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

( 571 )

Overview

First Grave on the Right is the 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 ...

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

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Overview

First Grave on the Right is the 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 Darynda Jones, an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

 

First Grave on the Right is the winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book.

2012 RITA Winner for Best First Book

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The grim reaper gets a shiny cool makeover in Jones's blazing hot debut, a paranormal romantic thriller. Charlotte Jean "Charley" Davidson, a 27-year-old PI and consultant for the Albuquerque, N.Mex., police department, exists on two planes—one for the dead, the other for the living. As the grim reaper, she escorts the recently departed "into the light." In her dreams, she's haunted by a "dark, seductive stranger," whose warmth suggests he's something "not dead." In the real world, Charley helps her APD detective uncle, Bob Davidson, investigate the fatal shootings of three lawyers who were representing a client accused of murder. Meanwhile, Charley finds herself oddly attracted to the devilishly handsome Reyes Farrow, a convicted criminal in a coma. Fast-talking Charley's wicked exuberance and lust for life will appeal to fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Janet Evanovich and maybe fill a hole for those mourning the recently canceled Ghost Whisperer. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Sexy, sassy . . . Jones’s characters, both living and dead, are colorful and endearing. . . . Cheeky charm . . . sarcastic wit.”The Associated Press

“Jones’s wickedly witty debut will delight aficionados of such humorous paranormals as Casey Daniels’s Pepper Martin Mysteries and Dakota Cassidy’s Accidental Friends series.”—Booklist (starred review)

 “Jones skillfully establishes the novel’s setting and keeps up the pace with plenty of action. And let’s be honest—the sex is pretty hot, too. Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and other authors of paranormal romance will love this series debut.”—Library Journal (starred review)

“Fast-talking Charley’s wicked exuberance and lust for life will appeal to fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Janet Evanovich and maybe fill a hole for those mourning the recently canceled Ghost Whisperer.”—Publishers Weekly

“Jones makes a truly memorable debut with her unique tale that is sexy, mysterious, and sarcastically fun!”—RT Books Reviews

“It’s a fun, sexy, exciting read.”—Suspense Magazine

“A true paranormal princess has been proclaimed. Bravo Ms. Jones, you have just hit the big time. . . . A brilliant novel . . . Do not walk; run to get your copy of First Grave on the Right when it debuts.”—Night Owl Reviews

This book is full of surprises and fun to be had for all. I barely finished this book and already can’t wait to visit with Charley Davidson again in the next novel, Second Grave on the Left. First Grave on the Right deserves nothing less than a Five Angel, Recommend Read status.”Fallen Angel Reviews

“Hold on to your hats and get comfortable, you won’t want to get up for a long, long time as Charley Davidson sweeps you in and holds on tight.”—The Romance Reviews

“A smashing, award-winning debut novel.”—Goodreads

“In the currently crowded paranormal world, First Grave on the Right is a bright beacon of originality. Jones writes with a sharp, addictively acerbic sense of humor, and she combines genres with the carefully controlled precision of a master literary mixologist.”Reader to Reader . . .

“A fast and fun read [that] will leave you begging for more. Second Grave on the Left is due out in August, and I can’t wait.”Fresh Fiction

“This book takes a humorous view on the old Grim Reaper cliché. Charley is a smart, enjoyable character with enough snark to keep one laughing even as the plot darkens.”Affaire de Coeur

“The best debut novel I’ve read in years! Hilarious and heartfelt, sexy and surprising . . . I’m begging for the next one!!”—J. R. Ward, New York Times bestselling author of Lover Avenged

“I am furiously envious of Darynda Jones and rue the day she came up with this concept, damn her eyes. First Grave on the Right . . . kidnapped me from the first paragraph, and didn’t let go until the exceedingly yummy conclusion.”—MaryJanice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author of Undead and Unwelcome and Me, Myself and Why?

