Second Grave on the Left
What would you do if you could see dead people? If you could learn their whole life story as they passed through you into the light? Charley Davidson is using just such a power to help the living and the dead. In her private PI practice, ghostly informers have turned out to be a world of help. And in her job as the grim reaper, she is able to use her practice to bring closure to those who want to pass on. It’s a real win, win situation – unless the guy downstairs finds out what she is doing. And for some odd reason, he seems desperate to do just that.
Charley won’t get up for just anyone at two o’clock in the morning, but best friend/secretary Cookie isn’t just anyone. She has Charley up at this ungodly hour because they need to hit a diner – a diner where Cookie hopes to find a missing friend. While the diner is a bust, the two are treated to a dead man in the trunk of Cookie’s car and two brand new mysteries to solve. Not a bad start to a day that hasn’t even seen the sun rise.
The cases, of course, are not as open and shut as they initially sound. It turns out Cookie’s friend Mimi has been missing for five days, and the only clue they appear to have is a rather odd message she left behind on a bathroom wall. While Mimi’s husband doesn’t have much information he can tell them that Mimi began acting strange after the death of a high school friend. A murdered friend. The woman whose name Mimi had scribbled on the bathroom wall. As Charley slowly begins to search through Mimi’s past she finds some strange goings on – and a rapidly rising body count.
Meanwhile the ghost from Cookie’s trunk has begun haunting Charley’s shower – while she’s in it. Determined to get his icy presence out of her formerly hot water, she begins to research his death as well. With no name and a ghost who can’t speak it seems unlikely she will get too far. But never underestimate a woman desperate for a hot bath.
When you add in a father acting squirrely and a haunting from Reyes Alexander Farrow, you have one very busy woman. But it’s nothing that Charley, Danger, and Will Robinson can’t handle.
The hijinks and hilarity begin once more as Charley takes us on a snarky ride through the world of the grim reaper. The three mysteries – what is happening with Charley’s dad, Mimi’s disappearance, and the ghost in the shower – are all handled really well. I found myself anxiously turning pages to find out what happened next. I loved the way Charley and Cookie doggedly put together clues, working step by step to reach their conclusion. The mix of frustrating dead ends and hallelujah moments was just right, giving us an interesting and entertaining journey to follow on our way to a very satisfying conclusion. Especially fun were the mysterious men who kept showing up in Charley’s life – whether it was her apartment or as she was being chased down a dark alley.
Charley is a great character. I found myself laughing out loud at some of the things she said and did. She’s resourceful, dogged, learns on her feet, and is smart but not brilliant. I like that she doesn’t have all the answers but applies just enough common sense, street smarts and hard work to get them.
While I know Reyes is a popular character with many readers of the series, he was once more the slow part of the story for me. He’s so hot, troubled, angst ridden, powerful, hot, and overloaded with daddy issues. Did I mention hot? With all the really great guys Charley encounters on the job, I found it hard to have her with Reyes. He just seemed so cliched to me. I found the storyline of his current problem and the solving of said problem to be the low point in the story. And no, the fact that he was hot just didn’t touch me. Most heroes are hot. Fortunately the rest of the book is just so dang fun it hardly detracted at all from the tale.
If you like a funny, quirky read this book is assuredly for you. If you are a fan of the paranormal genre and looking for something fresh, this is definitely what you have been seeking. And if you read book one and are looking to continue with the tale, this is a can’t miss sequel.