Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, the latest installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.
My entire life can be summed up in one sentence:
“Well, that didn’t go as planned.”
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, errant wives, missing people, philandering business owners, and, oh yeah...demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people. As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead.
Now, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction. But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, will Charley be able to defeat the ultimate evil and find a way to have her happily ever after after all?
About the Author
Winner of the 2009 Golden Heart® for Best Paranormal Romance for her manuscript FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT, Darynda can't remember a time when she wasn't putting pen to paper. DARYNDA JONES lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than 25 years and two beautiful sons, aka the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
Read an Excerpt
Elevent Grave in Moonlight
By Darynda Jones
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2017 Darynda Jones
All rights reserved.
Lord, help me be the sort of personmy psychiatrist medicates me to be.
I lay on a psychiatrist's couch, a couch I'd named Alexander Skarsgård the moment my gaze landed on its buttery curves and wide back, and wondered if I should tell Dr. Mayfield about the dead kid scurrying across her ceiling. Probably not.
She crossed her legs — the psychiatrist, not the kid, who was male — and gave me her most practiced smile. "And that's why you're here?"
I bolted upright, appalled. "Heavens, no. I'm totally over the whole evil stepmother thing. I just thought, you know, full disclosure and all. FYI, I had an evil stepmother."
"No worries. She had an ugly demon inside of her at the time."
"Wait, no, that was her outfit. The demon wasn't that ugly."
"No, seriously, her outfit was hideous."
"Perhaps we should get back to the fact that you're the grim reaper?" She pushed plastic-framed glasses up a slender nose. Thankfully, it was hers.
"Oh, right." I relaxed again, falling back into Alexander's arms. "I pretty much have the reaper thing down. It's the godly part of me I'm struggling with."
"The godly part." She bent her head to write something in her notebook. She was quite lovely. Dark hair. Huge brown eyes. Wide mouth. And young. Too young to be analyzing me. How much life experience could she possibly have?
"Yes. Ever since I found out I was a god, I've felt a little off balance. I think I'm having one of those identity crisises."
"So, you're a god?"
"Wait. What's the plural of crisis?" When she didn't answer, I glanced back at her.
She'd stopped writing and was looking at me again, her expression mildly expectant. And ever so slightly taxed. She was trying to decide if I was playing her. I wasn't, but I could hardly blame her for thinking that. Dealing with delusions of grandeur was probably an everyday aspect of her life. Trying to sort out the legit from the cons.
When she continued to stare, I said, "I'm sorry, what was the question?"
"You're a god?"
"Oh, that. Yes, but to quote a very popular movie, I'm a god, not the God." I snorted. Bill Murray was so awesome. "Did I forget to mention that?"
"Then you're not the grim reaper?"
"Oh, no, I'm that, too. I volunteered. Kind of. Long story. Anyway, I thought you could hypnotize me. You know, give me a full-access pass to my pre-birth memories so I won't be blindsided again."
"Yes. That's why I'm here. Because my sister refuses to do regressive therapy with me, and —"
"Dr. Gemma Davidson?" The shrink-wrap community couldn't have been very big. Surely she knew my sister.
"Dr. Davidson is your sister?"
"Is that a problem?"
"Not for me."
"Fantabulous." I rubbed my hands together. "Okay, so, you know how you're going through life, remembering everything that ever happened to you since the moment you were born —"
"You remember the moment you were born?"
"— and suddenly someone says, 'Hey, remember that time we singed our eyebrows lighting that bowling alley on fire?' only at first you don't remember singeing your eyebrows while lighting a bowling alley on fire, but then you think about it and it suddenly comes to you? You totally remember singeing your eyebrows while lighting a bowling alley on fire?"
She blinked several times, then wrenched out a "Sure."
"It's like that. I remember being a god, but not totally. Like parts of my celestial life have been erased from my memory."
"Your celestial life."
"Right. Before I became human? I think I have a glitch."
"It's ... possible, I suppose."
"I mean, who knows? I might already have a way to defeat a malevolent god that's loose on this plane and not even realize it."
"A malevolent god?"
"And he's loose on this plane?"
"Yes. And trust me when I say you do not want him here. He takes his death and destruction very seriously. And he has zero respect for human life."
"Mmm." She nodded and went back to taking notes.
"Zero," I added for emphasis, making an O with my fingers. Then I waited. She had a lot to write down. When she kept at it long enough to outline a novel, I filled the silence with, "It's funny. My husband thought it would be pointless to come here."
She laid her pen across her notepad and gave me her full attention. "Tell me about him."
"Yes." Her voice was very soothing. Like elevator music. Or summer rain. Or Darvocet. "How's your relationship?"
