Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Grave on the Right

By Darynda Jones

Charley Davidson is a grim reaper. She is the gate to the other realm that the dead pass through. As such, she can see and talk to the dead, which comes in handy for her day job, private investigator. Through her contacts with the police, she is able to pass on the information she gleans from her dead witnesses and thus solve crimes.
Talking to dead people has been a skill Charley has possessed since her birth. In fact, the first person to pass through her portal was her own mother, who died at her birthing. Even as a tiny child, Charley saw and spoke to the dead, confiding the information thus gained to anyone who cared to listen. That is until her stepmother slapped her silly for claiming that Charley saw a missing (and dead) child.
But bad relations with her stepmother is the least of Charley's problems. Lately she is being haunted by a devastatingly handsome man, a man who enters her dreams and makes hot, passionate love to her. Now he has started appearing in the daytime, with his burning kisses and caresses, sending Charley into a tizzy. And reminding her of an unrequited love from her high school days. Does this mean the man for whom she has carried a torch for so many years is dead? Or trapped in some sort of limbo, unable to cross over? She doesn't know, but she means to find out, even if she has to go knocking on the gates of Hell to find him.

This was a pretty typical entree in the supernatural romance genre. It is also clearly meant to be a series, since the ending is very open-ended with many strings left dangling. It is also supposed to be "hilarious" but I didn't find it so. I did get rather tired of the main character constantly being injured or beat up. That was really off-putting, as I don't find abuse particularly entertaining. Also, I'm sure the sex scenes are appropriately steamy, but overblown depictions of the sex act don't appeal to me. As far as the plot goes, it is basically a murder mystery, when three dead lawyers visit Charley after they have been murdered, all three lawyers working for the same law firm.

I am such a sucker for any book that claims to amusing, funny, or hilarious. Here lately, though, it seems I am usually disappointed when the book turns out to be, at the most, mildly amusing. That is the case here, where a book is hyped as hilarious but isn't. Sure, it has a few lighter touches but mainly it is not a funny book. How could it be with the subjects of human trafficking, child abuse and murder as its topics? Overall, the book is a pretty good murder mystery with an intriguing supernatural mystery attached. But it is not hilarious. I am not going to hold the misleading blurbs against it, though. I was disappointed that it wasn't the humorous book I was looking for, but it was a pretty good read.

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