⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (4 stars)
Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones is a supernatural mystery thriller featuring the very cheeky, smart-alecky, sassy and witty Charlotte Davidson, Private Investigator and Grim Reaper. This second book in the series follows her and her partner Cookie as they attempt to solve a series of murders and save the life of Cookie’s dear friend, Mimi. Along the way, fearless and capable Charlotte must also find and save Reyes, son of the Devil and the man she loves, who is, of course, one of the hottest and sexiest and most powerful male beings in the universe, before he’s torn to pieces by demons, or kills himself, and inadvedently brings about the end of the world.
“I think you need to water your plants,” Garret called out to me.
“Oh, they’re fake.” He was looking at the plants I had along the windowsill. Either that or my lod problem was getting out of hand.
After a long pause, I heard, “Those are fake?”
“Yeah, I had to make them look real. A little spray pain, a little lighter fluid, and violá! Fake dying plants.”
“Why would you want fake dying plants?” he asked.
“Because if they were all think and healthy-looking, anyone who knows me would realize they were fake.”
Readers are either going to love this book or hate. I doubt there’s going to be much middle ground. Jones’ sense of humour never lets up, packing page after page with witty dialogue and crazy humour. It’s wonderfuly smart, but only a certain kind of people are going to appreciate it. Mostly crazy people. I thought it was fun. Maybe I’m a little crazy. But then, if you’d read my Heartstone books, you’d probably see why I like her sense of humour.
In some, but very few, respects, this is a typical private investigator novel. What sets it apart, aside from the barrage of banter and off-the-rails heroine, is the supernatural element. Charlotte is the Grim Reaper, collector of souls, sending them to what is, I assume, Christian Heaven. She can see and talk and even interact with the dead, which provides plenty of dead-pan humour. Pun! 🙂
The dead walking through her to ‘pass on’ isn’t an idea original to her. I think it was also used in the vampire diaries. And while I think Piers Anthony’s On A Pale Horse was my favourite take on the grim reaper, Jones does create a world which is fun and it livens up the detective story.
One of my favourite things about Charlotte is her sense of sexuality. She keeps turning sex down for some reason I don’t understand, but I like how open she is. Two FBI agents show up at her office and one of her first questions is, “Are they hot?” I like that aggressiveness and openness about her. Very playful.
The story is very girlie in some ways and lots of girls are probably just going to eat this book up. The book definitely has some feminine jokes. It’s written by a girl and the main protagonists are girls with a great female friendship going. The love interest and just how handsome he is and all the tingling, mushy, gooey things he does to her body are described in vivid detail. Well, not too much detail, if you don’t like that sort of thing, just enough to tease and get teenagers and married mom’s excited. I’m sure Jones is capable of writing far steamier stuff though, and would probably do quite well with it.
In short, the book has romance, friendship, gutsy girls who can stand on their own and get things done, heroism, and a hell of a lot of humour. Not hard to see why there’s already 11 books in the series.