One measure of a five star review for me is the "out loud" factor; did I cry, gasp or laugh out loud while reading the book? I can tell you there were several gasps, a "holy crap!" and an internal dialog that had me cursing Charley's father, cheering Reyes on and then wanting to strangle the hell out of him. Get it? It's another lame review pun... apologies.
After the last book, Second Grave on the Left, I was wishing for more Reyes (and who isn't). Let me look here (*opens up book*), yep, there he is... page six. Page six people!!!! And compared to the last book, we get a whole lot more Reyes "in the flesh". Charley and Reyes touching flesh!!!! (*brain short circuiting*)
SPOILER FOR PREVIOUS BOOKS IN THE SERIES: Are you wondering if they (*snicker, snicker*) do the deed? Well, I won't tell you! You do realize, though, up to this point Charley and Reyes have not literally had sex yet, right? I'm just saying...
I have a review of Third Grave Dead Ahead in this post somewhere.
Ms. Jones' third installment of the Charley Davidson series is the best one and my favorite of the series. SOP for her books is to have Charley solving one or two cases while dealing with the mystery of Reyes. This time around, Charley has three cases she is working on, and the cases manage to relate perfectly to each other and wrap up into themselves solidly by the end of the book. I love how the cases specifically relate to Charley's life. Note to Charley: there's a message in there, somewhere, about controlling men and your father! Did I mention I'm quite furious with Charley's pops?
We also don't get over inundated with new characters this time around. Obviously, we have new characters for the cases Charley is working. But this book just seemed to be written a bit "tighter" because Ms. Jones' worked with all the characters she already introduced previously. There's even a character re-appearance from First Grave on the Right that gives the reader a bit more insight into Reyes (not spoiling it for you!)
What do I love best about Darynda Jones' writing? Her humor!!! Case in point, here's the very first sentence of the book, "There was a dead clown sitting in my living room." Who starts a book like that but has me laughing out loud and thinking, "Oh, boy, I'm in for a ride"? Well, someone who goes on to write a paragraph describing Charley's predilection for naming food items and having said item sterilized in a microwave so they can't reproduce. But the thing is, Ms. Jones' dials down the humor when necessary. It's not a crutch used to solve everything in Charley's life.
And in this book, things get emotional all the way to the bitter end. I felt like I was dropped off the cliff at the end. Oh, we landed... hard! I just can't wait to see how Charley gets up and comes back swinging for Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4), expected out October 30th, 2012 (PHEW!)