My Top Series of 2023 is Death defying- literally! #amreading #CharleyDavidson @Darynda

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I realize it’s early in the year to be picking favorites, but holy-grim-reaper, the Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones is some of the best murder/mystery/fantasy/romance books I’ve read in a long time!

I’ve known of Darynda for several years- in fact, her first book won the coveted RITA award in 2012, the same year I joined RWA (Romance Writers of America), so when the opportunity arose to read and review her Sunshine Vicram series through Netgalley I jumped right on board- and was immediately hooked!

You can check out those reviews here:

When a Charley Davidson book, Second Grave on The Left, came on sale, I hurried over to Amazon to buy it. Since then, I’ve sped through six of the novels {unheard of for me!} and have the seventh queued up in my Kindle.

I’m officially addicted!

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Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e., murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice.

Charley Davidson is a part-time private investigator who helps her uncle Ubie (Bob), a detective on the Albuquerque police force, to solve crimes thanks to her main gig as a Grim Reaper.

“Just because I see dead people doesn’t mean I want to be dead people.”

Jones, Darynda. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson Book 1) (p. 268). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Charley’s job as the Grim Reaper is to help the departed who have stayed behind for one reason or another, pass through her to the other side. Most have been murdered and are looking for closure for their loved ones before they leave.

Charley wants to help them if only a dark Entity she named the Big Bad as a child would quit filling her X-rated dreams with warnings to be safe as she is the chosen one- Daughter of the Light. The only light she’s interested in is the non-dairy cream she covets for her coffee addiction.

Consumed by curiosity over Dream Guy, who she’d discovered was Reyes, the teen she’d met one stormy night she’d never forgotten, Charley investigates with the help of her BFF, Cookie, determined to find the man and get to the bottom of whatever he’s trying to tell her.

Reyes has watched over Charley since her birth. He is her guardian against the forces of evil determined to see her die. He is the Prince of Darkness, born in the fires of Hell, but one glimpse of the ethereal light that surrounds Charley and he defies his destiny to be with her.

Now, if they can only survive what’s coming.

This book knocked my socks off. I couldn’t stop reading it! Filled with suspense, heat, laughter, and love, it’s everything a masterful story should be.

Definitely heading to my re-reads bookshelf!

Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm’s way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?

Charley and Cookie (Charley’s BFF and office administrator) are on the trail of a missing woman, a friend of Cookie’s who sends a cryptic message saying she’s being threatened but leaves out the salient details. A clue on a bathroom wall leads to a murdered woman, amping up the concern for Cookie’s friend’s whereabouts.

Keeping them company is the incorporeal body of a guy found in the trunk of Cookie’s car, an Asian who lives in the corner of Charley’s living room affectionately named Mr. Wong, a teenage gangbanger called Angel who died a decade ago and helps with their investigations- for a price-Rocket, a deceased mental asylum patient who knows the names of every person dead or about to die, and Reyes, Son of Satan, keeper of Charley’s heart.

Between heartbeats, Reyes dematerialized and rematerialized in front of me, anger clear on his face. “What’s it going to take, Dutch?”
“For me to stop looking for you?” I didn’t wait for an answer. “You don’t know what will happen if your body dies, Reyes. I’m not going to stop.”

Jones, Darynda. Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson Book 2) (p. 80). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Demons are torturing Reyes’s human body in a bid to draw Charley to them. She is the portal to Heaven and their master, Lucifer, has plans for her- painful plans. The only way Reyes can protect her is to leave his body and watch over her in his incorporeal form, but Charley is determined to save his sorry ass, devil or no devil. Damn, stubborn light of his life.

This story has a darker edge to it, gripping in its intensity. This is building into a spell-binding series!

Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.

Charley has done the unforgivable- she’s chained Reye’s incorporeal body to his earthly one and he’s not taking it well.

Death comes to those who wait. And to those who don’t. So either way … —CHARLOTTE JEAN DAVIDSON, GRIM REAPER

Jones, Darynda. Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson Book 3) (p. 1). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

Reyes believes dying is the only way he can truly protect the troublesome light of his life, Charley Grim Reaper Davidson, and he’s almost there thanks to the demons his father (Satan) sent to torture him and capture Charley, a portal to Heaven.

Neither of them can sleep. Every time Charley and Reyes closed their eyes, they came together in a fiery connection filled with passion and resentment- not ideal. And all while he’s been cooling his heels in prison for the last ten years for the murder of his abusive father (who isn’t his father at all).

