The trauma after the drama from the events of Third Grave Dead Ahead has left Charley in a bit of a rut. Instead of solving cases, she’s taken up a new hobby: sitting on her couch all day, acquiring a Home Shopping Network addiction in the process. She finally finds a bit of motivation once a woman shows up who needs her help. Someone is trying to kill her, but something is amiss when all of her loved ones believe she’s paranoid.
Meanwhile, Reyes Farrow, Son of Satan and her better half, has been released from prison, making ends meet by doing what he does best: fighting. He’s been keeping his distance from Charley, but that doesn’t last long (not surprisingly) as he becomes a person of interest in an arson case.
I decided to shelf this series after the third book, but I agreed to an experiment for fellow blogger, Anne-Marie of Unwastedwords, to go the audiobook route in order to determine if my reading experience could redeem the series for me. I can say that this book was a bit more bearable. I’m not sure if it’s because I had a break from reading the books back to back or what. There were a few moments when I got annoyed with Charley’s punchlines and dialogue, but it wasn’t so bad. I thought the narrator did a pretty good job, though she sounds slightly older than how I imagine Charley would sound. I liked her voices for the supporting characters, particularly her aunt.
My biggest gripe with this series is the lack of supernatural conflict in place of the regular old murder mysteries. While I felt her grim reaper issues actually were a little better in that respect, things need to come to a head already. I recently saw that the books have been extended through Book 6. At this point, because I’ve read this far I would be willing to continue the series in the event that things end at Book 6, but not much further beyond that.
Either way, thank you, Anne-Marie, for this opportunity. If I didn’t routinely use text-to-speech I’d likely go the audiobook route much more often.
I’m starting to wonder how many more directions we’ll get to these graves. Right, left, ahead… I don’t even know if Charley knows where she’s going anymore. I just hope the cemetery isn’t that big. Personally, I just want to know the directions to the exit.
Third Grave Dead Ahead is the third installment of the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. Charley once again is pulled into a murder case, this time involving a possessive doctor and his missing wife. She’d like to be at her best, but after binding Reyes Alexander Farrow (Son of Satan and her lifelong protector) to his body, she’s haunted by him in her sleep, meaning she’s getting no rest at all. So she’ll just solve that little issue by staying awake. I go on record to say that Reyes is a better problem to have than Freddie Kruger…
Unable to rely on Reyes’s help when faced with grave danger, she may actually need to take care of herself! Oh the shock!
After reading this book, the events of book 2 were rendered completely pointless. Reyes goes from wanting his body to die (since it’s just a burden and he’d only rot in prison) to now wanting to save it to prove his innocence. Deux ex Machina much? He couldn’t have decided on that one whole book prior to this? There’s an excuse, but it’s as thin as the paper these books are printed on. Furthermore, I am completely apathetic to their relationship, and now he’s becoming a lot more of a problem than a sweet escape. Maybe in about 10 books from now they’ll actually fight, or do something way more interesting than what’s here.
At this point these books feel really formulaic. There are constant punchlines (very few actually made me laugh), no poignant drama, more humans causing trouble (as if they should be an actual threat to the Grim Reaper), and we get breadcrumbs at best for any development that relates to Charley’s powers. I honestly ended up skimming to the dialogue to get through this book, making me realize that I simply do not like Charley.
Finally the last 10% picks up in the paranormal department, but it should have happened a lot sooner. But of course, Charlie has to figure these things out for herself; it cannot be told. She’s just not smart enough to figure it out before the end.
I am still scratching my head as to how she didn’t figure out how to reverse a particular spell when the solution ended up being…oh, I don’t know…ONLY THE MOST OBVIOUS THING TO SAY!!
I gave three books a go. I really wanted to like it, but at this point this series is not for me. Where’s that exit again? Oh, here it is!
Charley is back for another go ’round in Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones. This time she has to help her receptionist and BFF, Cookie, after her old classmate, Mimi, goes missing. There seems to be a trend as Cookie and Mimi’s high school classmates are turning up dead, almost 20 years later.
And then there’s Reyes Alexander Farrow, Son of Satan, and now Charley’s personal poltergeist/incubus. He’s once again separated from his corporeal form which is being hidden and tortured. His body is the perfect bait for demons to lure Charley to them. They want in to heaven, and she is their key. But if she doesn’t get to Reyes on time, he will be corporeally dead…forever.
The first book started out pretty good and then dropped off for me. I can say that I consistently enjoyed this book at the same level all throughout, but I didn’t enjoy it as much as the beginning of the first book. The punchlines still don’t let up, but I tried to adjust to it a little better. I didn’t laugh at most of them, but one or two made me chuckle. I have a sense of humor, but less is more for me.
I’m still a little put off by the lack of true paranormal adversaries. Her biggest issues are still mere humans. I’d like for her to be more capable of kicking butt. She’s only the Grim-frickin’-Reaper. Yet time and time again she is on the business end of one attack or another. She just takes lickin’s and keeps on tickin’, but I want her to fight back.
I am trying to become attached to Reyes, but it’s not really happening. It’s even harder to care about their relationship. Maybe it’s harder to buy it because he’s incorporeal, so it’s not “real” enough. Since they spend most of their screentime together sucking face and then some, there are countless opportunities to become invested, but it’s become boring quickly. I want to see more regarding his back story as the Son of Satan and the demons. That’s the only thing that keeps me hanging on.
There is still a chance for the lore behind the other worlds to pick up in the next novel. It still didn’t get a satisfying amount of focus, but I will give the next read a go to see if anything substantial happens. Though I can’t guarantee that I will read any further it doesn’t.
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.
Thanks for your input, everyone! This poll confirms that my indecision was clearly justified. It really was a tight race! I’ll start with Dorina (which I am enjoying quite a bit already), and then it”ll just be a toss up from there. I am so excited!!
I’m going to do a quick poll this weekend because I am conflicted as to which novel I want to start this coming Monday, though I may leave it ongoing to decide which series should follow. Hopefully you guys can help me out! Keep in mind that I typically like to read books in a series back to back, so the longer the series, the longer it will take for me to get to something else.
Grave Witch (Alex Craft #1) – I’ve been meaning to get around to this series for some time. I’ve heard good things and book 3 was released this July.
First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) – another series that I’ve heard good things about. The fourth book is due out on October 30th (along with like…3 other books I’ve been eying >_>).
Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress #1) – Cat and Bones, I know I know. It’s taken me a while to get around to this one because I was pretty unimpressed with one of her spin-off PNR novels. But I hear this series is more UF and many seem to like it, so I’ve finally come around to being willing to give it a try. This series has 6 books out already and I’ll be honest and say that even though I have polled it, I likely won’t read this first since it already has so many books out. I honestly only added this to the mix because “Grave” seems to be a pretty popular trend here when it comes to these titles, and I find that amusing :P.
Midnight’s Daughter (Dorina Basarab #1) – I have my quirks with the Cassie Palmer series, namely Cassie, but I’ve been told by a number of people that Dorina is actually more likeable. The third book is due out on October 2nd, a date that is fast-approaching.
So please VOTE and share your thoughts!