Author: Darynda Jones
Release Date: Jan. 31, 2012
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Charley Davidson #3
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Format(s): Hardcover (320 pgs), Paperback, e-book
Book Source: Purchased with my own funds
About the book:
Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because every time she closes her eyes she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.
Granted she did imprison Reyes for all eternity, but how is she supposed to solve a missing-persons case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hell-bent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up on his plan of seduction….. and revenge?
What I’m talking about:
The third outing in the wonderful Charley Davidson series kicks off about two weeks after the conclusion of Second Grave on the Left. Things ended pretty crazily the last time around when Charley bound Reyes to his mortal body to prevent him from killing himself. In addition, Charley reconnected with her estranged sister while bonding over the fact that her father basically set Charley up to be killed by a murderous stalker (honestly, it wasn’t as bad as it seems!). This time around, Charley is being haunted by Reyes every time she falls asleep. Reyes visits her, seduces her, but doesn’t want to be there. It’s making Charley miserable.
Things go from bad to worse as Charley’s dad continues to act weird – asking her… no demanding that she quit her work as a private eye solving crimes. In addition, Reyes is being, well… pardon my French – a total ass. Plus, Charley has taken on a missing persons case, with the likely culprit the husband that hired her; Reyes demands that she find his supposedly dead father; she’s got trouble with some gang members; and well… seriously, could more happen to her?!
The first thing I noticed while reading Third Grave Dead Ahead is that Charley is evolving. She’s gotten over her fears of being hurt by those she loves when she reveals the truth that she is more than a “ghost whisperer,” but the Grim Reaper herself. Right from the get go, Charley confides in her sister, the same one she only started talking to about 2 weeks ago. She also begins to expand her trust in Garrett, the hunky freelance skiptracer. In addition, she opens up to some of the biker gang members who own the creepy asylum where Charley talks to Rocket and learns if missing persons are dead or alive.
We finally get to meet the mysterious “Madame Marigold” who has been emailing around looking for “the Grim Reaper.” She is a delightful character and provides clues as to where things are headed with Charley, Reyes and an apparently looming battle between Heaven and Hell. She is a true prophet and I enjoy how her character interacts with her surroundings and Charley.
Reyes, on the other hand, is a huge disappointment for me this go around. Sure he’s upset with Charley, but his actions in this book are beyond awful. His constant anger weighs down the story. In addition, he is continually telling Charley that she has to learn “what she is capable of,” and the repetition of this vague message got on my nerves. I am not going to give away spoilers here, but Reyes broke my heart more than once. I could go on and on, but you’ll just have to read the book yourself (and then come back so we can chat)!
I also noticed a few continuity errors in the story, which were mildly distracting. There were only a handful, but it was enough for me to take note. Additionally, there were other repetitious thoughts and/or phrases that after a while, annoyed me – like the constant reminder that “Reyes is the Son of Satan.” I know… move on.
Another thing I feel I need to mention is that Third Grave Dead Ahead contains some pretty horrific and violent torture scenes. Charley is tough, but this went above and beyond the normal “action scene” of the first couple of books.
Overall, Third Grave Dead Ahead was a gripping tale; however, I didn’t like it as much as the first two books. There was just too much pain and suffering for Charley without much of an upbeat ending. I was riding this series based on a couple of set perimeters … and neither of these things held true in this book. It really brought me down.
With that said, it is a good tale, although there was too much going on during parts of the book. I liked the missing wife mystery and trying to solve the crime. Finding Reyes’ dad was also a good story–one needed in order to progress Reyes’ story forward. In addition, I liked the plot involving the biker gang, especially because good things came from it; however, I’m a little leery of where it is headed.
In the end, even with the “negatives” I had with Third Grave Dead Ahead, it was still a captivating book and I look forward to seeing what will happen to Charley. There are a lot of loose ends this time around, and I need some closure!
Liked it – recommend (B+)
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