Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Length: 336 pages (or 9 hours, 21 minutes of listening)
Where Stacie’s Copy Came From: Oshkosh Public Library
Plot Basics: Charley Davidson isn’t a medium, but she does communicate with the Dead. As a private investigator and consultant for the police department, her skills are valued in solving cases no one else can solve. She also helps those that have died pass into the other world.
When three lawyers from the same firm are murdered in a single night, her skills are put to the test to solve this high profile case.
Banter Points: This was a fun first entry into the a new series. The protagonist is a strong woman who says and does what she wants, even when she knows that the consequences may put her into a more than sticky situation. If Charley felt it was the right thing to do, she did it.
I also liked that Charley isn’t your typical human operating in a non-human world. Nor is she witch, wizard, fairy, etc. Charley is the Grim Reaper, or rather, a grim reaper. She applies the information learned from the deceased to help solve their cases, but she really is around to help them pass through to the afterlife, and move completely into the next plane. I am by no means an expert in the urban fantasy market, but this type of character was one that I hadn’t run into before. I felt that it was a good segue into the police procedural world as well since it allows the protag a reasonable way to participate in the solving of cases without the need to know (care about?) every detail.
Bummer Points: Less of a bummer, and more of a call-out — there’s a fair amount of sex in this book. Charley is pretty open with both comments to others in the book AND relaying details. The first sex scene happens in the first 10% of the book and was steamy. I did find that it was a plot-moving scene, however, it wasn’t obvious until later in the book why it was a plot-moving and fits the characters. Since it was also a bit shocking to have occur so early in the book, I do think it would be a bummer for other readers. Also, since I listened to this book, that sort of scene almost always catches me off-guard compared to reading it.
Stacie’s Recommendation: I’m interested in reading through this series for the next few titles. Definitely entertaining and interesting characters are present.