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First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right

by Darynda Jones

Paranormal Mystery/Romance

Spoiler: Kinda-sorta, yeah Rating: Strong PG-13 Coffee Beans: 3/5

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. (Summary courtesy of

Join Charlie Davidson, Danger, and Will Robinson on a crazy, laughable adventure complete with mystery hunks, lurking dead people, and that pesky, hot detective that keeps showing up to ruin your day. Charlie is part-time PI, part-time Police consultant, and full time grim reaper. THE grim reaper.

Charlie’s visited by three lawyers, all killed the same night, all partners at the same law firm, and all working on the same case. Coincidence? Me thinks not. Helping the dead lawyers say their goodbyes and find out who killed them takes Charlie to the police case she ends up working with her uncle and the hot, annoying detective (both of which know her secret of talking to the dead).

Throughout the book, Jones has two other subplots and back story woven in, and it’s done pretty well. One of Charlie’s cases as a PI is a faint blip on her radar, only really popping in at the beginning and then again at the very end. The other is a mysterious hot dude she keeps having dreams about and is madly in love/obsessed with.

That part kinda bothered me. She eventually figures out that he’s in prison and in a coma, and oh yeah, he’s the guy that threatened to rape her when she was like twelve after she saw him get beat up by his dad and offered to call the police.

Way to fall for a winner, Charlie. This is worse than an obsessive-stalker-vampire boyfriend.

Her feelings for him were completely unbelievable for me, no matter how ‘hot’ she thought he was. And the cherry on the sundae? The thing she finds out about him at the end that was totally out of left field……not gonna tell ya what it is, though. Find out for yourself. 🙂

The storyline wasn’t overly original, and I’ll tell ya why. When you’re writing about something (grim reapers, vampires, angels, etc) paranormal (or not) that has a pretty monotonous/predictable/cliche storyline to it, you HAVE to jazz it up a lot to make sure you grab the right kind of attention from your readers. And a groan followed by the words, “Another Twilight?” doesn’t count.

It was almost like Jones took a page from The Ghost Whisperer TV show with Jennifer Love Hewitt. Which is fine–if she would have twisted it and made it her own, which I didn’t really feel she did. Both Whisperer and Grave had the identical premise of helping the departed cross over into the light, and it was their job to find out why the lingering earthbound spirits were here, and help them finish any unfinished business so they could cross over.

Jone’s writing is good and I think it’s a good debut novel. The mc was witty, sharp, and funny. But by the middle of the book, it was getting obnoxious. I got to the point in a scene where I could say to myself, “Cue witty remark…now” and there it would be. (I have mad skills, people, mad). I mainly just glossed over the parts where I knew they would be.

I felt the characters weren’t as developed as they could’ve been, even Charlie, and the side characters in the novel were flat and almost cliche, but they served their purpose in helping to get the story told and keep the plot moving.

Overall, I enjoyed this book, and even with all the pet peeves I mentioned above, the book was still entertaining and fun to read and had a pretty good mystery to solve. It went by fast and had a little bit of steam and a lot of wit. If you get the chance, pick it up and give it a read. It’s entertaining and a fast read, but not one of the best books I’ve read.


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