Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunday Salon: The Charley Davidson Series

N5CMD00ZWhere has the week gone? It’s time for Sunday Salon once again where we sit back, relax, enjoy a delicious cup of coffee, and discuss the wonderful world of books. 

Today’s review is a bit different as I have 2 installments in an intriguing series I just discovered that I want to share with you. First I want to tell you a bit about the protagonist, then tell you about each book followed by my take on the series. You will find the series by author Darynda Jones falls into more than one genre, but above all is entertaining.

First GraveHave you ever considered the grim reaper to be a buxom female with a quick wit and a fast comeback?

Then clearly you’ve never meet Charlotte Jean (Charley) Davidson, part-time private investigator and full-time grim reaper. Charley has been the grim reaper since birth. She’s a portal for lost souls to go through on their way to heaven. She also helps bring the bad guys to justice that have caused some of these deaths.

Only a few people know what Charley really is … her dad (a retired cop), her Uncle Bob (a detective), and her best friend/receptionist Cookie. And they don’t know everything about her.

Charley is a sassy P.I. with a heart of gold. She has a tough exterior from years of growing up different. She’s loyal to her friends and has a soft spot for the dearly departed (or least most of them).

FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT finds Charley helping 3 lawyers find out who shot them and why. Working with her Uncle Bob of the Albuquerque P.D., Charley soon learns the case involves a missing teen, an innocent man in prison for killing another teen, and the horrors of human trafficking.

As she’s putting the pieces together, Charley also has to deal with some personal issues. She’s had a mysterious entity following her all her life. Lately she’s been having intensely hot dreams about that entity. It seems the entity may not be dead, but in fact much more than she ever imaged.

This is a fast-pace, adrenaline-driven story filled with suspense and intrigue. Charley gets into more scraps than an alley cat but bounces back with gusto and determination.

The story is humorous throughout and filled with zany characters you can’t help but like. Charley’s wit and personality will have you forgetting she’s the grim reaper and wishing she lived next door.

Second GraveCharley takes on a quest for her best friend/receptionist Cookie in SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT

Cookie’s friend, Mimi, has been missing for 5 days and now she received a cryptic message from her that leads to a local coffee shop. Once there, they find Mimi has left the name of a woman who died recently. Searching for more clues leads them back to Mimi’s high school days and a mysterious party where a teenage girl disappeared.

In addition, Charley discovered a dearly departed in Cookie’s trunk and they have to find out what happened to him. Even though Cookie can’t see the dead guy, she won’t drive her car.

Meanwhile, Charley is still dealing with the entity that invades her dreams. She’s learned he’s Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan, but isn’t as bad as it sounds). Reyes can leave his corporeal body and has saved Charley’s life on several occasions by doing so. He’s now fighting to keep demons away from Charley because she’s the portal to heaven. And demons having a portal to heaven is a very bad thing.

Charley deals with a multitude of problems in both stories and author Darynda Jones pulls it off with great ease. Readers/listeners are never confused in the hectic, hilarious life of Charley and her clients.

Lorelei King does a superb job narrating this series. She brings the characters to life with her easy flowing voice. Her distinct differentiation of characters will have you believing there’s more than one narrator as she gives each character their own unique voice. Her mannerisms and cadence will hold you spellbound. The combination of King’s voice and Jones’ stories makes for a wonderful listening experience.

Each chapter in both books begins with a witty quote from a tee shirt, bumper sticker or Charley. FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT includes a bonus track from SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT. A bonus track from THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD (now available) is included at the end of SECOND GRAVE ON THE LEFT. Also included is Lorelei King interviewing author Darynda Jones, who tells how the Charley Davidson series came about. She also shares her thoughts on the makeup of Charley’s personality.

While your first thought may be that this is a paranormal series, it is so much more. It’s a romance with the hot action between Charley and Reyes. It’s an intriguing mystery with the various cases of murder involved. It’s also humorous and even a bit inspiring. Don’t think about what genre it is, just give it a few chapters and Charley will be a protagonist you’ll come to love.

Third GraveThe Charley Davidson series has a lot going for it. Can’t wait to see what happens to Charley and the gang in THIRD GRAVE DEAD AHEAD.

Author Darynda Jones’ website is and narrator Lorelei King’s website is To listen to excerpts from all 3 installments, click on a link and scroll down.

First Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones, A Charley Davidson Series, Read by Lorelei King, Macmillan Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1427211309, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Listening Time 9 Hours, 30 Minutes 

Second Grave On The Left by Darynda Jones, A Charley Davidson Series, Read by Lorelei King, Macmillan Audio, @2011, ISBN: 978-1427212436, Unabridged, 8 Discs, Listening Time 9 Hours, 30 Minutes 

FTC Full Disclosure - Both of these audio books were sent to me by the publisher in hopes I would review them. However, receiving the complimentary copies did not influence my review.
Between the usual turmoil of life and a migraine that seems to want to homestead, I’ve missed visiting with everyone lately. Hope everyone is well, has a wonderful Sunday and a productive week. Thanks so much for stopping by and I hope to visit with you soon.


  1. Hi Mason .. Darynda Jones' series sounds fascinating - and I can imagine being drawn into Charley's life .. or is it death ...

    I do hope your migraine is easing - thankfully I don't suffer as I know they're pretty awful. Feel better soon .. cheers Hilary

    1. Hilary, it is easy to be drawn into this series. Charley is a fun and sassy protagonist.

      Thanks so much, I am feeling a bit better. I'm so glad you don't suffer from them, they are terrible. Hope you have a great week.

  2. I like the covers and would try the series. Happy listening this week!

    1. Harvee, it is an easy listening series. I was laughing half the time. Happy reading this week to you too.

  3. Nice post. It's often hard to describe a series. Have a great day.


    1. Lou, thanks and you're so right series are hard to describe.

  4. Migraine = Not fun :(

    Hope you're feeling better soon ...

    1. Joanne, thanks. I am feeling a bit better. Our crazy weather seems to be the main cause of the migraine wanting to homestead I think.

  5. Sounds like a really interesting series. I've never heard of them before.

    I hope you're feeling better soon. I totally understand the not-visiting-thing, I've been sick and it's kept me out of the social media world. I hope I can get caught up now.

    1. Clarissa, I hadn't heard of them myself until a 2 weeks ago. Now I'm waiting with baited breath (so to speak) for the third to arrive.

      So sorry to hear you've been under the weather. Hope you're feeling better and continue to do so. Catching up in the social media world is sometimes overwhelming. Have a great week.

  6. Mason - I'm so sorry you've not been feeling well. Hope you feel better soon.

    I've never heard of this series, either. How interesting! It's certainly a really innovative take on PI motif, the Grim Reaper motif and the romance genre.

    In a way, this reminds me just a little bit of an oddball sort-of-black-comedy U.S. show called Dead Like Me that features a group of people who are sort of Grim Reapers. Interesting theme...

  7. Wow, what a fun series! I've never heard of any of these, but now I want to read them all.

    Thanks for sharing...and for visiting my blog.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.