Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

, by Kt Clapsadl

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Charley Davidson #1

A 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. 

Of all of the career choices there are, being Grim Reaper doesn't really top the most wanted list for children, but Charley Davidson has always known who she was. It's her duty to ferry the souls to the light, but sometimes they have unfinished business and they ask Charley for help. Most of the time the tasks are easy, like tell mom I love her, but sometimes, in the case of murdered ghosts, that business involves bringing justice to their killers. Sure her life can get a little hectic, but she wouldn't change a thing, not even the smoking hot dreams she's been having about someone from her past. Of course, she doesn't know just who he is, and when she does find out, well let's just say that her life will be changed. Forever.

Charley Davidson is my new favorite character, and I have feeling it will be a very long time, if ever, before she gets "dethroned." She's just so sassy and quirky and honestly fun, that I absolutely adored her. She's definitely a no nonsense girl, but unlike a lot of Urban Fantasy heroines, she isn't hard or closed off from the world. In fact despite her reaper uniqueness, or maybe actually because of that, she's very open and rather happy with her life. Of course she does have to keep a good bit of secrets in order to stay out of the loony bin, but for the most part she makes no apologies for who and what she is. In fact some of her brazenness led to some pretty hilarious scenes, especially since you could never predict what would come out of her mouth next. There were several times that I had to re-read sections in sheer awe of of her sass and unpredictability. Seriously, best chick ever!

First Grave on the Right is the perfect example of what a series opening book should be. Everything was in perfect balance from the world building, to the characters, romance, and plot reveals (both for the book and the series as a whole). Not at one single point in the book did I become bogged down by the world building as it built gradually without any info dumps. But more importantly, I also never got frustrated due to a lack of information. Of course I still have a huge curiosity about some of the series plot threads that had started to develop, but that only makes me eager for the next book. 

I'm always rather leery to pick up a book that seems to be taking the blogosphere by storm. I just hate the disappointment that seems to happen when inevitably the book doesn't live up to its hype. However, in this case I have to say First Grave on the Right has earned every single bit of that hype and then some. This book was just absolutely incredible it was rather astounding to be honest. It reminded me of when I first got into blogging and wasn't so jaded by the hundreds of books I have read and reviewed. I just cannot express how utterly refreshing and unique First Grave on the Right is. There is one advantage to coming late to the party with a book series, since now I can spend the next few days devouring the following installments. Seriously, this is one book, (and hopefully series) that you just won't want to miss!


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