Grim reaper tale makes saucy sequel

Posted Sept. 05, 2011, at 2:54 p.m.

“Second Grave on the Left” (St. Martin’s Press), by Darynda Jones.

Charley Davidson isn’t your typical wisecracking private investigator. She’s got all kinds of forces working for her, including the incorporeal kind.

Charley was born a grim reaper, and she communicates with the dead. Her body serves as a portal for the departed to cross over into the next world. But some spirits aren’t ready. They have unfinished business and need her help.

Because of her unique abilities, Charley often works with her lawman uncle to solve crimes. And when bad guys try to kill her, she’s saved by Reyes Farrow, a self-appointed guardian angel (and the son of Satan).

“Second Grave on the Left” finds Charley investigating a missing person case at the request of her best friend, Cookie. But the mystery isn’t the most appealing part of the story. Readers will be captivated by Charley’s near-death adventures, the interactions with her spirit world friends, and the hint of a love triangle between Charley, Reyes and Garrett Swopes, a sexy skiptracer.

Darynda Jones, author of “First Grave on the Right,” offers a mixed bag of emotions in this latest novel. The scenes between Charley and Cookie are crafted with a comedic flair, and a scene where Charley helps a troubled spirit to crossover is particularly touching.

In “Second Grave,” Jones expands on an ongoing plot that puts Charley in mortal danger from the underworld. Demons, under orders from Lucifer, are desperate to find Charley so that her link to the heavens can be exploited. Reyes, who was his father’s second in command, has gone rogue to protect her.

Jones’ next installment in the series, “Third Grave Dead Ahead,” is set for release in February.

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