"How much time do we have?" I snorted, cracking myself up.
My husband, a.k.a. Reyes Alexander Farrow, didn't find my joke as funny as I did. It happened. I felt him before I saw him. His heat brushed across my skin. Sank into me. Saturated my clothes and hair and even warmed the cool gold band on my ring finger.
As he passed over me, all darkness and billowing smoke, he paused to whisper sweet nothings in my ear. I barely heard him over the rushing of my own blood. Whatever he said made my nether regions clench in anticipation. Then he continued on his journey, materializing on the other side of the room where he stood in a corner to watch from afar. Ish.
"Just kidding," I said as his eyes glistened in the low light. "He's kind of awesome. He's from down under."
His eyes narrowed, but any threats he may have been trying to hurl my way were nulled and voided by the smirk playing about his sensual mouth. He crossed his arms at his wide chest and leaned back into a corner to observe my goings-on.
He'd been doing that a lot lately. Popping in to check up on me. It could have had something to do with the fact that I had waged war with not one god but two. The malevolent one and the Good One. The Big Guy upstairs.
I decided to ignore my husband to the best of my abilities. I was here on a job. If I couldn't stay focused despite being bombarded with the most delicious distraction this side of the Flame Nebula, I was no better than a gumshoe-for-hire PI.
Oh, wait. I was a gumshoe-for-hire PI. Which would explain the job I was currently on. It paid the bills. Sometimes.
"Okay, let's get back to your husband. You mean he's from hell metaphorically?"
I refocused on the good doctor. "Oh, no. Quite literally. Technically, he's a god, too, but he was tricked by two other gods — one of which I've already trapped in a hell dimension and the other of which I'm currently trying to trap and/or horribly maim — and handed over to Lucifer, who created his only son out of the god's energy."
She frowned and squinted her eyes like she was trying to imagine it all.
"Okay, so, basically, you take the energy of a surly god" — I held up an index finger to demonstrate — "toss in some fire and brimstone" — I wiggled my other fingers around said index — "top that with a little sin" — I pretended to sprinkle sin over the mixture — "whisk for five minutes, and voilà." I flared my fingers as though I'd just done a magic trick. "Rey'aziel incarnate."
When Reyes scowled at me, I fought the urge to giggle. Nothing like having your entire existence boiled down to its basest elements.
"Rey'aziel?" Dr. Mayfield asked.
I bounced back to her. "Sorry. Reyes Farrow. My husband. You know, I used to think explaining the particulars of my less-than-ordinary life to a total stranger would be difficult, but this hasn't been bad. I was born the grim reaper: check. I was still learning about my abilities when I found out that I had once been a god with my own dimension: check. I'm married to the son of Satan, a.k.a. Reyes Alexander Farrow, who we recently found out is also a god, through no fault of his own: check. My stepmother was a hell-bitch extraordinaire: check. Somehow that seems important in this situation. And there is yet another god, a malevolent one, on this plane who is in cahoots with Reyes's dad and wants to kill our daughter, whom we had to send away to keep safe." I beamed at her, purposely ignoring the pang in my chest at the reminder that my daughter had to be sent away from me just to be safe. Just to have the barest glimmer of hope to live. "This has not been bad at all."
When it looked like Dr. Mayfield was going to try to refute something I'd said, I raised a hand to stop her. "I know what you're going to say. And, yes, technically being the son of Satan, among other things, makes my husband an iffy prospect." I shot him a grin. "But he was a god first. The God Jehovah's little brother, in fact, and I like to think that that part of him, the good part, is stronger than the evil part that emerged when he was forged in the fires of sin and raised by demons in a hell dimension. Though," I said, scooting closer, "the minute you get a load of him, your first thoughts will definitely be the carnal kind, if you know what I mean." I gave her a conspiratorial wink. When she only stared, I added, "Boy's hot."
Reyes dipped his head, trying to hide a grin, as the doctor picked up her pen and started outlining again.
"Nice T-shirt," Reyes said to me. Apparently, no one else in the room could hear him.
I was wearing my I LIKE IT WHEN MY PSYCHIATRIST PLAYS WITH MY MARBLES T-shirt. It was either that or my EXCUSE ME WHILE I FREUDIAN SLIP INTO SOMETHING MORE COMFORTABLE pajama top, but I didn't feel that wearing pajamas to a shrink session would send the right message. I was a professional, after all. Also, I'd gotten mustard on it and had to change.
The kid on the ceiling had stopped moving. He was gawking at the ol' ball and chain commanding the room from the corner pocket. That happened a lot when Reyes was around.
