Sixth Grave on the Edge
Author: Darynda Jones
Reviewer: Jen Twimom
Note: this story contains spoilers from earlier books in the series. In addition, there is a mild spoiler dealing with the open-ended marriage proposal from the previous book. If you don’t want to know how Charley deals with Reyes’ question, I’ve marked it below.
Sixth Grave on the Edge opens shortly after the conclusion of the previous book, with heroine Charley Davidson back in her baby – her bright red Wrangler, Misery. At the conclusion of the previous book, Misery was nearly destroyed, and I completely love how Charley describes each and every symptom and repair as if Misery was a human. And because this is Charley, you know things aren’t going to be anywhere near normal. This time around, Charley has a dead naked man in her front seat, and she is spying on the Foster Family as part of a cold case recon for FBI Agent Carson, a quasi-friend of Charley’s-someone she’s gotten to know over the course of her work as a PI. Long ago, a baby boy was kidnapped from the Fosters, and this cold case always bothered Agent Carson and her father. While Charley may be doing some recon work to help out, Charley already knows what happened to their missing child, since it is none other than her boyfriend, Reyes.
Like most fans of the Charley Davidson series, I was anxiously awaiting the release of Sixth Grave on the Edge after the previous book ended with a marriage proposal on a sticky note. SPOILER: The reader finds out almost immediately that Charley has not given Reyes an answer, and because of this, Reyes is constantly getting in digs at Charlie stating with all questions to her “it’s a simple YES or NO.” I love that Charley calls Reyes her “almost fiancé.” End Spoiler
Okay, so here’s the deal. This review was very difficult to write. On the surface, I enjoyed Sixth Grave on the Edge. Like all of the books in the series, this one is full of laugh-out-loud humor, impossible situations, and close friendships. The overall feel of the storylines was on target with normal Charley situations. I enjoyed the overall direction of the book and the various subplots – for the most part – and look forward to the upcoming seventh title.
Although the book had a good “feel,” I am disappointed at the volume of information and details presented. There were too many storylines. Some that added little to no value. Some that would have worked better if there wasn’t so much else going on. Some that were started, but dropped without another mention before the end of the book. All of these points together made me frustrated and annoyed. Charley Davidson and her circle of friends are some of my favorite characters. Their banter and camaraderie make for an extremely fun, entertaining, and special series. However, as they say, “the devil is in the details,” and when it comes to Sixth Grave on the Edge the sheer volume of detail is utterly devilish. My head felt like it was going to burst upon the introduction of each new storyline. I understand, and frankly adore, that Charley has ADD, and since the stories are all told from her perspective, the reader is subject to the zaniness that is her thought process. That is just part of what makes these books so enjoyable. But the bottom line is that even with meticulous note taking, I just couldn’t keep up this time around.
While the number of issues I had with the various subplots is too numerous to outline, I want to point out a couple of the most egregious. First, the biggest dropped storyline involves Charley’s dad and stepmom. While Charley’s interactions with both characters are some of the first in this story: he is acting weird and she is begging for help and wanting the family to seek counseling, the characters never make a return appearance. So why even bring them up in this book?
Then there is the story involving one of Charley’s minor nemesis, Police Captain Eckert. He’s been tailing Charley, and when I found out why, I was beyond aggravated. First of all, what he was doing made me angry, but the why… I just shake my head. The biggest problem, however, is that there was no apparent point to the ENTIRE subplot. While it may be something that will change the dynamics of future investigations, it had no impact on any of the ongoing stories, and I felt that the entire plot could be removed from this book.
Finally, one of the better twists and storylines involves Charley’s teenaged ghost assistant, Angel. In every book, Angel is adamant that Charley not reveal his ghostly nature to his mom, even though she’s starting to figure it all out. This comes to a head in Sixth Grave on the Edge, and while I thought it was an interesting and well-played storyline, due to the sheer volume of other storylines – one of which that is way too similar to this one – Angel’s story felt misplaced and ill-timed.
If I had to pick out the primary mystery plotline, I would say it was the one that involved a money-laundering car dealer and his girlfriend. Although the story kind of sneaks up on the reader, it is a good one to follow. I enjoy how Charley’s mind puts all of the pieces together, even if she’s not one hundred percent correct. The climax of this plot creates a pretty harrowing situation, and I have a feeling (especially after the not-so-shocking-to-me ending) that the repercussions will reverberate throughout future stories.
Unfortunately, as much as I still love Charley, Reyes, Cookie, Ubie and all of the others, I was disappointed in much of how Sixth Grave on the Edge was written. I have already ranted on Twitter, but I am happy to discuss each of the various plots with other readers because maybe you will have a point-of-view better than mine. But each time I start wading through the details, I just feel overwhelmed and frustrated.
But there were definitely some good parts to the book, like the amazingly hot smex scene on top of Reyes’ car! Holy scorcher, Batman. And the plotline involving Ubie and Cookie was extremely entertaining. I also liked some of the progress made on other minor, on-going stories, even if I felt there were too many of them. This is why I write that I liked the “feeling” of Sixth Grave on the Edge, because if “feels” like all of the other books. Sadly, it just isn’t the same.
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up. When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.
Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.
Release Date: May 20, 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Series: Charley Davidson #6
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): hardcover (336 pages), e-book, audiobook
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds
Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson #6)
Reviews in the Series:
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #1)
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #2)
Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #3)
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #4)
Fifth Grave Past the Light by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #5)