July 18, 2013

Tour Stop: Fifth Grave Past The Light by Darynda Jones

Fifth Grave Past The Light
Charley Davidson 5
Darynda Jones
St. Martin's Press
July 9, 2013
Urban Fantasy

Charley Davidson may not look like your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper, but she has vowed to reap grimness wherever she goes despite this unfortunate fact. Sadly, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. As he is the main suspect in her arson case, she is determined to stay away from him until she can find out the truth. According to her therapist, however, she lacks conviction.

When dead women start appearing in her apartment - lost, confused and terrified beyond reason - Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes's help, especially when it becomes apparent that her own sister Gemma is the serial killer's next target. With his ability to observe incorporeally, surely he can find out who's responsible. And even if he can't, he is 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

Ask me about life after death.
—T-shirt often seen on Charley Davidson,
    a grim reaper with questionable morals

The dead guy at the end of the bar kept trying to buy me a drink.
Which figured. No one else was even taking a second look and I’d
dressed to the nines. Or, at the very least, the eight- and- a-halves.
But the truly disturbing part of my evening was the fact that my
mark, one Mr. Marvin Tidwell, blond real estate broker and suspected adulterer, actually turned down the drink I’d tried to buy

Turned it down!

I felt violated.

I sat at the bar, sipping a margarita, lamenting the sad turn my life
had taken. Especially to night. This case was not going as planned.
Maybe I wasn’t Marv’s type. It happened. But I was oozing interest.
And I wore makeup. And I had cleavage. Even with all that going for
me, this investigation was firmly wedged between the cracks of no and
where. At least I could tell my client, aka Mrs. Marvin Tidwell, that it
would seem her husband was not cheating on her. Not randomly,
anyway. The fact that he could’ve been meeting someone in par tic ular
kept me glued to my barstool.

“C-come here often?”

I looked over at the dead guy. He’d finally worked up the courage
to approach and I got a better view of him. I figured him for the runt
of the litter. He wore round- rimmed glasses and a tattered baseball
cap that sat backwards on top of muddy brown hair. Add to that a
faded blue T-shirt and loosely ripped jeans and he could’ve been a
skater, a computer geek, or a backwoods moonshiner.

His cause of death was not immediately apparent. No stab wounds
or gaping holes. No missing limbs or tire tracks across his face. He
didn’t even look like a drug addict, so I couldn’t tell why he’d died at
such a young age. Taking into account the fact that his baby- faced
features would make him look younger than he probably was, I estimated him to be somewhere around my age when he’d passed.

He stood waiting for an answer. I thought “Come here often?”
was rhetorical, but okay. Not wanting to be perceived as talking to
myself in a room full of people, I responded by lifting one shoulder
in a halfhearted shrug.

Sadly, I did. Come here often. This was my dad’s bar, and while I
never set up stings here for fear of someone I knew blowing my
cover, this just happened to be the very same bar Mr. Tidwell frequented. At least if it came to a knockdown drag- out, I might have
some backup. I knew most of the regulars and all of the employees.

Dead Guy glanced toward the kitchen, seeming nervous before he
refocused on me. I glanced that way as well. Saw a door.

“Y-you’re very shiny,” he said, drawing my attention back to him.

He had a stutter. Few things were more adorable than a grown
man with boyish features and a stutter. I stirred my margarita and
pasted on a fake smile. I couldn’t talk to him in a room full of living,
breathing patrons. Especially when one was named Jessica Guinn, to
my utter mortification. I hadn’t seen her fiery red hair since high
school but there she sat, a few seats down from me, surrounded by a
group of chattering socialites who looked almost as fake as her boobs.
But that could be my bitterness rearing its ugly head.

Unfortunately, my forced smile only encouraged Dead Guy.

“Y-you are. You’re like the s-sun reflecting off the chrome bumper of
a f-fifty- seven Chevy.”

He splayed his fingers in the air to demonstrate, and my heart was
gone. Damn it. He was like all those lost puppies I tried to save as a
child to no avail because I had an evil stepmother who believed all
stray dogs were rabid and would try to rip out her jugular. A fact that
had nothing to do with my desire to bring them into the house.

