The Dirt on Ninth Grave (Charley Davidson, # 9)
By: Darynda Jones
Publication: January 12th 2016 by St. Martin's Press
Genre: Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Humor, Mystery
Source: Borrowed from the e-library
Goodreads description--In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.
I was a little unenthused going into The Dirt on Ninth Grave. Charley gets amnesia at the end of Eight. I find that I enjoy amnesia stories when I am learning about a character's past at the same time that they are, but I don't always enjoy stories as much when I know a significant amount of information that the character doesn't. So I worried that I wouldn't enjoy this book as much because it almost felt like starting over at the beginning of the series. Thankfully the cast of characters I've come to love was present much sooner than I expected.
So basically all of the crew shows up in the town that Charley wakes up in. Charley is working as a waitress in a restaurant and the other characters mostly just show up and are hanging around except Cookie who has also gotten a job as a waitress. The others barely interact with Charley at first but slowly do so more and more. Cookie just feels like Charley's new BFF. Charley obviously has the hots for Reyes but she can see he's not just human and tries to keep her distance. You can tell how difficult of a time Reyes is having by letting Charley take her time with things. And seeing his pain at her not recognizing him is evident.
This wouldn't be a Charley Davidson book without several mysteries to solve. And it was fun to see how much of Charley's personality remained despite not remembering her past. Charley obviously doesn't know that she was a private investigator or the grim reaper in the past but her desire to help the living and the dead push her into another case. All the while attracting the unwanted attention of a psychopath.
There were times when I was waiting for Reyes to show up based upon Charley's heightened emotions. At times it seemed like he was still able to read her, but other times I felt sure if he could then he would have shown up. I hated that this wasn't explained because it seemed like a gap or inconsistency at the least.
I also found myself wondering why Charley never questioned the information before her when it came to Cookie and Reyes specifically having a connection with her old self. They both mention someone close to them disappearing. For Reyes his wife and for Cookie her best friend. In Reyes's situation, he mentioned his wife, Charley feels an unexplainable draw to him and she knows she woke up in the alley wearing a wedding ring. Plus Cookie calling her Charley multiple times over the name, Janey, that she has been going by. Even though Charley did question Cookie, I felt like this was explained away too easily. Especially given other things she took note of or overheard.
How Charley did get her memories back was both satisfying and anticlimactic at the same time. I won't discuss more here in an effort not to spoil anything.
And then there was the twist ending. I don't know why but I wasn't surprised in the least. I figure there will be a workaround, but time will tell.
I kind of hate that I put off reading The Dirt on Ninth Grave a few months after finishing book 8 because the ending of the previous book wasn't as fresh in my mind as I'd have liked. Overall my worries over The Dirt on Ninth Grave were for nothing and I was hooked into the story very quickly. The Dirt on Ninth Grave gets 4 Stars. Have you read The Dirt on Ninth Grave? What did you think? Let me know!