First Grave On The Right by Darynda JonesFirst Grave On The Right by Darynda Jones

First Grave On The Right

byDarynda Jones

Mass Market Paperback | November 29, 2011

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First Grave on the Right is the smashing, award-winning debut novel that introduces Charley Davidson: part-time private investigator and full-time Grim Reaper.

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 Darynda Jones, an exciting newcomer to the world of paranormal romantic suspense.

First Grave on the Right is the winner of the 2012 Rita Award for Best First Book.

Darynda Jones is the winner of the 2009 Golden Heart® for Best Paranormal Novel for her manuscript First Grave on the Right. Darynda can't remember a time when she wasn't putting pen to paper. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of more than twenty-five years and two beautiful sons, aka the ...
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Title:First Grave On The RightFormat:Mass Market PaperbackDimensions:352 pages, 6.74 × 4.16 × 1.05 inPublished:November 29, 2011Publisher:St. Martin's PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0312360800

ISBN - 13:9780312360801

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic! I absolutely am in love with this whole series. After reading the first i was hooked on. Can't wait to read the 12th book.
Date published: 2017-11-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from amazing FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is the first novel in Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Charlotte aka Charley is a part-time private investigator and a full-time Grim Reaper. NOT a Grim Reaper in the guise of a dark cloak, skeletal hand and sickle, but a sexy, self-assured, slightly supernatural woman who helps people cross-over between the planes. And of course…she sees dead people. But these dead people usually want something from Charley and her natural ‘sparkly’ personality seems to attract the recently deceased. Charley’s father is a retired police office and is well aware of his daughter’s ability to communicate with those who have yet to cross., but to what extent is a mystery. And Uncle Bob (aka Ubie) frequently calls upon Charley to assist with murder investigations and the victims accountings of the events. A recent trio of murders, all partners in a law firm, have everyone looking to Charley for help including the three late lawyers. But there are those who refuse to acknowledge Charley’s ability to speak with the murder victims, and although her track record at solving the murders and uncovering clues is 100%, the non-believers will be harder to convince. But when all the clues start pointing to a possible connection between a controlling strip-club owner and a human trafficking ring, it is Charley who convinces the others, to allow her to go in undercover. There are several secondary storylines including a domestic abuse case and missing children. And it is Charley who feels the effects of failure when she realizes that all was for not. We get a glimpse into Charley’s past including her step-mother’s anger and Charley’s desperation to save a young man from a brutal beating that could have ended his life. But life has a way of coming full circle, and some of those she has touched, will remember her for what she has done. Darynda Jones use of spunky language, double entendre, and euphemisms will have you laughing and asking….”did she just go there?” And wait til you meet “Danger” and “Will Robinson” & “Beam Me Up “ and “Scotty” snort as well as a whole host of intricately named ‘characters’. Garret Swopes as the detective who loves to hate Charley, adds another dimension to a cast of characters with otherwise fruitful intentions. Angel, as the thirteen year old spirit who remains behind to watch over his mother : Mr. Wong-the other resident in Charley’s apartment, Cookie as Charley’s assistant and BFF, and Charley’s Aunt Lil who makes a ‘mean cup of coffee’. But it is Reyes Farrow that will grab your attention and make you sit up and ask….”what the hell…literally?” Reyes has and will figure prominently in Charley’s life: from the day she was born. But it is her ‘erotic’ dreams of passionate kisses and sexual need that will open Charley to another existence. An existence she never thought would merge. Throughout her life, there has always been another-one who has played guardian and self-appointed executioner whenever and wherever Charley’s life was threatened. Big Bad has always lurked in the corners whenever Charley was in need, but it is his true identity that will push Charley beyond the boundaries of good and evil. And with it comes the knowledge that perhaps she has known who he was-all along. And one should always ask—before taking the devil into your bed!!! But it is Charley’s relationship with Reyes that will open up new possibilities and perhaps end her life-all in the name of heaven. For one is the portal and the other is the key. First Grave on the Right is a great introduction to Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Written in first person POV, I love how we hear everything Charley thinks. I look forward to Darynda’s cast of characters and spirits, as well as Charley’s extended family. But it is the relationship between Reyes and Charley that forces my eyes open into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to catch another glimpse of what can only be called-perfection in the male of the species.
