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Last Updated onDarynda Jones is the author of the bestselling Charley Davidson paranormal romantic thriller series and her Darklight young-adult urban fantasy trilogy.
When I first started reading the Charley Davidson series, it sort of partially reminded me of the Ghost Whisperer TV show (with Melinda Gordon who sees dead people and is her job to push them towards the light), partially of Charlaine Harris’ book, and partially of Stephanie Plum, although the writing style is different from anything else I’ve read so far.
Here are the Darynda Jones books in order for her two series. Her new crime mystery trilogy will be added as soon as we have news about the titles.
New Darynda Jones Book
Charley Davidson Series
- First Grave On the Right (Charley Davidson #1), 2011
- Second Grave on the Left (Charley Davidson #2), 2011
- Third Grave Dead Ahead (Charley Davidson #3), 2012
- For I Have Sinned (Charley Davidson #3.5), 2011
- Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet (Charley Davidson #4), 2012
- Fifth Grave Past the Light (Charley Davidson 5), 2013
- Sixth Grave on the Edge (Charley Davidson 6), 2014
- Seventh Grave and No Body (Charley Davidson 7), 2014
- Eighth Grave After Dark (Charley Davidson 8), 2015
- Brighter Than the Sun (Charley Davidson 8.5), 2015
- The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson 9), 2016
- The Curse of Tenth Grave (Charley Davidson 10), 2016
- Eleventh Grave in Moonlight (Charley Davidson 11), 2017
- The Trouble with Twelfth Grave (Charley Davidson 12), 2017
- Summoned to Thirteenth Grave (Charley Davidson 13), 2019
- Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight #1), 2012
- Death, Doom, and Detention (Darklight #2), 2013
- Death and the Girl He Loves (Darklight #3), 2013
Charley Davidson Books Synopsis
First Grave On the Right
Charley Davidson is a young private investigator who’s been helping first her father (an ex-cop) and now her uncle – a current cop – with solving cases, and those cases were always solved. Why? Because besides being a PI, she can also see ghosts – those departed ones that don’t want to cross over. She sees them because she is the grim reaper herself. Once she helps them solve their own issues, they can cross through her. And, of course, the police can solve their cases because who better to tell who the killer is than the dead victim himself (or herself). But Charley has an issue – some dark entity has been attached to her from a very young age and she doesn’t know what it wants with her. All she knows is that the entity is always there when Charley gets into troubles and helps her.
Second Grave on the Left
When Cookie (Charley’s best friend and employee) wakes her up one night and drags her to the local coffee shop to meet Mimi, she explains that Mimi has been missing but now she’s sent her a message to meet at said place. But when the two arrive there, Mimi is nowhere to be found. Instead, Charley find a note on the bathroom wall with the name of a woman. From here starts a new investigation for Charley, one that takes her and Cookie to some shady and dangerous parts of town. Besides that, Charley is also battling an incorporeal Reyes (the son of Satan) who doesn’t want to tell her where his actual body is. But one who is so sensual, Charley can’t get enough of him.
Third Grave Dead Ahead
We meet Charley again, but this time she can’t fall asleep because every time she sleeps, Reyes Farrow is there and things always get heated. And then she also has to do her job as a PI, which currently includes finding a missing person. And what Charley believes is that the guy who reported the woman missing is her killer indeed. And things get really convoluted when Charley’s dad tries to push her to find another job besides being a PI always in danger, and when Charley starts to look into Reyes’s father. Reyes went to prison for killing him, but now it seems the guy’s not dead after all?
Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet
Without spoiling the previous book too much, Charley went through something really nasty, something that now keeps her locked up in her apartment afraid to leave it or do do any PI-ing. And she can’t stop buying everything she can find while watching the teleshop. Now that Reyes is out of prison, something’s got to give. Someone has to help Charley get out of her funk. And what better way than Reyes doing what he knows best.
Fifth Grave Past the Light
So Charley gets a new neighbor: her own love interest, Reyes Farrow who gives her one key for easy entrance to his abode. However, much to her chagrin, her own apartment becomes the home of several (fake) blondes – from children to adult women. Were these women murdered and if yes, how can Charley find out who did this to them? Because she can’t live a life next to Reyes if her home is full with 27 other women.
Sixth Grave on the Edge
So Reyes asked Charley to marry him and Charley doesn’t want to give him an answer just yet. At the same time, Charley learns more about Reyes’s past and his real earthly parents. But she can’t do much about this just yet because someone close to her will die if she doesn’t find out where a particular woman is kept in hiding by the FBI. Charley doesn’t know yet who is the one to die (apparently all her friends are accounted for), but she must help that young woman no matter what. And then who is the Dealer anyway? While Reyes wants to severe his spine, Charley can’t but feel she can trust him for real.
