Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Review: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)

First Grave of the Right by Darynda Jones

(Charley Davidson Series #1)

Published July 5th 2011 by St, Martin's Press

First Grave on the Right is the 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. 
 



The Charley Davidson Series is one that has been on my radar for quite some time now.  When I finally got my hands on book 1 during the Holidays this year, I knew it wouldn't be long till I cracked that bad boy open.  Within the first few chapters I was already giggling out loud. Before long, I found myself caught up in Charley's adventures which usually include a healthy mix of enigmas, humor grit...and paranormal sexiness!  And while the plot felt a bit lighter then whay I'm accustomed to, by the end I was already itching to see what's in store for book 2.  First Grave on the Right is a fun & steamy UF that promises to be the start of something good!

First Grave on the Right introduces us to Charley Davidson, a feisty, no-nonsense private investigator..who also happens to be THE grim-reaper.   The combination of the two make for some 'interesting' situations (to put it mildly) whenever someone has been murdered and the victims seek out Charley to help make things right.  While investigating one such case, she bites off a bit more than she can chew - for 2 reasons: 1- the case is far more complex than what it initially appears. And 2 - she's been having these recurring...and very steamy dreams about this...guy, an... entity that she's not even sure is real.  Soon Charley realizes that even within her VERY uncommon existence there are plenty more things out there that even she can't begin to understand - and she may be in all the more danger for it.

''This whole grim reaper thing should have come with a manual. Or a diagram of some kind. A flowchart would have been nice.''
I was a bit surprised to find these books in the 'Mystery' section of my bookstore, I went in thinking adult fiction, fantasy or even romance - but when I actually sat down to read the story it became more and more obvious that the 'crime-solving' element played heavily into the story-line.  I really enjoyed that aspect because it's not something I've come across much before.  I especially liked how well it all meshed together with the paranormal & romantic elements.  The characters were instantly engaging and while I didn't feel an intense connection to them, I did have an affinity for the MC and the secondary characters and an investment in what they were all going through!  Charley is a fun & tough protagonist who is easy to like & respect. She has NO problem holding her own against any man she crosses;  she's bold, sarcastic & doesn't hold anything back.  While she wasn't instantly relatable for me,  she earned my respect soon enough with her self-deprecating humor & her inherent stubbornness.  The cast of supporting characters were all believable & diverse from Charley's police officer uncle, her quirky assistant Cookie and a host of ghost acquaintances (and a roommate!! haha) but the one that stood out the most was *swoon* Reyes.  He is quite a handful (ahem) and I can't wait to learn more about him.  Talk about a hot take on a bad boy with a heart AND a haunted past!!  I won't reveal more cause  spoilers  but anyways, yeah...I already like him.  A lot.

As much as I enjoyed myself immensely reading this book, sometimes it felt like there was something missing.  I longed for a deeper connection with the characters & the plot and while my feelings grew as the story moved forwards, I never gave myself completely to the story.  I've been reading much heavier fiction lately so this lighter UF might have just thrown me through a loop.    In all honesty though, it's only the first book in the series & I feel like my feelings will grow as the series progresses.  All in all, this was a entertaining read full of mysteries and sass...oh and steamy hot love scenes!  Yeah. 

My rating : 3.5 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆

16 comments:

  1. Aww, thanks for a lovely review, Micheline! I ca only promise that this series gets better with each book.. For me it's the humour that makes it such a wonderful read though! :)

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    1. Thanks Kara, and I'm glad to here it! That's what I figured and I enjoyed it enough to keep going regardless :)

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  2. Hm I like seeing a "middle-of-the-road" review for this book. Everything I have seen for it up until this point has been raving about it so it's good to have something to keep my expectations in check. It really is too bad that you didn't really connect with the characters and I hope that you do later in the series. Fabulous review chick, I absolutely love the honesty you brought forth!

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    1. Thanks Jenni! I liked it, but I didn't love it. I do feel like it will improve as the series goes along. It reminded me a bit of the first Fever book and that series I only warmed up to around book 3.

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  3. Paranormal sexiness sounds great as well as making you giggle. Sad that it felt like something was missing though.
    Brandi @ Blkosiner’s Book Blog

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    1. I honestly think it was a case of 'first-book-syndrome' so I'm hoping for the best :) Thanks Brandi!

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  4. I hope it will be better with the other books I think they're better and better.

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    1. That's what I hear & what I suspected :) Thanks for the input Melliane!!

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  5. This chick sounds like someone I would like. Sorry it didn't fill you up with warm fuzzies.

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    1. She's pretty awesome & badass! I really think the next books might give me more warm fuzzies though, stay tuned :D

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  6. I have really been wanting to read this series. It's too bad you didn't connect completely with the characters, but it still sounds good. Like you said, it's the first in the series, so it has potential to grow. Great review!

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    1. Exactly, and from what I hear the series gets better as you go...which is often the case right?! Thanks chick ♥

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  7. I liked this book-didn't love it. I actually listen to it on Audio and LOVED the narrator. She did a fantastic job bringing the characters to life. I haven't read past this one, and I'm not sure if I ever will continue w/this series. Great review, hun!

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    1. Oh great to hear that the audio book version was so good, I'll keep that in mind!! I'd say my feelings were like yours but I'm definitely going to keep going with the series. I'll let you know if it's worth it or not :) Thanks love ♥

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  8. Oh wow, this sounds like a seriously fun one! I have to be in a very particular kind of mood to read a book like this because I'm the same as you in being more of a serious book reader. A book that is too much of a light read can sort of throw you for a loop sometimes - though it can also be a very nice thing if what you were reading prior to it was quite heavy emotionally. Anyways, I'm glad you like this one. Charley seems like someone to respect and root for even if you had trouble connecting to the other characters. I hope you enjoy the next books in the series, too!

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    1. I'm definitely like you - I need to be in the right mood to read something like this. I felt like I was, but maybe I wasn't quite there haha Charley was so fierce and kick-butt she's a hard one not to like. As far as I can tell people seem to find the series gets better as it goes on so I'm keeping my hopes up :) Thanks Aylee ♥

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