Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones
Reading level: Adult
Hardcover: 307 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Release date: August 16, 2011
Series: Charley Davidson #2
Reviewed by: Lili
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans.
When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
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. And if they 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? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?
Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the summer: Second Grave On The Left.
While not as amazing as the first, Jones still manages to take us on an unforgettable and snarky journey with paranormal private investigator and grim reaper extraordinare, Charley Davidson.
The plot held me prisoner and I powered through this book without a problem. Charley manages several cases in this one that surround the disappearance of one of Cookie’s best friends, Mimi Jacobs. Amazingly, she managed to launch her own investigation in search of Reyes’s human body before time ran out that took us on a slightly humorous ride, even going as far as to introduce us to the president of his prison fan club, while hunting for Cookie’s friend. Charley can’t allow Reyes’s corporal body to die when all she wants is to continue seeing him in the flesh, so she ignores his continued warnings and acts on her impulses—a decision that can come to haunt her later in the series.
Littered with Charley’s sarcasm, this book seemed slightly more serious to me. There were so many investigations going on with some pretty hefty cases that there wasn’t much time for humor, but those spots where Jones was able to allow Charley her patented snark had me roaring with laughter once again.
It’s hard to elaborate on much in this one because it truly did live up to my expectations, though the first book set the bar so high that this one fell slightly below it. While the plot wasn’t as lighthearted at times, we did see amazing character growth in Charley’s amazing sidekick, Cookie. We learned more about Reyes’s past, which any reader will eat up, and we watched Charley grow and make more connections with her oddly disconnected family.
I highly recommend this series to any paranormal lover, especially those who like some forbidden romance thrown in, but this book isn’t a standalone and it is a must to read its prequel. Much like its predecessor, it’ll be everything you wanted and more and will take a place high up on my recommendations list. Jones weaves a story with so many twists and turns that I can’t even think straight!