I nailed him with a fake scowl. I was on an assignment, after all.
"We need to talk," he said.
Uh-oh. Nothing good ever came out of a conversation that started with "We need to talk." I mouthed, "Later," and shooed him away while the doctor took a few more notes.
He laughed softly, and for a split moment, the doctor lost her focus and let her gaze dart, just for a second, over her shoulder.
He winked, the saucy flirt, and dematerialized, leaving me alone with my psychiatrist again. I was pretty sure he'd been breaking a few HIPAA laws by being there, anyway.
"Did you hear something?" she asked.
"You mean besides the thunderous and devastating ramifications if I can't figure out how to take this god down and he completes his mission?"
"Yes. Besides that."
"If I could just get all my memories back ... I know there's something hidden, something important that will tell me how to deal with him. Like it's on the tip of my tongue, only with more of a brain analogy."
"Okay. So, why does your sister refuse to do regressive therapy with you? Besides the obvious?"
"Oh, that whole ethical dilemma thing on account of her being my sister and all? Yeah, well, she's afraid it will bring out some strange new power in me and I'll accidently blow Albuquerque off the face of the planet. Which is ridonculous." I snorted and rolled my eyes. "I can totally control my powers now."
She took more notes.
"Most of the time."
She continued to write.
"I don't think the 'Lumpy's Taco Hut incident' should count. That place was an eyesore. People should be thanking me."
She offered me her attention once again. "Lumpy's Taco Hut? That was you?"
Shit. I forgot that whole thing was still under investigation. "Pfft, no." Thank Reyes's Brother, Lumpy's had been closed due to code violations at the time and no one was hurt.
"Ah." She shut her notebook. "Is there anything else you want to share? Anything you think I should be aware of?"
"No." I shook my head in thought. "Not especially. Unless you count the fact that I'm going to take over the world."
"The whole thing?"
"Well, I'm going to try to take over the world."
"And you feel you're prepared for world domination?"
I lifted a noncommittal shoulder. "I'm taking a business class."
"Good for you." She opened up her notebook again and jotted down a few more ideas.
"I told Jehovah, through his archangel Michael, of course, that I was going to do it, too."
"Take over the world?"
It sounded silly when she said it out loud, but I could hardly turn back now. "Yes."
"And how did He take that?"
"Not well, but you don't know what He did. He created an entire hell dimension just to lock my husband inside and throw away the key. Though we weren't married at the time. This was a few thousand years ago."
Ever since informing Michael of my plans, God had sent a legion of His minions to follow my every move. They were like the heavenly version of the Secret Service. I'd threatened, and, for some reason only they knew of, they'd taken it seriously. But why? I was angry when I said it — and I certainly meant it — but that doesn't explain why they would take me seriously. Unless I was a real threat.
"So, God talks to you?"
I snapped back to reality. "Oh, no. Not directly."
"Right. He talks to you through His archangel, Michael." She wrote down every word as she said it.
"Yeah. Kind of old-school, if you ask me, what with today's technology. You know, I thought psychiatrists just sort of listened while the patient talked. You're gonna run out of ink there, missy." I laughed nervously.
She gave me a patient smile. "I have more pens in my desk."
"So, God is upset because you threatened to take over His world?"
"That's the word on the street."
"Are you worried?"
"Fair enough. Let's get back to these powers. What do you plan to do with them?"
"Your powers. I mean, surely you're going to use them for good?"
I got the sneaking suspicion she was humoring me. I was good with that. I threw an arm over my face. "There's so much, you know? So much I could do. I could cure cancer. I could end famine. I could stop all wars and bring absolute peace to the world."
"And why don't you?"
I lowered my arm slowly. "I'm still kind of figuring the whole thing out. I'm saying I could do all those things. Not that I know how."
"That would be difficult."
"That and I think that's why the angels are here. Not, like, in this room, but all around me. Following me. Watching me. I don't think He wants me to do any of those things."
"And why wouldn't He?"
"Autonomy." When she raised her brows in question, I explained. "That was the deal. After that whole Adam and Eve fiasco — Eve got screwed, by the way — that was the deal. He gave humans complete autonomy. Earth is ours, and it's up to us to help our fellow man or harm him. To heal ourselves. To do good things. No matter your religion, no matter your beliefs, the lesson is the same: be kind."
I fought the urge to add another word to the end of that statement.
I lost. "Rewind."
Damn it. I sucked at fighting. Urges or otherwise.
"It's a good message," she said when she came back to me, a microsecond before she started writing again.
"It is. And I have to tell you something else."
"I'm all ears."
