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Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Urban Fantasy, Mystery, Ghosts
Hardcover $22.99 (320 pages, ST. MARTIN'S)
Ebook $10.99
Audiobook $39.99
Mass Market Paperback $7.99 (November 2011)

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.

Author Site: www.daryndajones.com

A bit over-the-top but really darned good. (4 stars)

This is another one of those books that I was chomping at the bit for from first notice. It's also one where the blurb does a decent job of letting you know what to expect. I really couldn't summarize this one without getting very spoilerific. But I promise ya, that's a good thing. It means that this book is going to be busy with lots of plot advancement.

Charley Davidson is quite possibly the most annoying and lovable heroine since Faythe Sanders of Rachel Vincent's Shifters series. She does stuff you just wanna smack her for but then she'll do something you can't help but love her for. She's got a snarky mouth and it is always getting her into trouble. If you like a heroine who can't help but say what's on her mind sometimes Charley is gonna be your new favorite. The cast of secondary characters she associates with, from the ghosts she sees as part of her duties as THE Grim Reaper to her family are also really enjoyable. They play big roles in both the plot and in forming the fabric of who she has become. It hasn't always been easy for Charley and sometimes seeing dead people has unpleasant effects on her relationships with others.

A lot of how Charley's "powers" work is left unexplained. Normally that kind of thing bugs me but since she's had to figure it all out on her own it suits the storyline. I also think future installments in the series will reveal more about why she is the Grim Reaper and what other entities might be out there. I don't usually gravitate toward ghosts in urban fantasy, they're pretty much my least favorite for a lot of reasons, but Jones manages to really make it work here. They have personalities and through Charley they have options that make the story interesting. One scene where a ghosts asks if he can make-out with his wife through Charley had me laughing so hard it hurt.

The overall plot of the book was a little bit too secondary. In my opinion it didn't suit the situation between Charley and her mysterious dream guy much. I'm not one to usually say this but I felt like it took attention away from the "good stuff". Yeah, I mean from the hot dream sex. Ugh, I said it... now I wanna go hide in shame. But the steamy scenes were superb. I wanted more and I tend to be the reader who wishes for less sex and more fighting action or crime solving. If Jones brought this reader to the "dark side" I am taking it as a very good sign that other readers will find it phenomenal.

There's mystery, humor and hot smut blended into a nice cocktail that I hope will be the first of at least a handful of books from Jones. It wasn't flawless but I enjoyed the ride and look forward to more.

Other Reviews:
Carolyn Lessard of The Tri-City Herald
Book Faery
Book Sake
Wicked Little Pixie

Notes: Received ARC via Amazon Vine.


Unknown said...

Great review Rhi! this book looks great! =D

Rhianna said...

TY Larissa! I was actually kind of surprised to find that it was shelved in the mystery section when I was in the bookstore. It was more of an urban fantasy in my opinion but I suppose either section would be appropriate.


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