First Grave on the Right is smart, sharp, and wickedly entertaining. Grab this one.”—Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of Fired Up

First Grave on the Right is witty, darkly thrilling, and oh, so sexy!”—Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Whisper

First Grave on the Right is a phenomenal debut! This series opener has it all—rollicking humor, sizzling sexual tension, and a spine-tingling mystery. I’m eagerly awaiting the next Charley Davidson tale!”—Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of Pleasure of a Dark Prince

Library Journal
This series starter—Jones's first work of fiction—is funny, sarcastic, and erotic and includes a darned good detective yarn. Part-time PI/full-time Grim Reaper Charlie Davidson works with the police to solve murders—which is made easier by her ability to talk with the victims. So who killed three different lawyers in the same evening, and why is her supernatural guardian suddenly visiting her in her dreams? Good pacing, easy introduction of the backstory, and tons of snappy, sometimes four-letter retorts add to the enjoyment. When Charlie announces that the names of her breasts are "Danger" and "Will Robinson," listeners know they are in for a wild ride. Actress/Audie Award winner Lorelei King is comfortable in Charlie's skin and performs a wide variety of characters distinctly. For anyone enjoying sexy paranormal detective fiction. [The St. Martin's hc also received a starred review, LJ 11/1/10, and won the Romance Writers of America 2009 Golden Heart for best paranormal romance manuscript; the St. Martin's Griffin pb will publish in July 2011.—Ed.]—J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA
Kirkus Reviews

The intended laughs don't materialize in this supernatural chick-lit whodunit, featuring a back-talkin' P.I. who sees dead people.

Technically, Charley Davidson is a grim reaper, a term applied to humans (she's not the only one) who act as a portal for those who need help passing to the other side. To the dead, Charley glows and is an irresistible incentive to leave their worldly attachments. But then there are those with unfinished business, such as the three law partners who were just murdered. Teaming up with her uncle, a detective on the Albuquerque Police force, Charley is remarkably proficient at solving murders—she simply asks the recently departed what happened. But as the three lawyers were shot in the back of the head, they and Charley need real detective work to solve the case. As Charley puts the pieces together (it all hinges on a man wrongly imprisoned for the murder of a teenage boy), she is also wrestling with her own demons—literally. Since her birth, which she vividly remembers, she has been guarded over by an entity she calls Bad. Though he's responsible for saving her life on countless occasions, Charley is petrified in his presence. This is made all the more confusing by the highly charged sexual encounters she's been having, first while dreaming and now awake, with a phantom-like presence. She believes her dream-lover to be Reyes Farrow, a young man she once saved, but that he's in a coma in a penitentiary hospital and that he whispers the name Bad has always used for her, throws everything Charley knows about this dimension and the next into question. Though Jones has created a worthy conceit, her heroine is less than appealing. A little snotty—to both the living and the dead—Charley is an unlikely guide for a series with a foot in the underworld.

This first in a series ends with the son of Satan and the promise of a grand battle between good and evil, but this opening offers little more than a clever premise and a ho-hum murder mystery.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312360801
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 11/29/2011
  • Series: Charley Davidson Series , #1
  • Format: Mass Market Paperback
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 53,363
  • Product dimensions: 6.76 (w) x 4.18 (h) x 0.94 (d)

Meet the Author

Darynda Jones

DARYNDA JONES lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than twenty-five years and two beautiful sons, aka the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

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Read an Excerpt

FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT (Chapter One)

Better to see dead than be dead.

—CHARLOTTE JEAN DAVIDSON, GRIM REAPER

I’d been having the same dream for the past month—the one where a dark stranger materialized out of smoke and shadows to play doctor with me. I was starting to wonder if repetitive exposure to nightly hallucinations resulting in earth-shattering climaxes could have any long-term side effects. Death via extreme pleasure was a serious concern. The prospect led to the following dilemma: Do I seek help or buy drinks all around?

This night was no exception. I was having a killer dream that featured a set of capable hands, a hot mouth, and a creative employment of lederhosen when two external forces tried to lure me out of it. I did my darnedest to resist, but they were fairly persistent external forces. First, a frosty chill crept up my ankle, the icy caress jolting me out of my red-hot dream. I shivered and kicked out, unwilling to acknowledge the summons, then tucked my leg into the thick folds of my Bugs Bunny comforter.

