Charley Davidson series written by Darynda Jones is a story about a woman who’s a grim reaper and also a part-time private investigator. The main character – Charley Davidson, helps the police and FBI solve cases with her ability to communicate with the dead people and help them to cross over.
In every single book, Darynda made sure that a little introduction to all of the characters, as well as what has been happening in the previous book, so it should be fine to jump-start from any of the books. However, in my opinion, to enjoy the story, I’d advise you to read them all.
There are Thirteen main stories, four short stories and two novellas in this series which I have listed down below according to the reading order in the series. I also wrote my opinion to each book, and because I didn’t have time to write the synopsis of the books individually except for books one and two, the others are synopsis from Goodreads.
Series Title: Charley Davidson
Author: Darynda Jones
Genres: Fantasy > Paranormal > Grim Reapers
Read Format: Kindle Edition + Ebook
Total Pages: 4,585
Reading Date: 02nd October 2019 ~ 29th November 2019
Book Series In Order
- 1 First Grave on the Right
- 2 Second Grave on the Left
- 3 Third Grave Dead Ahead
- 3.5 For I Have Sinned
- 4 Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
- 5 Fifth Grave Past the Light
- 5.5 Shimmer
- 5.6 Glow
- 6 Sixth Grave on the Edge
- 7 Seventh Grave and No Body
- 8 Eighth Grave After Dark
- 9 The Dirt on Ninth Grave
- 10 The Curse of Tenth Grave
- 10.5 A Very Charley Christmas
- 10.6 Brighter Than the Sun
- 11 Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
- 12 The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
- 13 Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
- 13.5 The Graveyard Shift – Standalone
- 13.6 The Gravedigger’s Son – Standalone
- 13.7 The Graveside Bar and Grill (Expected publication: June 14th 2022)
First Grave on the Right
Charley Davidson was born with a special title, a grim reaper. She sees dead people and helps them cross over to the other side. Besides her full-time job as a beckon for the dead, she works as a part-time investigator for the APD, helping out her uncle Bob to solve cases, which also would help the deceased to cross over when the responsible person is brought to justice.
Charley isn’t scared of the dead people, but there’s one being that terrifies her, the Big Bad! Who always appears in the nick of time and save her life. What is this entity and how does it connect to the hot guy who always appears in her dream? What does he want with Charley? And why can’t she resist him?
I loved this book, the plot twists and the mystery shrouding the Big bad and Reyes was what made me continue reading the story. The characters wise, I loved Charley, she’s sassy, smart and funny. Her best friend Cookie was also a likeable character, she’s efficient as a worker and supportive towards Charley. I wasn’t sure about Reyes yet, didn’t learn much about him in this book, except for all the physical contact he had with Charley.
Second Grave on the Left
Cookie’s friend Mimi has disappeared and believed to be in danger. The only clue Mimi left for Charley was her high school’s friend name who’s a murdered victim. It’s a race against time, and it’s up to Charley’s expertise to find Mimi’s whereabouts and protect her from facing the same fate as her friend.
Meanwhile, Charley also needs to find Reyes Alexander Farrow’s body. The son of Satan, Reyes left his physical body while the demons tortured his body and went to find Charley. However, Reyes refused to let Charley know about his body location, and he rather let his human body die than let Charley walk into the trap set by the demon who wanted her for the portal to heaven.
So much going on in this book, from saving Reyes to finding a missing person, Charley’s duty as a grim-reaper, dodging death, family issues etc. Oh, my world, Charley, my head was spinning while reading your adventure, and I don’t know how you made it, but I salute you. Please also don’t forget to give a pay increase to your efficient receptionist cum best friend, Cookie.
Third Grave Dead Ahead
Paranormal private eye. Grim reaper extraordinaire. Whatever. Charley Davidson is back! And she’s drinking copious amounts of caffeine to stay awake because, every time she closes her eyes, she sees him: Reyes Farrow, the part-human, part-supermodel son of Satan.
Yes, she did imprison him for all eternity but come on. How is she supposed to solve a missing person case, deal with an ego-driven doctor, calm her curmudgeonly dad, and take on a motorcycle gang hellbent on murder when the devil’s son just won’t give up?
Darynda Jones never failed to amaze me with her clever twist on the plot. I got it wrong most of the time when guessing the answer to the solution. I first thought that Swopes would be the guardian, but when they had the incident at the mines, I thought it would be Cookie, but I was wrong again! What a fabulous story! By the way, Charley, I hope you remember to give the bank details to Reyes!
