RITA Reader Challenge Review

RITA Reader Challenge: First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones


Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Publication Info: St. Martin's 2011
ISBN: 978-0312360801
Genre: Paranormal

Book Cover This review was written by Lindlee. This story was nominated in the Best Novel with Strong Romantic Elements and Best First Book categories.

The summary: Charley sees dead people. That’s right, she sees dead people. And it’s her job to convince them to “go into the light.” But when these very dead people have died under less than ideal circumstances (i.e. murder), sometimes they want Charley to bring the bad guys to justice. Complicating matters are the intensely hot dreams she’s been having about an Entity who has been following her all her life…and it turns out he might not be dead after all. In fact, he might be something else entirely. 

And here is Lindlee's review:

Before I begin my review, I’d like to share a conversation that a friend and I had after watching The Hunger Games.

Friend: “What did you think?”
Me: “I liked it. I liked it better than the book.”
Friend: “Really?”
Me: “Yeah. I was able to connect with Katniss better in the movie than when I was reading the book.”
Friend: “That’s because it was written in first person.”
Me: *lightbulb*

Yes, I am one of those people. A person who sees that a book is written in first person and automatically dismisses it. But there have been too many first person books that I just didn’t like, and it took The Hunger Games for me to figure it out. Even though it seems counterintuitive, I’m able to connect with a story and its characters better when the book is written in third person. Go figure.

First Grave on the Right is written in first person, and I didn’t realize that until I had already picked it. Of course, at that point no book was going to defeat ME, so I went ahead and read it. I tried not to let the whole first person thing affect my judgment, but keep it in mind. (The B grade is my opinion though. People who like first person can probably go ahead and bump it up to a B+ or A-.)

So yes, I liked it. Charley was great. She was funny, and she had a pretty good handle on the whole “I see dead people” thing. Charley took her job as grim reaper seriously, but she had a sense of humor about it.

“— I was too busy staring at the dead guy in the dead body to answer.

I inched over and nudged the body with my foot. ‘Dude, what are you still doing in there?’

The dead guy looked at me with wide eyes. ‘I can’t move my legs.’

I snorted, ‘You can’t move your arms either, or your feet or your freaking eyelids. You’re dead.’[…]

‘I’m not dead.’

[…]‘Hon, you’re as dead as my great-aunt Lillian, and trust me, that woman is now in a perpetual state of decomposition.’

‘No, I’m not. I’m not dead. Why isn’t anyone trying to revive me?’

‘Um, because you’re dead?’”

Charley was working on solving two mysteries throughout the book. The first mystery was solving the murders of three ghosts, which does get wrapped up by the end. At the same time, Charley was trying to figure out the identity of the sexy guy invading her dreams (both sleeping and waking). The mystery man is revealed, but this plot is left open to continue in the following books.

The romance is very light. Most of the contact between Charley and the “hero” happens in dreams or dream-like states. And when Charley says she has the attention span of a gnat, she’s not kidding. Sometimes the book had a serious ADD vibe going on. It made it a little hard to focus at times.

This book is available from Goodreads | Amazon | BN | Sony | Kobo.

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