Welcome to the world of grim reaper extraordinaire, Charley Davidson. Try as she might, there's no avoiding her destiny.
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley's last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above . . . or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she's insane. But the more they refute the woman's story, the more Charley believes it.
In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley's life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved.
Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans in Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, the hilarious fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling series from Darynda Jones.
About the Author
Winner of the Golden Heart® for Best Paranormal Romance for her manuscript First Grave on the Right, DARYNDA JONES can't remember a time when she wasn't putting pen to paper. Darynda 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.
Read an Excerpt
Only two things in life are certain.
Guess which one I am.
—CHARLEY DAVIDSON, GRIM REAPER
I sat watching the Buy From Home Channel with my dead aunt Lillian and wondered what my life would’ve been like had I not just eaten an entire carton of Ben & Jerry’s Chocolate Therapy with a mocha latte chaser. Probably about the same, but it was something to think about.
A midmorning sun filtered through the blinds and cut hard streaks of light across my body, casting me in an ultra-cool film noir effect. Since my life had definitely taken a turn toward the dark side, film noir fit. It would have fit even better if I weren’t wearing Star Wars pajama bottoms and a sparkly tank top that proudly proclaimed EARTH GIRLS ARE EASY. But I just didn’t have the energy that morning to change into something less inappropriate. I’d been having lethargy issues for a few weeks now. And I was suddenly a tad agoraphobic. Ever since a man named Earl tortured me.
The torture. Not his name.
My name, on the other hand, was Charlotte Davidson, but most people called me Charley.
“Can I talk to you, pumpkin cheeks?”
Or pumpkin cheeks, one of the many pet names involving the fall fruit that Aunt Lillian insisted on calling me. Aunt Lil had died sometime in the sixties, and I could see her because I’d been born the grim reaper, which basically meant three things: One, I could interact with dead people—those departed who didn’t cross over when they died—and usually did so on a daily basis. Two, I was super-duper bright to those in the spiritual realm, and the aforementioned dead people could see me from anywhere in the world. When they were ready to cross, they could cross through me. Which brought me to three—I was a portal from the earthly plane to what many refer to as heaven.
There was a tad more to it than that—including things I had yet to learn myself—but that was the basic gist of my day job. The one I didn’t actually get paid to do. I was also a PI, but that gig wasn’t paying the bills either. Not lately, anyway.
I rolled my head along the back of the sofa toward Aunt Lil, who was actually a great-aunt on my father’s side. A thin, elderly woman with soft gray eyes and pale blue hair, she was wearing her usual attire, as dead people rarely changed clothes: a leather vest over a floral muumuu and love beads, the ensemble a testament to her demise in the sixties. She also had a loving smile that tilted a bit south of kilter. But that only made me adore her all the more. I had a soft spot for crazy people. I wasn’t sure how the muumuu came into play, with her being so tiny and all—she looked like a pole with a collapsed tent gathered about her fragile hips—but who was I to judge?
“You can absolutely talk to me, Aunt Lil.” I tried to straighten but couldn’t get past the realization that movement of any kind would take effort. I’d been sitting on one sofa or another for two months, recovering from the torture thing. Then I remembered that the cookware I’d been waiting for all morning was up next. Surely Aunt Lil would understand. Before she could say anything, I raised a finger to put her in pause mode. “But can our talk wait until the stone-coated cookware is over? I’ve been eyeing this cookware for a while now. And it’s coated. With stone.”
“You don’t cook.”
She had a point. “So what’s up?” I propped my bunny-slippered feet on the coffee table and crossed my legs at the ankles.
“I’m not sure how to tell you this.” Her breath hitched, and she bowed her blue head.
I straightened in alarm despite the energy it took. “Aunt Lil?”
She tucked her chin in sadness. “I—I think I’m dead.”
I blinked. Stared at her a moment. Then blinked again.
“I know.” She sniffled into the massive sleeve of her muumuu, and the love beads shifted soundlessly with the movement. Inanimate objects in death carried an eerie silence. Like mimes. Or that scream Al Pacino did in The Godfather: Part III when his daughter died on those steps. “I know, I know.” She patted my shoulder in consolation. “It’s a lot to absorb.”
Aunt Lillian died long before I was born, but I had no idea if she knew that or not. Many departed didn’t. Because of this doubt, I’d never mentioned it. For years, I’d let her make me invisible coffee in the mornings or cook me invisible eggs; then she’d go off on another adventure. Aunt Lil was still sowing her wild oats. A world traveler, that one. And she rarely stayed in one place very long. Which was good. Otherwise, I’d never get real coffee in the mornings. Or the twelve other times during the day I needed a java fix. If she were around more often, I’d go through caffeine withdrawal on a regular basis. And get really bad headaches.