Date published: 2017-09-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Really good Great start to the series. The unique sense of humor left me wanting to read more.
Date published: 2017-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from An amazing start! From the unique plot to the quirky and diverse characters, this book is a solid beginning to an amazing series! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great series This is a great series, for a cross between Stephanie Plum and Sookie Stackhouse. It's fun, light, supernatural, and the books keep getting better and better.
Date published: 2017-01-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome series! If your into supernatural/romance plus you want a little humour while reading, join Charley along her many adventures and travels in the grave series! #plumreview
Date published: 2017-01-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First Grave on the Right Absolutely hysterically funny. I love the Charley Davidson character. Her witty madcap life is a wild ride. All the characters are fun and interesting
Date published: 2015-10-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love this series FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT by Darynda Jones FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT is the first novel in Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Charlotte aka Charley is a part-time private investigator and a full-time Grim Reaper. NOT a Grim Reaper in the guise of a dark cloak, skeletal hand and sickle, but a sexy, self-assured, slightly supernatural woman who helps people cross-over between the planes. And of course…she sees dead people. But these dead people usually want something from Charley and her natural ‘sparkly’ personality seems to attract the recently deceased. Charley’s father is a retired police office and is well aware of his daughter’s ability to communicate with those who have yet to cross., but to what extent is a mystery. And Uncle Bob (aka Ubie) frequently calls upon Charley to assist with murder investigations and the victims accountings of the events. A recent trio of murders, all partners in a law firm, have everyone looking to Charley for help including the three late lawyers. But there are those who refuse to acknowledge Charley’s ability to speak with the murder victims, and although her track record at solving the murders and uncovering clues is 100%, the non-believers will be harder to convince. But when all the clues start pointing to a possible connection between a controlling strip-club owner and a human trafficking ring, it is Charley who convinces the others, to allow her to go in undercover. There are several secondary storylines including a domestic abuse case and missing children. And it is Charley who feels the effects of failure when she realizes that all was for not. We get a glimpse into Charley’s past including her step-mother’s anger and Charley’s desperation to save a young man from a brutal beating that could have ended his life. But life has a way of coming full circle, and some of those she has touched, will remember her for what she has done. Darynda Jones use of spunky language, double entendre, and euphemisms will have you laughing and asking….”did she just go there?” And wait til you meet “Danger” and “Will Robinson” & “Beam Me Up “ and “Scotty” snort as well as a whole host of intricately named ‘characters’. Garret Swopes as the detective who loves to hate Charley, adds another dimension to a cast of characters with otherwise fruitful intentions. Angel, as the thirteen year old spirit who remains behind to watch over his mother : Mr. Wong-the other resident in Charley’s apartment, Cookie as Charley’s assistant and BFF, and Charley’s Aunt Lil who makes a ‘mean cup of coffee’. But it is Reyes Farrow that will grab your attention and make you sit up and ask….”what the hell…literally?” Reyes has and will figure prominently in Charley’s life: from the day she was born. But it is her ‘erotic’ dreams of passionate kisses and sexual need that will open Charley to another existence. An existence she never thought would merge. Throughout her life, there has always been another-one who has played guardian and self-appointed executioner whenever and wherever Charley’s life was threatened. Big Bad has always lurked in the corners whenever Charley was in need, but it is his true identity that will push Charley beyond the boundaries of good and evil. And with it comes the knowledge that perhaps she has known who he was-all along. And one should always ask—before taking the devil into your bed!!! But it is Charley’s relationship with Reyes that will open up new possibilities and perhaps end her life-all in the name of heaven. For one is the portal and the other is the key. First Grave on the Right is a great introduction to Darynda Jone’s Charley Davidson Grave series. Written in first person POV, I love how we hear everything Charley thinks. I look forward to Darynda’s cast of characters and spirits, as well as Charley’s extended family. But it is the relationship between Reyes and Charley that forces my eyes open into the wee hours of the morning, hoping to catch another glimpse of what can only be called-perfection in the male of the species.
Date published: 2015-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read Great read not much into racey novels but, when I decided that my interest was peeked I just couldn't put it down. Charley is a spit fire of a detective that leaves you wanting to read straight through cover to cover.
Date published: 2015-03-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Awesome Great read! Couldn't put the book down!
