Never underestimate the power of a woman
on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high.
Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case. Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason. When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help. Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.
Charley Davidson is at it again in Fifth Grave Past the Light, the sexy, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling series by Darynda Jones.
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About The Author
NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys. She can be found at www.daryndajones.com
The other day, my best friend and I were discussing what makes a great read. And the one thing we agreed on was that we love it when a book makes us laugh out loud.
Darynda Jones's Charlie Davidson series does just that.
I could rave for days on how much I enjoyed (okay, devoured) each book as it is released. The writing, the humor, the sexual tension, the uniqueness of the story…all of it combined make this such an addictive series. I go crazy with the highlighted feature on my kindle, underlining favorite passages, quotes, and quirky t-shirt slogans--just so that I can discuss these witticisms with my friends and laugh all over again.
In Fifth Grave, Charlie finds herself with a new neighbor—the extremely sexy Reyes. He is the son of Satan, the portal into Hell, and has a most unusual relationship with Charlie.
Charlie is one of the Grim Reapers on this earth. The dead pass through her to get to the beyond. However, sometimes the dead aren't very cooperative and hang around a bit.
And in Fifth Grave, the bodies are seriously stacking up. Her apartment is overrun by young girls who have been murdered. They dangle from the ceiling, cower under her bed, and it's like walking through a mine field trying not to step on one of the apparitions.
I really hate plot outline in reviews, so I'll skip all that mumbo jumbo and give you a broad representation of what you can expect with this book.
Fifth Grave is a bit darker than the rest of the books in the series (Thank you, Darynda) but is interjected with enough humor to keep it from getting too heavy. Charlie and Reyes's relationship is heightened, with Charlie finding out more about her origins. As usual, Darynda only gives enough information to whet the reader's appetite. There are some answers, but more questions are thrown our way (banging head on desk in frustration).
We still have no clue who the hell Mr. Wong is, dammit.
Garrett, who has recently returned from Hell, is pissed. And there is a serious encounter between him and Reyes that will have your head reeling. Unbelievable.
One of my favorite aspects of Fifth Grave was also one of the most worrisome for me. And I'll tell you why.
Reyes has changed a bit in Fifth Grave. We get to see a different side of him not previously seen in the other books. He seems more laid back, comical, and although I thoroughly enjoyed this dimension to his character, I also worried that he was losing his edge. I like him a little dark, a little bad. I mean, he IS the son of Satan. I'm hoping that Darynda is only giving the reader a short reprieve before she throws a major monkey wrench in the story ARC. (Which she does at the end, by the way. Freaking brilliant and maddening at the same time).
Overall, Fifth Grave is filled to the rim with all sorts of goodness: a cheating husband that go off the deep end, unusual yet highly satisfying usage of kitchen utensils, a sexy apron-clad son of Satan that will make you whimper, and a thousand other positive attributes that make this the best book of this series.
Darynda Jones, you are just freaking brilliant.
Ask me about life after death.
—T-shirt often seen on Charley Davidson,
a grim reaper with questionable morals
The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink.Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight- and- a-halves.But the truly disturbing part of my evening was the fact that my mark, one Mr. Marvin Tidwell, blond real estate broker and suspected adulterer, actually turned down the drink I’d tried to buy him.
Turned it down!
I felt violated.
I sat at the bar, sipping a margarita, lamenting the sad turn my life had taken. Especially to night. This case was not going as planned.Maybe I wasn’t Marv’s type. It happened. But I was oozing interest.And I wore makeup. And I had cleavage. Even with all that going for me, this investigation was firmly wedged between the cracks of no and where. At least I could tell my client, aka Mrs. Marvin Tidwell, that it would seem her husband was not cheating on her. Not randomly,anyway. The fact that he could’ve been meeting someone in particular kept me glued to my bar stool.
“C-come here often?”
I looked over at the dead guy. He’d finally worked up the courage to approach and I got a better view of him. I figured him for the runt of the litter. He wore round- rimmed glasses and a tattered baseball cap that sat backwards on top of muddy brown hair. Add to that a faded blue T-shirt and loosely ripped jeans and he could’ve been a skater, a computer geek, or a backwoods moonshiner.
His cause of death was not immediately apparent. No stab wounds or gaping holes. No missing limbs or tire tracks across his face. He didn’t even look like a drug addict, so I couldn’t tell why he’d died at such a young age. Taking into account the fact that his baby- faced features would make him look younger than he probably was, I estimated him to be somewhere around my age when he’d passed.