But maybe now that she knew, I could explain the whole coffee thing.
I was curious enough about her death to ask, “Do you know how you died? What happened?”
According to my family, she’d died in a hippie commune in Madrid at the height of the flower power revolution. Before that, she really had been a world traveler, spending her summers in South America and Europe and her winters in Africa and Australia. And she’d continued that tradition even after her death, traveling far and wide. Passport no longer needed. But no one could really tell me how she died exactly. Or what she did for a living. How she could afford to do all that traveling when she was alive. I knew she’d been married for a while, but my family didn’t know much about her husband. My uncle thought he might’ve been an oil tycoon from Texas, but the family had lost contact, and nobody knew for certain.
“I’m just not sure,” she said, shaking her head. “I remember we were sitting around a campfire, singing songs and dropping acid—”
I used every ounce of strength I had to keep the horror I felt from manifesting in my expression.
“—and Bernie asked me what was wrong, but since Bernie had just done a hit of acid himself, I didn’t take him seriously.”
I could understand that.
She looked up at me, her eyes watering with sorrow. “Maybe I should have listened.”
I put an arm around her slight shoulders. “I’m so sorry, Aunt Lil.”
“I know, pumpkin head.” She patted my cheek, her hand cool in the absence of flesh and blood. She smiled that lopsided smile of hers, and I suddenly wondered if she’d perhaps dropped one hit too many. “I remember the day you were born.”
I blinked yet again in surprise. “Really? You were there?”
“I was. I’m so sorry about your mother.”
A harsh pang of regret shot through me. I wasn’t expecting it, and it took me a moment to recover. “I—I’m sorry, too.” The memory of my mother’s passing right after I’d been born was not my favorite. And I remembered it so clearly, so precisely. The moment she parted from her physical body, a pop like a rubber band snapping into place ricocheted through my body, and I knew our connection had been severed. I loved her, even then.
“You were so special,” Aunt Lil said, shaking her head with the memory. “But now that you know I’m a goner, I have to ask, why in tarnation are you so bright?”
Crap. I couldn’t tell her the truth, that I was the grim reaper and the floodlights came with the gig. She thought I was special, not grim. It just sounded so bad when I said it out loud. I decided to deflect. “Well, that’s kind of a long story, Aunt Lil, but if you want, you can pass through me. You can cross to the other side and be with your family.” I lowered my head, hoping she wouldn’t take me up on my offer. I liked having her around, as selfish as that made me.
“Are you kidding?” She slapped a knee. “And miss all the crap you get yourself into? Never.” After a disturbing cackle that brought to mind the last horror movie I’d seen, she turned back to the TV. “Now, what’s so groovy about this cookware?”
I settled in next to her and we watched a whole segment on pans that could take all kinds of abuse, including a bevy of rocks sliding around the nonstick bottom, but since people didn’t actually cook rocks, I wasn’t sure what the point was. Still, the pans were pretty. And I could make low monthly payments. I totally needed them.
I was on the phone with a healthy-sounding customer service representative named Herman when Cookie walked in. She did that a lot. Walked in. Like she owned the place. Of course, I was in her apartment. Mine was cluttered and depressing, so I’d resorted to loitering in hers.
Cookie was a large woman with black hair spiked every which way and no sense of fashion whatsoever, if the yellow ensemble she was wearing was any indication. She was also my best friend and receptionist when we had work.
I waved to her, then spoke into the phone. “Declined? What do you mean declined? I have at least twelve dollars left on that puppy, and you said I could make low monthly payments.”
Cookie bent over the sofa, grabbed the phone, and pushed the end-call button while completely ignoring the indignant expression I was throwing at her. “It’s not so much declined,” she said, handing the phone back to me, “as canceled.” Then she took the remote and changed the channel to the news. “I’ve put a stop to any new charges on your Home Shopaholic store card—”
“What?” I thought about acting all flustered and bent out of shape, but I was out of shape enough without purposely adding to the condition. In reality, I was a little in awe of her. “You can do that?”
The news anchor was talking about the recent rash of bank robberies. He showed surveillance footage of the four-man team, known as the Gentlemen Thieves. They always wore white rubber masks and carried guns, but they never drew them. Not once in the series of eight bank robberies, thus their title.
I was in the middle of contemplating how familiar they looked when Cookie took hold of my wrist and hefted me off her sofa. “I can do that,” she said as she nudged me toward the door.
“Simple. I called and pretended to be you.”
“And they fell for it?” Now I was officially appalled. “Who did you talk to? Did you talk to Herman, because he sounds super cute. Wait.” I screeched to a halt before her. “Are you kicking me out of your apartment?”