Date published: 2014-09-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wow This is a fantastic book, you have to read this book if you are into all things strange , odd and fantasy.
Date published: 2014-08-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Awesome! My favorite thing is her sarcasm... Charley is so funny.
Date published: 2014-06-27
Rated 3 out of 5 by from First grave Fun ride. Reminded me of Janet Evanovitch's Stephanie Plum series
Date published: 2014-06-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Pretty good. Slow at first...but a strong story.
Date published: 2014-06-15
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Its ok I got lost on what was going on. Not written very Well
Date published: 2014-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from first grave on the right Really a fun book. Great internal monologues, smartass dialogue . Charley is a very lovable, human, supernatural being.
Date published: 2014-04-23
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Fun, paranormal, action reading. Not bad at all. She is fun, story not bad with all paranormal stuff on it. And the guy is hot. I will buy the sequence.
Date published: 2014-03-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun, paranormal, action reading. Edgy, funny, gripping, this book has it all. I loved the character her sens of humour had me laughing. I rate a book on my own 'can't put it down' scale and this one had me facing the new morning bleary eyed and tired, so worth it =)
Date published: 2014-01-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fun, paranormal, action reading. Great start to a wonderful series. Enjoying the characters and the story.
Date published: 2013-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Very good book Funny, entertaining and very well written. Easy to read. Already bought the following books!
Date published: 2013-08-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from First grave on the right Awesome book and will buy the rest in the series.
Date published: 2013-07-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Really enjoyed this series by Darynda Jones Really enjoyed this series.
Date published: 2013-03-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from More than a Paranormal Romance This review was originally posted on my book review website Blood Rose Books (http://j9books.blogspot.com) In the first book in her Charley Davidson series, Darynda Jones introduces readers to the Grim Reaper, but this is not your typical Grim Reaper. Charley Davidson can see dead people, no she really can. She has been able to see dead people since the day that she was born. It was not until later in life that she realized that it was her job to lead and sometimes convince them to go into the light (which just happens to radiate from her). However, convincing them is not always an easy thing, especially when the individual has been murdered. Charley does what she can to help find the murderer, this is where having a father and an uncle on the police force that makes that much easier. It has also been helpful to her father and uncle's career as well when you can actually ask the victim who killed them. When 3 lawyers show up at the same time looking for Charley's assistance, she knows that something big is occurring in her city. If trying to find a mass murdered was not bad enough Charley has noted a shadowy figure that appears to be following her in the realm of the dead, and she can feel that there is something evil about it. This book actually surprised me. I was very worried from the opening paragraphs that this book was going to be a paranormal romance novel and not an Urban Fantasy book. I thought that it was going to be sex scene after sex scene. Well I am glad to say that my first perspective of the book was wrong, not completely wrong but still wrong. Yes there are some sex scenes and innuendo within the book, but they are not as frequent as I thought that they would be. If you are able to get past the first few paragraphs and do not mind a few short sexy scenes and some comments about men's butts then you should be okay. I know I was able to get past these aspects. I have never read a book that had the Grim Reaper as the main character, so that one was new to me therefore, interesting as well. I found the interaction with Charley and the other ghosts very interesting, as there are some ghosts that do not want to cross over, for example Angel. Additionally, it was interesting what some ghosts needed to achieve in order to cross over, and I really like that Charley does everything she can to help them, whether it is helping to solve their murder or putting a well placed note somewhere where someone close to the ghost can find it. Although Jones does not delve too much into what it means to be a Grim Reaper (other than helping people pass over) or how someone is chosen to become the Grim Reaper or if there is even more than one. I am hoping that Jones will explore this further in the other books. I liked Charley as a character, except for two things. First, I do not like her name, really Charley Davidson, it just sounds silly I do now know why authors think they have to come up funny or witty names for a character (another example if J.A. Konrath Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series), what is wrong with a regular name. Secondly, I did not like that any time Charley saw any attractive man, she had to make some sort of comment or thought about how hot the guy was or how nice his butt was, it just became annoying over time. Aside from these aspects I found Charley very witty and caring character, she is more than willing to help out the living and the dead, even if it cuts into her regular life (though I do not think that she knows what regular life is). As I stated above, this book surprised me I thought it was going to be purely a paranormal romance, based upon the first few paragraphs. Therefore, if you have been shying away this book because of that, then you may want to rethink the reading it. I found this book witty, well written and interesting with both the Grim Reaper aspect and the mystery. I will be picking up the second book as I want to see how Jones develops Charley as the Grim Reaper. Enjoy!!!
