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First grave on the right

by Darynda Jones

Kirkus The intended laughs don't materialize in this supernatural chick-lit whodunit, featuring a back-talkin' P.I. who sees dead people.Technically, Charley Davidson is a grim reaper, a term applied to humans (she's not the only one) who act as a portal for those who need help passing to the other side. To the dead, Charley glows and is an irresistible incentive to leave their worldly attachments. But then there are those with unfinished business, such as the three law partners who were just murdered. Teaming up with her uncle, a detective on the Albuquerque Police force, Charley is remarkably proficient at solving murdersshe simply asks the recently departed what happened. But as the three lawyers were shot in the back of the head, they and Charley need real detective work to solve the case. As Charley puts the pieces together (it all hinges on a man wrongly imprisoned for the murder of a teenage boy), she is also wrestling with her own demonsliterally. Since her birth, which she vividly remembers, she has been guarded over by an entity she calls Bad. Though he's responsible for saving her life on countless occasions, Charley is petrified in his presence. This is made all the more confusing by the highly charged sexual encounters she's been having, first while dreaming and now awake, with a phantom-like presence. She believes her dream-lover to be Reyes Farrow, a young man she once saved, but that he's in a coma in a penitentiary hospital and that he whispers the name Bad has always used for her, throws everything Charley knows about this dimension and the next into question. Though Jones has created a worthy conceit, her heroine is less than appealing. A little snottyto both the living and the deadCharley is an unlikely guide for a series with a foot in the underworld.This first in a series ends with the son of Satan and the promise of a grand battle between good and evil, but this opening offers little more than a clever premise and a ho-hum murder mystery.]] Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Publishers Weekly The grim reaper gets a shiny cool makeover in Jones's blazing hot debut, a paranormal romantic thriller. Charlotte Jean "Charley" Davidson, a 27-year-old PI and consultant for the Albuquerque, N.Mex., police department, exists on two planes-one for the dead, the other for the living. As the grim reaper, she escorts the recently departed "into the light." In her dreams, she's haunted by a "dark, seductive stranger," whose warmth suggests he's something "not dead." In the real world, Charley helps her APD detective uncle, Bob Davidson, investigate the fatal shootings of three lawyers who were representing a client accused of murder. Meanwhile, Charley finds herself oddly attracted to the devilishly handsome Reyes Farrow, a convicted criminal in a coma. Fast-talking Charley's wicked exuberance and lust for life will appeal to fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Janet Evanovich and maybe fill a hole for those mourning the recently canceled Ghost Whisperer. (Feb.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal This series starter-Jones's first work of fiction-is funny, sarcastic, and erotic and includes a darned good detective yarn. Part-time PI/full-time Grim Reaper Charlie Davidson works with the police to solve murders-which is made easier by her ability to talk with the victims. So who killed three different lawyers in the same evening, and why is her supernatural guardian suddenly visiting her in her dreams? Good pacing, easy introduction of the backstory, and tons of snappy, sometimes four-letter retorts add to the enjoyment. When Charlie announces that the names of her breasts are "Danger" and "Will Robinson," listeners know they are in for a wild ride. Actress/Audie Award winner Lorelei King is comfortable in Charlie's skin and performs a wide variety of characters distinctly. For anyone enjoying sexy paranormal detective fiction. [The St. Martin's hc also received a starred review, LJ 11/1/10, and won the Romance Writers of America 2009 Golden Heart for best paranormal romance manuscript; the St. Martin's Griffin pb will publish in July 2011.-Ed.]-J. Sara Paulk, Wythe-Grayson Regional Lib., Independence, VA (c) Copyright 2011. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Library Journal Charley Davidson is a private investigator from a family of cops. She also has an unusual part-time job as a grim reaper. Those who die and have unfinished business on Earth seek her out for assistance. When the issue is resolved, she helps them go to the light. But lately she is having a different kind of heavenly experience: very naughty dreams of a powerful, dark, totally hot, supernatural guy. How is he getting into her head? While investigating a triple homicide at the request of those killed, she discovers that her soul mate and nocturnal lover is the son of Satan-which, as he points out, is equivalent to Charley's being the stepdaughter of Denise, who is entirely human but evil. Verdict The author's sarcastic sense of humor is at first annoying but grows on the reader as the story progresses. Jones skillfully establishes the novel's setting and keeps up the pace with plenty of action. And let's be honest-the sex is pretty hot, too. Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and other authors of paranormal romance will love this series debut. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 9/15/10; library marketing; the manuscript of this novel earned the author the 2009 Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance.-Ed.]--Jennifer Draper, Pickering P.L., Ont. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

Book list *Starred Review* Charley Davidson's police-officer father and uncle began consulting her for help in solving murders when she was five years old. Charley has a special gift she sees and talks to the victims. Her job is to point the recently departed to the light, but those who have been murdered want her to make sure their killers are caught. Charley's latest clients-from-beyondare three personable lawyers, all murdered by the same person at nearly the same time. When she's not helping ghosts with the ultimate closure, Charley is trying to figure out who her sizzling-hot dream lover is. The manuscript for this sassy, sarcastic, sexy novel won the Romance Writers of America's Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance. Now Jones' wickedly witty debut will delight aficionados of such humorous paranormals as Casey Daniels' Pepper Martin Mysteries (Don of the Dead, 2006; The Chick and the Dead, 2007; Tombs of Endearment, 2007) and Dakota Cassidy's Accidental Friends series (The Accidental Werewolf, 2008; Accidentally Dead, 2008; The Accidental Human, 2009). Librarians will want to be on the lookout for the next book in Jones' series, Second Grave on the Left (2011).--Mosley, Shelley Copyright 2010 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright American Library Association. Used with permission.

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