By T. Mack
Eighth Grave After Dark is the eighth book in the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones. While this installment does have the sarcastic wit, supernatural mysteries and delicious sexiness of the previous books, the story feels a bit flat this time around. Though this book is perhaps the weakest link in the series, it’s still a pretty good read and introduces the possibility of some very interesting changes moving forward.
The main character of the series is Charley, who happens to be a grim reaper. She is able to see and communicate with the dead and they can cross over to the other side by passing through her. Charley doesn’t let her reaping duties keep her from having a life, however. By day, she’s a private investigator. When we meet her in the first book, she is having trouble getting any rest due to an unknown, sexy man who keeps showing up in her dreams and keeping her… active… all night long. By the eighth book, we know all about this man and Charley’s relationship with him has evolved considerably. Each book has taken us on a journey that allows Charley–and us–to learn more about her, where she’s come from and who she truly is. This book continues that evolution of knowledge, but the road there is less fun than it has been before.
The characters spend this book trapped in an old convent. The location is surrounded by hell hounds sent by Lucifer to destroy Charley and her entourage. The consecrated ground under and around the convent is protecting Charley from the beasts. Somehow, the story feels trapped right along with the characters. In reading through this book, I found myself reminded of the season I watched characters on Lost while they were stuck in polar bear cages on a tropical island. This feels the same as that did. It had me wondering why we were here, what it was leading to and when we’d be moving forward.
Charley still manages to get some sleuthing done during the course of the book, though her resources are limited. And although the story feels stagnant for the majority of this installment, it does take a turn toward the end. New developments answer many of the questions that have been present from the beginning of the series. And a twist on the storytelling creates an eagerness for what might be coming next. So for me, this book was mostly just a bridge from book number seven (which I immensely enjoyed) to book number nine, for which I have high hopes.
Rating: 3.5 SHIELDS
The author has confirmed that there will be at least three more installments of this series. I’m not certain the story has that much more to tell without becoming stale, but I will be checking out the ninth book when it hits shelves in January of 2016.
Have you read any of the Charley Davidson series? What do you think of the character, the series or this latest book? Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.