Date published: 2013-01-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Absolutely love the character of Charley I have two ‘H’ words for you. Hilarious. And Hot. That sums up this book. And really do you need any other reasons to read it? No. No, you don’t. I don’t even understand why you continue to read this review because you should be running to your local bookstore to pick it up or grabbing your e-reader to download it. Seriously, that is how good it is. I am so ecstatic that I found this series. I am also quite happy that I found it with three books already published and a fourth one on the way. Which means I have many days ahead of me filled with Charley Davidson humour. I think that is what really hooks me in with an author when the can easily make you laugh and jealous all at the same time. It makes you think “Damn, that was funny. Why couldn’t I come up with that?”. And Jones is definitely one of those writers. She starts each chapter off with a hilariously random quote like “Guys have feelings too. But like...who cares?”, “When fighting clowns, always go for the juggler.” And how can those extremely simple and awesome quotes not make you laugh? So suffice to say I was hooked from the first page. But, then she adds in these awesome characters. Charley Davidson is one hell of a chick. She has sass, is fluent in all languages including sarcasm, and tries to kick some butt. Heavy on the try. And then lets bring in some of her math skills: “My calculations - allowing for a 12 percent margin of error, based on the radius of the corresponding confidence interval and the surgeon general's warning - concluded that they probably didn't stay behind for the tacos.” Come on. Are you grabbing for the book yet? But, she is above all caring. She does it for the people who have lost someone. She does it for her family. Then there is Reyes. You barely even meet the guy, but you fall in love with him because of all the past that he and Charley have together. And then its like BAM! And now I can’t wait to start the next one. With awesome characters, an interesting take on the afterlife, and a intricately webbed plot Darynda Jones has created a devastatingly addictive series, one that I am not shying away from, more like running towards. Good: Charley: The funniest, ungraceful chick around, who is secretly a genius when it comes to catching bad guys and working with the bed. Come to think of it…maybe she cheated when she graduated at the top of her class…she does always have a lot of dead people around. Interesting. Not to mention she sees to me a little bit of a thief when it comes to ex-boyfriends shirts. Reyes: Hot, hot, hot. He brings the heat. He brings the emotion baggage. He brings the history, and so much more. Garrett: I am torn between him and Reyes for multiple reasons. I know he has a crush on Charley, he just needs to pull his head out of him butt. Well, she needs to stop being so oblivious as well. Bad: Nothing. Nope, nope, nope. Overall (Writing style, story line, and general): Overall the story line was awesome. The multiple story lines that were very well laid out throughout the story did not distract for any aspect of the novel. In fact, they made it all better. Instead of solely focusing on the romantic moments of the book you actually got a plot and a well developed one at that. Darynda Jones is also a writer I am completely jealous of. I rarely come across writers with the humour and style that she has. He writing is along the lines of Rachel Vincent’s in the Shifter series, where there is a lot of action, enough romance, endless bounds of humour that are both well placed and well done, and the characters are all extremely well crafted. Overall this has officially become one of my favourite series. View more of my review and others at my blog: www.mynotsovacantshelf.blogspot.com
Date published: 2012-08-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! While strolling in the store today, looking for something to read, the cover caught my eye and then the storyline descripton on the back, caught my interest. Started reading and could not put it down! The characters capture your attention, and you find yourself engaged, "feeling" their emotions. And the one liners...funny! Fanstastic first book and now anxiously awaiting the next one...and the next one...
