Friday, July 22, 2011

Book Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (St. Martin's Press)

Reviewed by Boone Brux

(No Spoilers Involved)


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.


I’d anticipated the release of First Grave on the Right for some time, having heard it described as a cross between Dead Like Me meets Stephanie Plum. As a huge fan of both the show and Janet Evanovich, I anxiously awaited Ms. Jones’s release.

I love when I pick up a book, start to read, and get lost for hours. First Grave on the Right did exactly this. I’ll admit I’m a slow reader, but I finished the book in one sitting, and was sorry when I read the last line. “More,” I shouted, startling my husband from a dead sleep.

So what’s so special about this book? Darynda Jones weaves an engrossing tale that makes you laugh aloud, revs your libido, and has you cringing with anticipation from the dark entity haunting Charley Davidson, the main character.

Charley is young, sexy, and has the best comebacks I’ve read in years. I liked her immediately, which drew me into the story and locked me to the pages until I finished. Here is a quick example of First Grave’s snaring wit.

I was starting to wonder if repetitive exposure to nightly hallucinations resulting in earth-shattering climaxes could have any long term effects. Death via extreme pleasure was a serious concern. The prospect lead to the following dilemma: Do I seek help or buy drinks all around?

The dialogue and Charley’s thoughts are brilliantly crafted. Jones has a knack for taking a situation and tweaking it a fraction of an inch, shifting it from ordinary to exceptional.

All the characters were distinctive and added a rich flavor to the story. I especially enjoyed the bevy of ghosts Charley deals with daily. As with any good story, Jones created a worthy sidekick, Cookie. Sassy and loyal, Cookie is a solid pillar of support for Charley’s chaotic, unpredictable, and sometimes dangerous life.

I won’t spoil it for those of you who haven’t read First Grave on the Right, but let me just say, this book has it all. If you’re craving paranormal comedy with a steamy heat level, you won’t be disappointed.

I can't, in good conscience, give this book less than five skull and crossbones. NNNNN

The sequel Second Grave on the Left is due to release on August 16, quickly followed by Third Grave Dead Ahead in February, 2012.

Review Scale:
N- Dead and Gone
NN- Doomed
NNN- Still Some Life Left
NNNN- Alive and Well
NNNNN- Dancing a Jig

²Boone Brux²

Please come back on August 6 for a look at my new book, Resurrection, due out August 5, 2011.

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Copyright © Boone Brux

All rights reserved. This is a work of fiction. All names, characters, locations, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination, or have been used fictionally. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, locales, or events is entirely coincidental. No portion of this work may be transmitted or reproduced in any form, or by any means, without permission in writing from the author.

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