Seventh Grave and No Body
Charley and the gang learn that 12 hellhounds are after her and they could find her any time. After all she glows so strong that every departed can see her from across the globe. So 12 hellhounds won’t have a problem finding her either. The prophecy is grim and it seems all hellhounds are after Charley’s life. That’s why Reyes decides to become Charley’s shadow to save her from any impeding danger. Something that Charley won’t accept without a fight. If that is not enough, Charley’s dad disappeared and she fears he is not on a trip as he made her believe.
Eighth Grave After Dark
Charley is preggers with Reyes’s daughter, so now the two have to find shelter on sacred ground to stay safe from the 12 hellhounds before she gives birth. The daughter is apparently the one to save them all, so Charley must protect her at any cost. But there seems to be something wrong with Reyes as he is getting hotter and hotter. But he says all is well. So Charley involves their cirlce of friends to help. After all, there must be a reason all these good people (some supernatural others not so much) were drawn to become their friends. Something big and bad is coming, and Charley needs to be ready for it.
The Dirt on Ninth Grave
So Charley lost her memory and things got weird. But if I say anything more, I’ll spoil it. Let’s just say that there are those sworn to protect her whether she remembers or not.
The Curse of Tenth Grave
By the 10th book, the series is a bit more serious and sadder than before. Charley’s baby, Beep, is not with her (not spoiling it why) and now Charley and Reyes are not quite where they used to be. The two are hiding things from each other and the air is not clear between them. At all. Besides these things. Charley is still working as a PI to find the real killer of Emery Adams because she believes her fiance is not it, and then there is the case of the young homeless girl with a curse.
Eleventh Grave in Moonlight
Charley is learning more about her ability as a goddess, and now she is finally able to work on the case which once got thrown into her lap of her hubby, Reyes, being abducted as a child. And then her uncle is up to something that Charley can’t figure out. He’s way too secretive. And then the hidden daughter that a certain god wants. And then, of course, Charley’s regular PI job that deals with the paranormal. And then the ending with Reyes…All stuff for one single book.
The Trouble with Twelfth Grave
So Reyes is back from hell, but he is not quite himself. He needs some serious taming from Charley who is all too happy to have him by her side. As for her job, something supernatural is killing gifted people around her, and even her friend, Peri, needs some serious help from her. Of course, Ubie, her cop uncle is on the case as well. And then somebody dies and Charley does what she knows best and has to pay the price. Ouch.
Summoned to Thirteenth Grave
So after what happened in the previous book, Charley is banished from Earth for 100 years, but now she’s back. Reyes is there to greet her and give her the news she missed during this time. All’s good, except he opened a portal that is now used by monster after monster to enter our plane to chew on the citizens of Albuquerque. But besides all this, Charley also has some PI jobs to do, and drink lots and lots of coffee. Sadly this is the last book in the series, so I won’t mention the ending. Let’s just say it does tie things neatly in a curly bow.
Darklight Series Synopsis
Death and the Girl Next Door
Lorelei McAlister is a 16-year-old high school kid living with her grandparents who’s lost her parents some ten years ago. All is well at school and in her life until Cameron Lusk, a loner in the school, begins to stalk her and pop up everywhere she in or at. But then she seems to have two stalkers as newcomer Jared Kovach seems to also have the eyes for her. And Jared seems to have some strange powers and Cameron seems to deeply despise him. This is the first book in the Darynda Jones second series, this time a young-adult one nonetheless.
Death, Doom, and Detention
As it turns out, Lorelei is the last prophet of Arabeth, she can see visions from the past and future, and she is the only person with the ability to stop the war that is coming between the light and the darkness. But to do that, she has to remain safe. This is where both Cameron and Jared come into play. They are both sworn to protect her at all costs.
Death and the Girl He Loves
The last book in the Darklight trilogy by Darynda Jones, the fate of the world hangs on the shoulders of one Lorelei McAlister. So she moves to a boarding school going in hiding, but trouble follows her there as well. She soon realizes that her running away won’t save her family and friends. So she returns and faces the evil from Hell that wants to engulf our own treasured world.
Darynda Jones Biography
Darynda Jones was born in 1965, in Friona, Texas. She grew up in Portales on New Mexico Drive in a house with 5 kids. In her heart, she felt she was always a writer. She would write things on paper even at a young age of 5, things that she would read aloud to her mother. Later on, she would write stories for her brother and the neighborhood kids. At the age of 7, she would write heartfelt stories about Barbie and Ken.
Darynda’s dad died when she was 6, so subconsciously he always had a fascination with death (as her books also show, there is always dying in her stories).