“Not so much kicking you out as putting my foot down. It’s time.”
“Time?” I asked a little hesitantly.
Well, crap. This day was going to suck, I could already tell. “Love the yellow,” I said, becoming petty as she herded me out of her apartment and into mine. “You don’t look like a giant banana at all. And why did you cancel my favorite shopping channel in-store credit card? I only have three.”
“And they’ve all been canceled. I have to make sure I get paid every week. I’ve also funneled all of your remaining funds out of your bank account and into a secret account in the Cayman Islands.”
“You can funnel money?”
“Isn’t that like embezzling?”
“It’s exactly like embezzling.” After practically shoving me past my threshold, she closed the door behind us and pointed. “I want you to take a look at all this stuff.”
Admittedly, my apartment was a mess, but I still didn’t know what that had to do with my card. That card was a tool. In the right hands—like, say, mine—it could make dreams come true. I looked around at all the boxes of super-cool stuff I’d ordered: everything from magical scrubbing sponges for the everyday housewife to two-way radios for when the apocalypse hit and cell phones became obsolete. A wall of boxes lined my apartment, ending in a huge mountain of superfluous products in one specific area of the room. Since my apartment was about the size of a Lego, the minute amount that was left was like a broken Lego. A disfigured one that hadn’t survived the invasion of little Lego space aliens.
And there were more boxes behind the wall of boxes we could actually see. I’d completely lost Mr. Wong. He was a dead guy who lived in the corner of my living room, perpetually hovering with his back to the world. Never moving. Never speaking. And now he was lost to the ecology of commerce. Poor guy. His life couldn’t have been exciting.
Of course, it didn’t help that I’d also moved out of my offices and brought all my files and office equipment to my apartment. My kitchen, actually, making it completely useless for anything other than file storage. But it had been a necessary move, as my dad had betrayed me in the worst way possible—he’d had me arrested as I lay in a hospital bed after being tortured by a madman—and my offices had been above his bar. I had yet to discover what possessed my own father to have me arrested in such an outlandish and hurtful manner. He’d wanted me out of the PI biz, but his timing and modus operandi needed work.
Sadly, the bar was only about fifty feet north of my apartment building, so I would have to avoid him when coming and going from my new work digs. But since I hadn’t actually left the apartment building in over two months, that part had been easy. The last time I left was to clear out my offices, and I’d made sure he was out of town when I did so.
I surveyed all the boxes and decided to turn the tables on Cookie. To play the victim. To blame the whole thing on her. I pointed at an Electrolux and gaped at her. “Who the hell left me unsupervised? This has to be your fault.”
“Nice try,” she said, completely unmoved. “We’re going to sort through all of this stuff and send back everything except what you’ll actually use. Which is not a lot. Again, I would like to continue collecting a paycheck, if that’s not too much to ask.”
“Do you take American Express?”
“Oh, I canceled that, too.”
I gasped, pretending to be appalled. With a determined set to her shoulders, she led me to my own sofa, took boxes off it, piled them on top of other boxes, then sank down beside me. Her eyes shimmered with warmth and understanding, and I became instantly uncomfortable. “Are we going to have the talk again?”
“I’m afraid so.”
“Cook—” I tried to rise and storm off, but she put a hand on my shoulder to stop me “—I’m not sure how else to say that I’m fine.” When she looked down at Margaret, who sat nestled inside my hip holster, my voice took on a defensive edge. “What? Lots of PIs wear guns.”
“With their pajamas?”
I snorted. “Yes. Especially if they’re Star Wars pajamas and your gun just happens to resemble a blaster.”
Margaret was my new best friend. And she’d never funneled money out of my bank account like some other best friends who shall not be named.
“Charley, all I’m asking is that you talk to your sister.”
“I talk to her every day.” I crossed my arms. Suddenly everyone was insisting that I seek counseling when I was fine. So what if I didn’t want to step out of my apartment building? Lots of people liked to stay in. For months at a time.
“Yes, she calls and tries to talk to you about what happened, about how you’re doing, but you shut her down.”
“I don’t shut her down. I just change the subject.”
Cookie got up and made us both a cup of coffee while I stewed in the wonders of denial. After I came to the realization that I liked denial almost as much as mocha lattes, she handed me a cup and I took a sip as she sat next to me again. My eyes rolled back in ecstasy. Her coffee was so much better than Aunt Lil’s.
“Gemma thinks that maybe you need a hobby.” She looked around at the boxes. “A healthy hobby. Like Pilates. Or alligator wrestling.”
“I know.” I leaned back and threw an arm over my eyes. “I considered writing my memoirs, but I can’t figure out how to put seventies porn music into prose.”