“Yeah,” I said under my breath, doing my best ventriloquist impersonation,“thanks.”

“I’m D-Duff ,” he said.

“I’m Charley.” I kept my hands wrapped around my drink lest he
decide we needed to shake. Not many things looked stranger to the
living world than a grown woman shaking air. You know those kids
with invisible friends? Well, I was one of those. Only I wasn’t a kid,
and my friends weren’t invisible. Not to me, anyway. And I could see
them because I’d been born the grim reaper, which was not as bad as
it sounded. I was basically a portal to heaven, and whenever someone
was stuck on Earth, having chosen not to cross over immediately after
death, they could cross to the other side through me. I was like a giant
bug light, only what I lured was already dead.

I pulled at my extra- tight sweater. “Is it just me, or is it really warm in here?”

His baby blues shot toward the kitchen again. “Hot is m-more like it. S-so, I— I couldn’t help but notice you t-tried to buy that guy over there a drink.”

I let my fake smile go. Freed it like a captured bird. If it came back to me, it would be mine. If not, it never was. “And?”

“You’re b-barking up the wrong tree with that one.”

Surprised, I put my drink down— the one I bought myself— and leaned in a little closer. “He’s gay?”

Duff snorted. “N-no. But he’s been in here a lot lately. He l-likes his women a little . . . l-looser.”

“Dude, how much sluttier can I get?” I indicated my attire with a sweep of my hand.

“N-no, I mean, well, you’re a l-little—” He let his gaze travel the length of me. “—t-tight.”

I gasped. “I look anal?”

He drew in a deep breath and tried again. “H-he only hits on women who are more s-substantial than you.”

Oh, that wasn’t offensive at all. “I have depth. I’ve read Proust.
No, wait, that was Pooh. Winnie- the- Pooh. My bad.”

He shifted his non ex is tent weight, cleared his throat, and tried again. “More v-voluptuous.”

“I have curves,” I said through a clenched jaw. “Have you seen my ass?”

“Heavier!” he blurted out.

“I weigh— Oh, you mean he likes bigger women.”

“E-exactly, while I on the other hand—”

Duff ’s words faded into the background like elevator music. So Marv liked big women. A new plan formed in the darkest, most corrupt corners of Barbara. My brain.

Cookie, otherwise known as my receptionist during regular business
hours and my best friend 24/7, was perfect. She was large and in
charge. Or well, large and kind of bossy. I picked up my cell phone
and called her.

“This better be good,” she said.

“It is. I need your assistance.”

“I’m watching the first season of Prison Break.

“Cookie, you’re my assistant. I need assistance. With a case. You
know those things we take on to make money?”

Prison. Break. It’s about these brothers who—”

“I know what Prison Break is.”

“Then have you ever actually seen these boys? If you had, you
would not expect me to abandon them in their time of need. I think
there’s a shower scene coming up.”

“Do these brothers sign your paycheck?”

“No, but technically neither do you.”

Damn. She was right. It was much easier to just have her forge my

“I need you to come flirt with my mark.”

“Oh, okay. I can do that.”

Nice. The F-word always worked with her. I filled her in and told
her the deal with Tidwell, then ordered her to hurry over.

“And dress sexy,” I said right before hanging up. But I regretted
the sexy part instantly. The last time I told Cookie to dress sexy for a
much- needed girls’ night out on the town, she wore a lace- up corset,
fishnet stockings, and a feather boa. She looked like a dominatrix. I’d
never been the same.

Purchase Fifth Grave Past The Light

NYTimes and USA Today Bestselling Author Darynda Jones has won numerous awards for her work, including a prestigious Golden Heart®, a Rebecca, two Hold Medallions, a RITA ®, and a Daphne du Maurier, and she has received stellar reviews from dozens of publications including starred reviews from Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, and the Library Journal. As a born storyteller, Darynda grew up spinning tales of dashing damsels and heroes in distress for any unfortunate soul who happened by, annoying man and beast alike, and she is ever so grateful for the opportunity to carry on that tradition. She currently has two series with St. Martin’s Press: The Charley Davidson Series and the Darklight Trilogy. She lives in the Land of Enchantment, also known as New Mexico, with her husband of almost 30 years and two beautiful sons, the Mighty, Mighty Jones Boys.