I released a lengthy sigh and fessed up. "The whole regressive therapy thing? That's actually secondary to the real reason I'm here."
I dropped my feet over Mr. Skarsgård and sat up to look her in the eye. Or the part in her hair. Either way, I wanted to study her reaction since I couldn't feel her emotions. "Dr. Mayfield?"
"Hmm?" she said without looking up.
I cleared my throat and steeled myself. It had to be done. She needed to know the truth. To accept the things she could not change, so the prayer went, and there was definitely no changing this. Without further ado, I said softly, "I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but you died two years ago."
She kept writing. "Mm-hmm. And you can see me because ...?"
"I'm the —"
"— grim reaper. Right. Oh, and a god, no less."
Wow. I sat back. She took that really well. Either that or she didn't believe me.
I bit my lip while she continued to take notes, but my attention span was only so long. "So, yeah, I've been hired, in a manner of speaking, by the new leaser of this office. He's been experiencing strange events. Just the usual stuff. Cold spots. Magazines moving from one corner on a table to another. Pictures falling off the walls."
"I see. And he hired you because he thinks the place is haunted."
"Actually, no. He thinks the landlord wants him to break the lease to use the office for his new juicing business, which is dumb because this would be a horrible location for a juice bar. But he thinks the landlord is trying to scare him off. To frighten him away. To send him fleeing in terror. In a word, he thinks he's being punked."
Excerpted from Elevent Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones. Copyright © 2017 Darynda Jones. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Couldn't wait to read this today - it lived up to all my expectations. Not a series you want to pass by. Now the long wait for the next one. I might have to re-read the series to tide me over.
Perfect. Maybe not the best of the series but considering how great all of them are....that's not a bad review. Now I have to go back and read it again to get any details I might have missed. Always a sign of a really, really good book.
We’ve come to the point in the story that spoiler-free is nearly impossible, while all of the competing and occasionally complimentary threads have crossed,, twisted, knotted and unwound in ways unexpected. Sure, Charley is still learning more about herself, and the struggles between she and Reyes dance between small flare ups into full-blown conflagrations. And when Cookie’s daughter Amber is threatened, and the people who kidnapped the infant Reyes before selling him to the man who would ‘raise’ him in a soup of manipulation, abuse and torture come into focus with yet another ‘son’ looking for answers, the tensions between Charley and Reyes hit an all-time high. Add in a threat to Ubie’s life, and his being marked for hell, and there is plenty to keep everyone busy. There is one god left on the plane, hunting for Beep and doing everything in his power to get access, after removing Reyes’ sister, Kim from the picture in the last book, the threats to her life haven’t diminished. Yet, despite Reyes being furious with Charley, and every man in her life trying to set ultimatums and rules for her to follow, all of which are taken with as much grace as one might expect (none), he’s decided to push her to discover more of her potential and see the world and her human, mortal being as just one grain of sand in the giant desert that is her being. From dematerializing her and taking her into the Sahara, to pushing her off a building, and making her learn how to ‘direct’ her travel, she’s getting in touch with her ‘god’ side, even as she struggles with the understanding. Oh – and arrogant (to say the least) angels are everywhere – she’s feeling very watched and frustrated by the control that the men in her life are trying to exert. Oh Charley is going to discover the true dichotomy of humanity, and just how very different she is in so many ways. But, underneath it all, that good heart and desire to keep things ‘fair’ and see that bad is punished and good survives is there, it’s just becoming far more clear to her that her choices, the information she doesn’t yet know, and the truths she has hidden from herself, as well as an experiment gone horribly wrong, at least for the short term….Let’s just say, our girl has had a ton of life lessons in a short time, and none of them are particularly palatable. Mixing her own palpable desires to do good (or at least mitigate harm) and the bone-deep love that she feels for those in her circle have your heart breaking for the choices, very difficult choices, and options that are left to her. I don’t think that her growth in terms of her powers or abilities have ever reached the level they have in this book, and the sheer number of edge of the seat moments kept me whipping through the pages, needing to make sure everyone came out unscathed, or at least breathing. Yep, it’s starting to feel like we are working to one epic climax, and it’s up to Charley and what she does with her back to the wall and the fate of humanity in her hands. I received an eBook copy of the title from the publisher via NetGalley for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Every book is 5 stars in my opinion. Enjoyed reading
Just keeps getting better
Snark abounds, the humor is awesome. That is the only good thing I can say, regarding this book. These stories have become so far “out there”. I have finished this one, because I can’t imagine how these are going to end and make any sense. I love Charley and her group of characters, but the story line keeps growing and now, it is just out of control. Have to finish, cannot imagine the ending. On to the next.
