Note to self: start writing these reviews within a day or two of finishing the book so you don't forget what happens.
Ahem. So I had been looking forward to Fifth Grave since...well, since I read Fourth Grave. It was released July 9 (omg, has it already been over a month???), and I pre-purchased the ebook and downloaded it as soon as it became available (on the eve of July 8 over here on the West Coast). Stayed up all night reading it. Loved it. Loved it. Loved it.
In Fifth Grave Charley investigates a suspected adulterer while attempting to figure out why her dad's bar is suddenly so popular with the town's ladies and what the dead guy at the end of the bar wants and what the dead woman (who turns out not to be dead) is doing showing up as a ghost in her apartment...and why all these ghosts of blonde women have shown up in her apartment and won't do anything but lie curled in the fetal position looking terrified. I found this book to be more disturbing than the previous four due to the circumstances around the dead women, but it wasn't so disturbing as to put me off. Garrett Swopes, Angel and Quentin all make brief appearances, and Charley and Reyes's relationship takes a couple of unexpected turns.
Darynda Jones has written another fast-paced book that skillfully weaves together multiple plot lines. The mysteries will keep you up long past your bedtime, furiously turning pages to find out what happens next, and the sex scenes will turn you into a steamy puddle on the floor.
I highly recommend Fifth Grave Past the Light (and the entire Charley Davidson series) to lovers of paranormal romance.
**Spoiler alert** Do not read beyond this point if you don't want spoilers.
After reading Fourth Grave I was annoyed about several things - for example the fact that Charley seemed to get over her PTSD-related agoraphobia so quickly and the fact that she & Reyes had been angry with each other for most of the series for (usually) no good reason. But I am happy to say that I was far less grumpy after reading Fifth Grave.
What I said I'd be looking for in this book after reading Fourth Grave:
1) Charley comes into her full power or at least makes a big leap. Not really. She does make a leap, but not as big as I had hoped. Regardless, I did not feel disappointed.
2) Pari and/or Garrett are possessed by demons and try to kill Charley. No. In fact, Charley gets a break from the demons all throughout this book. We see Garrett for about two seconds and Pari not at all.
3) We find out what larger roles Quentin, Angel & Mr. Wong have. No. BUT a male ghost that hangs around Charley throughout this book does seem to recognize Mr. Wong, and his reaction suggests that Mr. Wong may not be harmless after all. Eeeee! On the edge of my seat! :D
4) Does Donovan come back to profess undying love? No. But he is mentioned as one of Charley's boyfriends, which makes Reyes jealous. Reyes is so f'ing sexy when he's jealous. No, wait. He's f'ing sexy all the time.
5) Charley reclaims her feminist sass (which I keep reading as "ass" by accident). There's something distinctly feminist about the idea that Charley is quite possibly the most powerful being in the entire universe and Reyes wants nothing more than to support her in claiming that power. That said, I have another linguistic beef: At one point Cookie is said to "man the desk" (or phones or whatever). This is a disappointing (to me) use of patriarchal language in an otherwise overtly feminist book. If you've been reading my reviews, you know what a stickler I am for language; I was super disappointed to see the shift from Charley saying somebody didn't have the ovaries (Book 1) to somebody didn't have the balls (later book), and I'm disappointed by the "man the desk" thing.
As tempted as I am to divulge a few tasty bits of spoiler-type information just for the sake of it, I will refrain in the interest of not spoiling your enjoyment. The only tasty bits you really need to know to understand some of what I'm about to tell you are that a) Reyes proposes marriage to Charley at the end of this book, and b) Rocket tells Charley that Reyes is going to die soon (not sure when)...and that Charley's going to be the one to kill him. (OMG - WHAT?!?) Now, moving on to...
What I'll be looking for in Sixth Grave (release date yet to be announced):
- I predict that Charley's going to say yes, which probably means that something will happen to prevent/forestall the wedding. I mean, it can't just be an easy path, can it. That wouldn't be dramatic enough. The characters must encounter obstacles between now and their HEA...which, let's face it, is probably not going to happen, either. We're talking an epic battle between Hell and...Charley, basically. So it's not going to end on a total up note. I'd be surprised, actually, if Charley lived. But luckily, she & Reyes don't need physical bodies in order to have hot sex.
- Mr. Wong! We have to know more about Mr. Wong!
- Oh yeah, and also: When and how does Reyes die? 'Cause his name did show up on the hospital wall. Perhaps they get married & then Charley kills him on their wedding night? That would be very black widow/praying mantis of her. Not that she'd mean to do it, of course.
- Now that I think about it, I'm guessing that Fifth Grave is kind of the calm before the storm. Charley does almost die (of course), but there are no demons anywhere. So I'm guessing that the shit will really hit the fan in Book 6.
- Seriously. After the sex scene in Fifth Grave where Reyes uses an unnamed kitchen utensil as a sex toy, could the sex even get any hotter? (And yes, I realize that may not sound hot, and if I hadn't read it I'd think I was a little crazy, but it's written in such a way...well, just go read it yourself and tell me if it's hot or not.)