by T. Mack
The latest book in the Charley Davidson Series by Darynda Jones turns everything on its head for the main character. And I loved it!
In my review of the last book in this series, Eighth Grave After Dark, I mentioned how that book was mostly only good as a bridge between book seven, which was highly enjoyable, and book nine, for which I had high hopes. This ninth book did not disappoint!
The beginning of this latest title picks up a few weeks after the events that ended the previous book. We find Charley living as Janey Doer in a new city with no memories of her previous life. “Janey” has managed to piece together the beginnings of a life for herself here, though. And many wonderful people have collected around her, including some who seem to care a lot about her, though she isn’t quite sure why. In the meantime, she’s discovering that she understands five, no six, no seven languages! And she sees dead people! What’s up with that?! As “Janey” tries to navigate her world and figure out where she came from, the people around her all seem to have agendas. It’s up to “Janey” to figure out who she can trust and who wants her dead.
For the first time in this entire series, the audience knows more about the main character than she does. Gotta love dramatic irony! Charley, who has spent eight books telling us about her life and abilities, suddenly doesn’t remember any of it. And somehow, it made the series fresh again. It’s nice to see the character discovering things about herself. Her previous process of discovery is one that happened prior to the first book. So we as the audience heard about it, but it was great fun to get to experience it with the character this time around.
It’s also fantastic to have her surrounded by her usual crew of family, friends, and protectors when she doesn’t know it. It makes all those characters that much more endearing. With The Dirt on Ninth Grave, Jones really finds the footing of this series again. Not only does she give it a much-needed refresh, but she also still manages to include great action, intense danger, and new developments in the continuing overall story arc. The characters and the audience learn things together that none of us previously know. And at the end of this book, the stakes are even higher than they have been in the past.
The book has the same sarcastic humor and pop-culture references as the previous titles. Even without her memories, Charley is still Charley. If you have ever been irritated by the fact that she doesn’t seem to take mortal danger seriously, prepare to remain frustrated. If you have wished in the past that her love scenes with Reyes were just a few degrees hotter, this title will not stoke your fire. And if you have started wondering when you will see the end of this series and get to happily ever after for this otherworldly family, you should know that this is not the book that will answer that question. If anything, this opens the door to a brand new chapter of danger, adventure, and turmoil for Charley and her crew.
As a matter of fact, the next book in the series hits shelves in just a few weeks. On June 28th of this year, the tenth book in the series will be available. The Curse of Tenth Grave will move forward with the dilemma that is introduced for Charley and Reyes at the end of Ninth Grave. After that, we can look forward to Eleventh Grave in Moonlight on January 27, 2017.
Even if this series isn’t exactly your cup of tea, you have to respect Ms. Jones for getting us the goods. A mere six months in between titles is better than 98% of series you read and you know it!
In the end, I highly recommend this series and this book in particular. It brought the characters and audience out of the cage they felt trapped in during Eighth Grave and refreshes the series as a whole with a new perspective from the first-person narrator. This title has made me excited about the series again. I recommend you check it out.
Rating: 4.5 SHIELDS
As you might guess, this book is not the one that should be used to jump into the series. At nine books in, the story is told in a way that expects you to know what has happened before, to be familiar with the characters that surround “Janey” and to remember her history with them. Not knowing the events and revelations of the previous eight books will not entirely keep you from having a good time with this one. But you will only have about 35% of the fun you should.
If you are interested in diving into the Charley Davidson series, here are the titles in order:
#1. First Grave on the Right (2011)
#1.5 For I Have Sinned (2011)
#2. Second Grave on the Left (2011)
#3. Third Grave Dead Ahead (2011)
#4. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (2012)
#5. Fifth Grave Past the Light (2013)
#5.5 Shimmer (2013)
#5.6 Glow (2014)
#6. Sixth Grave on the Edge (2014)
#7. Seventh Grave and No Body (2014)
#8. Eighth Grave After Dark (2015)
#8.5 Brighter Than The Sun (2015)
#9. The Dirt on Ninth Grave (2016)
#10. The Curse of Tenth Grave (2016)
#11. Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (2017)
Are you a fan of the Charley Davidson series? What do you like about it and what did you think of this latest title? If you’re not a fan, do you think you might be interested in checking it out? Why or why not? Take to the comments and let me know your thoughts.