Review: Since I read all of the Charley Davidson in one long run, yes, I had not read any of the series yet, I decided to write one review for the previously released books and one for the last book in the series. First let me say, these are wickedly awesome books! Loved the story line, the writing and the characters. For me it was great to read them all at once and a little sad, since there will not be anymore. One of the things I loved about the books was Charley and her balls to the wall, help whoever, whenever she can attitude. Now that sure got her in lots of trouble, but it was so much fun to read. I loved the snarky witty dialogue and the quotes at the beginning of each chapter cracked me up. Now, it is not all fun and games in this story, there were points when I was crying and points I was on the edge of my seat with the action going on. I have to say on the whole this is one of the best and most well-rounded series I have read where I was not once bored or wanting to put down a book. I am not sure what this Author has coming next, but she has me on the hook for whatever it is. 5 Big Stars for all of the books in the series *I voluntarily read reader copies of each book provided by the publisher for review.*
Ho-ly heck!!! Let me just say I am so very thankful I don’t have to wait for the next book to be released. This series has taken me on one wild ride but I never in a million years expected this to happen and I’m about to chew my nails off because of it. And I’ve got book twelve queued up and ready. This time around things are a bit slower for Charlie, at least in Charley’s world which is really saying something because the girl is always in the middle of something. During her “down” time she’s taking lessons from Reyes and I appreciated them because they also helped me to understand exactly what/who Charley was. The total expanse of it was a great reminder as we near the end. The relationship between her and Reyes is so very moving at times that it brings tears to my eyes. He’s just so perfect for her just as she is for him. I love his protectiveness for not only her but for Beep as well. I just wish we had more of him…always more. I’m greedy like that. While this might seem slower, that doesn’t mean that things don’t heat up rather quickly – again towards the end as these books tend to do – and even while Charley battles her enemies she is constantly evolving into who she truly is. I’ve been shell shocked one too many times during this series to let this author catch me unaware again, or so I say each time, and yet she does so, again and again and again. This time even as I felt sick at what had happened, things took a turn and suddenly it was all so much worse! Thus the nail biting. So yeah, I’ve got the next one ready but unfortunately life is going to force me to put it on hold for a few days. However, I might just be able to sneak in the first chapter… I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book provided by NetGalley and St. Martin’s Press. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
This series has had me hooked from book one and just keeps getting more addicting with each new journey. An emotional, fun, sexy, engaging and thrilling adventure that takes you through exciting highs to heart breaking lows and makes you want to see Charley and the gang finally win. Looking forward to the next adventure.
Well, I'm glad we learned a few more things about the characters and it was interesting about the storyline of Ambers stalker. I did feel some parts of this book was slow but of course the last 10% is a doozy.
What an ending to this book!!!!! I swear, I can't get enough of this series and it keeps me wanting more. I absolutely love the characters in this story because it's hard to hate them; especially the son of Satan. Reyes never disappoints and him and Charley couldn't be more perfect for each other in the best and worst ways possible. I get more than a few laughs while reading this story and when it comes to steamy parts it does not disappoint. There's mystery, suspense, laughs and so much more in this series. I can't wait to start the next book.
Could not stop reading. Charlie is great. Crazy ending. I must get book 12.
LOVE THESE BOOKS! I CAN READ THEM OVER AND OVER AGAIN AND LAUGH/CRY/GET ANGRY/LAUGH AGAIN EVERY TIME! CAN'T WAIT TO SEE WHAT HAPPENS NEXT AND HOPE IT NEVER ENDS!
Once again this series keeps you waiting for the next revaluation.
Love the Series. I am a huge fan of Darynda Jones and I could not wait to get started on the latest installment of the Charley Davidson Series, it did not disappoint and I read it in record time. I would recommend that you read the books in order, even though the Author does a great job in giving you enough backstory as the book moves along, but there are a lot of little subtleties that you would miss. This book did end with a cliffhanger but it did not bother me since I got the next book all lined up. There was plenty of action, suspense, some steamy romance, and of course the humorous dialog from our heroine. I wonder how many more books the Author has planned and also if Beep will get her own series? Very entertaining and I can't wait to re-read the whole series again.
Need the next asap! So good. Too good.
This series is funny and breath taking at the same ...what a love story! Can't wait for the next book
Excellent! Can't wait for book 12 to be released!
I hate that I have to wait for the next book. I love the sarcasm, humor, storyline and most of all I love the Charlie/Reyes relationship.
Best series I've ever read!
Charley & friends out for another epic adventure.
Wow. Love this series! Was not expecting that cliff hanger! Thank goodness I'll have to wait for 5 days for the next book!