Book Review: ‘The Trouble With Twelfth Grave’ Lives Up To The Hype

“I almost cried when I got my hands on Darynda Jones’ newest novel in the Grave series. She manages to turn books in this series out in under a year, which is music to the ears of her readers.”


Grim Reaper Charley Davidson is back in the twelfth installment of Darynda Jones’ New York Times bestselling paranormal series.

I almost cried when I got my hands on Darynda Jones’ newest novel in the Grave series. She manages to turn books in this series out in under a year, which is music to the ears of her readers. ‘The Trouble with Twelfth Grave’ is a delightful addition to the burgeoning story we have come to love about a sassy Grim Reaper and the son of Satan she fell in love with. More importantly, the book comes with answers to the cliffhangers book eleven taunted us with. Side note: you must read the Grave series in order. Do not start with book twelve when you decide you must read this awesome series. Start with book one, ‘The First Grave on the Right.’

Book eleven left off with Charley losing a coin toss and Reyes entering a hell dimension she wore around her neck. Now in book twelve, when Reyes comes back, he is all god. His human side is gone. I know some women want to make their hubby’s life a living hell, but to send your man to an actual hell? Not Charley’s brightest move. Then again, we Grimlet’s are quite used to Charley filling her cup with mistakes (and coffee). Of course, a few dead bodies show up, is it possible that the god version of Reyes is the killer? Oh, and Charley may have accidentally released the hell dimension on earth. Whoops.

Our bright grim reaper has a full plate. A grandma who wants to know who is haunting her house, Pari might have been involved in the murder of her ex-boyfriend, and Charley plans to rob a blood bank. Not to mention an obstinate Arch Angel who wants her to hurry up and find her stubborn and crafty husband. Being that he, Reyes, can shift from one plane to another with a mere thought, makes Charley’s job a little difficult. Buddy Garrett manages to find a series of children’s books from Indonesia written by a child prophet about Charley and her nefarious boy toy. I’m tired just thinking about all of that happening in a five day period.

Charley’s biggest mystery is figuring out why the god version of her husband keeps popping up in her dreams…when she is awake. Oh, but the sensual scenes are out of this world! Rey’Azikeen isn’t visiting to remind Charley how much chemistry they shared, he is looking for something, and only she knows the location. Charley drops in on her favorite sources, Rocket and Angel, for a little help to solve the mystery of how to find Reyes, the human version, her version, how to solve the murders of Pari’s boyfriend, and why bodies with scorch marks keep showing up all over her city in New Mexico. When all the answers end up being a little too close to home for comfort, Charley has to make some tough decisions for the greater good.

I had to read book twelve twice, which was easy to do as this novel was about fifty pages lighter than the previous novels in the series. Don’t worry, you won’t feel gypped. ‘The Trouble with Twelfth Grave’ is jam-packed with all the murder, mystery, and mayhem we have come to expect from a Charley book. I read the book the first time for quick answers. The second time, I read to absorb. I did notice a few things about book twelve that felt different from the others. Mind you, the first time I read it, I thought this was the final book in the series.

Despite rumors that book twelve would be the last in the series featuring Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper and Private Eye extraordinaire, the last couple of pages most definitely point to book thirteen. It does appear that thirteen will come with an epic finale to the story of this coffee loving hero and all her sidekicks. Let’s hope Darynda Jones has another series bursting to be written down and entertain her extensive fan base.

This book was more dialogue-heavy and seemed to have a harder time wrapping up the loose ends. Reading the second time the connections seemed more founded. I worried about how Jones was going to handle the God aspect of her novel, Reyes is the brother of God, but she handled it with as much respect as makes sense for Charley. Every reference was capitalized and He was not painted in a discourteous light. A bit more reverence could have been added in, but once again, Charley is a god herself and there is no way to know how much respect one god would show another. Something felt like it was missing. I cannot quite put my finger on it, but it was my expectations of what I anticipated in this novel as opposed to what was in there. I had hoped to see a little more of Beep’s story. Also, Reyes was so different this time it threw me for a loop. When Charley forgot who she was she was still Charley. Reyes was sort of the same but felt like such a different creature, which was the point. Either way, Charley just rolled with the punches. She knew she could love him back to his usual Reyes self.

What I loved was watching Charley and the other characters grow. The sarcastic reaper hasn’t yet learned how to be a god. But she has learned more about herself and the people surrounding her. Even Gemma is growing or attempting to grow. At least in this novel, Charley didn’t manage to get herself into a situation a human couldn’t get out of but a god should be able to with a blink of her eye. What a beautiful thing to see her humanity intact and yet see her develop as a god. I am very excited about book thirteen and hope we fans do not have to wait long for the culmination of this epic tale.

Available in bookstores Tuesday, October 3st

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