Narrator: Lorelei King
Series: Charley Davidson #2
Published by St. Martin's Press, MacMillan on October 31, 2017
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Length: 9 hours, 30 minutes
Format: eARC, Audiobook
Source: NetGalley, Purchased
Amazon, Audible, Audiobook, Barnes & Noble
When Charley is rudely awakened in the middle of the night by her best friend who tells her to get dressed quickly and tosses clothes out of the closet at her, she can’t help but wonder what Cookie’s up to. Leather scrunch boots with a floral miniskirt? Together? Seriously? Cookie explains that a friend of hers named Mimi disappeared five days earlier and that she just got a text from her setting up a meet at a coffee shop downtown. They show up at the coffee shop, but no Mimi. But Charley finds a message on the bathroom wall. Mimi left a clue, a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old friend of hers from high school had been found murdered a couple weeks prior. The same woman Mimi had named in her message.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven. And if they have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty. Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Will Cookie ever get a true fashion sense? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel them as they do?
While my review schedule was full, I couldn’t resist getting into this Reread Tour. I love these books. It was fun to go back to Second Grave on the Left, which is at the beginning of the Charley Davidson series. Charley is our gateway to the world. Her observations are often hilarious. I often laugh out loud.
“Neil, I don’t want to lie to you.”
“And I don’t want to be lied to, so this whole thing should be pretty cut and dry.”
With a deep sigh, I said, “If I tell you the truth . . . let’s just say you won’t sleep well at night. Ever again.”
He tapped a pen on his desk in thought. “I have to be honest, Charley, I haven’t slept all that well since your last visit a couple of weeks ago.”
I enjoy how Charley learns and grows while she solves cases. There were so many different people involved with this group of cases. And Charley was also trying to find and save Reyes. Charley’s family dynamics were on stage as well. I’m shocked how I remembered the problems / the mysteries but none of the solutions!
These are amazing on audio. I read this one the first time. I own some in paperback and some in Kindle format. But I’m starting to collect the audios. Lorelei King is perfect for the sassy and humorous flavor of Charley. I normally listen at 1.25x but I got a little short on time and I was able to listen at 1.5x speed for part of this one.
A FUN FACT FOR EACH OF THE CHARLEY BOOKS:
First Grave on the Right
- The concept for First Grave came about while Darynda was working as a sign language interpreter in her hometown. She stole many of the names from students at the schools where she worked, including Reyes, Garrett, and Amber. As far as Darynda knows, they have all forgiven her for her thievery.
Second Grave on the Left
- Uncle Bob is a combination of two people: Darynda’s oldest brother, Luther, and the principal at the high school where she worked for several years.
Third Grave Dead Ahead
- This was originally titled Third Grave Straight Ahead, but Darynda’s web designer, Liz Bemis, asked her to change the name to Dead Ahead. Firstly, it fit the content better, and secondly, Liz got tired of spelling the word Straight wrong while updating the website. Dead is much easier to type.
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
- Quentin Rutherford makes his first appearance in this book. While his first name was stolen from Darynda’s little brother and his last name stolen from yet another Jr. High student, Quentin is physically sculpted from her oldest son, Jerrdan, a bona fide blond-haired, blue-eyed devil with a sparkling smile that melts even the staunchest of hearts. And, like Quentin Rutherford, he was born Deaf. Not that he let it stop him for a second.
Fifth Grave Past the Light
- This book was fun to write! Darynda was trying to come up with something truly creepy to throw into the book, and she figured what would be creepier than having an apartment full of departed women crawling up the walls, skittering across the ceiling, and huddling in the corners? Also, it is one of the hotter books, so that was fun, too. Because, you know, Reyes.
Sixth Grave on the Edge
- Darynda really wanted to open this one on a humorous note. She wanted to have Charley on a stakeout with a departed elderly man, who also happens to be naked, riding shotgun. Which begs the question: Are we really stuck in (or out of) whatever we are wearing when we die for all eternity? ‘Cause that would suck.
