First Grave on the Right is a great read that will have you laughing from the very first page. Darynda Jones has wonderfully witty dialogue which really makes her characters come to life, and some of her one liners and shorter conversations reminded me of Joss Whedon.
As this story is told through Charley’s point of view much of its charm comes from her voice. Charley Davidson is funny, sarcastic, and a little ADD. She can be tactless at times but is overall endearing. As The Grim Reaper and an Albuquerque Police Department consultant Charley Davidson uses her ability to see the dead to solve murders. She treats the ghosts she sees like any other client, with honesty and humor even though appearing to talk to thin air gets her a few odd looks. Charley, however, could care less, she’s confident enough with who she is not to be bothered by what others think about her.
Charley is a little reckless in her decisions. She thinks she’s unbeatable, maybe indestructible, and she’s always making light of bad situations. But, that’s her way of dealing with what’s going on around her. She’s always putting the mission first, even above her own life, and she looks out for those around her. Her relationships with her family and co-workers as well as with her clients, dead and alive are believable and deep. And, her history and relationship with Reyes is fascinating and steamy. For me this book had just the right about of steam and sex to be a great adult paranormal romance without being erotic or sharing unnecessary details.
Reyes is a mystery, and as we learn more about him we find out that he is really what this book is about. The more Charley learns about Reyes the more she comes to learn about herself and what she is. Reyes is the ultimate bad boy; dark, more than a little scary at times, but despite everything he does and everything you learn about him you want to help him redeem himself.
I greatly enjoyed this book and plan to continue reading this series, however as always I have my pet peeves. While this book was witty it was also a little cliché at times. Phrases like ‘cloak-and-dagger’, and the suggestion of trying out handcuffs were a little overdone, even though I understand that kind of vocabulary is just part of Charley’s personality. Also, there are a lot of pop culture references, which can be fun but I felt like there were more than necessary. And, everything from Charley’s car to her breasts has a name. Sometimes it’s cute, but other times it got annoying, altogether though even the cheesy parts are all part of Charley’s charm.
The only other part I had a hard time with was that Charley has had a lot of bad stuff happen to her. Maybe had the author eased me into all these different events a little slower they would not have bothered me so much but pretty early in the book and all in the same paragraph she mentions almost getting kidnapped by a sex offender, nearly getting run down by someone’s car, and being stalked. Although I will say by the end of the book this didn’t bother me as much as they were explained.
Overall I give this book 5 stars and highly recommend it to anyone looking for a paranormal romance.