First Grave on the Right Review
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Unabridged Audiobook: 8 CDs (9.5 hours)
Read by Lorelei King

Mysteries featuring quick-witted female sleuths are nothing new. They come in all shapes and sizes, and they live all around the country—from the neighborhoods of New Jersey to the beaches of California. But Charley Davidson is different. She’s more than just another sleuth. She’s the Grim Reaper.

The job isn’t really as creepy as it sounds. She doesn’t go out stalking people. She doesn’t kill anyone. She simply helps them cross over to the other side. Some, however, aren’t ready to go. Some—like the trio of dead lawyers who just arrived in her apartment—need Charley to help them solve their murders. So she works with the dead—and her Uncle Bob, a cop—to bring the killers to justice.

Lately, though, Charley’s been more than a little distracted by the intense dreams she’s been having—dreams that remind her of a gorgeous man from her past, who may be more than just a man.

In First Grave on the Right, author Darynda Jones blends mystery, chick lit, and supernatural suspense to create an irresistible new crime-solving series. Charley Davidson is definitely an unusual character—a private investigator with strange otherworldly abilities. And—especially in the first half of the book—readers will enjoy getting to know Charley, her friends and family, and (most of all) her quirky dead customers. At times, you’ll even find yourself laughing out loud at their antics.

As the story progresses, though, the laughs diminish as Charley gets deeper and deeper into two separate—and unrelated—mysteries. Each mystery has its own characters, its own clues, and its own resolution—and Charley often leaves one mystery behind for long periods of time while she investigates the other. There’s a lot going on, and the dual storylines make it challenging to keep everything straight—especially if you happen to be listening while driving. As a result, the story often feels disjointed—and even a little bit confusing.

Still, although the story isn’t as captivating as I would have liked, the characters are the kind of characters that you’ll want to read about over and over again. They’re likable and quirky and often wildly entertaining—and you’ll be eager to read more about them. And, really, that’s what matters. As the series continues, the stories will change (and—I hope—become more solid), but the characters will stay the same—and they’ll keep you coming back for more. So, despite its flaws, I recommend checking out First Grave on the Right—because it’s sure to be the beginning of a successful supernatural chick lit series.

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