He stood waiting for an answer. I thought “Come here often?”was rhetorical, but okay. Not wanting to be perceived as talking to myself in a room full of people, I responded by lifting one shoulder in a halfhearted shrug.
Sadly, I did. Come here often. This was my dad’s bar, and while I never set up stings here for fear of someone I knew blowing my cover, this just happened to be the very same bar Mr. Tidwell frequented
.At least if it came to a knockdown drag- out, I might have some backup. I knew most of the regulars and all of the employees.
Dead Guy glanced toward the kitchen, seeming nervous before here focused on me. I glanced that way as well. Saw a door.
“Y-you’re very shiny,” he said, drawing my attention back to him.
He had a stutter. Few things were more adorable than a grown man with boyish features and a stutter. I stirred my margarita and pasted on a fake smile. I couldn’t talk to him in a room full of living,breathing patrons. Especially when one was named Jessica Guinn, to my utter mortification. I hadn’t seen her fiery red hair since high school but there she sat, a few seats down from me, surrounded by a group of chattering socialites who looked almost as fake as her boobs.But that could be my bitterness rearing its ugly head.
Unfortunately, my forced smile only encouraged Dead Guy.
“Y-you are. You’re like the s-sun reflecting off the chrome bumper of a f-fifty- seven Chevy.”
He splayed his fingers in the air to demonstrate, and my heart was gone. Damn it. He was like all those lost puppies I tried to save as a child to no avail because I had an evil stepmother who believed all stray dogs were rabid and would try to rip out her jugular. A fact that had nothing to do with my desire to bring them into the house.
“Yeah,” I said under my breath, doing my best ventriloquist impersonation,“thanks.” “I’m D-Duff ,” he said.
“I’m Charley.” I kept my hands wrapped around my drink lest he decide we needed to shake. Not many things looked stranger to the living world than a grown woman shaking air. You know those kids with invisible friends? Well, I was one of those. Only I wasn’t a kid,and my friends weren’t invisible. Not to me, anyway. And I could see them because I’d been born the grim reaper, which was not as bad asit sounded. I was basically a portal to heaven, and whenever someone was stuck on Earth, having chosen not to cross over immediately after death, they could cross to the other side through me. I was like a giant bug light, only what I lured was already dead.
I pulled at my extra- tight sweater. “Is it just me, or is it really warm in here?”
His baby blues shot toward the kitchen again. “Hot is m-more like it. S-so, I— I couldn’t help but notice you t-tried to buy that guy over there a drink.”
I let my fake smile go. Freed it like a captured bird. If it came back to me, it would be mine. If not, it never was. “And?”
“You’re b-barking up the wrong tree with that one.”
Surprised, I put my drink down— the one I bought myself— and leaned in a little closer. “He’s gay?”
Duff snorted. “N-no. But he’s been in here a lot lately. He l-likeshis women a little . . . l-looser.” “Dude, how much sluttier can I get?” I indicated my attire with asweep of my hand. “N-no, I mean, well, you’re a l-little—” He let his gaze travel thelength of me. “—t-tight.” I gasped. “I look anal?” He drew in a deep breath and tried again. “H-he only hits onwomen who are more s-substantial than you.” Oh, that wasn’t offensive at all. “I have depth. I’ve read Proust.No, wait, that was Pooh. Winnie- the- Pooh. My bad.” He shifted his non ex is tent weight, cleared his throat, and triedagain. “More v-voluptuous.” “I have curves,” I said through a clenched jaw. “Have you seenmy ass?” “Heavier!” he blurted out. “I weigh— Oh, you mean he likes bigger women.”
“E-exactly, while I on the other hand—”
Duff ’s words faded into the background like elevator music. So Marv liked big women. A new plan formed in the darkest, most corrupt corners of Barbara. My brain.
Cookie, otherwise known as my receptionist during regular business hours and my best friend 24/7, was perfect. She was large and in charge. Or well, large and kind of bossy. I picked up my cell phone and called her. “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.”
Damn. She was right. It was much easier to just have her forge my name.
“I need you to come flirt with my mark.”
“Oh, okay. I can do that.”
Nice. The F-word always worked with her. I filled her in and told her the deal with Tidwell, then ordered her to hurry over.
“And dress sexy,” I said right before hanging up. But I regretted the sexy part instantly. The last time I told Cookie to dress sexy for a much- needed girls’ night out on the town, she wore a lace- up corset,fishnet stockings, and a feather boa. She looked like a dominatrix. I’d never been the same.
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