Date published: 2011-08-07

Read from the Book

FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT (Chapter One)Better to see dead than be dead.—CHARLOTTE JEAN DAVIDSON, GRIM REAPERI’d been having the same dream for the past month—the one where a dark stranger materialized out of smoke and shadows to play doctor with me. I was starting to wonder if repetitive exposure to nightly hallucinations resulting in earth-shattering climaxes could have any long-term side effects. Death via extreme pleasure was a serious concern. The prospect led to the following dilemma: Do I seek help or buy drinks all around?This night was no exception. I was having a killer dream that featured a set of capable hands, a hot mouth, and a creative employment of lederhosen when two external forces tried to lure me out of it. I did my darnedest to resist, but they were fairly persistent external forces. First, a frosty chill crept up my ankle, the icy caress jolting me out of my red-hot dream. I shivered and kicked out, unwilling to acknowledge the summons, then tucked my leg into the thick folds of my Bugs Bunny comforter.Second, a soft but persistent melody played in the periphery of my consciousness like a familiar song I couldn’t quite place. After a moment, I realized it was the cricketlike chime of my new phone.With a heavy sigh, I pried open my eyes just enough to focus on the numbers glowing atop my nightstand. It was 4:34 A.M. What kind of sadist called another human being at 4:34 in the morning?A throat cleared at the foot of my bed. I turned my attention to the dead guy standing there, then lowered my lids and asked in a gravelly voice, “Can you get that?”He hesitated. “Um, the phone?”“Mmm.”“Well, I’m kind of—”“Never mind.” I reached for the phone and grimaced as a jolt of pain ripped through me, reminding me I’d been beaten senseless the night before.Dead Guy cleared his throat again.“Hello,” I croaked.It was my uncle Bob. He bombarded me with words, of all things, apparently clueless to the fact that predawn hours rendered me incapable of coherent thought. I concentrated super duper hard on concentrating and made out three salient phrases: busy night, two homicides, ass down here. I even managed a reply, something resembling, “What twirly nugget are you from?”He sighed, clearly annoyed, then hung up.I hung up back, pressing a button on my new phone that either disconnected the call or speed-dialed the Chinese takeout around the corner. Then I tried to sit up. Similar to the coherent-thought problem, this was easier said than done. While I normally weighed around 125 … ish, for some unexplainable reason, between the hours of partially awake and fully awake, I weighed a solid 470.After a brief, beached whale–like struggle, I gave up. The quart of Chunky Monkey I ate after getting my ass kicked had probably been a bad idea.In too much pain to stretch, I let a lengthy yawn overtake me instead, winced at the soreness shooting through my jaw, then looked back at Dead Guy. He was blurry. Not because he was dead, but because it was 4:34 A.M. And I’d recently had my ass kicked.“Hi,” he said nervously. He had a wrinkled suit, round-rimmed glasses, and mussed hair that made him look part young-wizard-we-all-know-and-love and part mad scientist. He also had two bullet holes on the side of his head with blood streaking down his right temple and cheek. None of these details were a problem. The problem resided in the fact that he was in my bedroom. In the wee hours of dawn. Standing over me like a dead Peeping Tom.I eyed him with my infamous death stare, second only to my infamous fluster stare, and got a response immediately.“Sorry, sorry,” he said, stumbling over his words, “didn’t mean to frighten you.”Did I look frightened? Clearly my death stare needed work.Ignoring him, I inched out of bed. I had on a Scorpions hockey jersey I’d snatched off a goalie and a pair of plaid boxers—same team, different position. Chihuahuas, tequila, and strip poker. A night that is forever etched at the top of my Things I’ll Never Do Again list.With teeth clenched in agony, I dragged all 470 throbbing pounds toward the kitchen and, more important, the coffeepot. Caffeine would chisel the pounds off, and I’d be back to my normal weight in no time.Because my apartment was roughly the size of a Cheez-It, it didn’t take me long to feel my way to the kitchen in the dark. Dead Guy followed me. They always follow me. I could only pray this one would keep his mouth shut long enough for the caffeine to kick in, but alas, no such luck.I’d barely pressed the ON button when he started in.“Um, yeah,” he said from the doorway, “it’s just that I was murdered yesterday, and I was told you were the one to see.”“You were told that, huh?” Maybe if I hovered over the pot, it would develop an inferiority complex and brew faster just to prove it could.