“See,” she said, elbowing me. “Writing. That’s a great start. You could try poetry.” She stood and rummaged through my box-covered desk. “Here,” she said, tossing some paper at me. “Write me a poem about how your day is going, and I’ll get started on these boxes.”
I put the coffee cup aside and sat up. “For real? Couldn’t I just write a poem about my ultimate world domination or the health benefits of eating guacamole?”
She rose onto her toes to look at me from behind one of my more impressive walls. “You bought two electric pressure cookers? Two?”
“They were on sale.”
“Charley,” she said, her tone admonishing. “Wait.” She dipped down then popped back up. “These are awesome.” I knew it. “Can I have one?”
“Abso-freaking-lutely. I’ll just take it out of your pay.”
This could work. I could pay her through my Buy From Home purchases, though that might not help her keep her lights on or continue to have running water. But she’d be happy, and wasn’t happiness the most important thing in life? I should write a poem about that.
“You do realize that to use any of this stuff, you have to actually go to the grocery store.”
Her words shoved me deeper into the pit of despair often referred to as buyer’s regret. “Isn’t that what Macho Taco express delivery is for?”
“You’ll have to buy food and spices and crap.”
“I hate going to the grocery store.”
“And you’ll have to learn to cook.”
“Fine,” I said, letting a defeated breath slip through my lips. I had a fantastic flair for the dramatics when needed. “Send back everything that involves any kind of food preparation. I hate to cook.”
“Do you want to keep the Jackie Kennedy commemorative bracelet?”
“Do I have to cook it?”
“Then it stays.” I lifted my wrist and twirled the bracelet. “Look how sparkly it is.”
“And it goes so well with Margaret.”
“Pumpkin butt,” Aunt Lil said.
I looked up from my Jackie Kennedy commemorative bracelet. Now that she knew she was dead, I would never have to go through that surge of panic at the prospect of her insisting on cooking for me for two weeks straight. I almost starved to death the last time. I held up the bracelet. “Do you think this bracelet is too much?”
“Jackie goes with anything, dear. But I wanted to talk to you about Cookie.”
I looked in Cookie’s direction and frowned in disappointment. “What has she done now?”
Aunt Lil sank down beside me and patted my arm. “I think she should know the truth.”
“About Jackie Kennedy?”
“What in the world does this monstrous machine do?” Cookie asked from somewhere near the kitchen. A box appeared out of nowhere, hovering unsteadily over a mountain of other boxes.
I smiled in excitement. “You know how sometimes we order coffee and it comes with that incredible foam on top?”
“Well, that machine does the magic foam trick.”
Her dark head popped up. “No.”
She looked at the box lovingly. “Okay, we can keep this. I’ll just have to carve some time out of my schedule to read the instructions.”
“Don’t you think she should know?” Aunt Lil continued.
I nodded. She had a point. Or she would have if Cookie didn’t already know. “Cook, can you come here a sec?”
“Okay, but I’m working out a system. It’s in my head. If I lose it on the way over, I won’t be held accountable.”
“I can’t make any promises.”
She sauntered over, shaking another box at me, a disturbing kind of joy in her eyes. “Do you know how long I’ve wanted a salad spinner?”
“People actually want those?”
“I think that was one of those four A.M. purchases where I’d lost all sense of reality. I don’t even know why anyone would want to spin a salad.”
“Well, I do.”
“Okay, so, I have some bad news.”
She sat in a chair that catty-cornered the sofa, a wary expression on her face. “You got bad news since you’ve been sitting here?”
“Kind of.” I tilted my head discreetly to my side, indicating a presence.
I did it again.
She shrugged in confusion.
With a sigh, I said, “I have news about Aunt Lillian.”
“Oh. Oh!” She looked around and questioned me with a quirk of her brows.
I gave a quick shake of my head. Normally, Cookie would play along, pretending she could see Aunt Lil as well, but since Aunt Lil had finally caught on to the fact that she could walk through walls, I didn’t think that would be appropriate. I put a hand on hers and said, “Aunt Lil has passed away.”
She shrugged in confusion. Again.
“I knew she’d take it hard,” Aunt Lil said by my side. She sniffled into her sleeve again.
I wanted so badly to roll my eyes at Cookie. She was not getting my hints. I’d have to try harder. “But you know how I can see the departed?”
A dawning emerged on Cook’s face as she realized Aunt Lil had caught on at long last.
I patted her hand. Really hard. “She’s here with us now, just not as you will remember her.”
“Yes,” I said, interrupting before she could give anything away. “She has passed.”
