Aug 12, 2011

Posted by in Reviews | 20 Comments

Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones (Charley Davidson #2)

Urban Fantasy
August 16 2011
320 pages
St. Martin’s Press
Received from publisher

Kick Ass Chick – Charley Davidson

From Goodreads
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper Extraordinaire, is back in this sexy, suspenseful novel of supernatural shenanigans.

When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.

Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do? Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the summer: Second Grave On The Left.


Charley Davidson is back in Second Grave on the Left, Darynda Jones’ second installment in her quirky and wonderful series.  I enjoyed the first book immensely.  I found Charley to be a really fun read and I found the story to be very well told.  And you know what?  Book two was even better.

As with the last book, we follow Charley as she investigates a case (she is a PI after all).  This time around, she is trying to find Mimi, a friend of Charley’s best friend who had left them cryptic messages and then went missing.  But that is not all we get.  No no no.  We also get to see how she deals with the departed who wish to pass through her (she is the grim reaper after all) and we also get a story line involving Reyes.  That is a lot to handle in one book, but Darynda writes the multiple storylines really well.  They just flow from one to another without feeling forced.  I like how easily it reads.

Now, speaking of Reyes, great news!  The mystery that is Reyes?…well, he’s still a mystery.  But we do get a few answers – just enough to keep us from banging our heads against the wall yet not enough to fulfil our curiosity.  And Man oh Man there is something so incredibly YUM-MY about that man!  Now for you romance lovers, note that there is no sex in this book…but the chemistry between these two main characters is so intense, you will be left feeling fully satisfied.  (See what I did there?  I inserted a sexual innuendo.  Tee hee…inserted. *g*)

All the characters are endearing in this series.  From the spirits to Charley’s best friend Cookie to her uncle Ubie.  And Garrett I really like.  I can’t tell you exactly why – maybe it’s because I think he’s into Charley but I’m not sure but even if he was he really doesn’t stand a chance because of her feelings for Reyes yet he still deals with it with humor and dignity, mostly.  Maybe that’s why.  But he is a great character and he is in this installment a fair bit.

But my favorite character by far is Charley herself.  She is so snarky and witty and Funny with a capital F.  And clever!  I giggled out loud while reading this – more so this time around.  How she interacts with others, her dialogue and her internal discussions are all wonderful.  I dare you to read her and not giggle.

And a quick note:  Each chapter begins with either a saying found on a t-shirt or a bumper sticker.  These are great!  Examples include “If it has tires or testicles, it’s gonna give you trouble” and ‘What happens if you get scared half to death, twice?” and “Don’t go buying trouble.  It’s free and it knows where you live.”  Okay, one more:  “Yeah, but what if like hands me pickles?”  LOL

The ending, while not a cliffhanger, will break your heart a little.  And after it does that, it will make you go “huh?”  But before it breaks your heart a little and then makes you go “huh?” , Charley will do something that will make you say “What the???  Did she really just?..  But that means… Whoa…”  After I finished the Second Grave on the Left, I kept thinking about that ending and wondering what it all means for our dear Charley.  But one thing is for certain, she is in for quite a ride in the next book.  I am very much looking forward to getting my hands on Third Grave Dead Ahead, which is due out January 31 2012.

Second Grave on the Left is quick and sweet and funny.  A definite must read.

5 stars

Giggle worthy quotes

“By the time we stopped at the Mora County Sheriff’s Department, Cookie was on fire.  She was taking charge of the investigation and doing a pretty good job of it, too.  If you didn’t count the dropped calls, the slow Internet access, and the lashing from an eighty-year-old woman claiming she was Batman when Cookie dialed a wrong number.  Cook was getting a little annoyed with my repeated impersonation of the woman.  She really shouldn’t have put her on speakerphone if she didn’t want to reap the consequences.”


“’It’s all coming back to me,’ I said, throwing a hand over my head in agony.  ‘When I was in the hospital getting my tonsils out, I tried to escape.  The fluid leaking from my severed IV led them right to me and I was recaptured.’

Worried someone might be watching, she did a quick perimeter check before refocusing on me.  ‘You’ve never had your tonsils out.  You’ve never even been in a hospital overnight.’

‘Oh’.  I straightened.  That was embarrassing.  ‘Wait!  Yes, I have, when Aunt Selena died.  I stayed with her, held her hand all night.’

She rolled her eyes.  ‘Aunt Selena is a missionary in Guatemala.’

‘Seriously?  Then who was that old lady?’”

Books in the Charley Davidson series –
First Grave on the Right
Second Grave on the Left
Third Grave Dead Ahead (January 2012)

Audio CD
Running time 9:30
Macmillan audio
Received from publisher

Read by Lorelei King


This was my first audio book experience.  Oh, I have about three audio books on my computer waiting to be listened to.  But with the kids and the um…’questionable’ subject matter in the books that I read, I can’t quite listen to them until they are in bed.  And that’s when I read, so there goes that.  When I received Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones to read, I also got a disc with an excerpt for the audio book!  So I listened to the disc and then continued reading the book once my excerpts were done.  I can tell you that I wish my kids went to bed earlier because I really enjoyed my experience with this audio book.

