelei King has a lovely voice and definitely does this book justice. She gives Charley a youthful voice that fits her character beautifully.
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.
Loved, absolutely and unabashedly delighted in, the first 3/4 or so. The last part ended up being a 'tie up the ends and make a POINT' although not quite proselytizing and while it helped to have it knotted up, it wasn't nearly as fun as the first bit. That having been said, the book was absolutely worth reading. Characterization was balanced and they did mostly what one would expect of them given the set-up. The plot line moved along nicely; it seems to me to be a set up for a series, but still it ENDED rather than being a 'tune in next week' sort of story line. Lots of laughs without being fatuous. And I find myself occasionally bringing up parts of the book and working on why the author included it or what she meant or ... well, you get my drift, so enough meat to leave me going 'hmmm'.
Say something about yourself!
CHARLEY DAVIDSON- GRIM REAPER. GREAT STORY. THE MAIN CHARACTER IS VERY SASSY WITH A SMART MOUTH WHO ALSO HAPPENS TO BE BORN A GRIM REAPER. THIS BOOK IS REALLY ENTERTAINING AND LORELEI KING IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE NARRATORS.
All the wonderful reviews were the incentive to buy the book and I loved the TV series "Dead Like Me", so I was hyped to really enjoy it. I'm still trying, but halfway through and sometimes it is all I can do NOT to turn it off and move on to another book. It tries too hard to be clever, and comes off like a cheap supernatural romance novel. Maybe I will love it by the end, but somehow........I doubt it.
This is a Stephanie Plum as the Grim Reaper instead of Bounty Hunter. Since I love those books I also enjoyed this one.
The similarities are numerous -
2 mysterious male love interests
loyal side kick/friend
constant ability to get hurt-in trouble-almost killed-etc..
Loved it - will wait for follow up, the book ending set up perfectly for the next installment
I was nervous at first about this book but took the leap and am happy I did.
This book kept me laughing and guessing the whole way through. I don't want to give anything away I would just like to say that I was VERY pleased with the book, can't wait for the next one and you REALLY should give it a try!
The author hasn't met an adjective she didn't like. Everything is described in detail from the bathroom to every freaking guy she sees. With the same narrator it makes it hard to remember this isn't a Stephanie Plum book. There's the same lusting over multiple guys and describing and thinking about them until I want to scream! By the time I'm ready to run my car into a tree from boredom she finally stops drooling over some guy and we get to some action. But it's not enough to make it worth the price.
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.
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.
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