For I Have Sinned
Darynda Jones revisits the sexy, suspenseful world of supernatural shenanigans she created in her Grave series with For I Have Sinned. In this Charley Davidson story, Charley helps a woman find out how she died and gives her the closure she needs to pass through to the other side.
In books one to three, the story was from Charley’s point of view. However, in this short story, the perspective was from a deceased female who couldn’t remember the tale of her life, including her name, and it’s interesting to see what she thought about Charley.
The story itself, as usual, was written beautifully, and the ending was a little touching and sad.
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Sometimes being the grim reaper really is, well, grim. And since Charley’s last case went so awry, she has taken a couple of months off to wallow in the wonders of self-pity.
But when a woman shows up on her doorstep convinced someone is trying to kill her, Charley has to force herself to rise above…or at least get dressed. It becomes clear something is amiss when everyone the woman knows swears she’s insane. But the more they refute the woman’s story, the more Charley believes it.
In the meantime, the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, is out of prison and out of Charley’s life, as per her wishes and several perfectly timed death threats. But his absence has put a serious crimp in her sex life. While there are other things to consider, like the fact that the city of Albuquerque has been taken hostage by an arsonist, Charley is having a difficult time staying away. Especially when it looks like Reyes may be involved.
Just when life was returning to normal, Charley is thrust back into the world of crime, punishment, and the devil in blue jeans in this hilarious fourth instalment in the New York Times bestselling series.
I loved Darynda Jones’s writing style, the creativeness and humour in all of the books in the series I’ve read so far suit me well. In this fourth instalment, it’s mainly about Charley trying to get herself back together after the torture she suffered in the last book.
The support she got from her friend and family helped her too, but I think Reyes did the most job. Anyway, as usual, despite her problem, she still managed to solve cases and be snarky and sassy too. A sneak peeks of what Charley was capable of had made me thirst for more, and I couldn’t wait to find out what was in store for her in the next book.
Note: The new neighbour didn’t surprise me at all because I’d already guessed who would occupy the place.
Fifth Grave Past the Light
Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper. She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire. However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case.
Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason.
When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma is the serial killer’s next target, Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’s help. Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.
The story in this fifth instalment involved a group of ghosts hanging around in Charley’s apartment, which I find quite disturbing and I kept on imagining her situation dealing with so many of them in the closed space.
My favourite scene in this story was the scratching noise underneath her bed, and the brave Charley peek over to find out. The painful scene was when Charley faced the bad guy, it was tough, and I think it’s one of the worst ones she ever had. The sweet scene was when Reyes take care of her and also surprised her with a million-dollar question, and I can’t wait to find out Charley’s answer.
Shimmer is a Charley Davidson Christmas Short Story. For more, the author released Glow, which is the same story but through the eyes of Reyes Farrow.
A little touch on the question asked by Reyes at the end of book five, so if you haven’t read Fifth Grave Past the Light, don’t start this one yet because you will ruin the surprise. This short story is with Charley’s POV. Charley and Reyes talked about Christmas present, and there’s nothing much going on, except for the physical interaction showing just how the two of them glued to one another physically and mentally.
Glow is the sultry short story, Shimmer, as told through the eyes of Reyes Farrow.
From a timeline perspective, it follows after book 5.
The content of this short story is the same as Shimmer, but it’s in Reyes’s POV, which would be the first time we ever get a glimpse of his mind. The story connected to the question he asked Charley in the book five – Fifth Grave Past the Light, and although Charley didn’t answer it here, still if you haven’t read the mentioned book, and read this one, you won’t be surprised anymore.
In this short story, besides the Christmas present talk and Charley’s new hobby, there’s nothing major going on, just the usual scene 😉😉 which always happened when the two of them got together.
Sixth Grave on the Edge
Few things in life can come between a grim reaper and her coffee, but the sexy, sultry son of Satan is one of them. Now that Reyes Farrow has asked for her hand, Charley Davidson feels it’s time to learn more about his past, but Reyes is reluctant to open up.
When the official FBI file of his childhood abduction lands in her lap, Charley decides to go behind her mysterious beau’s back and conduct her own investigation. Because what could go wrong?
Unfortunately, another case has fallen into her lap—one with dangerous implications. Some very insistent men want Charley to hunt down a witness who is scheduled to testify against their boss, a major player in the local crime syndicate. If Charley doesn’t come up with an address in 48 hours, the people closest to her will start to disappear.
Add to that a desperate man in search of the soul he lost in a card game, a dogged mother determined to find the ghost of her son, and a beautiful, young Deaf boy haunted by his new ability to see the departed as clearly as he sees the living, and Charley has her hands full. The fact that Reyes has caught on to her latest venture only adds fuel to the inferno that he is. Good thing for Charley she’s used to multi-tasking and always up for a challenge…especially when that challenge comes in the form of Reyes Farrow.