Seventh Grave and No Body
- Osh’ekiel was originally supposed to be in one book only. And he was supposed to be a very bad guy. But Darynda fell in love with him while writing the book and decided to redeem him and give him a bigger role. Just how big his role would become didn’t come to Darynda until plotting Eighth Grave. He has been one of her favorite characters since she wrote that first scene with him.
Eighth Grave After Dark
- Darynda wanted to really turn the tables on Charley and force her to have to stay in one place, thus the sacred ground of the convent came into play. It was fun and challenging to write a “locked room” mystery, so to speak, but that’s why she loves writing so much.
The Dirt on Ninth Grave
- One of Darynda’s favorite books in the series, she looked forward to writing this book ever since she came up with the concept while plotting Sixth Grave. Part of what makes a romance so fun is the falling-in-love part, and she wanted Charley to fall in love with Reyes all over again. This book was doubly fun because the audience knows all the characters’ backstories, and they get to watch in anticipation as Charley slowly unravels the mysteries of her past, while seeing her fall head-over-heels for the same guy all over again.
The Curse of Tenth Grave
- This book had one of those too-close-for-comfort calls. Right before Tenth Grave went to print, after going through editors and copyeditors and readers of all shapes and sizes, a savvy proofreader let Darynda in on a little secret: A Sherpa is part of a culture, not an occupation. Thanks to this razor-sharp reader, Darynda narrowly escaped insulting an entire culture in one fell swoop. Aka, her worst nightmare. Her gratitude is unending.
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
- Darynda dreamed of going to Scotland for so long, she finally decided to just put it in one of her books. She had Charley accidentally materialize in the magical country, only to find out weeks after finishing the book that she would finally get to go there herself. In person. For realsies. It was even more magical than she’d imagined it would be, and she can’t wait to go back.
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
- This book has one of Darynda’s favorite epiphanies EVER!!! She thought, what if someone out there in the universe, a child perhaps, knows everything about Reyes and Charley? Everything starting from their supernatural heritage to their human identities? And what if that person wrote a book about them? Or a series of books? Say, perhaps, a set of children’s books and Garrett just happens to stumble upon them while doing research? How fun would that be? And the international bestselling children’s book (fictionally speaking) The First Star was born.
Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
- By far the hardest story in the series to write, penning the last Charley book was a bittersweet experience. But Darynda knew she had to go big or go home, so what better way to go out with a bang than to end the world as we know it by starting the zombie apocalypse? Because that’s what writers do. We start apocalypses.
I always enjoy reading these books, and I have the next one to read. The final book, Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave, is being released at the beginning of 2019. My review will be in January.
Summoned to the Thirteenth Grave Excerpt:
What, pray tell, the fuck?
It wasn’t until I felt the sun on my face that I knew, really knew, I’d made it back. The bright orb drifted over the horizon like a hot air balloon, blinding me, yet I couldn’t stop looking at it. Or, well, trying to look at it. After giving it my all through squinted lids, I gave up and closed them. Let the warmth wash over me. Let it sink into my skin. Flood every molecule in my body.
God knew I needed it. I hadn’t had a drop of vitamin D in over a hundred years. My bones were probably brittle and shriveled and splintery. Much like the current state of my psyche.
But that’s what happens when you defy a god.
Not just any god, mind you. No siree Bob. To get booted off the big blue marble, one had to defy the God. The very One a particular set of children’s books called Jehovahn.
The Man had some serious control issues. I bring one person back from the dead and bam. Banished for all eternity. Exiled to a hell with no light, no hair products, and no coffee.
Mostly no coffee.
And, just to throw salt onto a gaping, throbbing flesh wound, no tribe. In this dimension, the one with the yellow sun and champagne-colored sand on which I now walked, I had a husband and a daughter and more friends than I could shake a stick at. But in the lightless realm I’d been banished to, I’d had nothing. I floated in darkness for over one hundred agonizing years, tormented by dreams of a husband I could no longer touch and a daughter I could no longer protect.
She would be gone by now. Our daughter. I will have missed her entire life. The thought alone shattered me. Cut into me like shards of glass every time I breathed.
But I’d missed more than her life. It had been prophesied that she would face Lucifer in a great battle for humanity. That she would have an army at her back and, fingers crossed, a warrior at her side. And that she would stand against evil when no one else could.
