Tuesday 23 July 2013

#CBR5 Books 93-94: "Charley Davidson book 4 and 5" by Darynda Jones

Total page count: 659 pages
Rating: Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet - 4 stars
Fifth Grave Past the Light - 4.5 stars

At the beginning of Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet, a few months have passed since the end of book three, and Charley isn't doing all that well. She's not really left her apartment, which is now stuffed full of boxes full of random useless stuff she's purchased from late night shopping channels. Her best friend/next door neighbour/overqualified personal assistant Cookie has cancelled all her credit cards, and insists on ganging up on her, along with her uncle Bob, and her sister Gemma. They claim that she's suffering a mild case of PTSD (they're right) and they insist that she leave the apartment, and start getting her life back in order. When a desperate young woman shows up on her doorstep claiming someone is trying to kill her, but everyone around her just thinks she's insane, Charley decides that enough is enough, and promises to help. She's decides that the best way out of her financial difficulties is serving Reyes with a hefty bill, since she technically performed the job he hired her to do. Now she just has to find him.

In Fifth Grave Past the Light, Cookie and Charley discover that they have a new neighbour, and it's the drop dead gorgeous Reyes Farrow himself. Charley is hoping to prove to her uncle Bob that Reyes is not the arsonist who's been burning down old buildings all over Albuquerque, but it does seem suspicious that all the same buildings are ones that Reyes at some point lived in, growing up. She's made peace with her father, whose bar, previously mostly a cop hangout, is now a super popular lunching spot for women of all ages. Charley's apartment is slowly filling up with young dead women, all of them blond and killed gruesomely, clearly by the same serial killer. Despite Charley's Reaper powers, she's unable to get any of them to communicate with her, they're too traumatised, even after death. When it seems like Charley's sister Gemma may be the serial killer's next intended victim, it becomes crucial that she discover the killer's identity as soon as possible.

As I said in my previous review, the Charley Davidson books are excellent holiday reads. With each new book, the series becomes more enjoyable. There is great character development and growth in each book, and by now, the regular cast of characters have, as is the case in most series I read and greatly enjoy, become like friends that I just like spending time with on the page. During book five, which was released just a few weeks ago, I was finally also utterly sold on Reyes as a love interest and romantic hero, and my previous reservations have been completely blown out of the water. His story arc over the five books has been very well handled, I'm still convinced that Darynda Jones wanted her readers to be wary of him at first. Over the course of the series, it becomes quite clear that despite everything, Charley is clearly the more powerful in their relationship dynamic, and that Reyes has a lot more to lose if their relationship doesn't work out. I'm now just incredibly frustrated that I've caught up, and will have to wait another year to read more about Charley, Reyes, Cookie, Amber, Garrett and uncle Bob.

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