Fifth Grave Past the Light was my introduction to Darynda Jones, Lorelei King and Charley Davidson. I won the audiobook in a Heroes and Heartbreakers giveaway. I gave it 5 stars in my original review 2 years ago and I'm still giving it 5 stars today. The only thing about my original review that turned out not to be true is that I said I would not go back to the beginning of the series. In fact, I have been making my way through the Charley Davidson series in audiobook and when I finished with #4, I decided to re-listen to #5.
My perspective on Charley has changed considerably, knowing more about her past. Not just knowing it, but experiencing it with along with her. The first time I read Fifth Grave, Charley seemed much more easy going. Now, knowing her history, I see her as a bit more seasoned and toughened. I am pleased I have been getting caught up on the series. Oh, you can still enjoy Fifth Grave Past the Light as a standalone. Obviously I did in 2013. But I highly recommend reading the series!
Fifth Grave Past the Light is the story of Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper and private detective who is dating the son of Satan. She helps dead people to cross over - when they are ready. When a couple dozen terrified ghosts take over her apartment, and they aren't ready to move on, nor do they talk to her, Charley has a real mystery on her hands. At the same time, Charley is working cases for and about live people - a cheating husband and an arson case. Talk about a full slate!
Charley is, of course, my favorite character. Oh! To have that perfect thing to say in every situation like Charley always does would be a great superpower. Charley is always irreverent, tells it like it is, is not afraid to snoop and claims to have an attention deficit issue. She surrounds herself with people who are similarly afflicted with a sense of humor.
Charley is not perfect though. She has an addiction to coffee that is so bad that she waxes poetic about it all the time. She says “Coffee was that place where the sun comes up over the horizon and lights the heavens in a burst of vibrant colors.” (Eck!) And she is dating Reyes, the Son of Satan. In previous reviews of other books in this series, I have called Reyes an ass. While he has reformed somewhat in Fifth Grave, I'm not ready to change my opinion. In a critical moment, when Charley asks Reyes for helps (and you know it is super important because Charley usually goes solo), Reyes wants to know what's in it for him. If he really cared about her, he would jump when she asks for help. True?
Uncle Bob (UB) is the hero in this book. UB always has Charley's back, no matter what trouble she finds. Likewise, Charley's best friend Cookie is ever present when Charley needs a friend. UB and Cookie need to hook up because they are characters truly deserving of happiness.
One more character I need to mention is Garret. Things are getting interesting in that there-is-a-big-crisis-on-the-way thing. Garret appears to be a critical player here, but I'm not at all sure what his role is. I'll have to keep reading.
I really liked this book! Mostly because it made me laugh out loud. (Not LOL. You have to spell it out because it was really funny!) There was a lot going on, but it did not get too complicated, with everything mostly and nicely wrapped up at the end. I say 'mostly' because there are all sorts of indications of things to come. That is how a good author writes a series.
Before I end this, I'd like to mention Lorelei King. Ms. King's narration of the Charley Davidson series keeps me coming back for more. When I am listening, I loose all track of time and the next thing you know, the book is done. Lorelei King's delivery is absolute perfection!