Book Review: Darynda Jones’ The Curse of Tenth Grave

Posted September 6, 2016 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’ The Curse of Tenth Grave

The Curse of Tenth Grave


Darynda Jones

that was published by St. Martin's Press on June 28, 2016 and has 342 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, Third Grave Dead Ahead, "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, Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave

Tenth in the Charley Davidson series and revolving around a god of a Grim Reaper and her friends. It’s been a week since the conclusion of The Dirt on Ninth Grave, 9.

My Take

There are two reasons I continue to read the Charley Davidson series: Charley’s snarky comments and the cast of characters. One early instance of the snark was that scene with Strawberry and all the reasons Charley can’t sell her on the black market, lol. The core characters are a treat and quite warm and cozy, supportive in their quirky ways. Kit Carson sure did crack me up with that meeting in the FBI office, *more laughter* And, of course, I do like fantasizing about Reyes…whew…

There is so very much going on in here. The usual ghosts, a visit with Rocket, reasons to visit different friends, depossess and possess demons, clear murderers, and then there’s Charley and all her excessive reactions.

She drives me nuts with her OCD compulsion to name everything and all the whining and worrying she does in The Curse of Tenth Grave. Jesus. Okay, I can see where she’d have some concerns, but when has Reyes ever made her think he’s a bad guy? Well, okay, there’s the ripping out of the spines, but there were good reasons for those. Ahem *grin*. I suspect Jones couldn’t think of some good reasons for Charley to whine, so she milked these to death and back.

Reyes made me a little nuts too with his not challenging Charley…and that nasty tease he did about the will and the money. Part of me laughed and another part wanted to smack him. As for the ADA. Wow, what a jerk.

When Jones gets to explaining how Jehovah, Uzan, and Razer are connected, your head will be spinning. It doesn’t help when Osh spills the beans about the danger revolving around Ubie. At least I only have to wait until January 2017 for Eleventh Grave in Moonlight to resolve my questions!

The Story

As a part-time PI and full-time grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life: Why can I see dead people? Who is the hot supernatural entity following me? How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up? But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.

Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full.

If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…

The Characters

Turns out that Charley “Dutch” Davidson was a god in another dimension who agreed to come to Earth and be a grim reaper. She’s married to Reyes Alexander Farrow, a.k.a., Rey’aziel, the son of Satan, and a god in his own right (although he doesn’t know it). Their newborn baby daughter, Beep, a.k.a., Elwyn Alexandra had to be given away right after she was born due to the danger Charley put her in. Misery is Charley’s red Jeep. The Loehrs were Reyes’ birth parents. Artemis is a ghost Rottweiler and personal guardian to Charley. Kim Millar is Reyes’ sister.

The Sentry is…
Team Beep, assembled to protect Beep. Garrett Swopes was a bond enforcement officer; Osh, a.k.a., Osh’ekiel, is a Daeva, a lower-level demon trained for fighting; Angel Garza, a thirteen-year-old gangbanger who died and now works for Charley; Mr. Wong is a skilled warrior and leader from Charley’s real dimension; the bikers, Donovan, Eric, and Michael; and, the Twelve, ruthless hellhounds.

Cookie Kowalski-Davidson is Charley’s best friend and her receptionist. For Charley’s private investigation business and not the grim reaper side. Cookie is now married to Uncle Bob, a.k.a., Ubie, who is a detective with the Albuquerque PD. Amber is Cookie’s thirteen-year-old daughter who likes to hang out with the deaf Quentin Rutherford who attends The School for the Deaf in Santa Fe (NMSD).

“I love asking kids what they want to be when they grow up. Mostly ’cause I’m still looking for ideas.”

Calamity’s is…
…the bar Reyes bought from Charley’s dad, Leland…who has died again. Valerie is one of the waitresses. Sammy is the head cook and well acquainted with Charley’s fits and starts.

