Monday, April 18, 2011

The ‘IT’ Factor – Debut Author Darynda Jones

First Grave on the Right

St. Martin’s Press

February 2011

Book Blurb:

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. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely.

First Grave on the Right was the 2009 Golden Heart winner for Best Paranormal Romance. It’s also received great reviews and rave cover quotes from some big time best-selling authors in the paranormal genre so I was eager to see what this book was all about.

What It Has Going For It:

Charlie Davidson – A wise-cracking, sassy, and not without her flaws heroine. She is certainly not the first character to appear in a romance moonlighting as a supernatural being who escorts the dearly departed into the light. However, she claims to be THE Grim Reaper, but I don’t see how this could be possible. With 100+ deaths each minute around the world, she wouldn’t have time to work her day job as a PI, or help her uncle solve the murders of some of the recently dead, or have a life for that matter. Which she does. A very busy one. I took it as she helped those few who failed to cross over, for whatever reason, while the rest made it to the pearly gates on their own.

Reyes Farrow – A dark and mysterious hero. Jones does a great job of keeping Charlie (and the reader) guessing as to exactly who and/or what he is. I loved the mystery surrounding him and to experience the plot unfolding as Charlie slowly pealed the layers away on this character.

Humor – By the bucket load! Jones starts with the opening line -- I’d been having the same dream for the past month—the one where a dark stranger materialized out of smoke and shadows to play doctor with me. -- and never lets up.

What Could Make It Better:

There’s such a thing as too much of a good thing. Jones has a voice for humor and I love humor. But at times I had the feeling she was trying to make each and every single line funny. It was almost too much. (I know, *gasp*). Some of it came across as forced and a few instances of what was supposed to pass for clever banter ended up being more silly than witty. Toning this down just a smidge would give the reader a breather. It’s okay to mix the dark with the light.

Charlie has a bit of ADD. Conversations would be going on about one thing and suddenly veer off on some wild tangent before returning to the topic at hand. This got confusing at times.

The ‘IT’ Factor:

Minor flaws aside (and they were minor -- the writing was so good, I easily overlooked them) this is a fabulous 1st novel. I’m a sucker for humor and this one is packed with it. It also had enough mystery and sexual tension to keep me turning the pages. This was a book I could not put down. Ms. Jones will definitely be making a name for herself in the paranormal genre.


  1. Sounds like a good one! *gets out her Kindle*

  2. I have this and have just started to read it. Very impressed so far!

  3. I'm buying it based on the name alone. It's sounds hilarious.

  4. Wow, you make me want to check out this one. By the way, I just got The Body Finder, another of your featured 'It' Factor books. Thanks. You're improving my reading. :)

  5. I try to support romance authors by buying their books, especially debut ones, and I wanted to get the Kindle version of this one but it was too pricey ($10.99 for an ebook? No way). Note to St. Martins: I refuse to pay more for the ebook than I would the paperback. So I got my copy from the library.

    Hope ya'll enjoy it as much as I did.

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