The narrator for this story is Lorelei King.  This book is told from Charley’s perspective so I can see how the narrator’s job would be that much more important.  She IS the character.  I must say that it took me a few minutes to get used to listening to the book.  The narrator reads slower than I would (of course).  But once I got used to the pace, I found it was perfect.  Lorelei captured the wit and tone of the main heroine perfectly.  I found myself laughing while listening which means that, to me, the deliverance was good.

I think I will try my best to listen to more audio books in the future.  Perhaps do as I was doing here and going between reading and listening.  That might actually work for me.

Giveaway Time! The folks at Macmillan Audio are super generous and are offering one AUDIO copy of Second Grave on the Left to one lucky commenter. Just leave a comment below by Tuesday August 16th 2011 11:59EST to enter. It’s that simple.
And a HUGE thank you to Macmillan Audio for offing this opportunity!

  1. Great review! I already have this book on order!! smiles….

  2. I can’t wait for this one, I loved the first book on the series, my expectations are high, but after your review, it sounds like I won’t be disappointed.The narrator is fantastic,( in every series she narrates) I love when they truly get the character. ( glad I caught this on twitter)

  3. Rain maiden Jen says:

    I keep seeing this series pop up..looks like I need to dig in. Thanks for the review.

  4. Oh! I’m excited for this one. It’s funny, I liked the first book, but it wasn’t until after I read it that I realized I kinda loved it. The story was so engrossing that I tore through it, and it wasn’t until afterwards that I realized how funny it was and how great the author’s voice was. I’ve been trying to listen to more audio books to force myself to slow down when I read!


    sarace (at) gmail (dot) com

  5. I’ve seen this one around quite a bit lately and it’s peeked my curiosity. You’re review has just made me add this series to my TBR list. Thanks Julie! I’ve never listened to an audio book either… mainly because they’re inconvenient for me. It’d be great for my long commutes to work but as you mentioned, I don’t think my guy would appreciate the contents! One of the downsides of carpooling!

    Carmel @ Rabid Reads

  6. I have never listen to an audio book but been wondering about it. I’ll have my fingers crossed for this giveaway.
    Love your review but hate you because now I want to read this book like yesterday and it won’t be available until 4 more days!! #evilyou

  7. I’m enjoying the audio of First Grave on the Right, I’m about midway through. I’m loving this narrator and would absolutely LOVE to win the audio of Second Grave on the Left! It sounds phenomenal!! Listening to the audio book is actually my preferred way to read. Thanks for the awesome giveaway!

    Donna @ The Happy Booker
    ahappybooker at gmail dot com

  8. Thanks for sharing your honest thoughts and opinions about the book. It sounds like a great read!!
    BTW, love your blog design.

    Author of the Spellbound Series

  9. Sounds good, and fun 😀
    I do wanna read book 1, hm, should check if it is on any of my wishlists

  10. I loved the first book in the series First Grave on the Right and can’t wait to read Second Grave on the Left. Great review!

  11. I can’t wait for this one, The first one was SOOO GOOOD.

  12. This is one series that I am highly regreting the fact that I didn’t jump on the train when it was first released. The covers are kick ass, the subject matter sounds like so much fun and I am thinking that next month on my trip to the bookstore I will go ahead and splurge and just buy both of them hardback. I need to catch up soon and your reviews aren’t making it any easier to wait. 😛 I see some reading of this in my near future.

    Oh and keep me out of the giveaway on this one Julie. I am really not a huge fan of listening to audio books. It takes away from me being able to imagine what is going on in my own head. 😀

  13. I LOVED the first book and cannot wait for the second to release. Glad to hear it’s a good audiobook as well. Thanks for the contest!

  14. I’ve only listened to a few audio books. They were Janet Evanovich and interestingly enough, it was Lorelei King too. She has a great voice. Glad you enjoyed it and that was a great review.

    I am interested in being entered.

    MichelleKCanada @AnotherLookBook

  15. Sounds like this is a fun book ^.^

  16. I’ve only tried an audio book once and I enjoyed it. It was Vampire Kisses and I loaded it on my mp3 player and listened while I walked during my lunch break. It was a fun way to “read” and exercise 🙂

    Great giveaway-thank you!

    mljfoland AT hotmail DOT com

  17. Julie Witt says:

    I love audiobooks!! Thanks so much for the chance to win one!! This book sounds like a really good one, too 🙂

  18. Melissa G says:

    I won Hammered as audio book from @kevinhearne and it was my first one. (Now Kevin is my first like @spinecracker LOL)I had an 6 hour drive in front of me so it was perfect. Now I want to listen to more audio books so I would love to win this one. It would also push First Grave on the Right up on my TBR pile.

    Thanks for the contest.

    melissagrantcpacfe at gmail dot com

  19. Hello Julie! you can leave me out of the give away, I downloaded it this morning, on 4th chapter already..loooving it, you know how it is when your are anxious for the released of a book.
    Thanks you for the opportunity.
    Good luck ladies!! you gonna love it.

  20. I just finished this book, I just needed to talk to someone about it! I will not write any details to give anything away to someone who has not read it, but I find myself feeling different than you. After I read it, all I could do was find myself saying “NO!” and almost wishing I’d waited til the third book was out to read it. I am unsatisfied and heart broken and for the life of me not sure why I am so emotional about this book. I find myself wanting to jump into some other book just to feel happy again.

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