Tag Archives: 2011

Grim Reaper and PI – Charley Davidson at Your Service

first_grave_rightThe one New Year’s resolution I made that I am likely to keep is to read more books that have accumulated in my TBR pile. First Grave on the Right is the first of these. It was originally released in 2011 by St. Martin’s Press.With her eleventh book, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, out in the series this year, it seemed like a good time to check out Charley Davidson and her universe.

Charley Davidson is a fairly unique individual. She is a private investigator and a grim reaper. Charley is a fun, spunky, and sarcastic heroine. She would probably object to using the word spunky to describe her, but she is definitely “courageous and determined” if maybe occasionally reckless.

As part of Charley’s gifts as a grim reaper, she can see and communicate with dead people. Most of the dead move on into the afterlife fairly smoothly, but some have unresolved issues that they seek to resolve with help from Charley. In this case, there are 3 lawyers that are murdered. They have unresolved issues in that they all have something they want to be communicated to the beloved they are leaving behind and that they want to see whoever killed them put behind bars. As if that wasn’t enough for Charley, she is having sensual nightly visits from an entity she knows as Reyes.

So, First Grave on the Right is mostly a mystery with paranormal influences. The mysteries are solved with help from her assistant Cookie, her uncle who is a detective, and a dead gangbanger who has turned to helping Charley out.

There is also a touch of romance in the books because of her growing relationship with Reyes. She is desperate to know more about this “man” who has been visiting her nightly in her dreams. This becomes one of the mysteries she must solve.

The book is loaded with Charley’s sarcastic humor. Most of the time she knows when to stop, but occasionally she just can’t help herself.

“My calculations- allowing for a 12 percent margin of error, based on the radius of the corresponding confidence interval and the surgeon general’s warning – concluded that they probably didn’t stay behind for tacos.” (p.53)

I once signed up for an anger management class, but the instructor pissed me off.”(p.58)

Overall, I give this book 4 out of 5 stars. It is an award-winning debut for Darynda Jones and I really enjoyed reading it. I needed something light to read, and this fit the bill perfectly. You will probably enjoy this book too if you like to read mysteries with a heavy dose of paranormal and a smidgen of romance.

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Skanks, Peaches, and Southern Hospitality

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Teeny Templeton catches her fiance, Bing, butt naked playing badminton with 2 beautiful yet skanky women. Her reaction is to climb a tree and throw peaches at the lot of them. Bing presses charges against her and gets a restraining order, he says to avoid a repeat of the assault. Now someone has texted Teeny in Bing’s name and summoned her to their former home with the  lure of mending their relationship. The reality is different though. Teeny finds Bing dead just before someone knocks her cold. Who texted her? And who knocked her out? And who is framing Teeny for murder?

Add onto Teeny’s troubles that she needs bail, a place to live, and a job. And she needs the help of her first love who is now a lawyer. But just who all can Teeny trust as she navigates the legal system and life in Charleston, SC?

It’s a pretty good book. It reads some like chick lit and some like a mystery. It has its funny points(throwing peaches) and not so funny(funerals and restraining orders). Some of the characters are more developed than others which is to be expected since not all of them have a large role to play. The tempo of the book picks up the closer you get to the end. I liked that I couldn’t tell who the murderer was going to be pretty much up until the end.

I had a couple of minor complaints. It’s a little slow in places, but that’s to be expected, for example, as we have a flashback to when Teeny and Coop were an item 10 yrs ago. And Teeny falls into bed kinda quickly with Coop after losing her fiance. Her relationship with Bing would have had to have been already rocky before he died, I would have thought, in order for her to go to bed with Coop that quickly. Michael Lee West uses Teeny’s past relationship with Coop to help explain that.

Overall I give the book 4 out of 5 stars. It’s  best for people who don’t mind a little chick lit with their mysteries. As a bonus there are recipes at the end of the book for some of the Teeny’s creations like Lavender Short Bread. I listened to the book on CD. The narrator reads with a pleasant southern accent. This audiobook was released in 2011 from Tantor Media. I borrowed my copy from my local library.

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