Publisher: St. Martin's Press (2011)
Format: Paperback | 310 pages
Genre(s): Paranormal Romance
Description (GR): "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. This is a thrilling debut novel from an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense."
WARNING: Contains SPOILERS!
I'm not exactly sure what to say about this book. I liked reading it, but I didn't think it was... great. I feel like I won't remember much about it in a few weeks and I don't feel like ordering the rest of the series.
As far as paranormal romance goes, it was okay. It wasn't remarkable; it wasn't awful either. It was only mildly annoying, at times.
So what did I like about it? Charley (Charlotte) Davidson. She was sassy and smart-mouthed but she was also pretty feminine and a true 21st century woman. She wasn't a badass, though-chick who doesn't need no man to complete her and despises all that is womanly and feminine. Nop. She likes dressing up, she is not adept at fighting and she is always checking out men's asses. And men are always checking her out. I loved Charley. She was realistic. Loved her sense of humor to bits too.
So Charley was the plus of the pluses of this book. I liked the overall supernatural elements and mythology: the grim reaper story and powers (the all languages thing was pretty interesting), and the "Big Bad" (until I learned of his identity).
What I didn't like so much was the fact that the book seemed to start right in the middle of something. It's like you're thrown into the action and then, when there is time, the heroine reminisces and you get a few info dump-ey paragraphs about her past and how she discovered who she was, blah, blah. That's the preferred mode of transmitting information in this book. We learn about the grim reaper thing, about "Big Bad" and about Reyes through flashbacks. At the same time, in the present, Charley has to solve a case (since she is a PI). It gets a bit confusing and it breaks the flow of the narrative.
I also thought Uncle Bob got away with too much interfering in police business and having Charley hang with the police. It just doesn't compute.
Another aspect I disliked: Reyes. Totally unnecessary. Or at least the relation (not relationship, just how he relates to her) with Charlie was unnecessary. There were a lot of stuff left unexplained when it came to Reyes and Charlie and their relation(ship). I get it, one needs a sexy stranger in a paranormal romance, but I just didn't get the whole "he-appears-in-my-dreams-and-we-have-hot-sex-but-I'm-not-sure-why" BUT "I-think-I-lurve-him". It was damn confusing and quite unrealistic. So the romance part was actually what I thought could be cut from the book.
Overall: I liked "First Grave on the Right". It was a light, fun read and Charlie's inner ramblings made me laugh out loud sometimes. The author has a great sense of humor. Still, there was nothing distinctive or special in terms of story or characters (besides Charley they were all pretty standard) and I disliked all the flashbacks/infodump. There was just too much going on for it to work efectively.