I’d wondered for dozens of years if she’d won, the pain of not knowing, of not being able to help, driving me to the brink of insanity. Then I realized something and a peculiar kind of peace came over me. Of course she’d won. She was the daughter of two gods. More to the point, she was her father’s daughter, the god Rey’azikeen’s only child. She would’ve been wily and cunning and strong. Of course she won.
That’s what I’d told myself over and over for the last thirty-odd years of my exile. But now I was back. An exile that was supposed to be for all eternity stopped just short, in my humble opinion, of its goal.
Unfortunately, I had no idea why I was back. I’d felt myself being drawn forward, pulled through space and time until the darkness that surrounded me gave way to the unforgiving brightness of Earth’s yellow sun. That big, beautiful ball of fire I’d so often complained about as a resident of New Mexico, where sunshine was damned near a daily occurrence.
And here it was, bathing me in its brilliance as my feet sank into dew-covered sand with every step I took. I walked toward it. The sun. Craving more. Begging for more.
“I will never complain about you again,” I said, tilting my face toward the heavens, because the thought of my daughter growing up without me wasn’t the only thing that had driven me to the edge of sanity. Nor the heartbreak of missing my husband. His hands on my body. His full mouth at my ear. His sparkling eyes hooded by impossibly thick lashes.
No, it was the perpetual darkness that pushed me so far inside myself I could hardly stay conscious.
I’d tried to escape. To find my way back to my family and friends. Boy, had I tried. But it seemed like the harder I struggled, the deeper I sank. The realm in which I’d been cast was like an inky, ethereal form of quick- sand. If not for the wraiths . . .
I stopped and bent my head to listen. Someone was following me, and for the first time since materializing on the earthly plane, I tried to take in my surroundings. With my vision adjusting, I could just make out the sea of peaches and golds that stretched out before me. Sand as far as the eye could see.
Then it hit me. The Sahara. I’d been here before. With him.
I started walking again, slowly, making him come to me as I used every ounce of strength I had to tamp down the elation coursing through my veins.
I’d dreamed about this moment for so long, a part of me wondered if it were real. Or if I were hallucinating. But I felt the warmth radiating from his body and I knew. Heat—his heat—pulsated over me in rich, fervent waves, stirring parts of me that hadn’t been stirred in decades. Or churned. Or even whisked, for that matter.
I dared a glance over my shoulder. My knees weakened and my stomach clenched at the sight. Dressed as a desert nomad in traditional, sky- blue garb, he followed at a leisurely pace. A light breeze pressed his robe against his body, outlining his wide shoulders, long arms, and lean waist.
A turban of the same sky blue had been wrapped around his head and face until only his eyes shone through.
Dark. Shimmering. Intent.
Like that could fool me. Like I wouldn’t know my husband from a thousand miles away. His essence. His aura. His scent.
Of course, the ever-present fire that licked over his skin, the lightning that arced around him, didn’t hurt.
He moved like an animal. A predator. Powerful and full of confidence and grace. Every step calculated. Every move a conscious act.
And he was closing in.
I turned back to the horizon, my heart bursting with the knowledge that my husband was still here. Still on Earth. Still sexy as fuck.
And yet, there was something not quite . . .
I whirled around to face him when I realized part of what I was feeling, part of the tangle of tightly packed emotions that made Reyes Reyes, was anger.
No. Not anger precisely. Anger would be far too tame a word. He was livid. Furious. Enraged. And it was all directed at me.
Enter for a chance to win the entire Charley Davidson series by Darynda Jones, an ARC of the epic finale, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave, plus fun swag!
Please note, it is open to the US ONLY. The link will be live on October 31st when the tour starts and run through November 14th. (If you don’t win, check back on my blog later this month as I’ll be giving away an ARC in addition to some other goodies for my blogaversary.)
I read all types of books but my favorites are urban fantasy and romantic suspense.I like some romance and some action / adventure / mystery in everything.I like sex in my books but please, only between TWO people.Intimate conversation is equally important to the sex in a book.It lets me see the characters.The other thing I enjoy is humor.
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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
- 2018 Audiobook Challenge