Sunday, March 16, 2014

Darynda Jones - Second Grave on the Left

If you hang around with dead people, life can get pretty complicated. Take it from Charley Davidson,
part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Complicated is her middle name. The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible.When Charley and Cookie (her best friend/receptionist) have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Cookie's friend Mimi disappeared five days earlier. Mimi then sends Cookie a cryptic message telling Cookie to meet her at an nearby coffee shop. The coffee is brewing, but Mimi's still missing. There is, however, a clue Mimi left on the bathroom wall: a woman's name. Mimi's husband explains to them that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old high school friend had been murdered. The same woman whose name Mimi had scribbled on the bathroom wall.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He's left his body because he's being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can't let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they'll have a portal to heaven...well, let's just say it wouldn't be pretty.
Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm's way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?

Comment: I've had this book here for more or less one year. When I've finished the previous one I was very impressed and decided I had to get the next one, which I did. A year has gone by. Now that I have finished this one also, I am impressed enough to want to read the following one, but I fer another considerable amount of time will go by until then...

Basically, this story continues the life of Charley Davidson and her adventures as a psychic and grim reaper. In this book her search for Reyes goes on at the same time she has to help her best friend Cookie to look for Mimi, a school friend who has gone missing because several classmates were killed.
Things aren't so simple especially when Mimi is hard to find and she finds out many things about Reyes, herself and what they share since they were born...

Like I said, I was impressed overall by this story. I liked Charley's personality and how she always had some sort of reply to everyone and about everything. It's interesting to learn new information at a very slow pace and usually in a very funny way, but I also will confess this isn't so all the time. Meaning, I like fun and sarcasm often but it would be good to have  more scenes with serious tones. They exist but aren't as many as I think would be good. Sometimes, a more serious tone could tell the reader how really important and key something is. With such an aloof feel almost all the time it gets confusing and harder to accept when serious things happen. It's a bit like we always expect easy things and when the harsh ones show up, part of the emotion looses some steam and power.

I liked Charley again, and in particular her way of thinking, of acting, how she speaks and interacts with others. I like her dedication to Reyes but I think part of her charm is lost among so many "flirty" stuff and apparent easiness in life. It's weird but in a way I think a little bit more of seriousness could improve the reader's enjoyment of Charley and even the other characters.

The story like also has new developments, in particular concerning Reyes and Charley's origins and their roles in the big scheme of things. I think things are still mysterious enough not only for series purposes but also because things develop at a very slow pace naturally in that field. I'm curious but with honesty the constant distractions while this sort of sub plot develops gets on my nerves at times. I wish the author could just go on with what she is aiming with all this.

One thing I appreciate is the small cases Charley solves throughout the story, apparently meaningless things to show off her abilities and to fill up space but which gives some character to the goal in Charley's life, which is to help people to cross and to look for peace. Even those who won't want to and stick around, Charley befriends them and is their friend.

All in all, a good effort, a good plot, with some things I would change or switch directions to best absorb what it aims for. My attention is on this world but it's something that, after all things considered, I can rest and wait patiently for the next story and it's easy to wait even knowing it's out there, already released.
Grade: 7/10


  1. This series has been working for me :) However, I have to admit I'm glad the author took it slow (one book per year instead of two)... Ms Jones has an unique tone and I think one that you can overdose on very easily.

    Glad you're enjoying the series!

    To me, Charley makes this series ;) I like her personality and I like that she has layers. The flirty and aloof one is the most prominent, but underneath it all? But it's true, it'd be fun to see that side of her more often :)

  2. Yes, I think too much of this in a short time wouldn't be as enjoyable. I can easily wait to read the following one later on...