Cookie finally grasped the entire concept. Not just a little corner of it. She threw a hand over her mouth. A weak squeak slipped through her fingers. “Not Aunt Lil.” She doubled over and let sobs rack her shoulders.
“I didn’t think she’d take it this hard,” Aunt Lil said.
“Neither did I.” I looked on in horror as Cookie acted out that scene from The Godfather. It was even more eerie from this close proximity. “It’s okay,” I said, patting her head. Really hard. She glared through her fingers. “Aunt Lil is with us incorporeally. She sends her love.”
“Oh, yes,” Aunt Lil said with a delirious nod. “Send her my love.”
“Aunt Lil,” Cookie said, straightening and looking beside me. Only on the wrong side.
I nodded in Aunt Lil’s direction again, and Cookie corrected her line of sight.
“Aunt Lil, I’m so sorry. We’ll miss you so much.”
“Aw, isn’t she the sweetest thing? I always liked her.”
With a smile, I took Aunt Lil’s hand into mine. “I always liked her, too. Until about fifteen minutes ago.”
* * *
I decided a shower was not out of the question and hopped in as Cookie took inventory and Aunt Lil decided to see what Africa looked like from her new perspective. I wondered if she’d ever figure out how long she’d been dead. I certainly wasn’t going to tell her.
Hot water was one of the best therapies in the world. It washed away stress and soothed nerves. But Rottweilers were even better. Ever since a gorgeous Rottie by the name of Artemis had died and become my guardian—against what, I had no idea—I found my showers more challenging than usual. Mostly because Artemis loved showers, too. She didn’t come around that often, but the minute I turned on the water, there she was.
“Hey, precious,” I said as she tried to catch a stream of water in her mouth.
She barked playfully, the loud yelp echoing off the walls of the tub. I reached down and rubbed her ears. The water ran straight through her, so she was dry to the touch, but she tried so hard to catch the thick droplets on her tongue.
“I know how you feel, girl. Sometimes the things we want most seem completely out of our reach.”
When she jumped up on me, her stubby tail wagging with delight, her weight sent me crashing against the tile wall. I clutched on to the showerhead to keep my balance, then let her lick my neck before another stream of water captured her attention. She dived for it, almost knocking my feet out from under me. I totally needed a shower mat. And shaving my legs with a Rottweiler chasing every splash of water known to man was like taking my life into my own hands, but it had to be done.
After semi-successfully shaving my legs with minimal blood loss, I turned off the water and nuzzled her to me. She licked my left ear, her front teeth scraping the lobe and causing goose bumps to spread over my skin, and I laughed out loud. “Oh, thank you. I needed that ear cleaned. Thank you so much.”
With another yelp, she realized fun time was over. The wonderful world of waterworks had stopped, so she dived through the exterior wall and disappeared. I wondered if it was wrong that I took showers with a dog.
I dried my hair and pulled it into something that resembled a ponytail, dressed in jeans and a white pullover with a zippered collar, then inspected myself in the mirror. No idea why. I’d only change back into my pajamas in a couple of hours anyway. Why did I get dressed? Why did I bother? Why did I shower, for that matter?
I pumped a dollop of lotion onto my palm and rubbed my hands together as I examined the nasty scar on my cheek. It was almost gone. On anyone else, it would have remained a constant reminder of events better left forgotten. But being the grim reaper had its benefits. Namely, quick healing and minimal scarring. Nary a shred of visible evidence to support the reasoning behind my sudden case of mild agoraphobia. I was so stupid.
I took the lotion I’d been rubbing into my hands and smeared it across the mirror. White streaks distorted my face. A definite improvement.
Growing more annoyed with myself by the second, I strolled to the window to see if my traitorous father was at work yet. He seemed to be coming in later and later. Not that I cared. Any man who would have his own daughter arrested while she lay dying in a hospital bed after being tortured almost to death didn’t deserve my concern. I was just curious, and curious was way on the other side of concern. But instead of seeing my father’s tan SUV, I caught sight of one Mr. Reyes Farrow, and my breath stilled in my chest. He was leaning against the back of Dad’s bar, arms folded at his chest, one booted foot leveraged against the building.
And he was out.
I knew he would be, but I had yet to see him. He’d been in prison for ten years for a crime he didn’t commit. The cops caught on when the guy he’d supposedly killed tied me up and tortured me. I was glad he’d been freed, but to get there, Reyes’d used me as bait, so we were once again at an impasse. I was mad at him for using me as bait. He was mad at me for being mad at him for using me as bait. Our relationship seemed to hinge on these impasses, but that’s what I got for falling in lust with the son of Satan. If only he weren’t so deliciously and dangerously hot. I had such a thing for bad boys.
