Author: Darynda Jones
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Release Date: 02/01/11
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Private investigator Charlotte Davidson was born with three things: a smoking hot ass; a healthy respect for the male anatomy; and the rather odd job title of grim reaper. Since the age of five, she has been helping the departed solve the mysteries of their deaths so they can cross. Thus, when three lawyers from the same law firm are murdered, they come to her to find their killer. In the meantime, she's dealing with a being more powerful, and definitely sexier, than any specter she's ever come across. With the help of a pain-in-the-ass skip tracer, a dead pubescent gangbanger named Angel, and a lifetime supply of sarcasm, Charley sets out to solve the highest profile case of the year and discovers that dodging bullets isn't nearly as dangerous as falling in love.
Plot: 5 Stars
Although this wasn't my first grim reaper novel, it's definitely the funniest grim reaper novel I've ever read. Besides a great sense of humor, the novel also had a very upbeat attitude. Most novels revolving around any sort of reaper tend to be very dark, but this novel was pleasantly peppy. There were moments, especially when learning about Charley's past, that could've led to a much darker novel, but she didn't dwell on the past. The way Charley balanced between people who knew about and understood her powers, and those who didn't believe or just didn't know was very interesting. There was a revelation or two near the end that caught me by surprise, and it'll be fun to read how this factors into future novels.
Pace: 4 Stars
For the most part, this novel had a really good pace. Charley's time was was spread across a number of different tasks, that spanned a realistic amount of time. Between all of the investigating and getting into trouble, there was still time for the characters to recouperate and sleep. There were a couple chapters in the middle where the pace lagged for just a bit. It seemed like Charley got into one too many sticky situations, or argued about a part of the case one too many times. But just as it started to slow down, it picked right back up again. Although the novel didn't end in a cliffhanger, it definitely opened up a whole realm of possibility that will leave readers glad that the next book in the series is out in August.
Characters: 4.5 Stars
This novel was filled with great characters. Charley was my favorite character, due to her sense of humor being very similar to mine. She had a number of one-liners that had me laughing out loud, and she balanced the sarcasm very well. Plus, she named her breasts Danger and Will Robinson! What's not to love? The details of how being a reaper works were also very interesting and unique. Cookie, her friend and co-worker, was also hilarious and I hope she has a bigger role in future books. Charley's family dynamic made for a bit on tension. A few of the ghosts or spirits that Charley deals with daily really make the story at times. Between Mr. Wong, the "hellspawn" and Aunt Lily, there's never a dull moment. Garrett was a wild card; I don't know whether to like or dislike him at the moment. Reyes was the epitome of dark and mysterious, and I hope he doesn't stay quite so mysterious moving forward.
Cover: 4.5 Stars
At first, this cover didn't really do it for me. White covers just don't say paranormal to me. Plus, I'm afraid to get them dirty! But after reading the novel, the cover fits Charley and her story very well. The humor mixed with Charley's positive outlook work well with the color. A darker color choice wouldn't have matched the story quite so well. The pinks scattered across the cover also fit very well. The hot pink really seemed to convey the right tone to go along with Charley's attitude and sense of humor. Had the pinks been pastel or fuscia, it just wouldn't be the same. The choice to show the cover model's feet instead of her face was a very interesting choice; it allowed me to picture Charley how I wanted, while still hinting at the main character. And the scythe was a great addition. Without it, there was nothing about the cover to allude to the paranormal.
Overall: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this novel for my own reading pleasure.