Review: First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson #1) by Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1)First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Published February 1st 2011 by St. Martin's Press
(first published January 1st 2011)
ISBN: 0312662750  
ISBN13: 9780312662752

A smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life...and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. -from Goodreads

I chose this book because its average rating is pretty high, despite the very chick lit cover. Also I have been very into ghosts and necromancers lately. (This was one of my I-need-Alex-Craft-but-can't-have-her-til-August options)

One chapter in, I didn't think I was going to finish it. Three chapters in I figured I had come too far to go back. The reason this book and I didn't hit it off right away is two-fold. First, the protagonist, Charley Davidson's narration was like the reading equivalent of having a conversation with your comedian friend who doesn't ever shut up. The incessant stream of campy jokes didn't work. It's rare that "witty" book banter works for me. Probably because it is exactly my brand of senseless humor and I can only handle myself in small doses. When it permeates the book, well...

The second reason I can't say I liked the book is how the private investigation/case aspect of the plot was executed. I was never sure what was going on, it was consistently pushed to the background and played second fiddle to the romance, but would be pulled back so suddenly I got eye-whiplash. Every time a character was mentioned I had to look up who it was because I couldn't remember. This could be partially my fault, because I didn't much care about any of the characters, but the fact that they were all pretty one dimensional with common Anglo names didn't help.

I did like how complete Charley seemed to be as a character. She had backstory & interesting relationships with her ex cop dad and currently-a-cop uncle. There was a lack of dimension to her relationships with other characters, especially the main romance guy person, but her defenses in regard to how people treated her talents was realistic, which was nice. EDIT: Now that I think about it though, Charley's relationship with Reyes begins with a very brief moment when she is in high school and he threatens to rape her. I think I just blocked that out until I was reminded reading other reviews. Da fuq.

Overall I disliked more things about the book than I liked. Which is unfortunate, because normally I'd like any gal who calls her breasts Danger and Will Robinson. I have the second book but I doubt I'll read it.

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