When hunky skip tracer, and sometimes friend, Garrett Swopes contacts Charley over a missing person’s case, she dives into the investigation, happy to have something besides her love life to think about and soon learns the woman’s egotistic doctor husband is more than he seems to be.

Meanwhile, proof finally comes to light that Reyes’ father didn’t die after all and he is released from prison. Charley begins a search for the man, determined to make him pay for what he did to Reyes- a move that places her in the crosshairs of a psychotic killer.

Sometimes that light at the end of the tunnel is a train.

Jones, Darynda. Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson Book 3) (p. 293). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

While filled with Ms. Jones’ signature wit, this story also has a darker edge that had me on the edge of my seat and questioning the brutality of humans.

Excellent read!

Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity. But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above . . . or at least get dressed.

Traumatized after her near-death experience at the hands of Reyes’ psycho father and her own father’s betrayal, Charley is holed up in her apartment with Mr. Wong, the departed Asian who never talks and hovers in a corner of the living room, and a plethora of shopping channel boxes (hey, a girl needs a habit). And then there’s the fact that Reyes set her up. It doesn’t matter, she has her best friend, Cookie, Uncle Bob, and her new guardian, a hundred- and fifty-pound deceased Rottweiler named Artemis who loves showers and ripping demons’ throats open- not a bad combination.

But the bills needed to be paid and the only way to do that was to face the devil- or well, the devil’s son- and demand payment for her services.

…my apartment was cozy. The thought of leaving it just to get in a fight with the son of evil incarnate made about as much sense as flying ants. Where was the logic in that? Ants were scary enough without giving them the ability to fly.

Jones, Darynda. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson Book 4) (p. 17). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

She also takes on the case of a woman terrorized by a weirdo who leaves dead bunnies on her bed and ends up in the thick of a bank robbery involving a familiar-looking gang called The Bandits.

Reyes is faced with his own insecurities as the distance between him and Charley grows. He’s loved her for so long- a millennium, really- and doesn’t know what to do with the jealousy eating him from the inside out over her attraction to a biker named Donovan. He could sever the man’s spine, but that wouldn’t win him any points. It was better this way; she was safer far from the hellfire Lucifer had in store for them.

…my mind drifted back to the problem at hand. Or, more specifically, problems. As in multiple. They were back. The demons in all their glory. And they had a plan. I made plans sometimes, too, but they rarely involved world domination. Hot dogs on a grill, maybe. Tequila.

Jones, Darynda. Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson Book 4) (p. 94). St. Martin’s Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

In the fourth story in this amazing series, we’re introduced to a new character who stole my heart- a mute teen named Quentin who was possessed by a demon and narrowly survived its death. He is a sweet kid with no family and the focus of Cookie’s twelve-year-old daughter’s new crush.

Each novel is a rollercoaster of adrenaline, humor, friendship, and romance. Reyes and Charley’s relationship is the stuff of legends. Even angry, they would give their life for the other. While there are plenty of steamy scenes, my favorites are the times they connect on a more intimate level, sharing the past and dreams for the future- a future they may never see.

Can’t wait to start book 5!

Have you read any of these books? Darynda Jones is definitely in my top ten list of amazing writers!

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36 Replies to “My Top Series of 2023 is Death defying- literally! #amreading #CharleyDavidson @Darynda”

  1. Don’t you love it when you find an author whose book you love so much – and then discover they have so many more? Like an early (or belated depending on how you look at it) Christmas gift. Awesome reviews, Jacquie!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m not familiar with this author or these books, Jacquie, but I would say that you’re definitely addicted, LOL. I love when I discover a new author who already has a series of books I can devour. These sound intriguing! I can feel your enthusiasm for them shining through in your post!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. What a great review and awesome hook. I saved this visit to your site for this morning since I wanted to read the whole thing. Great quotes, Jacquie. I really like the writing. And the descriptions of the characters and series sound awesome. Ack! I’m so buried in books and this is a hefty undertaking (13 books!)…. but I’m sooo tempted.
    Just got back from buying the first in the series. 🤣🙃😘

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Jacquie, wow! This sounds like a fabulous series and thank you for sharing your terrific and engaging reviews! I became hooked and your passion for the series shines through – it will be hard to find another series to beat this one, I think!

    Liked by 1 person

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