Re-Read Review: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #1) + Series Giveaway!


First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones // VBCFirst Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1)
Darynda Jones
Published: February 1, 2011 (St. Martin’s Press)
Purchase at: Book Depository or Amazon
Review Source: Copy provided by the publisher in exchange for and honest review

Reviewed by: Amy

Rating (out of 5): 5 stars

Considering this is a re-read, this will not be a typical review. Instead it will be more a trip down memory lane in preparation for the upcoming final installment in the series. If you haven’t yet started this series (seriously why?!), please refer to Jo’s fabulous review here.

I very clearly remember when this book came out seeing it in the bookstore. I’m not going to lie, I initially had no intention of reading this book because I wasn’t too fond of the cover. But then word-of-mouth starting spreading, as it does, and I found myself picking up this book in one of those moments where I had no idea what I would be getting into for the next, what will be going on nine years early next year.

Warning: There will be spoilers.

First Grave made Darynda Jones a household/auto-buy name for me. I looked forward to each release of this series, and the thought of it ending seems very surreal. It’s just not possible.

So, when given the opportunity to join the re-read I was excited to be able to go back to the beginning, to where it all started. It’s rare that I get to do a good re-read of a series, so I really enjoyed going back and seeing the intro to the greatness that is Charley Davidson and picking up things that I didn’t the first time around and/or noticing things I gleamed over the first time.

I remember Reyes being such a power in this first book. The second time around he still is for sure, but coming from a place where I know what’s to come, I could see the underlining of the bigger picture, namely that Charley is way more than just your typical grim reaper. So when she so eloquently states near the beginning that “As far as my ability goes, there’s nothing particularly special about it.” I couldn’t help but give a little snicker. Little does Charley know…

Charley’s quirkiness, and extreme need for coffee, has always been a standout of the series. I remember laughing out loud when being introduced to Misery, Danger, and Will Robinson (car, right breast, and left breast respectively) and those would only be the tip of the iceberg in terms of objects, or body parts, that Charley affectionately gives names to over the course of the series. But what stood out for me this time around, was the obvious way that quirkiness often hides the isolation she endured, especially as a child growing up with her powers. I could feel that genuine need to be believed, but the hesitancy to tell people about her abilities based on previous reactions.

Like all my favorite urban fantasy and paranormal romances there’s that couple that defines the series: Kate and Curran, Cat and Bones, Reyes and Charley, to name a few. I’ve always appreciated the fact that in this series, it’s always been Reyes and Charley—even when amnesia comes into play. But I was equally surprised to remember the chemistry between Charley and Garrett Swopes. I mean there’s definite attraction there—at least on his end—and it makes me kinda wonder what could have happened between these two if Reyes wasn’t such a force to be reckoned with. But I have always enjoyed the teasing and banter that has developed between Swopes and Charley over the course of the series. Some of her best one-liners have gone to making his life difficult and providing this reader with some great laughs.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the scene that stuck in my mind the most: Reyes disappearing from the hospital at the end. It was such a stunning way to end the book. Half of First Grave is spent with Charley trying to solve the murders of three lawyers, and the other half on untying the mystery that is Reyes Farrow. We learn quite a bit about him by the end, but it does nothing to assuage my curiosity in him. That ending, which I still found stunning by the way, really made me sit up and realize that I had just stumbled onto something special, and here we are, come January, at the end.

These are only just a few observations upon my re-read of First Grave on the Right. Trust me, this post could probably go on and on. I’d love to hear what your thoughts and memories in the comments below!

Summoned to Thirteenth Grave by Darynda Jones Tour // VBC
Darynda’s publisher has put together an amazing giveaway of the entire Charley Davidson series—including an advanced reading copy of the epic finale Summoned to Thirteenth Grave—and fun swag. The contest is open through Nov. 14, and you’ll need to head over to the giveaway page to enter.


Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the final installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series! 

Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plane for eternity—which is exactly the amount of time it takes to make a person stark, raving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.

She’s missed her daughter. She’s missed Reyes. She’s missed Cookie and Garrett and Uncle Bob. Now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine for a broken heart? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Darynda Jones won a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. A born storyteller, she grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike. Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Find her online: Website | Twitter | Facebook

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