I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Eleventh Grave in Moonlight by Darynda Jones
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on January 24, 2017
Source: the library
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Also by this author: Seventh Grave and No Body, Eighth Grave After Dark, First Grave on the Right, The Dirt on Ninth Grave, Third Grave Dead Ahead, The Trouble with Twelfth Grave, Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
Eleventh in the Charley Davidson urban fantasy series and revolving around a hip grim reaper/goddess and her gorgeous satanic husband in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Charley’s session on the shrink’s couch had me going. I kept waiting for the doc to send for the white coats. “Ever since I found out I was a god…” Well, and that comment Charley makes about her plans to take over the world. But don’t worry, she’s taking business classes.
It’s all Charley all the time, so it make sense that the story uses first-person protagonist point-of-view. For the most part, I enjoy Charley’s snarkiness, but then her stupid side always shows up. And that just drives me nuts. Especially that trope in which she refuses to explore what everyone is telling her she can do. Thank god Reyes doesn’t let her get away with it for long.
One the sweet side, I loved it when Ubie demanded the cops do it. Do it now. And he called Amber his daughter. For more laughter (other than Charley’s snark), Osh going undercover is waaay too funny. And there’s more fun with those T-shirts of Charley’s: “In My Defense, I was Left Unsupervised”. I need that one!
On the serious side, there’s another trope. The free will conundrum. I do hate that one, as I would want to save everyone too. And yet I can see Jehovah’s side, too.
With all the hints that get dropped, you know something terrible is looming, as Jones ratchets up the tension, Reyes dropping all these hints about forgiveness, if Charley should remember… Yet one conflict after another gets resolved, and it seems as if all is coming right with the world.
And then there’s those last few paragraphs…oh, man…
Everybody is on Ubie-watch, for Uncle Bob is destined for Downstairs if he follows through with his plans, and there’s a thug gunning for Robert. If Robert dies, it won’t matter what his plans are. And Charley is desperate to keep him alive, if only to keep him out of Hell.
Uncle Bob isn’t the only faced with Hell, for Eidolon is still hunting Beep and tracking Charley. Right along with other nasties threatening those for whom Charlie cares.
Charley “Dutch” Davidson Farrow, a.k.a., Elle-Ryn-Ahleethia, is, yep, she’s married to the hunky Reyes. Anyway, Charley. She’s the grim reaper and, it turns out, a god, the thirteenth one. And we find out more about how she became that thirteenth. Eeep. Her day job is as a private detective with Davidson Investigations. As for Reyes Alexander Farrow, he’s the son of Satan and Jehovah’s little brother (it’s complicated), a.k.a., Rey’aziel, a.k.a., Razer, a.k.a., Rey-azikeen, the god considered the most dangerous of the three brothers.
“By being married to you, I am Satan’s daughter-in-law, Jehovah’s sister-in-law, and Jesus’s aunt by marriage.”
Dr. Gemma Davidson is Charley’s sister. The Loehrs are Reyes’ birth parents; they’re now protecting baby Beep, Charley and Reyes’ baby girl, a.k.a., Elwyn. Kim was Reyes’ sister who died. Misery is Charley’s Jeep; Captain Kirk is the new sofa.
Cookie Kowalski Davidson, Charley’s best friend and receptionist/research assistant, is married to Ubie, a.k.a., Uncle Bob, an Albuquerque detective. Amber, a sensitive, is her teen-aged daughter. Quentin is Amber’s boyfriend. Brandy is her best friend. “Jess” is her undercover friend.
Angel is a thirteen-year-old gang banger who died in 1995 and now works for Charley. Garrett Swopes is their research and development guy — and bounty hunter. Osh’ekiel “Osh” is a Daeva, a slave demon, who is part of Team Beep and has a role to play in Beep’s future. Artemis is a ghost of a Rottweiler who has assigned herself Charley’s guardian.
…a bar and grill Reyes bought from Charley’s dad. It gets REAL popular whenever Reyes is sighted inside. Sammy is the head chef. Valerie is a manager-in-training. Saul. Donnie is the bartender.
Officer Tang will be in charge, if Ubie isn’t back in time. Jimmy is a tech guy. Rebecca Taft, a.k.a., Strawberry Shortcake, is APD Officer David Taft‘s dead sister.
Sister Mary Elizabeth is clairvoyant and can hear the angels speaking. Pari is another friend, a tattoo artist, who can see Charley’s light and between the veils. FBI Agent Kit Carson is yet another friend. ADA Nick Parker (Seventh Grave and No Body, 7, and The Curse of Tenth Grave, 1) still hasn’t come down from his shocks. Rocket is a ghost savant friend of Charley’s who writes the names of everyone who has died on the walls of the former asylum. Bernie and Bertrice Brummel are the lovely couple in Scotland who help Charley out. They have one of those octagon-shaped closets too (Eighth Grave After Dark, 8).
Jehovah has his angels keeping an eye on Charley and Reyes. Michael is the archangel. “William Wallace” is the angel wearing the leather skirt.
“What laws? Remember, this whole gig came with a serious lack of instruction manuals.”
The married, holier-than-thou Eve Bathsheba Foster and her brother, Abraham Boaz Foster (he runs an insurance agency), are the horrors who kidnapped Reyes as a child and then sold him to Earl Walker. Shawn Foster is their “son”.
The People of the Divine Path…
…believe they have been touched by God to ferret out the unholy and destroy them. They kidnap any child whose aura tickles their fancy.
“Evil hiding under the guise of righteousness.”
…was a short-term adoption agency. Karen Claffey had leased them the building. Marley is Karen’s dachshund. Veronica Isom is on trial for murdering her baby, Liana, twenty-five years ago. Her father is a right prat.
Dr. Schwab is…
…a pediatrician where Eve Foster is the office manager. Tiana (Elias is her cousin) works there too. Three-year-old Dawn Brooks had been a patient; now she’s disappeared.
Eidolon is one of the god brothers, a bad one, who’s after Beep and Charley. Grant Guerin is a low-level thug fated to kill Ubie. Valencia, a.k.a., El Tiburon, is a Columbian drug lord who thinks that, if he eats people with any kind of magical power, he’ll absorb it. Joe Stalker has been harassing Amber since The Dirt on Ninth Grave, 9.
Dr. Mayfield is the shrink, and Charley has named her couch Alexander Skarsgⱥrd. Logan is a Native American ghost pranking about Halloween. Cynthia had been his mom. Mr. Hipple is Charley’s business teacher. Poor guy. Curren is the little boy with all those lovely memories. Thea Wold is a classmate of Amber and Brandy’s. Josie is the toughest girl in their school. Brandy’s mother is one nasty, ignorant bitch.
The god glass is contained in a pendant and is a portal to a prison dimension. Kuur is a demon trapped in there (The Dirt on Ninth Grave, 9) along with a nasty god, Mae’eldeesahn. Some of the gods who were eaten include Al-Deesh, Ran-Eth, and Ayn-Eethial.
The Cover and Title
The cover is so gray that you almost miss the tinge of lilac in the smoky background where the focus is on the title in an embossed soft black that covers the upper half of the cover while the author’s name is at the bottom in an embossed white. The graphic is a pale stacked-heel boot with side zipper and its own Grim Reaper tassel on the tab. An “ankle” bracelet encircles the boot with charms of Charley’s signature skulls.
The title gives the sequence of the story in the series, for it’s the Eleventh Grave in Moonlight.