Second, a soft but persistent melody played in the periphery of my consciousness like a familiar song I couldn’t quite place. After a moment, I realized it was the cricketlike chime of my new phone.

With a heavy sigh, I pried open my eyes just enough to focus on the numbers glowing atop my nightstand. It was 4:34 A.M. What kind of sadist called another human being at 4:34 in the morning?

A throat cleared at the foot of my bed. I turned my attention to the dead guy standing there, then lowered my lids and asked in a gravelly voice, “Can you get that?”

He hesitated. “Um, the phone?”

“Mmm.”

“Well, I’m kind of—”

“Never mind.” I reached for the phone and grimaced as a jolt of pain ripped through me, reminding me I’d been beaten senseless the night before.

Dead Guy cleared his throat again.

“Hello,” I croaked.

It was my uncle Bob. He bombarded me with words, of all things, apparently clueless to the fact that predawn hours rendered me incapable of coherent thought. I concentrated super duper hard on concentrating and made out three salient phrases: busy night, two homicides, ass down here. I even managed a reply, something resembling, “What twirly nugget are you from?”

He sighed, clearly annoyed, then hung up.

I hung up back, pressing a button on my new phone that either disconnected the call or speed-dialed the Chinese takeout around the corner. Then I tried to sit up. Similar to the coherent-thought problem, this was easier said than done. While I normally weighed around 125 … ish, for some unexplainable reason, between the hours of partially awake and fully awake, I weighed a solid 470.

After a brief, beached whale–like struggle, I gave up. The quart of Chunky Monkey I ate after getting my ass kicked had probably been a bad idea.

In too much pain to stretch, I let a lengthy yawn overtake me instead, winced at the soreness shooting through my jaw, then looked back at Dead Guy. He was blurry. Not because he was dead, but because it was 4:34 A.M. And I’d recently had my ass kicked.

“Hi,” he said nervously. He had a wrinkled suit, round-rimmed glasses, and mussed hair that made him look part young-wizard-we-all-know-and-love and part mad scientist. He also had two bullet holes on the side of his head with blood streaking down his right temple and cheek. None of these details were a problem. The problem resided in the fact that he was in my bedroom. In the wee hours of dawn. Standing over me like a dead Peeping Tom.

I eyed him with my infamous death stare, second only to my infamous fluster stare, and got a response immediately.

“Sorry, sorry,” he said, stumbling over his words, “didn’t mean to frighten you.”

Did I look frightened? Clearly my death stare needed work.

Ignoring him, I inched out of bed. I had on a Scorpions hockey jersey I’d snatched off a goalie and a pair of plaid boxers—same team, different position. Chihuahuas, tequila, and strip poker. A night that is forever etched at the top of my Things I’ll Never Do Again list.

With teeth clenched in agony, I dragged all 470 throbbing pounds toward the kitchen and, more important, the coffeepot. Caffeine would chisel the pounds off, and I’d be back to my normal weight in no time.

Because my apartment was roughly the size of a Cheez-It, it didn’t take me long to feel my way to the kitchen in the dark. Dead Guy followed me. They always follow me. I could only pray this one would keep his mouth shut long enough for the caffeine to kick in, but alas, no such luck.

I’d barely pressed the ON button when he started in.

“Um, yeah,” he said from the doorway, “it’s just that I was murdered yesterday, and I was told you were the one to see.”

“You were told that, huh?” Maybe if I hovered over the pot, it would develop an inferiority complex and brew faster just to prove it could.

“This kid told me you solve crimes.”

“He did, huh?”

“You’re Charley Davidson, right?”

“That’s me.”

“Are you a cop?”

“Not especially.”

“A sheriff’s deputy?”

“Uh-uh.”

“A meter maid?”

“Look,” I said, turning to him at last, “no offense, but you could have died thirty years ago, for all I know. Dead people have no sense of time. Zero. Zip. Nada.”

“Yesterday, October eighteenth, five thirty-two P.M., double gunshot wound to the head, resulting in traumatic brain injury and death.”

