EIGHTH GRAVE AFTER DARK – Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Press (Hardcover)
New Mexico – Present Time
Charley Davidson, aka The Grim Reaper (for real), has decided to hide now that she is pregnant with her first child, and now that twelve hellhounds are after her, her husband, and her sure-to-be-special unborn baby. What with her special skill set of seeing and communicating with dead people, she has developed quite the career as a private detective. Being married to the son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, doesn't hurt either. Nor does her wild cast of wacky friends – both dead and alive. With her due date fast approaching, she and Reyes have had to shift their priorities and seek refuge in the only place where it appears the hellhounds cannot attack them - the abandoned convent. The hellhounds, courtesy of Reyes's real father, are snarling outside the consecrated grounds, just waiting for the opportunity to shred them both to pieces. As a result, everyone is coming to them, so Charley is hosting her uncle's wedding to her BFF. She's hosting several of the dead that have not passed over, and of course, she and Reyes are working non-stop on the meaning of several prophecies concerning their child, and of course again, there is always a new case.
Charley has to work on finding a missing teen, but this time she can't leave the convent. Complication after complication intrude to make Charley's life, well, complicated. But somehow, she feels safe. Reyes is always around now, and he protects her. But as is par for the course in their relationship, their wild and crazy love for each other also means they sometimes withhold information in their effort to keep each other safe. Now Charley's life seems to be spiraling out of control, and Charley has to work very hard to protect her husband, her unborn child, her best friends and herself, while trying to figure out small details like, is her client dead? How did her father die? Why is Reyes sneaking out? How can she open the door in the convent that is sealed?
And many, oh so many more questions.
You get the picture, right? Action, action, action, all encased in snappy, funny dialogue which kept me up all night, furiously reading and reading until the very last word. Then I wished for more, but no matter, I'll reread the first seven books and this one again before the ninth book in the series is (hopefully) published. Charley is a sassy, funny woman a reader cannot help but love even though she exists in a very unbelievable, fantastical world, in which no one is who they appear to be, everyone and everything keeps changing, and there are always twists and surprises. (For example, we finally find out who Mr. Wong really is.) EIGHTH GRAVE AFTER DARK is just one more ingredient in a perfect recipe for a screaming successful series that is impossible not to enjoy, savor and marvel at!
Keep going, Darynda Jones!