“This kid told me you solve crimes.”“He did, huh?”“You’re Charley Davidson, right?”“That’s me.”“Are you a cop?”“Not especially.”“A sheriff’s deputy?”“Uh-uh.”“A meter maid?”“Look,” I said, turning to him at last, “no offense, but you could have died thirty years ago, for all I know. Dead people have no sense of time. Zero. Zip. Nada.”“Yesterday, October eighteenth, five thirty-two P.M., double gunshot wound to the head, resulting in traumatic brain injury and death.”“Oh,” I said, reining in my skepticism. “Well, I’m not a cop.” I turned back to the pot, determined to break its iron will with my infamous death stare, second only to—“So, then, what are you?”I wondered if your worst nightmare would sound silly. “I’m a private investigator. I hunt down adulterers and lost dogs. I do not solve murder cases.” I did, actually, but he didn’t need to know that. I’d just come off a big case. I was hoping for a few days’ respite.“But this kid—”“Angel,” I said, disappointed that I didn’t exorcise that little devil when I had the chance.“He was an angel?”“No, his name is Angel.”“His name is Angel?”“Yes. Why?” I asked, becoming disenchanted with the Angel game.“I just thought it might have been his occupation.”“It’s his name. And believe you me, he is anything but.”After a geological epoch passed in which single-celled organisms evolved into talk show hosts, Mr. Coffee was still holding out on me. I gave up and decided to pee instead.Dead Guy followed me. They always—“You’re very … bright,” he said.“Um, thanks.”“And … sparkly.”“Uh-huh.” This was nothing new. From what I’d been told, the departed see me as something of a beacon, a brilliant entity—emphasis on the brilliant—they can see from continents away. The closer they get, the sparklier I become. If sparklier is a word. I’ve always considered the sparkles a plus of being the only grim reaper this side of Mars. And as such, my job was to lead people into the light. Aka, the portal. Aka, me. But it didn’t always go smoothly. Kind of like leading a horse to water and whatnot. “By the way,” I said, glancing over my shoulder, “if you do see an angel, a real one, run. Quickly. In the opposite direction.” Not really, but freaking people out was fun.“Seriously?”“Seriously. Hey—” I stopped and twirled to face him. “—did you touch me?” Somebody practically molested my right ankle, somebody cold, and since he’d been the only dead guy in the room …“What?” he said, indignant.“Earlier, when I was in bed.”“Pffft, no.”I narrowed my eyes, let my gaze linger menacingly, then resumed my hobble to the bathroom.I needed a shower. Bad. And I couldn’t dillydally all day. Uncle Bob would stroke.But as I stepped toward the bathroom, I realized the worst part of my morning—the let there be light part—was fast approaching. I groaned and considered dillydallying despite the state of Uncle Bob’s arteries.Just suck it up, I told myself. It had to be done.I placed a shaky hand on the wall, held my breath, and flipped the switch.“I’m blind!” I yelled, shielding my eyes with my arms. I tried to focus on the floor, the sink, the Clorox ToiletWand. Nothing but a bright white blur.I totally needed to lower my wattage.I stumbled back, caught myself, then forced one foot in front of the other, refusing to back down. I would not be stopped by a lightbulb. I had a job to do, dammit.“Did you know you have a dead guy in your living room?” he asked.I turned back to the dead guy, then glanced across the room to where Mr. Wong stood, his back to us, his nose buried in the corner. Looking back at dead guy number one, I asked, “Isn’t that a bit like the pot calling the kettle African-American?”Mr. Wong was a dead guy, too. A teeny-tiny one. He couldn’t have been more than five feet tall, and he was gray—all of him, almost monochrome in his translucence, with a gray uniform of some sort and ash gray hair and skin. He looked like a Chinese prisoner of war. And he stood in my corner day after day, year after year. Never moving, never speaking. Though I could hardly blame him for not getting out more with his coloring and all, even I thought Mr. Wong was a nut job.Of course, the mere fact that I had a ghost in the corner wasn’t the creepiest part, and the moment Dead Guy realized Mr. Wong wasn’t actually standing in the corner, but was hovering, toes several inches from the floor, he’d freak.I lived for such moments.“Good morning, Mr. Wong!” I semi-shouted. I wasn’t sure if Mr. Wong could hear. Probably a good thing, since I had no idea what his real name was. I just named him Mr. Wong in the interim between creepy dead guy in the corner and normal walking-around dead guy he would someday become if I had anything to say about it. Even dead people needed a healthy sense of well-being.“Is he in time-out?”Good question. “I have no idea why he’s in that corner. Been there since I rented the apartment.”