Sunday, July 17, 2011

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones, Book Review

A 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 an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

Rating: 4/5

Let me start off this review by thanking St. Martin's Press for donating a review copy of First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones in exchange for a 100% honest review. I rated this book four (4) out of five (5) stars.

What instantly caught my eye about this book was the cover, which can be seen at the very beginning of this review. The cover depicts the main protagonist, Charlotte "Charley" Davidson holding a Gothic scythe. This cover depicts the story and the personality of the heroine perfectly.

I found the characters, especially the heroine. Charley Davidson is a part-time P.I. (private investigator) and full-time shrink to dead people. Ever since birth, Charley has seen "Big Bad" she she calls him--and he has always seemed to protect her, as if he's somehow her guardian angel watching over her, but this book is anything but angelic.

First Grave on the Right is the beginning of a strong, independent woman who channels her femininity while kicking some series butt. Charley is a fictional character who feels like flesh and bone to me; she is someone real--someone you'd very much like to be friends with.

First Grave on the Right reminded me of a mash-up of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, Mystery Woman, and Medium. The details and forensics that all went into this book required research and observation, that much was obvious. I enjoyed the psychological thriller/curious female sleuth/ and supernatural/paranormal romance that blended together to create a great book.

I do recommend this book to fans of crime dramas or books about characters who touch the "other side" and communicate with vacant spirits. I found that First Grave on the Right is targeted primarily towards adults. Me, being a young adult, felt like the story as a whole would've appealed to me more if Charley was a teenager and dealing with teenage problems, rather than being an adult and facing more mature, adult themes and topics. I didn't feel that the material is out of a young adults maturity, but the overall effect did seem very adult-oriented.

I thought that Darynda's writing style was very free-flowing and funny. I found myself laughing at many exchanges of dialogue between the characters, especially the dialogue coming from Charley. Charley is my kind of heroine--strong, independent, cynical, intelligent, and very feminine but doesn't let her female side override the power that makes her so free.

If you enjoy mystery, thrillers, romance, and anything dealing with paranormal, I suggest you'd give this book a try--whether you check it out from the library, borrow it from a friend, or buy it from your local bookstore.

I also received an ARC of the sequel to First Grave on the Right: Second Grave on the Left and hope to read that very soon. Again, thank you so much to St. Martin's Press/Griffin for their kindness and generosity.

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