First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones – 5 Stars


Book description on GoodReads

Every so often something rare and wonderful happens to a reader.  You come across a book that just clicks.  This book was one of those for me.   Many of my friends on Goodreads gave it 4 or 5 stars,  if I could I would give it 6 stars (I’ll tell you why below).  I had this one as a to-read for a while now and was hesitant to give  it a try because it didn’t sound like the type of paranormal I normally read.  I may have mentioned before that I am pretty loyal to my Vamps, but have been known to stray into worlds centered on Angels and have just recently developed a taste for Weres.  A story centered on a Grim Reaper, I don’t know just didn’t sound like something I would really get into.  I’m not a fan of Zombies and the Anita Blake series turned me off of wanting to try anything dealing with the dead.  Oh how wrong I was…

Alright now why I LOVED this book.  The humor is what first brought me in, I like both dark and lighthearted paranormal books.  After reading so many heavy and serious novels you just need something to make you laugh, something fun.  This book does humor brilliantly, the character has a razor sharp wit and wields it well.  The author has managed to strike a nice balance in this book though. Charley is sarcastic and can give the other characters a hard time, but she can be serious too when the situation calls for it and you get to see her humanity as well.

The supporting cast of characters was great in this new world as well.  Charley’s Uncle Bob, her best friend Cookie, her Dad and I even liked Garret.  I really enjoyed Reyes and finding out all about his mysterious past and its link to Charley.  One of my few complaints about the book involves what looks to be a set up for a love triangle between Charley, Reyes and Garret.  Please don’t.  I like Garret, but there is no way he can compete, just let the tension develop and hopefully a relationship with Reyes develop without throwing in Garret…please.

Another aspect of this book that I adored was the more serious moments.  Those times when Charley helped the spirits and people around her find closure.  There were some really beautiful moments in this book that brought me to tears, happy ones.   The story line would turn all serious and start to get heavy and then Charley would whip out some line and make you smile.  Really well done in my opinion.  A book that bring me to tears and then have me laughing on the next page is a winner in my mind.

There were also serious moments in this book that didn’t work out so well in the end.  We got to see Charley question herself and her role in this world and wonder if she is doing more harm then good.  It was these moments that kept the book real for me, made sure the story wasn’t too much of a good thing.  Our heroine isn’t infallible, she doesn’t have all the answers, like us she struggles and doesn’t get everything she wants. You get the sense that Charley has been alone and struggling to figure out her abilities or role as a Grim Reaper up until this point in her life.  That she has also had to go it alone.  It was nice to see her start to open up and realize she can count on those around her.

Up until the end of the book I thought it was mainly going to be a detective or private investigator series and each of the future stories would just center around some case or group of departed that Charley had to deal with.  Enjoyable, but not a lot of depth to this new world I was enjoying.  Then in the last few chapters everything changed, and wow the story took a plunge and gained an edge I wasn’t expecting.  I was already hooked and adding all the next books to my to-read list on Goodreads, then suddenly the author develops this whole other story line that I did not see coming and it all revolves around Reyes, so please leave out a love triangle.

I wish I could give you some more complaints about the book, but there really is only the one.  I enjoyed the book, loved the mix of humor and drama.  There was a love interest, but only really one good steamy scene.   I guess it was a little annoying that Charley seemed to be attracted to most of the men she came in contact with, but that wasn’t such a big deal, so she was a horn dog.  I look forward to reading more of Charley’s adventures and am definitely looking forward to getting to know Reyes better.

Have you read this book?  What did you think?


3 thoughts on “First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones – 5 Stars

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