Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
(Charley Davidson Series #2)
Published in August 2011 by St. Martin's Press
"If you hang around with dead people, life can deliver a whole world of trouble."
Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time P.I. and full-time Grim Reaper.The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible...
When Charley and Cookie, her best friend slash receptionist, have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally.) has left his corporeal 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? Can she keep those she loves out of harm's way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?
''National Sarcasm Society: Like We Need Your Help''
*This Review is Spoiler-Free*
The stakes felt like they were quite a bit higher this time around, for everyone involved in Charley's world...and Charley herself is no exception. The missing woman case she and her best friend/assistant Cookie are working on is anything but what it appears to be. The case is beyond enigmatic and soon it's morphing into something a lot bigger than Charley first thought. On top of that, there are other people searching for the same missing woman...very dangerous men who will stop at nothing to find her first, even if it means stopping Charley, cold. And if that wasn't enough, the incredibly seductive bad boy Reyes Alexander Farrow (a.k.a. the son of Satan) is in serious danger and refuses to let Charley help... but that doesn't stop him from visiting Charley by *ahem* other means. ;)
As a character, Charley just really grew on me this time around. Done were the introductions to her baddass-ness, she wasn't explaining anymore - she just did. She seemed even tougher to me which made me admire her even more. The best part about her though is her sense of humor, her snarky-ness and her sarcasm which returned full swing in Second Grave. I was happy to find that the secondary characters also exhibited some form of change and growth on their end too. It always sucks when every background character stays sort of stagnant while the MC gets all the attention. I was especially pleased that we got to know the glorious Reyes a bit better too - although he doesn't lose an ounce of mystery...or allure. Wow, that man just keeps getting better and better the more I read about him. Excuse me while I swoon some more!
The plot itself was really satisfying because it began to build right from page one and grew from there. You're sort of thrown into a case right then and there and as the story progresses, more layers or other sub-plots are added smoothly. Similarly to book one, the world-building is pretty minimal because other than being the grim-reaper, Charley leads a pretty normal life (as weird is that sounds). She's a Private Investigator, she works closely with the police force helping them solve crimes. It's like a police mystery with paranormal elements thrown in for good measure. We get a few more hints about the way other 'other-worldly' beings exist and their world, but nothing major...yet. I feel like there will be more and more as the series moves forward.
As an Adult Mystery/Paranormal, the Charley Davidson Series could be thought of as a guilty pleasure - except for the fact that I feel absolutely no guilt whatsoever for reading AND enjoying them! This was the perfect read for me at the best possible moment because despite the horrible crimes, the mystery and the suspense, it manages to keep the tone light and especially funny. The ending is seriously killer though so I'm already dying to get started on book 3! A story as addictive as a good cup of coffee and filled to the brim with enough thrills & sexiness to keep me glued until the very last page.