Title: Second Grave on the Left
Author: Darynda Jones
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Series: Charley Davidson (Book 2)
Publication Date: August 16, 2011
Format: Hardcover, 307 Pages
ISBN-10: 0312360819 (St. Martin’s Press)
ISBN-13: 978-1250002709 (St. Martin’s Press)
Reviewed by: Sheila
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans
When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?
Quick & Dirty: Follow a private investigator with ADD tendencies as she navigates two missing person’s cases, both a human and a not so human. Funny and witty and dark and sensual that makes a nice combination.
Opening Sentence: “Charley, hurry, wake up”
Charley is a grim reaper, or the grim reaper as it were, along with being a private investigator. She uses her ability to talk to ghosts and her local police contact, a.k.a. Uncle Ubie, to find the bad guys and put them behind bars. Her success rate is quite high; it helps that the murdered can identify their killers. It also helps that Charley can sense emotions in people and can tell when they are innocent and when they are liars. Sounds like a great gig right? Unfortunately, she has her share of problems just like the rest of us. The man she lusts after just happens to be the son of Satan. Bad guys posing as FBI agents are trying to kill her in an attempt to stop her investigations. Demons are trying to find her in an attempt to secure the gate to heaven, i.e. Charley’s body. And Reyes Farrow, the Son of Satan, is being tortured to death by those demons but not allowing anyone to help him because he says it’s a trap. What’s a girl to do?
The story follows two missing person’s cases, Mimi Jacobs and Reyes Farrow. Mimi is a friend of Charley’s assistant and best friend, Cookie. She calls Cookie late one night, panicky, and asks for help. She is scared and hopes that both Cookie and Charley can help her out. She never meets up with the duo at their appointment. The police suspect foul play, mostly because others are dying in connection to Mimi. What do a house wife, a car salesman, and a politician have in common? That’s what Charley wants to know. The second case is more personal. Reyes is hurt and won’t allow Charley to get involved. He’s going to allow his corporeal body to expire because it’s a weakness he can no longer afford. Charley disagrees. Even if she can find and rescue him from the demons, he still has to go back to jail (read the first book for that story). He won’t be locked up again, no matter the consequences. Since Reyes won’t spill the beans, Charley is determined to find him without his consent. The whole book is chock full of danger and excitement with shots of funny to keep the reader looking for more.
The byplay between Reyes and Charley is very complex. She’s the key to heaven and he’s the key to hell. She is a “glass half full” kind of girl and he’s more of a “use the glass as a weapon” kind of guy. The chemistry between them is explosive but that’s never been the problem. Reyes has lots of secrets but doesn’t like to share. He’s always hinting about all the powers that Charley has available to her but won’t tell how to use them. He’s willing to kill Charley in order to keep the demons from gaining access to heaven. If that’s not a relationship killer, I don’t know what is. And more importantly, when was he going to mention the hoards of fans he’s had in prison? I mean really, fan sites dedicated to his glorious self? Wait, maybe Charley can understand the draw. She can’t seem to control herself around him either. Is he really jealous of Garrett, the sexy skiptracer? Doesn’t he realize Charley only has eyes for him? Does he really love her or just wants to possess her? Can they overcome all of that to be together?
I continue to enjoy Charley’s particular brand of crazy. Her optimism is downright infectious, even when facing down the bad guys at the end of a gun… or knife, or fist. She’s gets hurt more often than other P.I.’s. Maybe it’s a grim reaper thing? Or maybe it’s her relationship with the son of Satan that’s detrimental to her health? I also want to add that I love the little sayings that Ms. Jones puts at the beginning of each chapter. For example, at the beginning of chapter fifteen: “Where am I going and what am I doing in this handbasket?” Makes me giggle every time! I look forward to more quirky Charley and her misadventures in the future.
I put the ice cream down and crawled into bed with Garrett. “You’re not a blanket hog, are you?”
I could feel Reyes close. I could feel him tense when I climbed into bed with Garrett. Was he jealous? Of Garrett? I was there for a friend. Period. To console and comfort him.
“I’m very uncomfortable,” Garrett said with a groan.
“Don’t be ridiculous. My presence alone is comforting.”
I reached an arm over his head and pulled it onto my shoulder.
“Please,” I said, rolling my eyes.
“I got shot in the shoulder you’re leaning on.”
“You’re on pain meds,” I said, patting his head roughly. “Suck it up.”
“Sanity’s not really your thing, is it?”
The Charley Davidson Series:
FTC Advisory: Macmillan/St. Martin’s Press provided me with a copy of Second Grave on the Left. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.
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