“You rented the apartment with a dead guy in the corner?”I shrugged. “I wanted the apartment, and I figured I could cover him up with a bookcase or something. But the thought of having a dead guy hovering behind my copy of Sweet Savage Love gnawed at me. I couldn’t just leave him there. I don’t even know if he likes romance.”I looked back at the newest incorporeal being to grace me with his presence. “What’s your name, anyway?”“Oh, how rude of me,” he said, straightening and walking forward for a handshake. “I’m Patrick. Patrick Sussman. The Third.” He stopped short and eyed his hand, then glanced back up sheepishly. “I don’t guess we can actually—”I took his hand in a firm shake. “Actually, Patrick, Patrick Sussman the Third, we can.”His brows drew together. “I don’t understand.”“Yeah, well,” I said, going into the bathroom, “join the club.”As I closed the door, I heard Patrick Sussman III freak out at last.“Oh, my god. He’s just … hovering.”It’s the simple things in life, and all that crap.*   *   *The shower felt like heaven covered in warm chocolate syrup. Steam and water rushed over me as I inventoried each muscle, adding a mental asterisk if it ached.My left biceps definitely needed an asterisk, which made sense. The asshole in the bar last night wrenched my arm with the apparent intention of ripping it off. Sometimes being a private investigator meant dealing with society’s less-than-savory characters, like a client’s abusive husband.Next, I checked my entire right side. Yep, it ached. Asterisk. Probably happened when I fell against the jukebox. Stealth and grace, I ain’t.Left hip, asterisk. No idea.Left forearm, double asterisks. Most likely when I blocked asshole’s punch.And then, of course, my left cheek and jaw, quadruple asterisks, where my block proved utterly useless. Asshole was simply too strong and too fast, and the punch had been too unexpected. I went down like a drunken cowgirl trying to line dance to Metallica.Embarrassing? Yes. But strangely enlightening as well. I’d never been KO’d before. I thought it would hurt more. Somehow, when you’re knocked senseless, the pain doesn’t show up till later. Then it’s a cold, heartless bitch.Still, I’d made it through the night with no permanent damage. Always a good thing.As I tried to work some of the soreness out of my neck, my thoughts turned to the dream I’d had, the same dream I’d been having every night for a month. And it was proving harder and harder to vanquish the remnants after I woke, the lingering touches, the fog of hunger. Every night in my dreams, a man appeared from the darkest recesses of my mind, as if he’d been waiting for me to fall asleep. His mouth, full, masculine, would sear my flesh. His tongue, like flames across my skin, would send tiny sparks quaking through my body. Then he would dip south, and the heavens would open and a chorus singing hallelujah would ring out in perfect harmony.At first the dreams started small. A touch. A kiss light as air. A smile I could see only in the periphery of negative space, finding beauty where I’d never expected. Then the dreams developed, became stronger and frighteningly intense. For the first time in my life, I’d actually climaxed in my sleep. And not just once. In the last month, I’d come often, on more nights than not, in fact. All at the hands—and other body parts—of a dream lover I couldn’t see, not fully. Yet I knew he was the epitome of sensuality, of male magnetism and allure. And I knew also that he reminded me of someone.I figured my dreams were being invaded, but by whom? I’ve had the ability to see the departed all my life. I had been born a grim reaper, after all. The grim reaper, though I didn’t discover that little jewel until I was in high school. Even so, the departed have never been able to enter my dreams, to make me quake and quiver and, I admit, beg.As far as my ability goes, there’s nothing particularly special about it. The departed exist on one plane, and the human race exists on another, and somehow—whether by freak accident, divine intervention, or psychological disorder—I exist on both. A perk, I suppose, of grim reaperism. But it’s all quite simple. No trances. No crystal balls. No channel surfing the dead from one plane to the next. Just a girl, a few ghosts, and the entire human race. What could be easier?And yet, he was something more, something … not dead. At least he seemed that way. The person in my dreams radiated heat. Dead people are cold, just like in the movies. Their presence will fog your breath, make you shiver, stand your hair on end. But the man in my dreams, the dark, seductive stranger I’d become addicted to, was a furnace. He was like the scalding water rushing over me, sensual and painful and everywhere at once.And the dreams were so real, the feelings and responses his touch evoked so vivid. I could almost feel him now, his