Stalk her!


  1. Well, that's a near impossible choice to make. Not.

    If I was forced to live in a tropical paradise with only one character for the rest of eternity how could I not choose Reyes Alexander Farrow. I mean come on. Is this even a serious question??

    The man has supermodel looks, mad skills in bed, everything he cooks is to die for, and he can demolish anything that even thinks about invading my personal space. Cause you know there are tons of spiders and snakes and gnats and such on tropical islands.

    So, uh, yeah, my choice for favourite character would be Reyes.

    Cheers! Trayce (@lemonamour)

  2. This is one of my favorite series, but I don't know if I can just pick my favorite character. They all mesh together so well, but I guess it would be Charlie and Ryes...

  3. Charley is my favorite character in the series :)

  4. Only 1? Shoot. Hmmm, let's see....Charlie is the funniest PI.Reaper you will ever read about, whereas Reyes is the freaking cat's pajamas of sexiness.

  5. Charley is my favorite! Thanks for the giveaway!

  6. Favorite character... such a hard one! I love them all... no lies. I think that all the characters combined make these books awesome. Of course someday when I "grow up" I'd love to be like Charley!

  7. My favorite characters (yes I can't pick just one) is Reyes, Charley, Cookie, and Ubie or Uncle Bob!

  8. This series rocks! Fifth Grave was my favorite in the series so far. So looking forward to book 6!

    Good luck to everyone on the giveaway!

  9. Charley of course but Reyes a close second!!!

  10. I absolutely love Charley and Cookie!

  11. Picking one is impossible, I love them all. Charley and Cookie do stand out though. Love them together. The hilarious and sarcastic banter between those two keeps me laughing for days.

  12. Well of course Charley and Reyes are favorites.. but I also love Garret Swopes, he's just awesome

  13. It's a tie between Charley and Reyes followed closely by Cookie and Ubie!

  14. My favorite character is Charley. I love her sassy, witty ways, and her fearless determination. She is such an amazing character.

  15. Can I just say a bunch of the guys!? Reyes, Garrett, the Motorcycle gang guy (feeling like an idiot cause I can't remember his name!)... h.e.double hockeysticks, even some of the ghosts are cute (the clown one)!! LOVE them all!

  16. I haven't read this series yet, so I can't pick a favorite. I do have book 1 in my TBR pile though.

  17. I really need to start this series. I have the first book, just haven't had the time. It's one that seems to hold up as the series progresses, so that's great. I love the Charlie's t-shirt slogan.
    Thanks for sharing!

  18. I have not read the series yet but look forward to it. Thank you for the giveaway.

  19. Do I have to? That's not fair! I guess I'll have to say Charley, she is the boss. Thanks for sharing the excerpt and the giveaway. I love this series.

  20. I honestly love Charley & Cookie together! Those two are hilarious and Reyes, SWOON! Then there's Donovan, Quentin, Garret, Uncle Ubie!
    I just LOVE this series.

  21. That's a hard one because I love them all. Every single one is so quirky and fun but with a lot of heart. A few include Charley, Reyes, Cookie, and Gemma :-)

  22. It's honestly hard to choose because I love them all for different reasons. But who couldn't love Reyes? ;-)

  23. Love them all! I have different things I love about each

  24. Love charley, have to say she's my favorite

  25. Reyes of course! sdylion(at)gmail(dot)com

  26. I adore Cookie and Uncle Bob.

    Love this series! Thanks for the giveaway opportunity.

  27. Never read the series, so I don't have a favorite.

  28. HOW can you ask a question like that I can't pick LOL it's to hard to pick my fav that just can't happen for me love them all the same!


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