“Oh,” I said, reining in my skepticism. “Well, I’m not a cop.” I turned back to the pot, determined to break its iron will with my infamous death stare, second only to—

“So, then, what are you?”

I wondered if your worst nightmare would sound silly. “I’m a private investigator. I hunt down adulterers and lost dogs. I do not solve murder cases.” I did, actually, but he didn’t need to know that. I’d just come off a big case. I was hoping for a few days’ respite.

“But this kid—”

“Angel,” I said, disappointed that I didn’t exorcise that little devil when I had the chance.

“He was an angel?”

“No, his name is Angel.”

“His name is Angel?”

“Yes. Why?” I asked, becoming disenchanted with the Angel game.

“I just thought it might have been his occupation.”

“It’s his name. And believe you me, he is anything but.”

After a geological epoch passed in which single-celled organisms evolved into talk show hosts, Mr. Coffee was still holding out on me. I gave up and decided to pee instead.

Dead Guy followed me. They always—

“You’re very … bright,” he said.

“Um, thanks.”

“And … sparkly.”

“Uh-huh.” This was nothing new. From what I’d been told, the departed see me as something of a beacon, a brilliant entity—emphasis on the brilliant—they can see from continents away. The closer they get, the sparklier I become. If sparklier is a word. I’ve always considered the sparkles a plus of being the only grim reaper this side of Mars. And as such, my job was to lead people into the light. Aka, the portal. Aka, me. But it didn’t always go smoothly. Kind of like leading a horse to water and whatnot. “By the way,” I said, glancing over my shoulder, “if you do see an angel, a real one, run. Quickly. In the opposite direction.” Not really, but freaking people out was fun.

“Seriously?”

“Seriously. Hey—” I stopped and twirled to face him. “—did you touch me?” Somebody practically molested my right ankle, somebody cold, and since he’d been the only dead guy in the room …

“What?” he said, indignant.

“Earlier, when I was in bed.”

“Pffft, no.”

I narrowed my eyes, let my gaze linger menacingly, then resumed my hobble to the bathroom.

I needed a shower. Bad. And I couldn’t dillydally all day. Uncle Bob would stroke.

But as I stepped toward the bathroom, I realized the worst part of my morning—the let there be light part—was fast approaching. I groaned and considered dillydallying despite the state of Uncle Bob’s arteries.

Just suck it up, I told myself. It had to be done.

I placed a shaky hand on the wall, held my breath, and flipped the switch.

“I’m blind!” I yelled, shielding my eyes with my arms. I tried to focus on the floor, the sink, the Clorox ToiletWand. Nothing but a bright white blur.

I totally needed to lower my wattage.

I stumbled back, caught myself, then forced one foot in front of the other, refusing to back down. I would not be stopped by a lightbulb. I had a job to do, dammit.

“Did you know you have a dead guy in your living room?” he asked.

I turned back to the dead guy, then glanced across the room to where Mr. Wong stood, his back to us, his nose buried in the corner. Looking back at dead guy number one, I asked, “Isn’t that a bit like the pot calling the kettle African-American?”

Mr. Wong was a dead guy, too. A teeny-tiny one. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he was gray—all of him, almost monochrome in his translucence, with a gray uniform of some sort and ash gray hair and skin. He looked like a Chinese prisoner of war. And he stood in my corner day after day, year after year. Never moving, never speaking. Though I could hardly blame him for not getting out more with his coloring and all, even I thought Mr. Wong was a nut job.

Of course, the mere fact that I had a ghost in the corner wasn’t the creepiest part, and the moment Dead Guy realized Mr. Wong wasn’t actually standing in the corner, but was hovering, toes several inches from the floor, he’d freak.

I lived for such moments.

“Good morning, Mr. Wong!” I semi-shouted. I wasn’t sure if Mr. Wong could hear. Probably a good thing, since I had no idea what his real name was. I just named him Mr. Wong in the interim between creepy dead guy in the corner and normal walking-around dead guy he would someday become if I had anything to say about it. Even dead people needed a healthy sense of well-being.

