I received an advanced review copy from the publishers via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my opinion in any way.
The Eleventh Grave in Moonlight is the first book I have read from the Charley Davidson series. I was searching for thrillers and fantasy on NetGalley, and the smart, sparkling cover attracted my attention. Of course, the blurb was also exciting enough to hook me in.
Between the two covers, the one with the sparkly shoe attracted my attention. The action-heroine cover is pretty common and doesn’t do much for the book.
The Eleventh Grave in Moonlight turned out to be just the kind I was in the mood for, and then some.
The story started with some short scenes of apparently unrelated incidents that required the investigator Charley Davidson’s interference.
I couldn’t switch off the laughter in my brain from page one. The protagonist spent most of her time stalking suspicious characters, allotting the pieces of furniture celebrity names (I can’t look at my sofa the same way anymore), and tricking her way out of her husband’s prying eyes.
A psychiatrist who didn’t know she was dead, demons and spirits investigating cases, baby-sitting prophesied lords/ladies of the world, a grim-reaper who was trying to come to terms with the fact that she was a mighty God-eater God, the story improved with each chapter.
I was too impatient to see the plot forming as unattached scenes gradually spun into a web of a larger motive with more dominant players. The book boasts a stellar cast of Malevolent Gods, helpful demons, prophecies, religious fanatics, and a Nephilim and a son of Satan being brothers (by abduction).
However, the scenes of a pining mom separated from her two months old child (for the baby’s safety naturally) panting after the brooding dad seemed a bit too made up, too unreal.
The book did explain that the couple had left their daughter in good hands with a demon (read future mate) watching over her, and the father stayed in touch.
There are some benefits of having a celestial form besides a human one.
You can check on your baby and fool around wth your wife and follow her when she ends up in Scotland all of a sudden.
Such things happen when you are a still-adjusting-to-Godliness God.
That’s the beauty of fantasy, isn’t it? Sometimes our imaginations sweep us away from our troubles and let us hope for something all too perfect.
Darynda Jones has artfully blended the real with the unreal as she picked up a group of religious fanatics self-proclaiming as messiahs of God rooting out evil from the human kind.
It happens in every nook and corner of the world, even today.
The zealots abduct children from parents by trickery to execute (read sacrifice) or brainwash them, influencing their young minds to believe in their own evil.
I appreciate the book even more because Ms. Jones performs magic with the story. As mentioned before, I am not accustomed to the author’s style. She has blended humor into a grim topic with such great expertise that the novel never lost my interest.
I cried (a child shows how aware he is of his mother’s grief over his death), laughed (almost every time Charley names a piece of furniture after a celebrity), cringed (the repulsive greed and perverse nature of human beings) and enjoyed myself for all the 320 pages.
The anti-hero love interest of the protagonist, her husband Reyes (one of his many names) is smoking hot. Yes, thank you, Darynda Jones. Who doesn’t need that?
Reyes and Charley’s relationship reminds me of the Eve-Roark chemistry from J.D. Robb aka Nora Robert’s blockbuster In Death series. However, Reyes is more of a hindrance during the first part of the book.
This book ends with a superb twist leaving the much-dreaded cliffhanger.
The sexy smoldering dad jumps into the dimension of Hell and returns as a new being in the same old case.
I have to hunt down the rest of the books now.
Taking away one bohostar for the deliberate convolution of the main story and a lack of a more human touch in terms of a mother (and a father but he was always brooding) missing her two-month-old child. As a book targeted at an adult readership, the maternal aspect should have been a focus.
The Eleventh Grave in Moonlight is for those who like a long crime-thriller series with dark humor.
If you enjoy the tug-of-war between Supernatural and part-human Gods, appreciate a mature husband-wife chemistry between a quirky protagonist with a team of paranormal minions and a fallen God/angel/Son of Satan/Brother of God, you have found a damn good book.
This book is for Mature adults only.