Third Grave Dead Ahead

Darynda Jones
July 2012, Paranormal Romance
St. Martin's, $14.99, 310 pages, Amazon ASIN 125000828X
Part of a series

Grade: C-
Sensuality: Hot

I enjoyed the last book in the series and was excited to review this third entry featuring Charley Davidson, private investigator and grim reaper. Unfortunately, this didn’t live up to the previous book. Yes, all of the characters I enjoyed in the previous book are back again. But while I found the dialog in the previous book witty and sharp, here it often feels overdone. Worse yet, I found this to be good bedtime reading. After reading a few pages I would fall asleep; not exactly what’s supposed to happen in your typical adventure-overloaded paranormal.

The book picks up soon after the last ended. Reyes, the gorgeous son of the Devil, is furious with Charley for events that occurred at the end of the last book. Every time Charley falls asleep Reyes enters her dreams, is angry, and has quick hot sex with her, causing Charley to immediately wake up. Charley is trying to avoid Reyes’ anger by drinking coffee nonstop and staying awake. After days without sleep Charley is nearly incoherent. Initially this led to some fun conversations between Charley and her assistant/best friend Cookie. However, a little of this went a long way. Perhaps it’s because I was exhausted much of the time I was reading this book, but I didn’t find all of her conversations with Cookie humorous. A few rambling sleep-deprived statements would be funny. Page after page of them put me to sleep.

Despite being sleep-deprived, Charley is very busy. She drives all over town (and has numerous near-fatal collisions) on a variety of matters. Charley continues to work as a private investigator and agrees to locate the missing wife of a wealthy doctor. I found the missing person’s case more interesting than Charley’s involvement with Reyes and his problems. I also enjoyed Charley’s interactions with Garrett, an interesting skip-tracer, and a biker gang.

Despite liking some aspects of the book, I’m still not overwhelmed with Reyes. I get that he’s gorgeous; after all any woman who sees him almost instantly is struck dumb. But I’m just not captured by his personality; he seems angry all the time. Normally I get fed up with paranormal series that have endless love triangles. In this case, I like almost every other man who is introduced better than Reyes.

Overall, this feels very uneven. The first portion is overwhelmingly about how tired Charley is with no sleep. Then almost instantly that’s dropped and we have her dealing with Reyes and his attempts to clear his name. As far as I can tell Charley still didn’t sleep, but the exhaustion seemed to drop off the page.

I would have given this a lower grade, but the last 50 pages or so picked up a great deal as the action in the various plot lines resolved. Until the last pages I was convinced I would never read anything else in the series. Now I’m not certain. There are a few hanging threads involving Garrett, Charley’s guardian angel, Charley’s unknown powers, and the impending war between good and evil that have me wondering. Will I pick it up in hardback? Definitely not. But I’ll watch for reviews and may take another chance on Charley and company.

-- LinnieGayl Kimmel

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