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I Belong

Review: Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones

TitleThird Grave Dead Ahead

Author: Darynda Jones

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Series: Charley Davidson (Book 3)

Publication Date: January 31, 2012

Format: Hardcover, 320 Pages

ISBN-10: 1250001544 (St. Martin’s Press)

ISBN-13:  978-1250001542 (St. Martin’s Press)

Reviewed by: Sheila


Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan .

Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity , but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up on his plan of seduction….. and revenge?

Quick & Dirty: Our favorite ADD grim reaper up to her usual shenanigans without the benefit of sleep.

Opening SentenceThere was a dead clown sitting in my living room.

Excerpt: Yes

The Review:

I must admit that Charley Davidson is one of the most fun characters I have had the privilege to read.  She is witty, independent, and lives a little on the crazy side of life.  In the third installment of the series, Third Grave Dead Ahead, delves into the mysterious past of one Son of Satan, Reyes Alexander Farrow.  Now that he knows that Earl Walker, the man he was sent to prison for murdering, is alive and well, Reyes wants to hunt him down.  Except he can’t.  Not only is he in prison, but Charley bound him to his corporal form.  And boy, is he pissed.

Charley hasn’t slept in two weeks.  Every time she closes her eyes, Reyes is there waiting for her.  And he is not in the least bit happy.  She bound him to his body at the end of the last book to save it.  Now Reyes wants her to undo the spell.  If only she knew how.  All of this is going on while Charley is searching for a missing woman that may or may not be her husband’s latest murder victim.  Yeah, this sounds like a case that Charley won’t get hurt in.  Really!  No wonder her father is pressuring her to find a new career.  Can Charley survive this case AND Reyes at the same time?

Charley and Reyes have a difficult relationship.  He’s the Son of Satan and she is the portal to Heaven.  But all couples have their own problems, right?  This book explores more of the individual motivations for each character.  Charley loves Reyes but has a hard time reconciling what she knows about him and what she’s heard about him.  Since they do not always match up, she is confused on which Reyes is the true one.  Is he really the cold-hearted bastard he wants her to believe he is?  Or is he a man that takes care of those he loves no matter what the consequences?  When Reyes uses Charley to help find his wayward father, he intentionally leads her into danger.  Is this the type of man that Charley should be giving her heart to?  Can she forgive his narrow-minded focus on revenge to the detriment of all others?

Charley has always had a glass-half-full outlook on life.  But betrayal after betrayal has started to erode her light-hearted nature.  She is much more jaded in this book than in the past.  Her family and friends have been her rock that she can gleefully jump from for a while now.  Knowing that she is being used, without the benefit of knowing beforehand, has made an impact on her overall personality.  Couple that with lack of sleep, and her reactions are chaotic at best and irresponsible at worst.  Her suffering has changed her.  Only time will tell if her rose-colored glasses are less tinted then they were in the past or if she will bounce back as if nothing has happened.

All of these hints of her powers above and beyond grim reaper-ism are further explored in this book.  She has been told she can do so much more, but she hasn’t really done anything new.  The binding of Reyes was the first in a number of new powers that she is exposed too.  I hope that this theme is touched on more in the next installment.

Even with the heavier plots, Charley still makes you laugh.  Her quick comebacks are inventive as well as entertaining.  When the other characters get involved, it is that much more hilarious to read.  I love the interactions between her and Garrett Swopes in this book.  He has definitely become a much more lovable character than what he was in the first one.  His acceptance of Charley’s gifts and his ability to make jokes about it allow Charley a much needed outlet and provide much needed comic relief.

At the end, Charley has chosen to walk her path alone.  I wonder how long that will last, given her short attention span.  Each person’s journey contains times when they must do things without the assistance of others.  I hope that the next book reflects this idea.  I look forward to finding out what Charley gets up to next.  Who knows, we may even get to know the names of even more body parts.

Notable Scene:

When she walked away to get our teas, I asked him, “Why didn’t you come to my rescue when trailer park guy pulled a knife on me?”

His grin flashed bright in the low light.  “I’m just tailing you.  I can’t let you know I’m here.  If I had interfered, you would know.”

The waitress paused a moment before heading toward me with my tea.  “He has a point,” I said to her.  She offered a hesitant smile, obviously unsure of what to think.  “Hey, can you make sure I get my burger first?”

“Your voice carries really well,” he said, his voice carrying really well.

With narrowed eyes, I said, “Shush, you tailgater, you.  This is between-“ I glanced at the server’s name tag, “-Peggy and me.”

He shrugged defensively.  “I would’ve come to your rescue eventually.”

“Oh, yeah?  When?  After I’d been gutted and lay bleeding to death in a ditch somewhere?”

“Absolutely,” he said, clasping his hands behind his head.  “I mean, I wouldn’t jump in the ditch and try to suppress the bleeding or anything, but, sure.  I’d call for help or something.”

Offering my best smile ever, I said, “You’re a real saint, Swopes.”

“My mom says the same thing.”

The realization that Garrett actually had a mother kind of disturbed me.  But only for about twelve seconds.  I rarely held thought in my head any longer than twelve seconds.  Damn my ADD.

The Charley Davidson Series:

1. First Grave on the Right

2. Second Grave on the Left

3. Third Grave Dead Ahead

4. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet

FTC Advisory: No one provided me with a copy of Third Grave Dead Ahead, I bought it myself.  No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.  The only payment received came in the form of hugs and kisses from my little boys.

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