And this particular bad boy had been dipped in a lake of beauty when he was born. His arms corded with muscles across a wide chest; his full mouth, too sensual for my peace of mind, sat in a grim, moody line; his dark hair, forever in need of a trim, curled at his neck and tumbled over his forehead. And I could just make out his thick lashes as they fanned across his cheeks.
A man walked past him and waved. Reyes nodded, but then he must have felt me watching him. He looked down in thought then up directly at me. His angry gaze locked on to mine, held it for a long, breathless moment, and then slowly, with deliberate purpose, he dematerialized, his body transforming into smoke and dust until there was nothing left of it.
He could do that. He could separate from his physical body, and his incorporeal essence—something I could see as easily as I saw the departed—could go anywhere in the world it wanted to. That didn’t surprise me in the least. What surprised me was the fact that, while incorporeal, no one else could see him. But that man had waved. He’d seen Reyes standing there and waved. That meant his physical body had been leaning against that brick wall.
That meant his physical body had dematerialized, had vanished into the cool morning air.
Copyright © 2012 by Darynda Jones
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Darynda Jones is a fantastic author! I love the characters that she has created. Start with the first book in this series and you'll have a hard time putting any of these books down. Love the humor in them and her quotes at the beginning of each chapter.
It took me awhile to get into Fourth Grave unlike the other books in this series. At the beginning of this book I was afraid the magic (the verve, the energy...) was slipping from the series and was having a hard time reading it. I'm glad I pushed through that and got further into the book because WOW! It was great!!! That's all I'm saying because if I say anymore it'll have spoilers and I don't want to do that to anyone.
I love each book in this series. It is laugh out loud funny. Great mysteries. Wonderful and original characters. I simply adore Charley. Reyes...is one of my all time favorite alphas. I love them together. The ending us great. Cannot wait for book 5 and 6 and book 7 and book 8 and so on....
Darynda has done it again. Charley is always getting into trouble, and this time it's doubled. It was great getting back in touch with all the characters. Charley and her crazy antics, Cookie who is always ready to back her up, and of course Aunt Lil and the ever present Mr. Wong. We get to see more of Donovant, and man...that guy can really turn up the heat! I love him and hope we get to see more. And of course, who can forget the ultra HOT, sexy, blazing, smoking, SINfully delicious REYES. That man can do things to me that...well, let's just say, cold showers DO NOT work! Now, Swopes, I'm a little scared for him. We don't get to see much of him in this one, and when we do, he is different. Not unexpected considering what he has been through. I think there may be trouble ahead. A few new characters like Margaret, Fred and Barbara are thrown into the mix. *snicker* More twists and turns that make your stomach do flips! Oh, we find out who moves into Charley's building. Loved it! I can't wait for Fifth Grave Past the Light now! With the way this one ended, I forsee lots of action in Charley's future. Well, at least that's what my crystal ball says. But sometimes, I can't trust her. She has been known to lie. So, to wrap this up...should you read it? Really, you're going to ask me that? *voice catches* You don't know me at all! OF COURSE you should read it! And I'm gonna stand here with my arms crossed patting my foot until you run out to get it. I received this book for review from the publisher.
This book was worth waiting for! I loved it. I still love how snarky Charley is and Cookie just amuses me to no end! Reyes is still SMOKIN' HOT and those darn Biker Bandits can kidnap me anyday! A definite must read!! If you havent read it then you need to...IMMEDIATLY!
Let’s start with the simple things – this is a series that you can’t pick up in the middle and understand what is going on: you’ll enjoy it, sure, but with each story building on information and events of the previous instalments, make the time to read these from the beginning. You won’t have al the answers, but you’ll find that the stories will make sense as answers appear, in a Charley-induced sort of ADD-influenced way. Picking up about two months after the last book, Charley’s attack from Earl have left her with issues: she’s mostly healed from the physical wounds, but it’s the agoraphobia and fear, from a woman who actually never really felt that emotion before that have her hiding out in her building while ordering everything from a television shopping channel. She’s also not speaking to her father after his drastic choices to have her arrested to protect her, and everyone, including Cookie and her sister Gemma are worried. But a new case of a woman being threatened for most of her life, discovering that Reyes somehow dissolved from a corporeal body and the “Gentleman Bank Robbers” that, although masked, look familiar all have her attempting to regain her life and find a way to pay the bills. With so much coming at us from every direction, threads and issues move from fore to background as Jones manages to provide more information, snark, danger and questions as Charley seeks to find answers to the questions (and cases) she has. With her gang-banger Angel now at her ‘command’, her guardian Artemis appearing to frolic with every shower she takes, and the revelations from Amber that she knows what Charley is, has a grasp on Reyes and his “skills’ in the bedroom, and Charley’s guilt and worry that her life and choices have but Amber and Cookie into danger, and the renovation of the last vacant apartment on their floor – there’s plenty going on, especially when the new case leads her to the uber-wealthy side of town to meet with some not so forthcoming family (suspects) in her case. Best of all are the answers, and some additional questions that require Charley to really dig down and decide what her gut tells her about Reyes, and whether or not she’ll heed his warnings about the many demons that have stepped up their search for her – and the fact that it is her fear that comes off her in waves, that draws them. With encounters with several people possessed by the demons, a visit to the long-ignored Garret and messages he’s brought back from his time on the other side, a discovery about the bikers at the asylum and more time with Reyes that bounces from hotter than hell attraction through anger, fury, rage and an overwhelming charisma, the push-pull between these two also brings Charley some answers, more than ever before, and a strangely appropriate (if shocking) start at reconciliation with her father and stepmother. There is so much happening here, yet it all fits together building the world, the characters and the relationships in steady and solid ways, even with all of the frenetic action around it. All with a dash of snark, a dollop of self-delusion and the attention span of gnats in some moments – all adding to the joy that is Charley’s world - from this safe remove. 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.
