Book Review: Second Grave on the Left by Darynda Jones

St. Martin’s Press
307 pp.

In Second Grave on the Left, Our Heroine Charley continues to search for Reyes while trying to solve a missing person case complicated by a string of murders. (Reyes does not want to be found, Charley does not care.) There is also a lot of family drama, multiple threats to Charley, and a ghost in the trunk of her best friend’s car. If that wasn’t enough, something is also going on with Charley’s father, something involving a criminal who blames him for a personal tragedy.

A lot of things happen in this novel, but very little is revealed by the end of it. We do learn a little bit about Reyes and a little more about Charley’s powers but in the end, we end up with more questions than answers. (For instance, we meet another character who seems to have a past history with Charley. The past history in question involves bullying and attempted murder. The really scary part about this is that the character is now a police officer.)

As is often the case with paranormal romances, I am not precisely pleased with some of the developments in this book. Reyes is of the “intensely protective” variety of supernatural boyfriend, and this seems to lead to Reyes keeping Charley in the dark a lot of the time, to the point where he withholds information that Charley needs. (This is extremely exasperating to me on a number of levels.) What I did like was that Charley gets angry about this and other incidents where people are not forthcoming on information that she needs to protect herself, and this is a recurring theme of the book.

Another aspect of the romance angle that I could possibly do without was the implied triangle between Charley, Garrett and Reyes. I find the trope where the character has to choose between two romantic possibilities to be a little boring after millionth or so time it appears. (And, it seems to be a direction the writer is going in, since Garret seems to be stepping up the flirtation in this book.)

This book is very busy with multiple cases that Charley has to solve and situations that she has to deal with. While the book was very readable, I had some trouble keeping up with all of the plot threads. This led to a slightly cluttered, hectic feel that I found to be a little frustrating. (The book is a little short to be packed with so many plotlines, in other words.) I did like the book, though I wish the plotlines had been fewer, or the book longer.

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Filed under Darynda Jones, fantasy, mystery, Review: Book, romance, urban

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