Early Review: Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #9)


Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones // VBCDirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9)
Darynda Jones
Published: Jan. 12, 2016 (St. Martin’s)
Purchase: Book Depository or Amazon
Review source: copy provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review

Reviewed by: Margaret

Rating (out of 5): 3 stars

Note: While review will be spoiler free, it does make reference to previous books. If you haven’t started this series yet, check out VBC’s review of book 1, First Grave on the Right.

Janey Doerr woke up in an alley in Sleepy Hollow with no memory of who she is or how she got there. A month later she’s settling in to her new life as a waitress in a diner, working alongside her new best friend Cookie, who occasionally calls her Charley. She’s befriended a few of her regular customers as well­—­Garret, Osh, and Cookie’s husband Robert. But she senses that they don’t always tell her the whole truth about why they came to town. They may even know who she really is, but no one’s telling her.

She has one other regular, Reyes Farrow, and he terrifies her. Janey sees things that others don’t and when she looks at Reyes, she sees flames and shadows. She knows that he’s not human but doesn’t understand what he is or why he seems to be angry with her. She avoids him and fights her inexplicable attraction, because he obviously hates her. It felt a little bit like the early books in the series when Charley was still trying to decide if Reyes was evil.

Janey is like a caricature of Charley, all of her quirks exaggerated. But she also lacks Charley’s bravado, overthinking every action and fighting every instinct. With Cookie’s help she does eventually work up the courage to pursue Reyes and to help someone in trouble. She bungles through the case in more or less typical Charlie style.

The new villain pursuing Charley seems to come out of nowhere. One of the drawbacks of the first person narrative is that Janey was completely unaware of the danger she was in and so the reader was too. I wish there had been more discussion of what her friends were up to or, even better, chapters from Reyes’s point of view. Other than Cookie and Reyes, the supporting characters have very small roles in the story and I missed them.

Jones also reveals some new details about the gods and Charley’s powers. She and Reyes get a new mission, which I think hints at the series endgame. But it doesn’t all make sense until Charley summarizes everything in the final chapter. I felt like the entire story was crammed into the very end of the book.

I’m interested in how that new information moves the series plot forward, but I could take or leave the rest of the story. I can understand how Janey’s personality may remind some readers of why we love Charley, it just didn’t really work for me.

Sexual content: sex

9 Responses to “Early Review: Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #9)”

  1. Amy M says:

    I completely agree with you on this. It was a little difficult (or maybe mind boggling) to read this book with a Charley who doesn’t know who she is while you (the reader) know exactly who / what she is. She gets into the same kind of predicaments as always, just as Janey it all seemed less genuine because we’ve already been there with the “real” Charley. If that makes sense 🙂

    I think I would have liked to see the book start off right away after she wakes up as opposed to a month later. There’s a lot she learns in her new life in that month, I think it may have endeared the Janey character to me more.

    Also, completely would have liked other characters’ perspectives on everything going on.

    • Margaret says:

      Thanks. I was afraid that was going to be an unpopular opinion.

      I think I read that she did some Reyes POV chapters in Tenth, so I don’t get the decision not to do it here.

  2. Kar says:

    I completely agree with you as well. This was my least favorite of all the books in this series.

    • Margaret says:

      I’m not sure if it’s my least favorite – I got pretty mad at Seventh. But I’m interested in where everything is going at the end of this one.

  3. Colleen says:

    I haven’t read this one and was looking forward to it but also have a few issues with the series. This will probably go on my library list instead of spending the $$. Thanks for an honest review.

    • Margaret says:

      I always read this series from the library too before I started getting ARCs. I do that with most hardcovers and then buy when the paperback comes out if It’s a keeper.

  4. Ssloo13 says:

    I stopped reading this series after book 4. I have been waiting to see the “buzz” on the newest books to decide if I want to continue. I was totally baffled when I read the summary of this book. I just thought, “I would I want to read that?” It sounded like a start over. That is one the reasons I stopped reading – Charley seemed uninterested in figuring out her powers or what is going on in the grand scheme of things. Drove me bonkers. Such an awesome premise overall, but feel like the execution is lacking and really slow.

    • Margaret says:

      The burb for this one definitely wouldn’t make sense if you’re behind in the series and is actually a huge spoiler for Eighth Grave. I try to warn people away from it if they haven’t read Eighth yet.

    • Line says:

      I stoppet at book 6 and I had to drag myself through those. I never really got the buzz about this series.

      Charley has her moments, but all in all I couldn’t get over the fact that she was so catious with her own secrets, while sharing Reyes’ freely… Not very attractive in my opinion.

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