A good story helped by some humor to make the reading fun. Disappointing that by the fourth book we don't really know much more about Charlie's abilities than at book one.
I love love love this series! All of the main characters are back for the continuing saga that is Charley's life! Look - the first book is still my favorite, but Fourth Grave definitely kept me reading well into the night! Charley and Reyes are smokin' hot! Cookie, UB, and the rest of the cast are still great. Not enough Garrett for me this time around but after the heart attack I thought I was having at the end of book 3, I may have needed a little space from him :) Sad thing is that now I have to wait for the next! Darynda Jones does such a good job keeping the reader interested in the story but still wanting more (I hate this - as now I have to wait for the next book!) I would definitely recommend this series if you want a little adventure, a little sex, and a whole lotta laughs! For sure start with the first though - you NEED all the back story. And if you like to listen to your books - I would highly recommend with this series too! Lorelei King narrates and she is AWESOME and brings Charley to life!
Loved this book and the other three before it. I wish I could forget them, just to relive the enjoyment of reading them again. Five stars this book has it all: comedy, action, mystery and romance. The main character is one of my all time favorites. The author has created a great series!
Loved this book! Love this series! Could not put it down kept me laughing the whole way thru!
For some reason the good books flash by so quickly. Darynda Jones always leaves you wanting the next book. Fun, full of action and seduction, with a plot twist you will never see coming. Read the entire series from the beginning for maximum satisfaction.
Just yet another wonderful story in this series. Each book has great humor and the characters are fantastic. She delivers with each book and you can't help but fall for Charley and Reyes.
Every book just get's better! Thank you for your great charaters, luv charlie and rese hope the become a permanate couple
Four books in this series and the author delivers with each new installment; plot, amazing characters, humor and sensuality. Reyes is one of the hottest male characters in popular literature. Thank you, Darynda, for another engaging look into the life and adventures of Charley!
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.*
This series is like crack. Highly addicting! There is so much going on with Charley this go ‘round. We see a more vulnerable side to her as she deals with the fallout from the previous book. The relationship between her and Reyes grows deeper and through him we learn more about the Grim Reaper. Things between them are up and down but there’s never a question that he’s there for her. The real question might be how or why. And we really don’t get a confirmation on any of it. The humor and fun shines through once more. While I had a list of things I needed to do today, once I sat down to read just the first chapter, I soon found myself totally immersed, before I knew it I had finished. I absolutely love Charley as well as Reyes and all the other characters that are feeling more like my own family and friends than fictional characters designed to entertain me. Moving on to the next book as soon as I hit my list…then again, maybe I’ll just read 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.
Love this laugh out loud, heart pounding, thrilling adventure filled with so much danger, emotion and hotter than hot passion..... The continuing story of Charley Davidson is both entertaining and emotionally engaging on every level. Charley has so much to overcome after her last case gone wrong and has so much more to learn about her own powers.... looking forward to more.
Love me some Charley Davidson, this one is spinning a little “out there”. I am reading these out of order and I do know how the story ends. At least this installment has Charley well and fighting, much better than it’s predecessor. Fun, good read. On to the next.
This was a really fun, entertaining story. Charley Davidson is a grim reaper and a PI. Reyes Farrow, son of Satan, has been released from prison - and out of Charley's life, per her request. Charley and the other characters in this book were endlessly entertaining. I enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series.