I’m so glad that Charley finally decided to get to know Mr Wong, it’s about time she gets to know the resident in her house. Even though I didn’t get the answer to who he was, I’m sure we’ll find out soon!
Operation Punk Ubie was the fun part of this book, though, I’ve already guessed the outcome, it’s still great to see his reaction, and I truly happy for them. In this book, we also learn another one of Charley’s abilities, and I can’t wait for Charley to be in her full glory! Oh, and I’m also nervous for the parents to be, to see how the angels reacted, I’m sure they would face many challenges to bringing up the child into the world.
Seventh Grave and No Body
Twelve. Twelve of the deadliest beasts ever forged in the fires of hell have escaped onto our plane, and they want nothing more than to rip out the jugular of Charley Davidson and serve her lifeless, mangled body to Satan for dinner. So there’s that.
But Charley has more on her plate than a mob of testy hellhounds. For one thing, her father has disappeared, and the more she retraces his last steps, the more she learns he was conducting an investigation of his own, one that has Charley questioning everything she’s ever known about him.
Add to that an ex-BFF who is haunting her night and day, a rash of suicides that has authorities baffled, and a drop-dead sexy fiancé who has attracted the attention of a local celebrity, and Charley is not having the best week of her life.
A tad north of hell, a hop, skip, and a jump past the realm of eternity, is a little place called Earth, and Charley Davidson, grim reaper extraordinaire, is determined to do everything in her power to protect it.
Oh wow, the ending! Although I suspect something’s wrong with Charley’s dad, I didn’t want it to be that way! And their rushed marriage was not what I pictured too! Anyway, why did I feel like the thirteen beasts being Reyes? Where did I come up with the idea, or did I read it from somewhere?
The story is getting much tenser than before with all the new responsibility and having indestructible enemies, but it also means that Charley is getting stronger! Can’t wait to meet Beep!
Eighth Grave After Dark
With twelve hellhounds after her, pregnant Charley Davidson takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. But after months of being cooped up there, Charley is ready to pop. Both metaphorically and literally since she is now roughly the size of a beached whale.
Fortunately, a new case has captured her attention, one that involves a murder on the very grounds the team has taken shelter upon. A decades-old murder of the newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows is almost enough to pull her out of her doldrums.
Charley’s been forbidden to step foot off the sacred grounds. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders. They have the entire team on edge, especially Reyes. And if Charley didn’t know better, she would swear Reyes is getting sick. He grows hotter with every moment that passes, his heat scorching across her skin every time he’s near, but naturally, he swears he’s fine.
While the team searches for clues on the Twelve, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….
Oh my, that was some ending! This book answered so many questions we had in mind from the previous story such as what happened to the biker boys, who’s Mr Wong, who sent the hellhounds, what Charley’s celestial name and her ability and so much more.
It also raises some new questions like Osh and Beep relationship in the future, but the main one in my mind was the strange room. Maybe when they rescued Charley, it would be a safe place where she could hide from the others who could see her bright light?
The Dirt on Ninth Grave
Charley Davidson is living in New York City as Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she begins to realize she can see dead people, she’s more than a bit taken aback.
Strangers who enter the diner where she works seem to know things about her…Then she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. An enemy that will not stop until she is dead.
Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. And the diner’s devastatingly handsome fry cook, who vows to protect her even though he seems to be lying with every breath he takes. But in the face of such grave danger, who can Jane/Charley/whoever she is trust? She will find the truth even if it kills her…or the fry cook. Either way…
This book would have been interesting, full of mystery have I not read it from the beginning. However, because I have been reading from book one continuously, and knew what had happened, it wasn’t fun. So, if you haven’t read all the previous books, you may just read this and catch up with everything.
But come to think of it, all of the previous books also mentioned important events and characters, so it’s fine to start reading from any of the books.
Notes: Charley, don’t forget to take your coat from the laundry!
The Curse of Tenth Grave
As a part-time PI and full-time grim reaper, Charley Davidson has asked a lot of questions throughout her life:
Why can I see dead people?
Who is the hot supernatural entity following me?
How do I get gum out of my sister’s hair before she wakes up?
But, “How do I trap not one malevolent god, but three?” was never among them. Until now. And since those gods are on earth to kill her daughter, she has little choice but to track them down, trap them, and cast them from this dimension.
