By: Darynda Jones
Another round of sexy adventures from my favorite, Charley Davidson: grim reaper extraordinaire with a sassy comeback for nearly any situation. The second book in the series continues with Charley’s PI business as she works on a new case involving a mysterious disappearance and even more mysterious circumstances. Simultaneously, the enigma that is Reyes continues to accelerate as the clock ticks down on his life.
Warning – this may contain spoilers if you haven’t already read book one: First Grave on the Right
Following only days after the first book, Second Grave on the Left opens with a missing woman case that progresses to something reminiscent of I Know What You Did Last Summer – nobody wants to talk and everyone is hiding what happened that one night, long ago. Charley and Cookie, her best friend and assistant with an amazing name, dig deeper into the mysterious and how it connects with their missing woman.
Meanwhile, Reyes, the steaming hot incorporeal son-of-a-devil (really!), is dying. Let me tell you, my heart broke right alongside Charley’s. Demons torture his corporeal body and yet he refuses to tell Charley where he lay dying, for if she fell into the demon’s hands it would mean game over for basically the entire world.
But just because his corporeal body is on the brink of death doesn’t mean his incorporeal body can’t have fun – and boy, does it get hot! Charley and Reyes have some steamy scenes, fueled by desire and sometimes, a little hate. I loved every scene he teases her, protects her, and watches over her. Every chapter he is written into, I fall a little bit more in love with the fictitious character.
Similar to the first book, Second Grave on the Left is a quick, easy, sexy read jam-packed with action, humor, and mystery. Although sequels rarely live up to their predecessor, this book came close. The only elements holding this book from a five star include some recently discovered character flaws I don’t love about Reyes and the jumpy nature of the writing – a touch too much action, jumping from one undertaking to another in the span of a breath.
Still, highly recommend! This little reader is going straight for the third book!
Read my review of the first book in the Charley Davidson series: First Grave on the Right!
Romance: If I didn’t read this on such a hot day, I’d blame my sweat on the amazing sexy scenes between Charley and Reyes. Warning, it can get graphic at some points but isn’t that why we’re reading the second book in the first place?
World Building: I loved that many of my favorite ghosts from the first book came back for an encore. From the tiny little girl packing a punch to Rocket Man, the all-knowing death bookkeeper, Charley’s world is supported by an amazing cast and a well thought-out crime mystery threads the needle between the nonfiction and paranormal elements.
Writing: My only qualm with this book, and partly with the first, is that Charley rarely reflects on her actions or feelings. This makes it a bit harder for me to emotionally connect with the protagonist, but as I mentioned in my review of the first book, perhaps this is intentional as Charley herself is rather hard to connect with. Humor is her go-to defense.
Overall: I really enjoyed the second book in this series and can’t wait to start the third! In fact, I have the whole series stacked by my couch, ready to go! This series is a cornerstone in the paranormal romance genre but you have to take it as just that – there are no epic fantasy elements, detailed descriptors, or truly deep, complex relationships. But sometimes, I just need a break from all that heavy stuff and paranormal romance is the perfect genre for that.