I received a free copy of FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET (Charley Davidson Book 4) by Darynda Jones through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. In this installment, Charley is recovering from the trauma of being tortured nearly to death and then betrayed by her father. She’s an emotional and financial wreck. When a woman comes to Charley for help with a stalker, Charley decides to help. As Charley investigates, she identifies with the woman on many different levels, including the estrangement from family. Meanwhile, some bank robbers in the news look familiar; Reyes is out of prison, getting beat up, and refusing to pay his bill; and Charley’s dad may be trying to kill her. Oh well, just another day in the life of the shining beacon of death. I highly recommend this series to mature readers who don’t mind occasional bad language and who either enjoy reading or don’t mind skipping sexy-times.
Book Info Hardcover, 308 pages Published October 30th 2012 by St. Martin's Press Original Title Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet ISBN 1250014468 (ISBN13: 9781250014467) Edition Language English Series Charley Davidson #4 Characters Charley Davidson, Reyes Farrow setting New Mexico (United States) Other Editions (21) Source:Netgalley EARC Buy book from Amazon B&N BOOK BLURB Welcome to the world of grim reaper extraordinaire Charley Davidson. Try as she might, there’s no avoiding her destiny. Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above...or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. But the more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it. In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved. Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans in this hilarious fourth installment in the New York Times bestselling series. My Thoughts 2 months have passed since Charley was taken hostage in her own apartment by a man whose evil nature proved to be more than our favorite Grim Reaper had any defense against. Not only is she still recovering physically but her mental state leaves much room for improvement as the nightmares she suffered awake still follow her into sleep. A consequence of this trauma, and another one that shook up the reader as well as Charley at the end of book 3, has resulted in our heroine showing more vulnerability this time around. Unfortunately in true Charley Davidson style she masks it with her sarcasm and buries the mental pain rather than facing it head on. However as these things go life goes on and for Charley Davidson that means a new case to solve and her personal problems have to wait. The new case brings with it some revelations that cause unexpected repercussions and once again lead Charley into dangerous situations, which in turn lead to the solving of not only the case she is involved with but several more as well. From the beginning of the series to now Charley has grown as a character and her Grim Reaper powers are escalating bit by bit. Now in this 4th book the game has once again changed, in several ways that were unexpected but not unwelcome. [EArc from Netgalley]
Wow this is the first series that I have read that I've been giving 5 stars to! Another delightful read and YASSSSS Reyes and Charley in the flesh lol!!!!
ANOTHER HIT!!! These books must be read in order but you will not be disappointed in any of them. I have enjoyed every book in this series thus far and I'm more than excited to start the fifth book. Charley is solving more mysteries while trying to stay alive in the process. She's also still trying to figure out how much power she holds. She also has to face her fear of what happened to her in the last story with Earl and there's no one better to help her than her protector Reyes. This book is full of mystery, suspense, laughs and in Harper's case a bit of loss in more ways than one. The ending of this story left me with a smile on my face and leaves me wanting more of Charley, Reyes, Cookie, ,Ubie and the rest of the mystery solving gang full of detectives, friends, grim reapers, demons and so much more.
FOURTH GRAVE BENEATH MY FEET is the fourth storyline in Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series focusing on Charlotte “Charley” Davidson as the grim reaper and her no-nonsense approach to getting things done. Darynda continues her amazing and humorous writing style using one-liners and sarcasm, once again ensuring we laugh and nod in agreement with Charley’s take on the reality of the situation. Very few people are safe from our heroine’s tongue in cheek look at life and everything it has to throw at it. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet finds Charley hoarding in her apartment about 2 months after her torture at the hands of a man once presumed dead. After her father turned her into the police and shut down her PI business, Charley felt it necessary to hold up in her tiny apartment maxing out credit cards on the Shopping Channel. How many turkey basters does one person need? Apparently 7!!! But hunger and poverty have a funny way of forcing her back into the real world when Charley accepts a new assignment investigating the strange accusations of a woman claiming she is being harassed. And to complicate matters, she hasn’t seen the man who weakens her knees in almost the same amount of time. The only contact with the outside world has been her assistant and BFF Cookie and Cookie’s daughter Amber, but things are about to change. Oh, and a rash of bank thefts by a group labeled the Gentlemen Thieves-the thieves all look very familiar to Charley. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet is a well-written and fantastic instalment in the Charley Davidson series of books. Darynda has once again, drawn the reader into the storyline using humor, sarcasm and the face-to-face confrontations making you feel like you are part of the story. The people are as real as the people you meet everyday with the exception of the paranormal powers and beings. I hope Darynda continues this series for a long time to come. If you need to start a new series, I highly recommend Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson series. You will not be disappointed.
Great book. I really enjoy the series,with comedy mixed in with the drama.