My Rating: 4 stars: Enjoyed - strongly recommend (A-)
Review originally posted at That's What I'm Talking About
*Note: In this series, each book builds upon story lines revealed in the previous releases. Therefore, there will be spoilers from the prior three titles in this review. This series is best enjoyed when the books are read in order.
It's been over two months of pajama-wearing, home-shopping-network-watching, never-leaving-her-apartment for our heroine Charley Davison. After being horribly tortured by a crazed killer, then abandoned by her sort-of boyfriend, and finally, at the request of her father, arrested while in the hospital, Charley has spent some downtime avoiding her problems, and who would blame her?
Charley’s life starts to pick up again, in baby steps, after she decides to take a case from a women who thinks someone is trying to kill her. Working on the mystery gets Charley out of her apartment, and we witness her spark begin to return once she starts using her brain for something other than watching TV.
Of course with Charley, nothing is ever linear, and although her case is not tied to her personal life, the two begin to intermingle. She’s got a score to settle with Reyes, she is actively avoiding her father, and she knows something is up with a set of bank robbers she views on the news. Oh, and it seems that there are a bunch of demons taking possession of humans and then trying to kill her.
Fans of Ms. Jones’ Charley Davidson series will be delighted with Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet. We get a lot more of what we love! First, there is Charley’s insanely brilliant humor. Although there are some serious moments, and Charley has been beaten down, she still dishes out the barbs at herself and those around her. Her view and critiques of life are laugh-out-loud hilarious. The humor allows an intimate bond to develop between Charley and the reader, allowing one to empathize with her condition and cause one to root for Charley to succeed. I don’t think I’ve read a more humorous character than Charley Davidson. But beware - her snark isn’t for everyone.
We also get more of Cookie, Charley’s best friend and assistant. Their relationship is so special - the kind one hopes to form in real life. The pair fit together so well - able to lift one another up and laugh at the insanity of life. In addition, there is more of Charley’s once estranged sister, Gemma. Charley is at her best when interacting with those she cares about.
And for those who want it... yes, there is more of the sexy Son of Satan, Reyes. While the pair share some extremely sensual and erotic moments (and yes, they finally get to interact in person!), I have to admit, I'm still not a big Reyes fan. It's not that I want to see Charley with anyone else, although she does have some promising would-be suitors. It's just that Reyes knows Charley can't control herself and her hormones around him, and he uses that - uses her - to suit his own needs. And while he may care deeply about what happens to her - let’s face it: he's an a$$. He expects a certain type of behavior from her, but won't give her the same courtesy with his actions. They have heat, but I just don't feel the emotions, and that is what I want from the pair as a couple.
In addition, there are lots of fun nuggets for those who read the series - we see prophet Sister Mary Elizabeth again. Aunt Lil is over-the-top this time around. And there is some interaction with the sexy motorcycle gang lead by Donovan. But I am disappointed at the lack of face time for one of my favorite characters, Garrett Swopes. Although their scenes were powerful and well-written, I was let down that there wasn’t more resolution over what has happened (read to find out!). I hope his near-death experience from the third book, and any subsequent fallout, gets more play time in the next book.
As Charley goes through the motions of solving the case, she begins her healing, but she still has a ways to go. The case itself was extremely gripping and full of twists that frankly, I just did not see coming. Although the surprises don’t have any ramifications on the overall plot arc, they made for exciting reading!
Importantly, both Charley and Reyes develop and grow. New powers/talents emerge for both Charley and Reyes. We see Charley take charge of her shattered life once again. Because of of these things, Charley takes some questionable actions. In the end, I like Charley, a lot. She's snarky, smart and loving. Her crazy ADD brain and way of thinking are engrossing and entertaining.
Overall, I completely adore the writing style of Darynda Jones. I devoured Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet in a day. It is a funny and smart read, with interesting and well-woven plots. Sure, I guessed early on who was trying to kill Charley's newest client… but I didn't know why. And while I did figure out who Charley’s new neighbor was going to be, it sure was fun watching Charley figure it out. The entire story from beginning to end was a complete joy.