Assorted Law Enforcement

Special Agent Kit Carson is with the FBI and has worked with Charley before. Agent Nguyen is Carson’s partner and hates Charley. Special Agent Louie Guzman is from D.C. Mandy Guzman was Louie’s wife, and man, she is so ticked off at him! Cin Guzman is Louie’s sister.

The missing body
Nick Parker is a jerk of an ADA who hates Charley; his dad was a state attorney at the time. Geoff Adams is the father of a murder victim; Adams, Sr. is his father who lives in a retirement center. Charley reckons the center was planned by a horny botanist. Lyle Fiske, a former fraternity president at UNM, is Emery Adams‘ boyfriend, a freelance artist. Diageo was Emery’s best friend. Cathy Neville works at Presbyterian hospital where Emery is an administrator. Estelle is a custodian.

Christianson is a public defender. Officer Taft is holding a truce with Charley. Wade is a medical examiner. Neill Gossett is a deputy warden out at the prison and an old classmate of Charley’s. Detective Joplin is a jerk and in charge of the Adams case.

People in Charley’s Life

Mrs. Allen and Prince Phillip, a.k.a., PP, were Charley’s neighbors and are now in a retirement home. Pari, a tattoo artist, is another friend of Charley’s and is wicked good with a computer. We won’t, cough-cough, mention her hacking skills. Caroline and Bryan serve up a mean latte. Javier is Garrett’s old boss. Freddie was Charley’s first.

Harbor House is…
…a home, and Heather Huckabee is on the run and afraid of the Harbor House Curse. Nurse Florence Rizzo is one of the suspects. Mrs. Ochoa is a custodian, and Joey is a maintenance man. Some of the other kids are Rudy, CC, Givens, Abby, Matthew, Roberto, and Malaya and her little brother, Hugo.

Uganda, Africa, is…
…where Charley volunteered with the Peace Corps along with Samuel. Faraji and Nkiru were hiding their twelve-year-old daughter, Emem.

The Ghosts
Rocket is a ghost who writes names, all day, every day, onto the walls of the asylum where he died in the 1950s. The trick is, he can’t read AND the names are for Beep. His sister, Blue, and young Rebecca “Strawberry Shortcake” Taft, more ghosts, “live” with him. Amita had been married to Sijan in an arranged marriage in Nepal. Aunt Lillian died in the sixties, but loves hanging around in her love beads and muumuu. A soldier in a straitjacket wants his truck back. Gawd, this was such a sad tale that involved lead paint.

The Not-So Nice Side
Mrs. Abelson is a nasty client. The pervy Mr. Boyd runs a Mini Mart. Damien Ledger Clay is the five-year-old boy in Texas. Umberto Trejo is a bookie with a bar called the Dive. Fernando is one over him. Tristan “Pocket Protector”, Isaac, and Iago are Crew Minivan. SpectorySam is the jerk who posted that video. Grant Guerin is the man fated to commit murder.

Jehovah and his archangel Michael are not Charley’s friends either. Kuur had been Lucifer’s emissary in The Dirt on Ninth Grave.

The three gods of Uzan — Razer, a.k.a., Rey-azikeen, is the one considered the most dangerous, Eidolon, and Mae’eldeesahn — have been presented as brothers who know only death and destruction. The god glass is an artifact that can be used to trap a god in another dimension. EMF is an electromagnetic field, and it might be what Charley keeps referring to. The Dendour are trainers in Hell. Ayua s’Di was the Day of the Blood.

The Cover and Title

The yellow of the champagne as well as the middle background is quite cheery with those bubbles and makes me think of weddings. It’s the rhinestone studded skull-and-crossbones and the golden Grim Reaper drink markers that yank you right back to Charley though, lol. The yellow dissipates into a smoke-writhing deep gray on top and bottom, reminding us that this isn’t all fun and games. In an embossed script, the author’s name is at the top in white while the title is in purple and centered between those clinking glasses.

I think the title refers to what Charley learns about Reyes and Ubie, for it is a burden, The Curse of Tenth Grave.