Reviewed by Tori
Favorite Quote: “I’m a virgin. But this is an old shirt.”
Charley Davidson is large and in charge in the fifth installment of Darynda Jones hilariously dark and sexy urban fantasy series. More sex (YEA!!!), more jokes, and even more ghosts will keep you glued to the pages as Charley tries to solve not one but two mysteries, follow a cheater, deal with the son of Satan living next door to her in a MUCH more fabulous apartment then hers and the fact her assistant Cookie seems to think she is suddenly Wyatt Erp.
I adore this series. If you read no other books this year, you must stop and pick up Darynda Jones’ Charley Davidson series. A wickedly funny, sexy, action packed roller coaster ride that will have you howling with laughter as you follow Charley and her over qualified, under paid receptionist/ bff Cookie into the exciting world of private investigation, coffee thievery, and boundary challenged ghosts. A strong character driven series, this urban fantasy takes you on a crazy laughter filled adventure with strong emotional storylines, multiple subplots, charismatic characters, and witty dialogue. Our heroine, Charley Davidson, is the Grim Reaper. She has spent her entire life solving mysteries; first for her father and uncle and then for herself. Once she began to accept her duties as the Grim Reaper, her life became much more interesting. She is still learning what her role in the universe will be but according to Reyes she is a portal to heaven that if breached will enable Hell to reign on earth. Not to put any pressure on her or anything. Yikes.
I love Charley. She is an empowered heroine. Though she has supernatural powers, she still uses her mortal skills as a P.I. to solve cases. Jones continues to allow Charley’s character to mature and expand at realistic rates and I like the direction she is taking. She is learning to accept her role in life (both on the physical and metaphysical plane) and paying more attention to the world around her. Her skill sets are widening in some alarming and unexpected ways. Still wonderfully sassy and snarky, she balances business and pleasure with some of the most brilliant one liners out there. No one is safe from her mouth. I continue to love how she doesn’t take herself too seriously. It’s a great coping mechanism. Armed with coffee and her jeep, Misery, she jumps head first into the world and takes it by storm. Things heat up pretty quickly in here; more information is given on Charley and Reyes relationship. Jones settles a few open storylines, opening the way for new and more exciting journeys for Charley to embark on.
Plenty of dynamic secondary characters help round out the book, adding depth, thrills, and deception. Each one so well defined you can easily see them holding their own story. We see old and new in here, expanding on the storyline and provide clues towards the rest of the series. They are all as every bit as crazy as Charley. Garrett, still a grumpy butt, has been doing some investigating of his own and we learn exactly what happened to him when he died. Awkward. Charley’s family (her dad and Grace) are finally there for Charley and that goes far in repairing the damage they did. Ubie, of course, continues to watch out for Charley. His crush on Cookie is adorable, I hope Jones goes somewhere with that. The best platonic relationship in here still remains between Charley and her receptionist slash business partner slash bff, Cookie. The dialogue between them had me crying from laughing so hard.
This better be good,” she said.
“It is. I need your assistance.”
“I’m watching the first season of Prison Break. ”
“Cookie, you’re my assistant. I need assistance. With a case. You know those things we take on to make money?”
“Prison. Break. It’s about these brothers who—”
“I know what Prison Break is.”
“Then have you ever actually seen these boys? If you had, you would not expect me to abandon them in their time of need. I think there’s a shower scene coming up.”
“Do these brothers sign your paycheck?”
“No, but technically neither do you.”
They are two peas in a pod and the love between them is readily felt. Cookie is the only one who Charley truly believes will never let her down. Cookie doesn’t want anything from Charley and always has her back. They have a wonderful friendship that translates well in the storyline. I always enjoy the scenes starring Cookie and Charley. She is so crazy yet adorable you can’t help but laugh and cheer her on. She is a great sidekick for Charley.
“I don’t need a concealed weapons permit.”
“It’s also about gun safety, Cook,” I said, holding up an index finger to put her in pause. “And if you carry a gun in a concealed way, you need a permit. The class is eight hours tomorrow and seven on Sunday.”
She lunged for the phone again. She missed. “That’s my entire weekend. I had plans.”
“A Vampire Diaries marathon is not plans.”
She looked at me like I’d lost my mind. “Have you even seen the Salvatore brothers? Holy mother of ginger snaps. And I was going to make a pan of enchiladas for us to eat next week, too.”
Gah! She knew that would hurt. I sighed in defeat. “Then clearly we are both making a huge sacrifice here.”
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the super sexy, muy yummy, supermodel hot son of Satan; Reyes. Om Nom Nom. Reyes has been a part of Charley’s life since she was born. Referred to as “dark and scary”, he paid a horrible price for trying to circumvent fate and arrange for he and Charley to live happily ever after. The sexual tension and chemistry between them singes the pages, enhanced by the sense of danger and threat of death that surrounds them both. More alone time together and communication on both sides brings about a remarkable and much needed advance in their relationship. Also…MORE SMEXYTIMES!!! He’s still a handful though.
“Is that what you think? That I follow you around to keep your ass out of trouble?”
“If so, you’re not very good at your job.”
A huge smile spread across his face. “True enough. So what’s eating you? Because, sadly, it’s not me.”
There are three storylines that twist and turn around each other, coming together and resolving themselves towards the end. None of them are related to one another yet they all blend together fantastically. The ending is a high speed chase of action, suspense, and quite a bit of drama as everything comes to a head and Charley is left once again holding the bag and trying to survive. We are left with a small “OMG” moment that will have fans chomping at the bit for book six, Sixth Grave From The Edge. My only issue with this entire series is that Charley names her body parts. I find it disconcerting for a grown woman to name her breasts, but that’s just me. It’s easy to ignore. Regardless, Ms. Jones’s Fifth Grave Past The Light is another winning installment and takes this series to a whole new level. I do not recommend reading this out of order as these books are not standalones.