Her more serious story was a postapocalyptic one that she wrote in high school. After graduating, life got in the way, so she had to start working for paying the bills. She got married, had two children (one of whom is deaf), and when the boy was 7, Darynda took the children and moved to Albuquerque to enroll her son to a deaf school so he won’t stay behind everyone else.
During her time living in Albuquerque, she went to college where she learned sign language in order to help her son directly. She graduated from the University of New Mexico with Summa Cum Laude in Sign Language Interpreting. After school, she moved back home where she got several jobs as a teacher and sign interpreter.
In 2002, her life-long dream of becoming a writer came to the forefront again, so she started writing once again. After practicing on three completed manuscripts, she finally got the hang of writing professionally. She managed to sell her debut manuscript to St. Martin’s Press who immediately gave her a 3-book deal.
When she won the Golden Heart award for her initial manuscript, the main character had actually the name Harley Davidson, which later on, when the manuscript was sold, it was changed to Charley Davidson. The idea for the book came to Darynda while she was working as a sign interpreter at home, one morning as she was lying in bed waiting to get her turn to use the shower.
Some of the characters’ names in the Darynda Jones books are taken from names of students in the various schools she taught over the years. The character of Uncle Bob was created with two people in mind: Darynda’s older brother, Luther, and the principal of the high school where she worked for a few years. Also, Quentin’s name comes from Darynda’s younger brother. Also, Quentin is deaf, just like one of Darynda’s children, Jerrdan, who was also born deaf.
One of Darynda Jones’ big dreams was to visit Scotland. She finally managed to tick this off her bucket list after writing Eleventh Grave in Moonlight, her 11th book, which, coincidentally, also brings Charley to Scotland on an adventure.
Over the years, Darynda won several awards for her books, including the Rita Award for Best First Novel for First Grave On the Right in 2012, as well as a Golden Heart award, and a Daphne du Maurier award.
In an interview, Darynda Jones mentioned that her books are there to entertain. She never brings politics to any of her characters’ conversations. They are not there to preach or bring their own political convictions into our lives, and this is something is quite rare from authors today.
While the Charley Davidson ends with book 13, the author has hinted at a spin-off series which could feature Charley’s daughter.
Reading the Darynda Jones books in order for her Charley Davidson series is recommended, although the author did admit that she often tried to make each story stand on its own. For the sake of continuity and character progression and development, it is best to start with First Grave On the Right.
Currently, Darynda Jones lives in New Mexico with her husband and her two boys, while she is working on her next book. While the Darynda Jones books for her Charley Davidson series have ended after the 13th book, the author is currently working on starting other series, with the next one being a contemporary crime mystery trilogy featuring a female sheriff called Sunshine in New Mexico, who has her eyes on a suspect, Levi, for the kidnap of a little girl, but who is also the stuff of Sunshine’s dreams…
Who is Charley Davidson?
Charley Davidson is a part-time investigator, as well as a ghost whisperer (also called grim reaper). When ghosts aka spirits are reluctant to go into the light, Charley has the job to gently guide them through. Sometimes, they go through her without any guidance, at the worst times possible, even waking her up in the middle of the night.
When they have a reason for lingering, when they’ve been murdered or need justice to be done, Charley Davidson is there, once again, to save the day. Because, who else can they turn to if not to the one person who can actually see them? She is the brightest spot across continents for all ghosts to see and be drawn to.
But then, she is also a regular PI who solves cases for the living.
Initially, when I started reading the first book in the Charley Davidson series, I thought of it as a mix of Ghost Whisperer and some Charlaine Harris books. However, as the character grew, now she is more a mix of Stephanie Plum (even the book titles take you to the Stephanie Plum books instantly) and maybe a bit of Buffy.
Charley is quite the sarcastic character. She actually brings this to a new level. She also likes to comment on a word’s different meaning, creating some really fun dialogue in the process.
As the books progress, Charley is developing as a character, although she does keep her sarcasm and her sense of humor intact. She does mature, and her love for Reyes, the son of the Devil, grows along with it.
Praise for Darynda Jones
The grim reaper gets a shiny cook makeover in Jones’s blazing hot debut… will appeal to fans of MaryJanice Davidson and Janet Evanovich. (Publishers Weekly)
Crafty Jones shakes things up in a most diabolical way. As always, there is plenty of the weird and wacky, but there is also a heaping dose of high-stakes drama and poignancy. This is one fantastic read! (RT Book Reviews)
Charley Davidson is back and she is better than ever! Darynda Jones thrills and excites readers with the eleventh book in the Charley Davidson series. (Fresh Fiction)
Narrator Lorelei King once again revels in grim reaper Charley Davidson’s snarky attitude… A variety of different character voices makes King’s narration lively and entertaining. (Audiofile Magazine)