“Is he in time-out?”

Good question. “I have no idea why he’s in that corner. Been there since I rented the apartment.”

“You rented the apartment with a dead guy in the corner?”

I shrugged. “I wanted the apartment, and I figured I could cover him up with a bookcase or something. But the thought of having a dead guy hovering behind my copy of Sweet Savage Love gnawed at me. I couldn’t just leave him there. I don’t even know if he likes romance.”

I looked back at the newest incorporeal being to grace me with his presence. “What’s your name, anyway?”

“Oh, how rude of me,” he said, straightening and walking forward for a handshake. “I’m Patrick. Patrick Sussman. The Third.” He stopped short and eyed his hand, then glanced back up sheepishly. “I don’t guess we can actually—”

I took his hand in a firm shake. “Actually, Patrick, Patrick Sussman the Third, we can.”

His brows drew together. “I don’t understand.”

“Yeah, well,” I said, going into the bathroom, “join the club.”

As I closed the door, I heard Patrick Sussman III freak out at last.

“Oh, my god. He’s just … hovering.”

It’s the simple things in life, and all that crap.

*   *   *

The shower felt like heaven covered in warm chocolate syrup. Steam and water rushed over me as I inventoried each muscle, adding a mental asterisk if it ached.

My left biceps definitely needed an asterisk, which made sense. The asshole in the bar last night wrenched my arm with the apparent intention of ripping it off. Sometimes being a private investigator meant dealing with society’s less-than-savory characters, like a client’s abusive husband.

Next, I checked my entire right side. Yep, it ached. Asterisk. Probably happened when I fell against the jukebox. Stealth and grace, I ain’t.

Left hip, asterisk. No idea.

Left forearm, double asterisks. Most likely when I blocked asshole’s punch.

And then, of course, my left cheek and jaw, quadruple asterisks, where my block proved utterly useless. Asshole was simply too strong and too fast, and the punch had been too unexpected. I went down like a drunken cowgirl trying to line dance to Metallica.

Embarrassing? Yes. But strangely enlightening as well. I’d never been KO’d before. I thought it would hurt more. Somehow, when you’re knocked senseless, the pain doesn’t show up till later. Then it’s a cold, heartless bitch.

Still, I’d made it through the night with no permanent damage. Always a good thing.

As I tried to work some of the soreness out of my neck, my thoughts turned to the dream I’d had, the same dream I’d been having every night for a month. And it was proving harder and harder to vanquish the remnants after I woke, the lingering touches, the fog of hunger. Every night in my dreams, a man appeared from the darkest recesses of my mind, as if he’d been waiting for me to fall asleep. His mouth, full, masculine, would sear my flesh. His tongue, like flames across my skin, would send tiny sparks quaking through my body. Then he would dip south, and the heavens would open and a chorus singing hallelujah would ring out in perfect harmony.

At first the dreams started small. A touch. A kiss light as air. A smile I could see only in the periphery of negative space, finding beauty where I’d never expected. Then the dreams developed, became stronger and frighteningly intense. For the first time in my life, I’d actually climaxed in my sleep. And not just once. In the last month, I’d come often, on more nights than not, in fact. All at the hands—and other body parts—of a dream lover I couldn’t see, not fully. Yet I knew he was the epitome of sensuality, of male magnetism and allure. And I knew also that he reminded me of someone.

I figured my dreams were being invaded, but by whom? I’ve had the ability to see the departed all my life. I had been born a grim reaper, after all. The grim reaper, though I didn’t discover that little jewel until I was in high school. Even so, the departed have never been able to enter my dreams, to make me quake and quiver and, I admit, beg.

As far as my ability goes, there’s nothing particularly special about it. The departed exist on one plane, and the human race exists on another, and somehow—whether by freak accident, divine intervention, or psychological disorder—I exist on both. A perk, I suppose, of grim reaperism. But it’s all quite simple. No trances. No crystal balls. No channel surfing the dead from one plane to the next. Just a girl, a few ghosts, and the entire human race. What could be easier?

