Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Humorous Death – Charley Davidson Series, Books 1 – 3

1.      First Grave on the Right  (9:04), available here4.5 out of 5
2.      Second Grave on the Left  (9:30), available here4 out of 5
3.      Third Grave up Ahead (9:51), available here4.5 out of 5

Author:  Darynda Jones 
Narrator:  Lorelei King 4 out of 5
Publisher: Macmillan Audio 

Charley Davidson is one funny, witty, pain-in-the-butt Albuquerque PI.  She used to be a consultant to her police detective dad, and is now a consultant to her police detective uncle.  But there’s more the Charley than “Danger” and “Will Robinson” – her tits. She’s also a grim reaper.  Not the DeadLike Me type either, but the kind chosen from birth, can speak every language known to man, see the dead and let them pass through her, and remember everything from birth kind. That’s a hard burden for a girl who’s just trying to make rent and avoid getting killed while doing it. 

 First Grave on the Right – Not your mom’s chick lit:

Let’s talk about the elephant in the room – or rather on the cover.  The cover art screams silly chick lit, but as the old adage goes, don’t judge this audiobook by the paint on the model’s toes.  This book is so much more.  The beginning is quirky, fun, and entertaining, and because of that humor, the story builds on you without you realizing it.  The listener’s sense of Charley’s complicated relationship with her family, especially her evil step-mother, starts out light and fluffy and ends with shocking depth.  Her interest in Reyes starts out seeming superficial before becoming a desperate need.  Somewhere between the laughs, the serious themes of child abuse, domestic violence, etc., sneak up on you.  An overall great listen.

Second Grave on the LeftTaking the Grim out of Grim Reaper:

Like First Grave on the Right, this second book in the series is a stellar read, and again, Ms. Jones dresses up a serious theme in humor to make it more palatable. Here, Charley has to find a missing wife and solve the cold case of a teenage who disappeared without a trace over a decade ago.  Ms. Jones pulls no punches there. And then there’s Reyes.  Charley needs to find him to keep him alive, but he doesn’t want to be found.  He’d rather let his body die, even if that brings about the end of the world.  What’s a Grim Reaper to do?  I loved this audiobook, but then again, I’m a sucker for bad boys. Son of Satan – how much more bad can a boy get?  

Third Grave Dead Ahead – The Best of Three Worlds:

Just like in First Grave on the Right and Second Grave on the Left, this third book in the series blends great comedic style, scorching, blistering sex, and serious drama.  At the end of the last book, Charley bound Reyes to his corporeal form. He is mad and he is taking his anger out on Charley by intruding into her life day and night. In the meantime, Charley is hired by a man to find his wife, except she’s sure that he killed his wife, or at least believes he killed her.  This book has more twists than a Chubby Checker song.  It also has a painful development in Charley’s relationship with her father, and a promising new friendship between Charley and a local biker gang.

On Narration:
I’m not going to lie. The only two reasons I purchased the Charley Davidson series were because: (1) it fit the paranormal/urban fantasy mystery genre; and (2) Lorelei King narrated it. As usual, she doesn’t disappoint. If you’re familiar with Janet Evanovich’s StephaniePlum series, you know how well Ms. King pulls of snarky, and there’s plenty of snark in these books. She gives great cop voice, and there are a ton of cops in this book. Lorelei King even does a good biker gang…wait, that sounded wrong. You know what I mean. In one of the books, she even clucks like a chicken. The things a narrator does for her art. 

Some fantastic quotes:
Some girls wear Prada. Some girls wear Glock 17 short recoil spring-loaded semiautomatic pistols with a loaded chamber indicator and a nonslip grip.
...and then she glared at me, the same glare my stepmother used to give me when I gave her the Nazi salute. That woman was so touchy about her resemblance to Hitler.
If I couldn't be a good example, I'd just have to be a horrible warning.
 I like to see the glass as half full, hopefully of Jack Daniels.
I strode toward Mr. Coffee with lust in my eyes. We'd had a thing for quite some time now Mr. Coffee and I...
A sheriff arrested me. I could be mistaken, but I'm pretty sure my men-in-uniform fetish began that day. The sheriff was hot. And he handcuffed me. I've never been the same.
“No. This has to do with drugs."
My jaw fell open and I almost lost my toothbrush. "You're on drugs?"
She pressed her mouth together. "No. You are."
"I'm on drugs?" I asked, stunned. I had no idea.”

Let me express how much I don't care on a scale of one to bite me
But give up my business? The same business I'd built from the ground up with my own two hands and designer Louis Vuittons? The same business for which I'd sacrificed blood, sweat, and tears? Well, maybe not sweat and tears, but there was blood. Lots of blood. Give it up? Not likely. Besides, what else would I do? I totally should've gone to Hogwarts when I had the chance.


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