11 February 2016

Title: The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson #9)
Author: Darynda Jones
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
From: ARC from publisher
Format: ARC paperback, 326 pages, January 12th 2016
Add to: Goodreads
Order a copy: Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The Book Depository, Amazon UK

NOTE: This is a Adult novel. Due to mature content this title is recommended for ages 18+

Synopsis: In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.

But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.

Review: 4.5 Stars - Contains spoilers for the Charley Davidson series.

Words cannot describe my excitement for this book. The newest installment in Darynda Jones urban fantasy series, The Dirt of Ninth Grave has been eagerly anticipated since I finished Eighth Grave After Dark. We were left on a cliff hanger after reading a Reyes P.O.V. chapter, and I needed to know what happened next!

At the end of eighth book, Grim Reaper Charley Davidson had almost catalyzed and over spent her powers in her grief and having to send her baby into hiding. She had a breakdown and as such her powers took her elsewhere.

In the beginning of The Dirt on Ninth Grave, Charley is going by the name Janey Doe. She found herself in the alley behind a diner with no memory of who she is or where she’s from. The only thing she knows is that it feels like she’s missing part of herself; to avid readers of the series we know this is her baby who she recently gave birth to.

When she’s rested from her ordeal, the diner owner offers her a job and finds her a place to live. Getting used to the daily grind, the customers and her surroundings while still trying to piece together who she is.

The amnesia thing Charley can almost understand, but the thing she finds weird is that she can see the departed. She doesn’t know why, she just knows she can. No one else seems to notice these things, so Charley just doesn’t mention them.

Mr Vandenberg a regular patron of the diner, is set in his ways, and treasures his shop. Charley is intrigued as to why there are strange men “working” in his antiques business across the street. Never one to stand on the sidelines, Charley decides to investigate why things are awry and we know from past experience, this is going to mean trouble. Supernatural happenings also provide intrigue and entertainment when reading Ninth Grave.

Whilst the reader is aware of the presence of Darynda Jones favourites in this book, Charley is making “new” friends in her work colleagues and patrons to the diner. But at the same time, there is the thought that some are lying, or not being entirely truthful with her. She can feel people’s emotions and unfortunately for Charley negative feelings and worry seem to cloud a lot of her conversations.

It was brilliant to see how Charley interacts with her “new” friends and how their relationships develop.

Cookie started work at the diner around a similar time to “Janey”, so they instantly connected over that. Cookie’s husband Bob is also welcoming to Janey and she feels like she’s known them forever, and she finds she trusts them easily. Cookie couldn’t try to be anything but herself if she tried, I absolutely adore her character.

Garrett, Osh, Angel, Agent Carson and Artemis also making an appearance brought a smile to my face. They’re all trying to subtly help Charley remember who she is without telling her the exact truth.

Reyes, well what can you say about the son of Satan himself. As hot as ever; but this time, he shows a slightly more intense side dare I say it than in previous books. When Charley is describing him, she thinks he hates her, because he’s always so moody and doesn’t smile when she’s about.  I think Reyes is dealing with the internal turmoil of the fact him and his wife have been separated and their baby hidden away for safe keeping.  But at the same time this needed to happen otherwise Charley would have burnt herself out.

It is great to see them flirt and rekindle their love for each other as they start a fresh. In the first few books in the series, all of the Charley and Reyes moments were as intense as they are in this book and I didn’t realize until I read it that this has actually been missing.

When you get to the end of the book and you realize what Reyes went through to pull this off, it truly shows how much he wanted Charley to come back to him.

Never one for a quiet ending, Jones throws in a few scenes with a creepy character who has been mentioned in the book, but I had forgotten about him, focusing on Charley and Reyes. I thought it was all over and she was going to leave us another cliff hanger.
I’m thankful to say she didn’t.

The Dirt on Ninth Grave is a MUST READ for any fans of the Charley Davidson series. I know Lisa is a couple of books away from reading it and I can’t wait to hear what she thinks about it.

Check out the Charley Davidson series if you’re a fan of Jeaniene Frost, Chloe Niell, Stacia Kane or Jennifer Estep.

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