First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) – Not love at first sight

Not for me at least.  Though I think Charley and Reyes beg to differ.

Author Darynda Jones gives us the Grimm Reaper in her debut novel, First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1). One would imagine the infamous skeleton clad in a black hooded cloak, wielding that ever-so-ominous scythe. But this Grimm Reaper, Charley Davidson, is a little different. She’s a warm-blooded pretty face that attracts the living and the dead alike. She helps lost souls pass over to the other side. But when a few new souls crop up, it turns out there may be a serial killer on the loose. Now Charley has to help solve the case while figuring out the mystery behind intense dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been guarding her all of her life.

This felt like a hodgepodge of genres: ghost story, murder mystery, paranormal, urban fantasy, romance, and chick-lit all wrapped into one. I can’t really say one element was more prevalent than the other. That can be a good or bad thing depending on what you’re looking for in a book. For myself, I am finding that I don’t enjoy these books quite as much as ones that are firmly rooted into one or maybe two genres.

In the beginning I liked the punch lines, but after a while they sort of became annoying. On one page we see her crying about someone’s horrible death, and on the next she’s cracking jokes again. It lessened the impact of the drama for me quite a bit. I also was hoping to see bigger adversaries of the supernatural persuasion. Her biggest nemeses are ordinary humans (physically anyway).

There is potential when it comes to her mysterious gentlemen incubus caller, but most of the book is spent getting to the bottom of what he is. I would have liked to have seen that happen sooner so that we could see him in action.

I think that it’s an enjoyable read in parts, but I don’t really know if I want to continue past book 2. I know a number of great series suffer from first book syndrome, so that’s why I’m willing to give book 2 a go. But at this point I don’t really feel attached to the characters and I’m not really sure if that will change by the next book. For some reason ghosts and the like just don’t do it for me, and that’s the majority of the paranormal activity in this series.  There is potential to expand this world to include heaven and hell. I think something like that would spark more interest for me to keep up with this one for the long haul.

4 responses

  1. I agree w/your assessment. In my humble opinion, the author tried too hard to come up with comedic ripostes. I tired of it halfway through and stopped reading any further.

    October 8, 2012 at 10:44 PM

    • You didn’t miss anything. The beginning was the best.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:10 AM

  2. Hallellujah! This was one of those books that everyone read and seemed to love and when I picked it up I was looking forward to a quality read. Started off great, then I lost interest and I finally stopped reading when she started crying to her secretary and I was totally unmoved. But it’s super popular, so I felt like a moron. Thanks for articulating the probs. You are totally right! The comedy reminded me of Davidson/Sands where I grit my teeth and wish someone had said, ‘that’s enough. take that one out.’

    October 8, 2012 at 11:44 PM

    • Sometimes less is more! I agree the beginning was pretty good, but it just went downhill. I finished but… I’ll just see how book to goes, but I won’t feel obligated to finish it.

      October 9, 2012 at 12:12 AM

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