Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Pub. Date: January 12, 2016
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Source: Print ARC
In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.
The Charley Davidson books are funny, sarcastic, sexy, and mysterious all rolled up into one. When I first started the series, I thought I would be getting a light-hearted paranormal romance book. The first book took my by surprise with how laugh out loud funny it was and I took an instant infatuation with Charley. Even though I love the books and we gone in it, I wouldn't have said the books were my favorite. There were times that I felt it was repetitive and at times a bit boring.
Well, I retract everything I said because after reading Eighth Grave After Dark, I realize that I haven't been giving Charley and gang enough credit. How could these books not be my fave? It has a kick-ass heroine who doesn't take things too seriously, which is partly why I love her; a sexy ass man by the name of Reyes; the most wonderful sidekick/best friend any girl could ask for, Cookie; and a supporting cast of characters who mean just as much to me as Charley.
This story starts off where the eighth ended...Charley has ended up on New York and now has amnesia. She goes by Janey Doerr and works at a diner. Basically the whole book our beloved Charley spends clueless as to everything. Including her family and friends, who ate with her every step of the way but never push her to try and remember who she is. Charley needs to be able to come to all on her own.
When she wakes up in an alley in New York with no clue as to who she is, she starts noticing things. Things such being able to see dead people. Of course as readers we already know she's the grim reaper and a God. But she doesn't, and I loved being able to be there every step of the way as 'Janey' starting slowly realizing that not everything was what it seemed. The interaction between her and Reyes (and everyone else) was heartbreaking. It was still the same ole' Charley but at the same time it was a complete stranger.
As with the other books, there's a small mystery that Charley feels she has to help solve. But she doesn't know how. Why would she feel compelled to investigate something that doesn't even pertain to her, right? With the help of Ubie and a departed teenage gangbanger, Charley will do what she does best. Even if she doesn't know that she's good at it.
Overall, I think this is the first time in this series that I have felt so emotionally connected to the story. I really feel like these guys are family now. I think the author did beautifully in developing such a beautiful and complex storyline. With the way the book ended, well let's just say I'm just a little bit anxious to get my hands on the next book. And to Darynda Jones and whoever else is listening; please, please, please write a series surrounded by Osh!! And make sure Garrett has a lot of face time in that series too!
Oh, and maybe write a series surrounding Quentin and Amber as well! Alright, that's all the demands I have...for now.
*Thank you to the publisher for providing a copy for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
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For reasons known only to the Big Guy upstairs, NYTimes and USA Today Best Selling author Darynda Jones won both a Golden Heart and a RITA for her manuscript FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT. But even before that, she couldn’t remember a time she wasn’t putting pen to paper. When she was five, she would pick up a pencil and notepad, scribble utter chaos onto the page and ask her mom to read her masterpiece aloud. Thankfully, her mother would play along. Later she wrote plays for the neighborhood kids, made up stories for her brother as he played cars, and fell in love with Captain Kirk. Those raging, seven-year-old hormones only fueled her imagination, prompting her to create fantastical stories for Barbie and Ken to enact. Ken was such a bad boy back then.
After years of being repeatedly sent to the principal’s office for daydreaming in class, she managed to make it to high school where she almost finished her first manuscript. Sitting with her BFF in a corner booth at the local Tastee Freeze for hours at a time, she wrote a post-apocalyptic story about a group of teens who bore a remarkable resemblance to the members of Van Halen and were trying to escape the tunnels of a huge government fallout facility decades after World War III had destroyed the surface of the earth. It was a science fiction version of The Warriors and destined to be a classic.
Life was good. Writing was good. Then she graduated and the real world came crashing through. She forced the dream aside in favor of sustenance and shelter, got married to a local rock star, and had at least two kids that she can think of, the oldest of whom was born Deaf, probably to spite her. When he was five, she packed up her boys and moved to Albuquerque to put him in a Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing program. The rock star stayed behind with the business, and they took turns going back and forth on the weekends to see each other for seven really long years.
While in Albuquerque, Darynda decided to see the cup half full and go back to college while she still had enough brain cells to make it worth her while. After graduating Summa cum Laude from the University of New Mexico with a degree in Sign Language Interpreting, she moved back to her hometown and got a real job. Several in fact, mostly teaching at a local college and interpreting pretty much everywhere. Based on personal experience, she does not recommend having more than three jobs at any given time.
But bit by bit, the desire to write needled its way back to the surface. Unable to squelch it any longer, she started writing seriously again in 2002 with one goal in mind: A publishing contract. Unfortunately, she sucked. Thank goodness practice makes almost-perfect and three complete manuscripts later, she won that Golden Heart, landed an amazing agent and sold to St. Martin’s Press in a three-book deal.
Darynda lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.
Author website: http://www.daryndajones.com/
Author Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/darynda.jones.official
Author Twitter: https://twitter.com/darynda
Goodreads Fan Group: https://www.goodreads.com/group/show/160729-the-official-darynda-jones-fan-group (Tons of discussions, giveaways, and Q&As in here!)