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Editorial Reviews

Charlotte “Charley” Davidson is not your stereotypical Grim Reaper. She’s sexy, sassy, and likes to help dead people with unfinished business before they cross. She’s more of a bright light kind of girl than a hood with an axe. For her day job, Charley is an Albuquerque private investigator and a consultant to her police detective uncle. Lately, her nights have been steamed up with dreams of a hot mystery lover who may or may not be real. It’s chick-lit meets paranormal with a touch of mystery in the buzz-worthy First Grave on the Right.
Inevitably, this book will be compared to Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series. They both have feisty female protagonists, snappy dialogue, and zany characters. Veteran narrator Lorelei King also performs the Stephanie Plum books and is well-cast in this novel. What makes her fantastic in the Plum series is her ability to define the voices of all the secondary characters and inject them with interest and distinct personalities. In this performance, she does not disappoint. King seamlessly switches among the characters and has fantastic comedic timing. She elevates the work and keeps the laughs coming.
This is a debut novel from Darynda Jones. It will not be her last; this is clearly a launch for a series. There’s quite a bit of set-up as Charley begins to understand more of her abilities and the presence of other supernatural beings. Jones has created an interesting premise and characters. The mystery element is weak, however, and the writing is on the mediocre side. Jones is at her best with witty dialogue and keeps things moving at a brisk pace. Overall, it’s a fun, breezy listen and an enjoyable escape.
Fans of Janet Evanovich, Lorelei King, and paranormal romance will want to give this new series a listen. —Julie MacDonald
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Publisher's Summary

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. 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 (i.e. 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.
This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense. The audio includes a sneak peak of Second Grave on the Left.
©2011 Darynda Jones (P)2011 Macmillan Audio
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Austin gal on 03-07-12

Great choice for Stephanie, Lorelai or Buffy fans!

I love this narrator’s work on the Stephanie Plum series by one of my favorite authors, Janet Evanovich, so I decided to give this book a try. I was not disappointed. I hear so many books compared to the Evanovich series and I have yet to find one that really lives up to that…until this one. I usually roll my eyes when I hear that comparison in a review.

At first I thought Charley’s “Stephanie-like” wit, spunk, strength, intelligence and personality were just my perception since I associate this wonderful narrator’s voice so strongly with the Evanovich series, but I’m pleased to say that it’s a combination of the narrator and the author. In an interview at the end of the 2nd book, the author states that she tried to model Charley after Stephanie Plum, Lorelai Gilmore, and Buffy the Vampire slayer and I think that’s the perfect characterization of this series. She completely succeeded in that and she mixes just enough romance into the plot to be fun, without turning it into a sappy mess that hides the plot.

I also love that she came up with such an interesting “birthright/job” for Charley. I won’t give it away, but I will say that while the role isn’t something new, it is portrayed with some really unique and cool characteristics. I'd never imagined wanting to be friends with someone who does what she does, but Charley would be an awesome best friend and she's really likeable.

I read all types of books, but I’ve been hooked on the paranormal genre lately and frankly I get tired of the same old vampires, werewolves and other supernatural characters. After awhile they get so predictable with the same powers and flaws, which make the books less interesting to me. I’ll read them, but many don’t wow me or surprise me like this series did. There are enough familiar things to interest those not yet as jaded as I am, but thankfully there are also wonderful surprises!

This book is fun and interesting, but not too heavy. The first book is great and the next two just get better! I was so entertained that I got through all three in less than a week. As is typical with a great series, the story gets better and more interesting with each new book. I just couldn’t walk away. My only complaint is that there are only three books so far!

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44 of 44 people found this review helpful


By Lynne F on 02-08-16

One hungry author!

The story might have been OK if the author wasn't so fixated on food and sex. In short I can only assume that the author was on a doozy of a diet when she wrote this ... far too many detailed descriptions of EVERY meal she took throughout the story... from the menu at top notch restaurants to grabbing a a bag of pretzels we had to hear about every morsel ... added to which we also heard how the 'heroine' was prone to stealing her friends' food off their plates too!
Then we had to endure the phantom sex, and the adolescent fantasies of all the main female characters ... so maybe it wasn't just food she was missing out on when she wrote this!

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Claire on 04-02-16

Cheeky quirky laugh

A great start to a funny book series. A story about an overzealous PI with supernatural abilities who bites off way more than she can handle. I enjoyed the listen, but I don't feel like the story was made better by listening in audio, so I read the rest of the books. It's worth a listen though, if you can get it on sale.

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