And yet, he was something more, something … not dead. At least he seemed that way. The person in my dreams radiated heat. Dead people are cold, just like in the movies. Their presence will fog your breath, make you shiver, stand your hair on end. But the man in my dreams, the dark, seductive stranger I’d become addicted to, was a furnace. He was like the scalding water rushing over me, sensual and painful and everywhere at once.

And the dreams were so real, the feelings and responses his touch evoked so vivid. I could almost feel him now, his hands sliding up my thighs, as if he were in the shower with me at that very moment. I could feel his palms rest on my hips and the length of his hard body press against my backside. I reached behind me, ran my fingers along his steel buttocks as he pulled me onto him. His muscles contracted and released underneath my touch, like the tide’s flow and ebb under the sway of the moon. When I forced a hand between us, slid it down his abdomen to encircle his erection, he hissed in a breath of pleasure and hugged me to him.

I felt his mouth at my ear, his breath fan over my cheek. We had never spoken. The heat and intensity of the dreams left little room for conversation.

But for the first time, I heard a whispered utterance, faint and almost imperceptible. “Dutch.”

My heartbeats skyrocketed, and I jerked to attention, glancing around the shower, searching for ghosts in cracks and crevices. Nothing. Had I fallen asleep? In the shower? I couldn’t have. I was still standing. Barely. I clutched the shower valves to keep myself upright, wondering what in the crazy afterlife had just happened.

After steadying myself, I turned off the water and grabbed a towel. Dutch. I’d distinctly heard the word Dutch.

Only one person on Earth had ever called me Dutch, once, a very long time ago.

FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT Copyright © 2011 by Darynda Jones

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 571 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(342)

4 Star

(144)

3 Star

(45)

2 Star

(11)

1 Star

(29)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 571 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 14, 2011

    Fresh, fun, exciting-more please!

    I am so impressed by the fact that this book read like a 'bestseller': it kept the pages turning, the dialogue was quick and witty, and I felt I might run into the characters the next time I was in Albuquerque--they felt that real. But at the same time, this book does NOT read like yet another from your favorite author. Darynda Jones has found a new, fresh flavor to write with, and this book is completely unique. Charley and the other characters are personalities you've never had the please of meeting before (and you will love them!). They get into (and out of) situations you never thought possible, and their interactions feel true to life . . . well, if you are willing to believe that the grim reaper is a hot PI who shines like a beacon to the dead! Charley Davidson is smart, sassy, sexy . . . the only thing I don't like about her is that I can't BE her. And her amazingly tasty mystery man had my mouth watering! I loved the outstanding character development; the story is interesting and will keep you hooked from page one to the very end--I read straight through, and now I am craving more! Can't wait for Second Grave, and Third, and Fourth, and . . .

    26 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 18, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Loved the sarcasm, what a great story. I can't wait for the next one.

    I liked it, very sarcastic, set in the first person. It reminded me of the way I think, I don't vocalize what I think, most of the time(it would get me into as much trouble as it does her). Charley Davidson is a kick butt PI and a grim reaper. She's fast and funny with a quick comment to make about everything. I liked her uncle and the cop that she butts heads with. Reyes is hot, hot, hot and boy what a shock when you learn his origin. Not much real sex, supernatural love, at least a bit. This was funny, fast paced and interesting to read. I look forward to the next book she writes to see what happens in Charley's life. Thanks to the publisher for sending me this advanced copy.

    16 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 4, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Best book in this genre in a long time, and I read alot of UF. Let me interject however - Don't give an author a bad review because you can't open the book!

    This book won the Romance Writers of America Golden Heart award for best paranormal romance, and it's easy to see why. A must-read for lovers of this genre, and I'm counting the days until Book 2 comes out.

    15 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 7, 2011

    Fabulous Debut

    First, let me say I don't usually read paranormal, but I won an ARC and thought I'd take a peek. That peek lasted five hours--until I finished the book.

    Sassy, irreverent, poignant, funny, heartrending in places, Darynda Jones has it all. I couldn't put it down. Kudos!

