If you hang around with dead people, life can get pretty complicated. Take it from Charley Davidson, part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper. Complicated is her middle name. The deceased find her very sparkly. Demons find her irresistible. And one entity in particular wants to seduce her in every way possible.
When Charley and Cookie (her best friend/receptionist) have to track down a missing woman, the case is not quite as open and shut as they anticipate. Cookie’s friend Mimi disappeared five days earlier. Mimi then sends Cookie a cryptic message telling Cookie to meet her at an nearby coffee shop. The coffee is brewing, but Mimi’s still missing. There is, however, a clue Mimi left on the bathroom wall: a woman’s name. Mimi’s husband explains to them that his wife had been acting strange since she found out an old high school friend had been murdered. The same woman whose name Mimi had scribbled on the bathroom wall.
Meanwhile, Reyes Alexander Farrow (otherwise known as the Son of Satan. Yes. Literally) has left his corporeal body and is haunting Charley. He’s left his body because he’s being tortured by demons who want to lure Charley closer. But Reyes can’t let that happen. Because if the demons get to Charley, they’ll have a portal to heaven…well, let’s just say it wouldn’t be pretty.
Can Charley handle hot nights with Reyes and even hotter days tracking down a missing woman? Can she keep those she loves out of harm’s way? And is there enough coffee and chocolate in the world to fuel her as she does?
Here is your signpost for the most hilarious read of the year: Second Grave on the Left.
Charley Davidson’s life is never, ever simple or stress-free or safe. As a private investigator Charley expects a certain degree of crappiness but when she goes looking for Cookie’s friend Mimi, the degree of crappiness seems to rise exponentially. In the span of no more than two weeks, Charley is stabbed and/or cut multiple times, super glued back together multiple times, shot at, and, concussed multiple times. At least there is never a dull moment in her world J
Cookie’s friend Mimi is the last person on Earth who would simply abandon her family and go on the run but that is exactly what she has done and no one seems to know why, not even Mimi’s husband or parents. The only thing anyone seems to be sure about is that Mimi had a damn good reason for leaving behind everything she holds dear and the only clue she left is a random name and set of numbers on a bathroom door in a local diner. Sure, Charley should be able to figure that out, right? As the digging in begins in earnest, Charley and Cookie quickly figure out that Mimi’s disappearance is nothing short of a hot mess that began more than twenty years ago with the disappearance of a young girl.
And so the hunt begins. Mimi’s disappearance quickly becomes a total goatf**k with dead bodies piling up all around and an evil puppet master pulling a lot of strings simultaneously. Those strings are attached to a lot of people who all seem to have gone to school together and to have been involved in or know about what happened twenty years ago to the young girl who went missing. Clearly, Mimi is terrified and if Charley and Cookie can’t put all the piece of the puzzle together, Mimi is sure to meet the same fate as her classmates. Oh, did I mention the puppet master has enough pull and cash to have hired some seriously ugly assassins? Yeah, this story has assassins too! One other little tidbit, as this particular story progress, Charley’s Grim Reaper powers seem to be progressing as well and man, oh, man can she do some cool stuff!
In the meantime, Reyes’ delectable corporeal body is still missing and not only are the authorities looking for him but so are Charley and a whole host of demons (literally!) ready to claim Reyes and make their way to this plane en masse. Still able to separate from his corporeal body, Reyes continues to appear to Charley and warns her that finding his corporeal body and saving it would be a serious violation of his wishes and is certainly something she should not pursue. Seriously? He has met her, right?? One would think the Son of Satan who has lived for thousands of years would have heard the phrase “dog with a bone” at least once in his many lifetimes. J As you should expect by now, in addition to looking for Mimi, Charley is also looking for Reyes and is hell bent on saving his body. What she doesn’t expect is who she will get help from in this pursuit and what lengths she will have to go to protect the man(ish) she so clearly loves.
The Bottom Line: Charley Davidson is my hero!! Even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds she never fails to fight for all she is worth and does everything within her power to help her clients. To Charley, nearly every life is precious and if she can help someone in need, she will do so even if it requires super gluing her back together. But aside from all the mushy stuff, I love Charley’s sense of humor and extreme sarcasm. Even though the situations she is in are serious and often dire, Charley never loses her smart mouth and that sure makes the read all the more enjoyable. As with book one, I liked the plot and the twists and turns of this read but am truly more enamored with the characters. Jones writes a solid, full-bodied (and sometimes incorporeal!) character that is easy to get attached to. Her plots aren’t so dense that you get lost and the dialogue and interaction between all of the characters is generally light and easy to follow. In all, Second Grave on the Left is an enjoyable read that certainly does not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump.