Sunday, August 14, 2011

Review: First Grave on the Right
(Charley Davidson,#1) by Darynda Jones

Genre: Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Series: Charley Davidson, #1
Author: Darynda Jones
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Publisher: St. Martin's Press (Macmillan)
Read an Excerpt
Where to Purchase: Amazon || Kindle || Audible
Reviewed by: Aimee
Source: Amazon Kindle Purchase
Rating: Epic Win! 5 out of 5

"Holy crap, Sussman, I wish you guys would learn to knock."
"Incorporeal being," he said, giving attitude.
I stepped out of the shower and grabbed a squirt bottle from my vanity. "You set one foot in this bathroom, and I will melt your face with my transcendental pest repellent."
His eyes widened. "Seriously?"
"No," I said, my shoulders deflating. I had a really hard time lying to the departed. "It's just water. But don't tell Mr. Habersham, the dead guy in 2B. This bottle is the only thing that keeps that dirty old man out of my bathroom."
Sussman's brows arched as he scanned my lack of attire. "Can't say that I blame him."
First Grave the Right is the first book in the Charley Davidson series and also the debut novel for new author Darynda Jones. It's a very delightful, character-driven story, with an original and refreshing premise, and wonderfully entertaining characters. I absolutely adored this book. Darynda Jones is definitely going on my top ten list of favorite authors. Her writing is witty, entertaining and thoroughly tickled my funny bone. First Grave on the Right had me completely captive from the moment I read the first sentence and held me hostage till the very end. I found it nearly impossible to put down to do important things... like bathing or feeding my kids.

Let's meet our protagonist, Charley Davidson. As protagonists go, Charley is pretty awesome. She's quick with the sarcasm and catchy comebacks, and aside from being a private investigator, Charley's also the Grim Reaper, a portal to the "other-side," and oh ya... she sees dead people. But she's unlike any Grim Reaper you'd expect. She doesn't wear a cloak, carry a scythe or have a scary, creepy mug shrouded in a dark hood. She does, however, have an infamous death stare, second only to her... well... you'll have to see for yourself, because I'm officially making First Grave on the Right required reading for anyone that reads this review. No exceptions. Of course, I haven't quite figured out a way to enforce that. But I'm trusting you.

All the characters in First Grave on the Right are wonderful and connecting with them was seamless. Charley is surrounded by a supportive (and some not so supportive) cast of friends, family and acquaintances. From the slightly wicked step-mother, to the protective, yet easily agitated Uncle Bob, to the equally protective best friend. The relationships she has with each of them are unique and perfect for who they are in her sphere of existence. Even the prickly ones she shares with her ghostly acquaintances and her sexy fellow co-worker Garret. But my favorite secondary character, by far, is Charley's best friend Cookie, who's a bit of the maternal figure Charley's never had in her life. Last, but in no way least, is the mysterious, sensual, and sort of intangible romantic person of interest. The dark, enigmatic, Reyes Farrow is an inducer of goosebumps. The good kind, though. He's the shadowy presence that visits Charley in her dreams and remains somewhat of a mystery (for the most part) until the end. The chemistry between Charley and Reyes is sizzling hot and rife with sexual tension. But since I can't talk about him too much without giving away spoilers, he will have to remain a mystery until you read the book. Did I mention it's required?

Aside from being funny there are also heartwarming moments layered into this story. Especially near the end. Some that even made me weepy. I really empathized with Charley's character, from her young childhood memories to the present. She never lays blame on anyone but herself for some of the disastrous things that happened in her past, when in actuality, the grown-ups involved in those painful childhood memories were clearly the ones at fault. Charley's not a perfect heroine, but in an odd way her imperfections kind of make her perfect. And that's what makes Charley such a fun and endearing character. She's someone you can totally relate to.

I did have a couple of complaints, though. First, I think I would have preferred the question as to what Reyes is to remain a mystery. I kinda liked it that way. But this doesn't detract from the story in any way. It's just that mysterious guys are intriguing. My second and most serious complaint... it ENDED! The nerve! I hate it when your engrossed in something that's highly entertaining and it goes and ends on you. This is one of those books that I could've kept reading for days, weeks, even months and still been captivated. But no... it ruined all the fun I was having by doing what all books do. They end.

My final verdict?
Wickedly hot and dripping with witty sarcasm, First Grave on the Right is a real treat; a sugary confection for the brain. I could have parked myself in the Charley Davidson world indefinitely. It was thoroughly entertaining from beginning to end, and not once did I become bored or annoyed with the storyline for any reason. I can't wait for the next book in the series, Second Grave on the Left, due out August 16th. No joking... I really am having problems waiting. I actually got on the internet to check the release date, then sat back and tried to will the date to change with what I hoped was untapped, hidden powers of the mind. As you can see, that didn't work, so I gave up.

Who would I recommend First Grave on the Right to? Anyone! Seriously. It's that good. Men and women alike, fans of all shapes and sizes will get something out of the Charley Davidson series. You won't be disappointed. Plus, it is required... in case your forgot.

If you haven't already, visit Darynda Jones website for extra goodies like:
Deleted scenes & The Graveyard

Read an excerpt of Second Grave on the Left:
Excerpt || audio excerpt.

ratingFiction Fool

Other Reviews for First Grave on the Right:
Miss Vain's Reviews - 5 of 5
Seeing Night Reviews - 4 of 5
Wicked Lil Pixie - 4 of 5
Goodreads Average Rating - 4.11

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