30 August, 2011
Review: Second Grade On The Left by Darynda Jones
Like I've said before, the Charley Davidson series has some logistical issues but it's hard to nit pick when the delivery is so delicious. If there isn't such a thing as Paranormal Noir, then Darynda Jones is busily inventing it. Smart and smart of mouth Charley is the perfect private detective for complicated cases filled with shadowy figures. Nicely balancing her superhuman skills are all too human family issues that blindside Charley when she least expects it. Even the Grim Reaper needs a hug sometimes.
Jones is also adeptly delivering a demon saga that even a Christian could love. (I got a little nervous when the Jehovah Witnesses showed up, but Jones pulled just short of mocking them. Well, more than Charley mocks anyone.) In this chapter Charley is searching for her missing boyfriend (the actual Son of Satan), a missing person (possibly connected to a major murder) and a decent night's sleep (not anytime soon). Jones keeps the revelations in each story coming fast enough to keep the reader guessing. Resolving enough to satisfy, but leaving a bit on the hook for the next book, she's mastered the compulsive read.
Many paranormal books want to be Buffy The Vampire Slayer. With the Charley Davidson series Jones has captured the essence of that show's appeal without copying any of it's details. Keeping her read hot but not making it explicit, she aims for a wide range of readers. I'm not sure what HBO* is going to do with Charley, since she's a serial flirt but a one demon girl. In fact, I'm still not entirely sure that Charley ends up with Reyes. While he maintains he's a bad boy going good, Charley is too strong and self reliant to offer herself up to the wrong side. He's going to have to work a little harder to convince her that he wants to side with the angels. (Then again, Charley hasn't met any angels. Ouch. I apologize. Spend some time with Charley Davidson and the bad jokes come naturally.)
Charley is officially my good time girl for the duration. She can take the Grim out of Reaper for as long as she wants.
*HBO has not optioned this series, but they should. True Blood wishes it was this fun.