Book Review: Darynda Jones’ Third Grave Dead Ahead

Posted March 3, 2012 by Kathy Davie in Book Reviews

I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Darynda Jones’ Third Grave Dead Ahead

Third Grave Dead Ahead


Darynda Jones

urban fantasy that was published by St. Martin's Press on January 31, 2012 and has 310 pages.

Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.

Other books by this author which I have reviewed include First Grave on the Right, Second Grave on the Left, "For I Have Sinned", Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, Death and the Girl Next Door, Fifth Grave Past the Light, Sixth Grave on the Edge, Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave After Dark, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, The Curse of Tenth Grave, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave

Third in the Charley Davidson urban fantasy series about a private detective whose day job is as the Grim Reaper. Based in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

My Take

It’s all about justice. For Reyes. For his sister. For the dog. For the missing woman. Now if only she can calm Reyes down enough to get some sleep and distract that motorcycle gang…the one with the hot leader.

Charley does crack me up! She is so irreverent about herself and everyone around her…

My name is Charlotte Davidson. Charley to some, Charlotte the Harlot to others, but that was mostly in middle school.

Ronald [the dead clown] does have a unique message for which Charley gets in big trouble when she tries to deliver a variation on it…too funny. But when Charley discovers his backstory…you’ll just want to cry.

There’s this dead clown in her apartment who wants Charley to pass on a message to his loved one. The worst damned job…so Charley suggests he try Western Union. To which: ‘Seriously?’ he asked, not buying it for a minute. And it was on sale, even.

Do be sure to read the quotes at the start of each chapter…Jones’ll crack ya up!

Oh man, Cookie is so obsessed with Reyes’ “spiritual” pursuit of Charley…

‘He was naked?’

‘He was in the shower, so…yes.’

‘And you didn’t get a picture?’ She sighed in frustration.

‘I was in handcuffs.’

‘Did he…did you…?’

‘No. Oddly enough, the actual act doesn’t seem to matter where he’s concerned. Just looking at him causes these sharp waves of ecstasy to flood my girl parts…’

On the plus side, Charley finally finds out why Owen keeps trying to arrest her. Or run her down, he’s not picky. Having a bad rep can really bite ya in the ass.

Charley not’s sure if her ego’s gonna explode or what…all these law enforcement people being so helpful. Dang handy when unexpected connections pop up.

Jones is so “mean” — that scene with the retired detective and his frustrated son. Almost worth rolling around on the floor, laughing…

Great t-shirt quote: “Cleverly disguised as a responsible citizen”.

ROFLMAO quote from Cookie:

“‘…that was Reyes Farrow…I think I had an orgasm.’

‘You just looked at him.’

‘I know.’

Oh, oh, oh…they are soooo bad. And Eric and Michael are so disappointed now that Donovan has given Charley a key. Seems she’s got a new love interest…awwww…

The Story

Charley is just not getting any sleep these past weeks. Every time she falls asleep, Reyes is there in her dreams with non-stop sex. Literally. Non-stop. That lack of sleep is starting to affect her decisionmaking as Garrett finds out one night. An impairment not helped when Gossett calls to tell Charley that Reyes wants to talk.

Huh…after the past weeks of Reyes refusing to speak to her… Just because she bound him to his physical body…now it’s urgent. Real urgent when Charley gets carjacked and Uncle Bob puts a tail on her ass. Not even for Cookie, will he pull it off.

Reyes is in prison for killing his “father”, Earl Walker. — Personally, I think he should have been given a medal for it! Now, it seems that body may not have been Earl’s…and Uncle Bob ain’t feelin’ so hot anymore.

Then Donovan hires Charley to find the guy who poisoned his dogs. She’ll either find him or he’ll head out and kill ‘im. No pressure.

And there’s a trail of bodies following a control freak around. It just takes the right connections and a grim reaper to put a stop to it.

The Characters

Charlotte “Charley” Davidson was born a grim reaper, which brings with it the ability to talk to the dead. An ability her father and now her uncle exploit to solve cases and which Charley uses in her investigative agency. Besides Danger and Will Robinson, Cookie is a friend as well as Charley’s neighbor and her secretary; Amber is her daughter. Cookie’s got an obsession for all the deets Charley can be coaxed into providing about her and Reyes’ sexually spiritual encounters. Mr. Wong is a Chinese ghost who occupies a corner of her living room…more ornamental than anything since he never seems to be much of a guard.

Charley’s dad Leland Davidson screwed up royally in Second Grave on the Left; now, he’s working hard at making it worse. After he retired from the force, he started up his bar Calamity; he owns the building which houses the bar and Charley’s PI offices. Denise is the wicked stepmother, and Gemma is Charley’s sister; Charley and Gemma are just now communicating again. Angel is the 13-year-old gangbanger ghost who helps Charley with surveillance. Uncle Bob still works as a detective with the Albuquerque PD…with Charley’s luck. FBI Agent Carson is unbelievably helpful when Charley calls asking for information…turns out she’s heard of Charley.

Reyes Alexander Farrow, a.k.a., Rey’aziel, is “the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan” with an intense attraction to Charley. He’s spent a lot of time and energy tracking her down…even prison won’t keep him from her. Amador Sanchez is Reyes’ best friend. Heck, his whole family from Bianca to the kids Stephen and Ashlee adore Reyes. Kim Millar is the sister Reyes had hoped to keep w-a-y under the radar. Miss Faye was the landlady whom Earl Walker stiffed all those years ago. Seems she has some pretty compelling evidence to show Charley.

Garrett Swopes is an extremely competent bounty hunter with whom Charley has a love-hate-lust relationship. Neil Gossett is a classmate from Charley’s high school days and is now the deputy warden out at the prison in Santa Fe where Reyes is kept. He knows what Reyes is capable of, and Gossett will do anything in his power to keep Reyes safe. Owen Vaughan is the cop who keeps trying to haul Charley in for…anything, anything at all.

Rocket is a ghost with ADD compelled to track the names of every person who dies. Living at the abandoned asylum will do that to ya. But he’s a great resource for Charlie. If only entrance to his “office” weren’t so…tricky. Blue Bell is his deceased sister. She’s made a new friend, Strawberry. The pain-in-the-ass little sister of one of the cops, Taft. Yeah, she’s dead, too. Then there’s the biker gang who take exception to Charley’s presence and her seeming conquer of their remaining Rottweiller, Artemis.

Dr. Nathan Yost is incredibly anxious over having misplaced his wife Teresa. Luther Dean is her intimidating brother and Monica is her deathly ill sister. Seems their relationship to their missing sister is a bit different from what Yost described. Yolanda Pope is an older classmate of Charley’s. She has a few things to say about Yost. Keith Jacoby has been picking up forged documents…oh, my…from Eli Quintero. Farley Scanlon used to run with Earl Walker.

Mistress Marigold, a.k.a., Sister Mary Elizabeth, has a vested interest in Charley. Turns out the angels gossip. A lot. And Charley’s gonna inherit her very own guardian angel. One who will die because of her. Little “Wednesday” keeps following Charley around. With her big long knife.

The Cover and Title

It’s reds ahead with a sexy grim reaper sending us mixed messages, posing with one leg bent and turned in, wearing her slinky metallic, floor-length gown with a slit up to here, contrasting with her bright red sneakers and their thick white laces. Her black manicured nails perfectly suit the skull ring she’s wearing, and the gleaming scythe she’s leaning on, as red smoke rises up around her feet.

Hey, Charley’s the Grim Reaper…it only makes sense that it’s the Third Grave Dead Ahead. — I do like these numerical reminders in the titles…


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