PJ header


First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones #Review

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

Series: Charley Davidson #1
Narrator: Lorelei King
Published by Macmillan, St. Martin's Press on February 1, 2011
Genres: Adult, Fantasy & Magic, Paranormal, Paranormal Romance
Source: Library, Purchased
Also in this series:
Also by this author: Sixth Grave on the Edge, Eighth Grave After Dark,
4.5 Stars

PJV Quickie: I have heard from a few different people what a great series this is. What I did not realize was how funny it is! I absolutely loved Charley Davidson and didn’t want the book to end. Add First Grave on the Right to your “Must Read” list now!

UPDATE: I was supposed to review a totally different book this weekend, however, upon finishing First Grave on the Right, I immediately started book 2, then, moved to book 3, and am now halfway through book 4. This series is book crack. It’s going places I didn’t see coming, and I’m going to pick up books 5, 6, and 7 at the library today. (see more edited notes at the end of this review)

Charley Davidson is not your typical Private Investigator: yes, she does occasionally help out the local police department with difficult cases, but she’s got a little-known secret – she’s the Grim Reaper.  That’s right, THE Grim Reaper, as in “Go into the light” and “I see dead people” Grim Reaper.  Granted, she doesn’t get to pick and choose which dead people come to her for help, but being able to talk to them is a handy skill for solving murder cases.  In First Grave on the Right, Charley is trying to solve the murders of three attorneys working on the same case, and each clue leads to more questions.


Why did I wait so long to read First Grave on the Right?  I purchased this book years ago, but it wasn’t until I got the audiobook from the library that I started reading it (I like to read and listen at the same time, it helps me catch anything I missed while listening).  I honestly had no idea the book would be so funny. Charley is a kick-ass heroine who’s full of snark and doesn’t take crap from anyone, living or dead. Her interactions with the dead are usually hysterical, but sometimes very touching.

I also like that Charley is smart enough to surround herself with people who love her, because her ability can cause problems with people who don’t understand what she is and just think she’s crazy.  Her dad and her uncle are cops, and she helps them solve murders, and sometimes they help her with her PI cases.  Her secretary, Cookie, is one of the best friends a girl could ask for, and pretty darn good at her job, too.  There’s also her ghostly assistant, Angel, who helps her in ways no living person ever could.  She’s got a few ghostly contacts she can lean on for assistance, and one sexy, antagonistic cop she loves to hate, making a great group of secondary characters that keep the story moving.

I thought the narrator did a great job on the audiobook, my only complaint is that her voice for the female lawyer sounded like a man and I was a bit confused before I realized which character she was doing.  Production-wise, there was no distinctive chime or notice that the disk ended and it was frustrating when the disc would start over without notice and I’d wonder what the heck was going on. I’m assuming this is not a problem if you’re using audible or some other service.  (I do a lot of driving so I prefer listening to disks on my car stereo.)

While First Grave on the Right does have a complete story arc, we are left with enough questions to leave the reader immediately reaching for the next book.  I absolutely can not wait to read the next book in this series, Second Grave on the Left -: I’ve purchased a copy but in the meantime, my library copy and audiobook should be in today (!!!!).

Fans of Paranormal Fantasy and Paranormal Romance will enjoy First Grave on the Right. The spunky heroine and her ghostly crew will keep you laughing. I tagged this as romance, even though the romance is pretty mild there is the promise of more to come.  I would suggest this series for fans of Molly Harper or Gini Koch.


UPDATE: So I’m almost done with Book 4, Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, and I am just obsessed with this series! There are some lingering questions I’m hoping will eventually be answered; I need to talk to someone about this series. OMG she had me going in book 3, certain events left me speechless.  If you’ve read this series, comment here or hit me on twitter (no spoilers after book 4 please).  My family doesn’t care how much I’m loving this series and I need to be a fangirl about it.

PJ new signature