Friday, January 4, 2013

Darynda Jones: First Grave on the Right

In the first book in her Charley Davidson series, Darynda Jones introduces readers to the Grim Reaper, but this is not your typical Grim Reaper.

Charley Davidson can see dead people, no she really can. She has been able to see dead people since the day that she was born. It was not until later in life that she realized that it was her job to lead and sometimes convince them to go into the light (which just happens to radiate from her). However, convincing them is not always an easy thing, especially when the individual has been murdered. Charley does what she can to help find the murderer, this is where having a father and an uncle on the police force that makes that much easier. It has also been helpful to her father and uncle's career as well when you can actually ask the victim who killed them. When 3 lawyers show up at the same time looking for Charley's assistance, she knows that something big is occurring in her city. If trying to find a mass murdered was not bad enough Charley has noted a shadowy figure that appears to be following her in the realm of the dead, and she can feel that there is something evil about it.

This book actually surprised me. I was very worried from the opening paragraphs that this book was going to be a paranormal romance novel and not an Urban Fantasy book. I thought that it was going to be sex scene after sex scene. Well I am glad to say that my first perspective of the book was wrong, not completely wrong but still wrong. Yes there are some sex scenes and innuendo within the book, but they are not as frequent as I thought that they would be. If you are able to get past the first few paragraphs and do not mind a few short sexy scenes and some comments about men's butts then you should be okay. I know I was able to get past these aspects.

I have never read a book that had the Grim Reaper as the main character, so that one was new to me therefore, interesting as well. I found the interaction with Charley and the other ghosts very interesting, as there are some ghosts that do not want to cross over, for example Angel. Additionally, it was interesting what some ghosts needed to achieve in order to cross over, and I really like that Charley does everything she can to help them, whether it is helping to solve their murder or putting a well placed note somewhere where someone close to the ghost can find it.  Although Jones does not delve too much into what it means to be a Grim Reaper (other than helping people pass over) or how someone is chosen to become the Grim Reaper or if there is even more than one. I am hoping that Jones will explore this further in the other books.

I liked Charley as a character, except for two things. First, I do not like her name, really Charley Davidson, it just sounds silly I do now know why authors think they have to come up funny or witty names for a character (another example if  J.A. Konrath Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series), what is wrong with a regular name. Secondly, I did not like that any time Charley saw any attractive man, she had to make some sort of comment or thought about how hot the guy was or how nice his butt was, it just became annoying over time. Aside from these aspects I found Charley very witty and caring character, she is more than willing to help out the living and the dead, even if it cuts into her regular life (though I do not think that she knows what regular life is).

As I stated above, this book surprised me I thought it was going to be purely a paranormal romance, based upon the first few paragraphs. Therefore, if you have been shying away this book because of that, then you may want to rethink the reading it. I found this book witty, well written and interesting with both the Grim Reaper aspect and the mystery. I will be picking up the second book as I want to see how Jones develops Charley as the Grim Reaper.

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