I am very excited to be reviewing First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones. I knew nothing about the author or the premise, just that it was our assigned book and I had better read it by Sunday night. The story involves Charley Davidson a young woman who has the ability to see dead people. She is a private investigator in her day job -- helping her police-officer father and uncle solve murders (with the help of the victims’ ghosts) and her second job is as a Grim Reaper helping the recently departed cross over to the next plane. Charley knew she was different when she realized she could remember everything that she ever heard or saw from the moment, literally, the moment, she was born. Unfortunately for her, her mother was her first “customer” who passed through her as she died in child birth. I thought that Jones’ description of this passing and Charley’s emotions about it were very poignant. Of course seeing dead people and talking about it gets Charley in trouble at a young age and, of course, there is an evil stepmother in the story. Charley ends up learning good life lessons about who she can trust with who she really is and what she does. Her best friend Cookie is a hoot and seems to take all of Charley’s crazy paranormal interactions in stride. Charley’s “gift” came with no instruction manual, so her understanding of the world, the different metaphysical planes and her role in it are limited and she makes up stuff as she goes along, sometimes asking interesting ghost characters for help and insight. She has a great sense of humor which made the book very enjoyable to read. While being introduced to Charley in this book, we are also enmeshed into a triple murder case which has suspenseful twists and turns and very interesting secondary characters.
Romance, of course, is not too far away, as Charley is a hottie with skills and attitude. There is only one man for her, Reyes Farrow, and much of the novel is spent trying to figure out who and what he is. I will not spoil the fun, you have to read it to find out! I really loved this book and immediately went to look for other books in the series to download and read. Unfortunately, this is the first one and the others aren’t due out for awhile. That is one reason I like to pick up a series around book three. Now I have to wait, ugh! The only thing I didn’t get was her nickname ”Dutch” as it sounded male to me and doesn’t have some secondary meaning that we have guessed or have been told. I am hoping there is some good reason that Reyes likes to call her Dutch. One of the best reads I have read in awhile, especially for a first book in a series. I am hooked and definitely give it five chocolate dipped strawberries!!
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