Second Grave on the Left-Darynda Jones

Oh Charley Davidson, you are one bad ass chick! Can we be friends?

“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?”

So I believe I have found a new book series to add to my “Keeps Getting Better and Better” list. Truly. I believe Jones has developed a character and a series that could go on for a long while, like Kim Harrison’s The Hallows and Jim Butcher’s Dresden Files. Charley is still so much fun to read and she is still always getting her butt kicked in some form or another.

In this installment, we see Charley trying to locate two bodies: Mimi, Cookies missing friend and Reyes. It should be said, that in the first book I had an issue with Charley allowing herself to fall prey to Reyes sexiness. I mean I get it: Satan’s gift to hotness and well, being the son of Satan, it makes it very difficult to resist. I felt that Jones’ made Charley kind of a slut around Reyes in the first book. But, I have to say I was super pleasantly surprised that Charley held her ground in this book and told him no. Good for you!

The two plots flowed really well, each story getting equal face time for the reader. I felt that Mimi’s story of why she hid was well executed. Kind of "I Know What You Did Last Summer" kind of thing but like 1000 times better written and characters you actually care about. Though honestly, I didn’t see the political intrigue side which was a nice little twist.

The Reyes story, of course, is part of a much bigger plot that is going to carry on through out the series. I can tell. We find out many truths about Reyes growing up, but we also learn more about Charley’s ability as a Grim Reaper that even she didn’t know through her interaction with Reyes and his past. I enjoyed the part at the end of the book where she finds Reyes’ body and to beat off demons she amplifies her aura and burns the demons away. The way it’s written makes it easy to visualize her ghostly side kick, Angel, running so not to be caught in the blast of her light, and the way the demons surround her and then BOOM! They are turned to demon dust, sent back to the depths of Hell. Pretty awesome stuff.

Now, I won’t spoil anything for you fine folks by telling you what happens to Reyes and his body, but lets just say this: poor, poor Charley. She made a choice and now she’s gonna have to live with it.

The end of the book left me screaming, “What? Aggh!” Truly, that is a sign of a good cliffhanger. When trying to find the location of Reyes’ body, Charley and Cookie stumble across a psychic’s website that seems to be a little too interesting if you know what I mean. The psychic is searching for a grim reaper. And wouldn’t you know, Charley is a grim reaper. So trying to figure out what the hell this pyschic’s deal is, Cookie sets up a fake email account for Charley for her to contact the medium. The final scene in the book ends with checking the fake email and we see a response that is (and I’ll sum up here) pretty much telling her about time you sent me an email. And that’s how is ends! Aggh! I love to hate cliffhangers!

This book has left me waiting with baited breath for the third installment Third Grave Dead Ahead because, well, I have to know what happens!!

Darynda Jones: damn you for creating a kick ass story that I am totally addicted to know. You have written a book series that is original and fun and sassy and sexy and all those wonderful adjectives that I can't help but love you're creation, Charley Davidson.