First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

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First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

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Category: Fantasy
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Robert James
Reviewed by Robert James
Summary: Super snarky, super steamy, and a truly awesome cast of characters here. Anyone looking for a decidedly adult paranormal romance shouldn't miss this.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 320 Date: November 2011
Publisher: Piatkus
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 9780749956042

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Charley Davidson is a private investigator with a difference - she's the Grim Reaper, ushering souls towards the light. When three lawyers from the same firm are murdered, they ask her to solve the case to allow them to rest in peace. With the help of her uncle, a detective, she sets out to do just that - as long as she can avoid being distracted by the nightly dreams she's having of a sexy entity…

This is snarky, smart, filled with great characters, and seriously raunchy - while the paranormal genre is huge for both adults and teens these days, this is decidedly aimed at the more mature reader, featuring a fabulous heroine who starts the book wondering if she's going to die from earth-shattering climaxes and later introduces a male character to her breasts, Danger and Will Robinson. Things only get hotter from there on in, and towards the end of the book I was starting to get concerned that it would burst into flames given the chemistry between two characters!

There's decidedly elements of Mary-Janice Davidson's Undead series here, but the overall tone, quick wit, and excellent supporting cast is more reminiscent of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum books. Despite the size of that cast, Darynda Jones clearly establishes each of them with their own personality, my favourites being Garrett, the skip-tracer Charley sometimes works with, and the young dead girl who stubbornly refuses to leave, instead following around a young cop. Of course, Charley herself is the stand-out here - tough (but certainly not invulnerable), sexy and deliciously sarcastic. Coupled with the great characters is a really fast-moving and exciting plot, and excellent narration, making this one extremely hard to put down.

With a sequel to this one already out, and a third book coming in February 2012, I'm definitely looking forward to finding out more about Charley Davidson and her friends. The ending to this book, while wrapping things up nicely in some ways, leaves at least one absolutely huge question open to tantalise readers. Overall, this is a very strong recommendation, standing out from most of the other books of its kind, and could well be the start of a fabulous series.

As mentioned earlier, Charley Davidson is cut from the same cloth as Stephanie Plum, and I think readers who enjoy this one will also really like Steph's adventures. There are nearly two dozen by now, and while you really should start with One For The Money, a particular favourite here at The Bookbag is Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich.

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Buy First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones at


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