There’s just one problem. One of the three stole her heart a very long time ago. Can the Razer, a god of absolute death and destruction, change his omniscient spots, or will his allegiances lie with his brothers?
Those are just a few of the questions Charley must answer, and quick. Add to that a homeless girl running for her life, an innocent man who’s been charged with murder, and a pendant made from god glass that has the entire supernatural world in an uproar, and Charley has her hands full. If she can manage to take care of the whole world-destroying-gods thing, we’re saved. If not, well…
Reyes used to love the physical contact with Charley, and the absence of his touch had made Charley think of all the worst possibilities, including Reyes fathering another child.
Besides all their relationship drama, Charley was also being blackmailed by someone who knows too much about her, chased by ghost hunter groups and she also possessed a vital instrument that could trap gods, and she might need to use it against her husband. Just like the previous instalments, there’s always so much going on, and the revelation followed before the story ended always made me ached to read the next one immediately.
A Very Charley Christmas
Exclusive Charley Davidson Short Story featured in the December 2016 newsletter.
Following the loss of Kim, and the birth of their daughter, Beep, Charley and Reyes shared their Christmas memories in this short story told from Charley’s point of view. There’s nothing vital going on in this tale of Christmas, and since I’ve read all the previous instalments, there’s nothing new to learn.
Brighter Than the Sun
All his life, Reyes Alexander Farrow has suffered the torments of the damned. Only one thing has given him hope: the woman who radiates a light that no mortals can see; a light that only the departed can see…
Told from his point of view, BRIGHTER THAN THE SUN chronicles the first time Reyes ever encountered Charley, and how their relationship has been the one thing that can either save him or doom him.
Reyes told his tale in this short story from when he was little, the abuse he suffered and the moments in book one where his incorporeal body travelled to see Charley. It’s quite refreshing to read other characters’ points of view.
However, what was more important was how it left me feeling distraught and worrying about Ubie’s future based on the paragraph below. How could Ubie be sentenced to hell? Reyes, I hope you’re wrong!
I read this book after book 8, following the original sequence, but I found out that there’s a thing that I wasn’t aware of yet, and it left me wondering, which I think it would be better to read right after book 10 when we are aware of it.
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
A typical day in the life of Charley Davidson involves cheating husbands, missing people, errant wives, philandering business owners, and oh yeah…demons, hell hounds, evil gods, and dead people. Lots and lots of dead people.
As a part time Private Investigator and full-time Grim Reaper, Charley has to balance the good, the bad, the undead, and those who want her dead. In this eleventh installment, Charley is learning to make peace with the fact that she is a goddess with all kinds of power and that her own daughter has been born to save the world from total destruction.
But the forces of hell are determined to see Charley banished forever to the darkest corners of another dimension. With the son of Satan himself as her husband and world-rocking lover, maybe Charley can find a way to have her happily ever after after all.
I still couldn’t believe how slow Charley picked up what troubled Ubie. I could see it from miles away. Anyway, I’m glad that it’s all over and he’s safe from the damnation. The ending for this story was heart-wrenching, and I can’t wait to read the next book to find out if Reyes has reverted to his old self or he’s kidding, I hope for the latter though knowing Charley’s luck, it probably not that simple.
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
Ever since Reyes escaped from a hell dimension in which Charley accidentally trapped him, the son of Satan has been brimstone-bent on destroying the world his heavenly Brother created. His volatile tendencies have put Charley in a bit of a pickle.
But that’s not the only briny vegetable on her plate. While trying to domesticate the feral being that used to be her husband, she also has to deal with her everyday life of annoying all manner of beings—some corporeal, some not so much—as she struggles to right the wrongs of society. Only this time she’s not uncovering a murder. This time she’s covering one up.
Add to that her new occupation of keeping a startup PI venture—the indomitable mystery-solving team of Amber Kowalski and Quentin Rutherford—out of trouble and dealing with the Vatican’s inquiries into her beloved daughter, and Charley is on the brink of throwing in the towel and becoming a professional shopper.
Or possibly a live mannequin. But when someone starts attacking humans who are sensitive to the supernatural world, Charley knows it’s time to let loose her razor sharp claws. Then again, her number one suspect is the dark entity she’s loved for centuries. So the question becomes, can she tame the unruly beast before it destroys everything she’s worked so hard to protect?
I hated it! I Freaking hated it! Not about the story tho, it’s about the story coming to an end. With only one more book left, I didn’t have the feeling to read the next book in a hurry even though it’s killing me not to know if Charley could fulfil her promise to Reyes and make it back to earth. I’ll try to savour the last instalment and read it slowly, yeah that’s the plan.
Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
Charley Davidson, Grim Reaper extraordinaire, is pissed. She’s been kicked off the earthly plain for eternity – which is the appropriate amount of time to make a person starkraving mad. But someone’s looking out for her, and she’s allowed to return after a mere hundred years in exile. Is it too much to hope for that not much has changed? Apparently it is. Bummer.
She’s missed Reyes and her daughter, Beep, but now that she’s back on earth, it’s time to put to rest burning questions that need answers. What happened to her mother? How did she really die? Who killed her? And are cupcakes or coffee the best medicine? It all comes to a head in an epic showdown between good and evil in this final smart and hilarious novel.
My dream was tainted by the contents of the book! I stopped reading the story and went to bed right after Reyes and Charley talked about the possibility of them both dying when it’s time for Beep to battle Lucifer. I dream that I was about to die, and I was thinking that I haven’t finished reading the series yet, and if I could bring my Kindle and continue reading when I died!
My thought when I finished reading the story was: Is that it? I wasn’t satisfied with the ending, especially after the last statement by Charley. Anyway, now that I finished this series, I can say that I can’t get enough of the world Darynda had created.
It was very entertaining, I loved the plot twist, the sense of humour, and the likeable characters – Ubie, Cookie, Garrett, Quentin, Amber and last but not least, Angel. However, you may notice that I didn’t include Reyes? Because when I think of Reyes, he’s just a sex god, and a character to complete Charley’s story. He didn’t leave enough imprint in my brain.
The Graveyard Shift
Guarding a precocious five-year-old who is half-human, half-god, and 100% destined to save the world is no easy feat.
Garrett Swopes was the ultimate skeptic until he met a certain hellion and her husband. They vanished after stopping a catastrophic event and left him, a mere mortal, in charge of protecting their gift to mankind. But when she disappears as well, he needs the help of another breed of hellion. One who can see past the veil of space and time. One who betrayed him.
She will get a truce in the deal, but she will never earn his forgiveness.
Marika Dubois’s son—a warrior in the coming war between heaven and hell—was foreseen long before his birth. But to create a child strong enough to endure the trials that lay ahead, she needed a descendant of powerful magics. She found that in Garrett Swopes and tricked him into fathering her son. A ploy he has never forgiven her for. But when he knocks on her door asking for her help, she sees the fierce attraction he tries to deny rise within him.
And Marika has to decide if she dares risk her heart a second time to help the only man she’s ever loved.
The Graveyard Shift is a novella based on Charley Davidson’s world. If you have been following the series, you will be delighted to check on the progress of Beep, aka Elwyn Alexandra Loehr, Garrett Swopes and Marika Dubois in this book.
However, if you want to know how Beep defeats Satan as per the prophecy, you will be disappointed as it’s not yet time for the final battle. Myself included 😂. Please stop teasing us, Darynda Jones. If you’re going to do a spin-off to the series, please do so as soon as possible!
The Gravedigger’s Son
The job should have been easy.
Get in. Assess the situation. Get out. But for veteran tracker Quentin Rutherford, things get sticky when the girl he’s loved since puberty shows up, conducting her own investigation into the strange occurrences of the small, New Mexico town. He knew it would be a risk coming back to the area, but he had no idea Amber Kowalski had become a bona fide PI, investigating things that go bump in the night. He shouldn’t be surprised, however. She can see through the dead as clearly as he can. The real question is, can she see through him?
But is anything that’s worth it ever easy?
To say that Amber is shocked to see her childhood crush would be the understatement of her fragile second life. One look at him tells her everything she needs to know. He’s changed. So drastically she barely recognizes him. He is savage now, a hardened—in all the right places—demon hunter, and she is simply the awkward, lovestruck girl he left behind.
But she doesn’t have time to dwell on the past. A supernatural entity has set up shop, and it’s up to them to stop it before it kills again.
While thousands of questions burn inside her, she has to put her concern over him, over what he’s become, aside for now. Because he’s about to learn one, undeniable fact: she’s changed, too.
The Gravedigger’s Son is a novella focusing on Quentin and Amber, characters we read on Charley Davidson’s world. There’s no mention of Beep in this book and her prophecy. Instead, it’s all about Cookie’s daughter and her high school boyfriend.
As usual, it’s always fun diving into Charley Davidson’s world. Especially this young couple. We get to read their story, fast-forwarded to a few years later, which both are grown up now. I enjoyed their short story, and my only complaint is that it is too short. I want to know what’s going to happen to the Rune citizens. They can’t just forever reside in Quentin!
Updated: 06th March 2022