    12 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A winner

    Private investigator Charley Davidson knows she cannot quit her haunting 24/7 job as her potential clients will never go away. That is the plight of being the Grim Reaper, who helps dead people complete their business on earth so they can move on. Most of her deceased customers died due to ugly causes like murder and want their perpetrator skinned alive though they will settle for them being brought to justice; thus they turn to Charley who tries to resolve the issue so they can go into the light. Her recent dreams are XXX rated starring a paranormal Entity, who has been in her life forever only lately it has been different; she has no idea why or how; nor how to find out.

    Three people killed in a triple homicide ask her to investigate the crime. At the same time she learns who Entity is the offspring of, and his claim they are ironically soul mates.

    Charley is the queen of humorous biting sarcasm even when in the heat of sex (live and dreaming) and never lets up on her mocking the living and the dead summed up by the heroine at the onset with her comment about her wet dreams being "death by divine pleasure". In other words a ghost in need is a pest as she makes or breaks the tale depending on your tastes. Fans who appreciate an acerbic heroine will relish this strong investigative urban fantasy; otherwise need to pass. The Jones mythos is set nicely so the reader will believe in the mocking Ghost Whisperer who is not a tender Jennifer Love Hewitt but still solves homicides enabling dispirited spirits to cross into the light.

    Harriet Klausner

    11 out of 22 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2012

    I have no idea

    Sadly, I can't even open the book. I have done everything I can and the book refuses to open for me. I have done all the research possible to try to fix it, and I feel like I just wasted my money nothing. Which I did. It seems that this only happens to certain books and it's not the nooks problem, so buy at your own risk of even being able to read it once you do buy it.

    7 out of 21 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 12, 2011

    Hilarious

    This book was just great from start to finish. A definitly great new author I must now await a new book from sigh...

    7 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 3, 2014

    Harriet klausner

    Of course harriet klausner just has to ruin another book with her cliff note book report. Bn cant you please put a stop to this obnoxious plot spoiler and deleyte her plot spoiling posts? She ruins every book she supposedly reviees and has started other people doing it now too. Please bn, please stop her and delete her ruinous posts.

    6 out of 20 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 8, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    very funny and quirky character.

    First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson # 1) by Darynda Jones Charlie Davidson has a sixth sense and is not afraid to use it. She can see dead people and uses the ability to help them and the loved ones they left behind. I honestly did not think I would enjoy this plot, but I have to tell you, Charlie Davidson is a very funny and quirky character. She has a way of dealing with issues at hand. In this book, she works with her uncle as a private PI specifically to solve a case of 3 murdered lawyers. And helping her are the lawyers themselves... Mysteries eventually solved but the best outcome is finding out THE ONE in her dreams. This book is written in first person POV which I usually do not enjoy. However, Ms. Jones did a phenomenal job keeping me interested and drawn to the characters and scenes at hand. Even the secondary characters here are great and just as funny. Now, this is not an erotica, but Ms Jones gave us a great and sexy ending that will leave you wanting for more. I was skeptical about this book, no pretty male models or H/h fondling each other on the cover that I enjoy looking at. It actually has the foot of our heroine which did not do anything for me. But it was recommended to me by my friend Fran who seems to know what I would enjoy. I am glad I did. The cover did not do this book justice. I can’t wait to get to Second Grave to the Left.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 6, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    A great read!

    Another awesome author - Highly entertaining and left me looking forward to a sequel.

    6 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 14, 2012

    A sexy,suspenseful,laugh out loud, cannot put down, addictive book and series,

    This is one of the best books i have read in a very long time. I def recommend the entire series...u will not be disappointed! It keeps you on the edge and is a laugh out loud, cannot put it down type of books. I eagerly await the next one!

    5 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 25, 2011

    Bow-chica-bow-bow!

    When you mix mystery, paranormal, and comedy into a story, you get the best drink of fun this side of happy hour. I just love Darynda Jones and zippy-do-dahed through First Grave then Second Grave on the Left. And guess what? Ms. Jones acknowledges some of my favorite authors for inspiration... Hmph...It figures. That's why I like her so.

