First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones is the first in a series of romantic suspense novels starring Charley Davidson, part-time private detective, part-time consultant to the Albuquerque police and full-time Grim Reaper. Twenty-seven year-old Charley was born with a purpose, to help souls pass through to the other side; for to the dead she is the “light” they need to pass through. Sometimes souls can’t pass due to unfinished business or worse because they were murdered and seek justice, this is where Charley’s investigative skills come into play. In order to complete her life, she has a messy relationship with her family, a wacky secretary named Cookie, a deceased ghost assistant named “Angel”, an incredibly hot bounty hunter named Garrett who is after her body for non-professional reasons, and a sensual entity named Reyes who makes nightly erotic visits.
The novel falls into the vein of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series, but adds enough fresh elements to make it sassy and fun and the mystery element which involves human trafficking, kidnapping and murder. Charley’s is a likeable heroine and Jones gives her enough back story to make her actions and personality believable. For fans of Stephanie Plum waiting for the next book, or for anyone who enjoys a good mystery with interesting characters this makes a great read. The second novel in the series, Second Grave on the Left will be out in September and I can’t wait to pick it up.