Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet by Darynda Jones

Well this book was a disappointment. It follows the story of Charley Davidson – who died and was reborn as a grim reaper. She wallows in self-pity and is always moaning  about how her last case went so badly.

A woman shows up at her doorstep and she’s convinced that someone is trying to kill her. Charlie manages somehow to get dressed and get involved and sulking about her dwindling sex life after she split up with bad boy Reyes Farrow, son of Satan.

So – from what I’ve told you so far, would you pick this book up?

Maybe? Let me tell you more. The city of Albuquerque has been taken over by an arsonist. It’s supposed to be a funny book but it fell so flat on its ass that I can’t even …

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I wasn’t impressed with Charley’s post traumatic stress or how it was handled — it didn’t feel realistic enough.
There was a nonsensical side plot about a bunch of bank robbers that added nothing to the story. The actual long running arc in the series of Charley being a portal and Reyes being something or other and demons wanting to use Charley to invade heaven/enslave mankind, felt very much like an afterthought. Instead of focusing on the demon invasion, it’s just forgotten about and the bulk of the story is taken up with Charley’s ‘case of the week’

“I didn’t know what to do. How to act. I wanted my sofa—which might or might not go by the name of Sharon—and cheese puffs, but I realized I was going to have to wean off both. Slowly at first. Maybe I’d downgrade to a recliner and cheese crackers, ease off gradually, then try something healthy like cleaning house and eating and apple. I shuddered at the thought. Cheese puffs were so comforting. And they were orange. No, I probably shouldn’t rush into anything. I came up with a plan B. Clean house while easting cheese puffs. Comforting and productive. 

Best bits:

T-Shirt Slogans at the start of each chapter:

Insanity does NOT run in my family. It strolls through, takes its time, and gets to know everyone personally. —T-SHIRT

Drink coffee! Do stupid things faster and with more energy!”

I meant to behave. There were just too many other options.–T-SHIRT

When I want your opinion, I’ll remove the duct tape.–T-SHIRT”

Doing nothing is hard. You never know when you’re done.–T-SHIRT”

You can’t fix stupid, but you can numb it was a 2 by 4.–T-SHIRT

“They were back. The demons in all their glory. And they had a plan. I made plans sometimes, too, but they rarely involved world domination. Hot dogs on a grill, maybe. Tequila.” 

Worst bits:

Humour is eye-rolling bad. Charley doesn’t get hired for the case until page 26. The pages up until then are spent rambling on about Charley’s new spending habits while trying to deal with getting tortured in the previous book. We also get introduced to the ghost of Charley’s aunt, who died sometime in the 60’s and well before Charlie was even born, but doesn’t seem to know it until just that scene, when we get to know her! The aunt has nothing to do with the case, or much of anything later in the book. She is not even funny!

The case Charley was hired to do on page 26 has in it’s entirety maybe 50 pages devoted to it out of 265. You draw your own conclusions from that.
At the end of the book, it is mentioned that Charley solved four cases in one swoop. Hard to believe she did all that just driving around in her car “Misery” recounting what else she named in her life (including her brain and her heart and trying to find a name for her couch).She is starting to sound more like an over the top teenager, then a private investigator with an employee to keep in paychecks.

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