Second Grave on the Left

Second Grave on the Left

by Darynda Jones


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?


First Grave on the Right

First Grave on the Right

by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)

This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual.
Or a diagram of some kind.
A flow chart would have been nice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Meaning, she sees dead people. Really. 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 (like 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. But what does he want with Charley? And why can’t she seem to resist him? And what does she have to lose by giving in?

With scorching-hot tension and high-octane humor, First Grave on the Right is your signpost to paranormal suspense of the highest order.


I have spent 2015 fighting a persistent winter cold.  Its annoying, and I was pouting last week when a sicky resurgence kept me from doing my weekly workouts.  I needed something that would make me laugh.  My sweet friend, Jen, recommended Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series.  The description sounded fun, so I grabbed the first book from the local library.  I spent Saturday reading First Grave on the Right.

Charlotte ‘Charley’ Davidson is a grim reaper.  She is also a part-time private investigator specializing in solving the murders of dead clients.  First Grave on the Right finds Charley investigating the murder of three lawyers and unveiling the identity of the sexy, mysterious man who visits in her dreams. Her sharp tongue, ever present good humor, and ability to withstand a beating result in a fun and fast paced story.

First Grave on the Right is a really good debut novel that Jones has now developed in to a series of at least seven.  I instantly enjoyed reading Charley.  Her ‘devil be damned’ attitude and constant wit kept me giggling.  The same goes with her best friend and secretary, Cookie.  I mean, who couldn’t like a woman who has such a deep love of coffee?  And I can not get enough of Reyes!  His protective, alpha male tendencies left me swooning (see I do like some romance themes 🙂 )  I couldn’t put the book down and I spent Saturday soaking up sun in my bathing suit and laughing away my cold.  My favorite scene is when Charley tries to convince the third lawyer that his is dead.  His steadfast denial results in some hilarious dialogue.

The plot was very twisted and detailed, but I wish it had tied together better.  I chock this up to First Grave on the Right being a debut novel and Jones inexperience.  In the same vein, many of Charley’s reactions and witty comments were lost on me because the relationship between characters, namely Charley and Garret, lacked the necessary background descriptions.  I still have no idea why she considered Garret an asshole when he spent the whole book desperately trying to communicate with her.  I would have liked more backstory.  It is still a well written story despite these details!

First Grave on the Right was a great read and I will be picking up book two, Second Grave on the Left, from the library this afternoon.  Anyone else a Darynda Jones fan?  What books do you read when you need a laugh?