hands sliding up my thighs, as if he were in the shower with me at that very moment. I could feel his palms rest on my hips and the length of his hard body press against my backside. I reached behind me, ran my fingers along his steel buttocks as he pulled me onto him. His muscles contracted and released underneath my touch, like the tide’s flow and ebb under the sway of the moon. When I forced a hand between us, slid it down his abdomen to encircle his erection, he hissed in a breath of pleasure and hugged me to him.I felt his mouth at my ear, his breath fan over my cheek. We had never spoken. The heat and intensity of the dreams left little room for conversation.But for the first time, I heard a whispered utterance, faint and almost imperceptible. “Dutch.”My heartbeats skyrocketed, and I jerked to attention, glancing around the shower, searching for ghosts in cracks and crevices. Nothing. Had I fallen asleep? In the shower? I couldn’t have. I was still standing. Barely. I clutched the shower valves to keep myself upright, wondering what in the crazy afterlife had just happened.After steadying myself, I turned off the water and grabbed a towel. Dutch. I’d distinctly heard the word Dutch.Only one person on Earth had ever called me Dutch, once, a very long time ago.FIRST GRAVE ON THE RIGHT Copyright © 2011 by Darynda Jones

Editorial Reviews

"Sexy, sassy . . . Jones's characters, both living and dead, are colorful and endearing. . . . Cheeky charm . . . sarcastic wit." -The Associated Press"Jones's wickedly witty debut will delight aficionados of such humorous paranormals as Casey Daniels's Pepper Martin Mysteries and Dakota Cassidy's Accidental Friends series." -Booklist (starred review)"Jones skillfully establishes the novel's setting and keeps up the pace with plenty of action. And let's be honest--the sex is pretty hot, too. Fans of Sherrilyn Kenyon and other authors of paranormal romance will love this series debut." -Library Journal (starred review)"Fast-talking Charley's wicked exuberance and lust for life will appeal to fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Janet Evanovich and maybe fill a hole for those mourning the recently canceled Ghost Whisperer." -Publishers Weekly"Jones makes a truly memorable debut with her unique tale that is sexy, mysterious, and sarcastically fun!" -RT Books Reviews"It's a fun, sexy, exciting read." -Suspense Magazine"A true paranormal princess has been proclaimed. Bravo Ms. Jones, you have just hit the big time. . . . A brilliant novel . . . Do not walk; run to get your copy of First Grave on the Right when it debuts." -Night Owl Reviews"This book is full of surprises and fun to be had for all. I barely finished this book and already can't wait to visit with Charley Davidson again in the next novel, Second Grave on the Left. First Grave on the Right deserves nothing less than a Five Angel, Recommend Read status." -Fallen Angel Reviews"Hold on to your hats and get comfortable, you won't want to get up for a long, long time as Charley Davidson sweeps you in and holds on tight." -The Romance Reviews"A smashing, award-winning debut novel." -Goodreads"In the currently crowded paranormal world, First Grave on the Right is a bright beacon of originality. Jones writes with a sharp, addictively acerbic sense of humor, and she combines genres with the carefully controlled precision of a master literary mixologist." -Reader to Reader . . ."A fast and fun read [that] will leave you begging for more. Second Grave on the Left is due out in August, and I can't wait." -Fresh Fiction"This book takes a humorous view on the old Grim Reaper cliché. Charley is a smart, enjoyable character with enough snark to keep one laughing even as the plot darkens." -Affaire de Coeur"The best debut novel I've read in years! Hilarious and heartfelt, sexy and surprising . . . I'm begging for the next one!!" -J. R. Ward, New York Times bestselling author of Lover Avenged"I am furiously envious of Darynda Jones and rue the day she came up with this concept, damn her eyes. First Grave on the Right . . . kidnapped me from the first paragraph, and didn't let go until the exceedingly yummy conclusion." -MaryJanice Davidson, New York Times bestselling author of Undead and Unwelcome and Me, Myself and Why?"First Grave on the Right is smart, sharp, and wickedly entertaining. Grab this one." -Jayne Ann Krentz, New York Times bestselling author of Fired Up"First Grave on the Right is witty, darkly thrilling, and oh, so sexy!" -Gena Showalter, New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Whisper"First Grave on the Right is a phenomenal debut! This series opener has it all--rollicking humor, sizzling sexual tension, and a spine-tingling mystery. I'm eagerly awaiting the next Charley Davidson tale!" -Kresley Cole, New York Times bestselling author of Pleasure of a Dark Prince