The Trouble with Twelfth Grave - Darynda Jones

My favourite Grim Reaper is finally back. On the surface, Charley Davidson may look like your average boot-wearing, taco-scarfing, coffee-swilling PI. But that’s her day job. To souls of the dead, she’s a bright light who provides safe passage to the other side. Oh, and turns out she’s a God. You know, like one of those really ancient, powerful beings but with better hair.


There’s never any shortage of weird & wacky cases for her & partner Cookie to solve. But right now Charlie has a more pressing problem. At the end of the last book, she sort of sent her husband to Hell. Literally. Reyes is also a God & it was supposed to be a quick business trip. Just pop down there, clear up a few things & get home in time for dinner. The good news is he’s back. The bad news? While the entity that returned may look like Reyes, lets just say he’s in a really bad mood & Charley’s pretty sure it’s not down to jet lag.


Meanwhile her Uncle Bob has a few weird cases of his own. He’s a detective with the Albuquerque P.D. & the discovery of some oddly burned bodies has him scratching his head. No human could be responsible for the injuries & it’s not long before all eyes turn to Reyes 2.0.


Charley is heartbroken but to tell the truth, she barely recognizes the man she’s loved for eons. He’s always been the dark side to her light but now she has to wonder if there’s anything left of the old Reyes. If not, he’ll have to be taken out & the only one powerful enough to do it is Charley.


That’s the story line in a tiny nutshell. As with the other books, there are multiple subplots & part of the fun is trying to figure out which are related. The regular gang is back & resigned to the fact that sooner or later Charley will drag them into battle against some scary critter intent on wreaking havoc. Dialogue is sharp & frequently hilarious to distract you from the possibility we humans are about to become snack food. Each chapter opens with a “Charleyism”, random snippets of words to live by that always make me smile (I want a throw pillow stitched with: “I never said I’d die without coffee. I said others would.”)


I don’t read a lot of paranormal/urban fantasy but this is one of 3 series that are exceptions to the rule. First, because I’m a fan of writing that is smart. Second, because this author has created an incredible world. The back stories of the characters & how it all works is so intricate & well thought out. That’s why I wouldn’t recommend this as a stand alone.


It’s a mad dash of a story full of colourful characters, action & reveals that further the overall arc of the series.  But that ending…..seriously?!  Guarantees I’ll be in line for #13.