Book Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

This book may be unsuitable for people under 17 years of age due to its use of sexual content, drug and alcohol use, and/or violence.
Book Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda JonesFirst Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Series: Charley Davidson #1
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on February 1, 2011
Genres: Adult, Romance, Urban Fantasy
Pages: 310
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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.

So I sort of dove (dived?) into the Urban Fantasy genre this year; I’ve read the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning, some of the Night Huntress series by Jeaniene Frost, the Chicagoland Vampires by Chloe Neill, and now First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones.

First Grave on the Right was…fine…I find it interesting how many reviews talk about how witty Charley is. I mean, she’s sassy, for sure, and it’s a funny book, but compared to some of the ones mentioned above, among others, I didn’t find First Grave on the Right to be terribly clever. The jokes seemed to fall just shy of clever, as if Jones was one step away from the really good punch line and couldn’t quite get there. Like, I always knew a joke was being told, but then I was very underwhelmed by the punch line.

Anyway. I already got the second book out of the library, so it’s not like I didn’t enjoy it at all, it just fell short of awesome for me.

Charley, as I said above, is extremely sassy. She’s a grim reaper, and spends much of her time talking to the deceased (to the confusion of most alive people). She works as a Private Investigator, who often helps her uncle, who is a cop. There’s this case they’re working on that has to do with dead lawyers that work with Charley to find some guy who’s a criminal…it wasn’t related to the Charley/Reyes plot so I didn’t really care about it. I wish Jones could have somehow made the case go along with Charley trying to figure out who Reyes was. The actual case seemed so unimportant, even though it was pretty much the main plot.

Reyes Farrow is a guy who keeps showing up in Charley’s dreams to engage in…erm….extra curricular activities with Charley. Except she finds out they’re not dreams. But he’s not a grim reaper like she is, so she has to find out what he is exactly. This plot line was far more interesting to me and I found myself skimming over the other stuff.

Again, all of that’s not to say this isn’t an entertaining book. I enjoyed it and am very interested to get to the next one, especially to see how Reyes and Charley’s relationship develops. There’s some interesting supernatural stuff with Charley hanging around with a bunch of ghosts, Reyes is a delicious mystery, the romance is smokin’, and it’s acceptably funny. So I definitely recommend it if you like Urban Fantasy. It’s less intense than most of the ones I mentioned above, so if you’re looking for something lighter, I would suggest First Grave on the Right.


Romance- Sex, but it didn’t feel super graphic or gratuitous. So it’s there, but not nearly as much as others I’ve read.


Language: it’s Urban Fantasy, so of course there’s some language.


Violence: Again, not as terrible. She’s not a vampire slaying beast. She’s a P.I. that talks to ghosts to solve crimes.

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