    I'm hooking up friends with this tasty tale like a dealer, 'cause I'm absolutely hooked too! This was the best advance funds I've ever spent. I love the story of Charley, Reyes, Cookie, Swopes, Ubie and others and cannot wait (I'm shaking like an addict here) for Third Grave! Thank you, thank you!

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Interesting series start

    Charley Davidson starts out as a heroine very reminiscent of Stephanie Plum--snarky and more than a little irreverant. The idea of a modern woman being *the* Grim Reaper (and a P.I., and a police consultant--after all, she does see dead people) is a fun one with lots of promise. As the book continued, though, Charley's attitude started to bother me a bit. It just got to be a bit much. Overall though, it was a fun read and I'll be looking forward to trying the second book in the series.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 3, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    I am hooked!! Give me more!!! I wasn¿t expecting to love this

    I am hooked!! Give me more!!!
    I wasn’t expecting to love this book. But I do!! I wasn’t sure what I was in for honestly, let me tell you I loved it I am hooked! Darynda Jones has hooked me in. I love her style of writing. Something new, something I haven’t read about before.
    I think I am in love with Reyes, no I am not telling you who or what he is you will have to read it to find out. But I am loving this character. Charley is awesome, love her. She is like that sarcastic friend who always has a great comeback for you. I love her sense of humor she made me laugh out loud several times. All the characters in this story are really likable. Storyline is fantastic!
    Hot steamy sex scenes are always a plus for me! Nothing like them!! This story has them! I am looking forward to reading much much more on these guys! I can’t wait! ……….you still reading? ……….GO….. get this book!!! You are going to love it! I promise!

    Enjoy!!!! ~ Ann Marie

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2013

    The only mystery is why this book is listed as a mystery!!! It'

    The only mystery is why this book is listed as a mystery!!! It's should be list in romance. Horrible, horrible horrible!

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 5, 2012

    A Must Read

    I troll bookstores looking for books like this one. Treat yourself to the beginning of a fascinating and origional series and allow plenty of time to read it all in one weekend. Sexy, sassy and smart from beginning to end.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 4, 2012

    Excellent!

    OMG!!! I cannot say enough about this author and this series. The characters are absolutely wonderful and the author draws you in with such good mystery and suspense and adds her touch of humor. I loved the characters and could not wait to read the next book. Fun and could not put it down until I finished.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 12, 2011

    Thrilling!

    Charley Davidson's job as the grim reaper not only allows her to be a Private Investigator and help the dead cross over but then she also helps the police department while trying to make sense of the dark mist that scares her more than anything upon every visit. I could not put this down! Can't wait for the sequel!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 10, 2011

    What a fun read!

    Ms. Jones has hit one out of the park with this book. The main character Charley had a great sense of humor and boy did she need it. And when can I meet a guy like Reyes?? This is an excellent book and I can hardly wait for grave 2 and 3. Blazeccm

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 29, 2011

    BookHounds

    Smart, sophisticated, sexy, snarky, snazzy, special, well, you get the point and I can't think of any more adjectives that start with "s" to describe the book any more. Imagine if MaryJanice Davidson and Lisa Lutz wrote a book together about a paranormal P.I. that is part Spellman Files and Queen Betsy, but with less shoes. I cannot even begin to describe my joy with this new series and the wonderful dialogue and even inner dialogue that takes place in First Grave on the Right. You can throw in a bit of Stephanie Plum for good measure as well.

    Charley Davidson is THE Grim Reaper and when she isn't helping souls cross over to the other side, she helps solves their murders and helps with domestic abuse cases. The story centers around three lawyers, recently demised that somehow connect her with an entity known as Big Bad. Ok, I immediately thought of Mr. Big from Sex and the City since Big Bad has a similar name and effect on Charley. Charley introduces us to several characters that are pretty dead and not crossed over that help her solve her murders. I expect to read more about them in upcoming stories. The next one is Second Grave on the Left due sometime in August, 2011.

    I received this book at no charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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