If you hang around with dead people, life can get pretty complicated. Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Complicated is her middle name. The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible.
When Charley and Cookie (her best friend/receptionist) have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Cookie’s friend Mimi disappeared five days earlier. Mimi then sends Cookie a cryptic message telling Cookie to meet her at an nearby coffee shop. The coffee is brewing, but Mimi’s still missing. There is, however, a clue Mimi left on the bathroom wall: a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains to them that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old high school friend had been murdered. The same woman whose name Mimi had scribbled on the bathroom wall.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.
Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm’s way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?
Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the year: Second Grave on the Left.
I’m always needing a good laugh and I picked up Second Grave on the Left, book two in the Charley Davidson series, because I enjoyed First Grave on the Right. The story picks up mere weeks after the events in book one; Charley is slowly healing from her beatings and is doing her best to find her mysterious lover, Reyes Farrow. But, her life doesn’t stay quiet for long and she is soon involved with a politically driven missing persons case while desperately trying to save Reyes from the depths of Hell.
Second Grave on the Left was enjoyable because readers are provided a more complex picture of the snarky grim reaper. Charley is hardheaded, sometimes judgemental, and always quick to jump to conclusions, but she is still willing to sacrifice herself for others. She has a great relationship with Cookie and a strained partnership with Swopes, but we also get a better understanding of Charley’s family connections. The first book emphasized Charley’s positive relationship with her dad and Uncle Bob, but pointed out her disdain for her step-mother. Violent events force the family to work on their issues, which adds depth to our stubborn heroine while also highlighting her shortsightedness. These all seem like negative traits but I like that Charley is a properly flawed individual. She manages to realize her faults, embraces her issues, and still proceeds full steam ahead with unwavering confidence and plenty of snark. I like her.
The mystery progressed at a nice rate and Charley’s snarkiness reads smoother and much funnier this time around. I like learning more about Reyes through his best friend, Amador Sanchez, and the creepy prison fan club leader. And I love the ghosts! Jones’ kills me with the overly personable ghosts and I found myself giggling each time the evil little Strawberry Shortcake showed up! As for Dead Trunk Guy…yes! The final scene with him was just perfect!
There is one point that really irked me; I couldn’t stand the relationship building between Charley and Reyes. The two have a deep, and passionate, connection and yet they are completely incapable of communicating. Sex will only get you so far and these two spent the whole book arguing because they are both so darn stubborn. Charley selfishly ignores Reyes’ pleas to be left alone and Reyes tells her NOTHING about the situation. Really? Tell a hardheaded woman not to save you when she knows you’re dying and she’s definitely going to ignore your demands. I felt like so many issues would have been solved if they actually talked to each other instead of constantly squaring off like charging bulls. This issue is just annoying and had me hesitant to pick up book three.
I will continue reading the Charley Davidson series because I like the snarky grim reaper and the ghostly sub plots. It’s a different series and I love the fast pace of the stories. Are you a fan of the series? What do you think about the Charley/Reyes relationship?