Third Grave Dead Ahead
Third Grave Dead Ahead by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I’d read reviews for this book before reading it and noted the comments about Charley’s interfering father. Aside from one bit of pleading from him in the beginning for Charley to give up her line of work, I couldn’t see what the fuss was about. It did lead to some hilarious observations from Charley about what she might do as an alternative.

However, it’s not until the end of the book when I thought that everything’s done and dusted and everyone’s safe the he springs a surprise of the most unpleasant kind in a totally WTF-ery moment. Out of her immediate family, she’s only just started repairing her relationship with Gemma, her sister. Her evil step-mom? Yeah, so not going to happen. But her father was the one person who she could rely on. Or so we all thought.

I will say that whilst what happens between Charley and her father is a bombshell, it’s not a cliff hanger. It’s more of a continuance of a theme that started in the last book, is used in this and will carry forward into the next one.

Rest assured that like the earlier books, the major plotlines are resolved herein in true Charley style. Which means with a lot of humour, sexiness, actually a fair amount of pain and heartache and gallons and gallons of coffee.

With Charley being a PI, there is a case to solve. This time, Dr. Nathan Yost is searching for his wife who has gone missing after a party with her friends. This case is particularly chilling and given that the villain is revealed quite rapidly, the more that is discovered about their methods, the more urgent it becomes to find the missing woman.

Whilst that is going on there is also the small matter of Reyes Farrow, an anti-hero if ever there was one. Like Charley, I found myself swinging from approving his methods to utterly despising him. Sometimes on the same page!

The only thing that I felt could have had more work was Mistress Marigold, the enigma introduced in the previous book. Whilst the reality was absolutely nothing like Charley and company, or me, were expecting and was hilarious, I was still expecting more in terms of page time.

The rest of the usual crew are there. Her uncle, her annoying shadow but amazing skip tracer; Garrett Swopes and of course, Cookie, Charley’s partner in coffee consumption, neighbour, best friend and employee. No book is complete without a visit to Rocket, of course, which leads to the introduction of a new group of characters; a motorcycle gang. This group has been mentioned previously as Charley tries to avoid them, more specifically, their dogs as she breaks into the place where Rocket, er, inhabits. Her luck runs out this time and we’re introduced to the gang. Hopefully, we’ll see more of them in the future.

I also found the girl with the knife very odd. Well, I would imagine anyone would find a girl with a knife to be odd but what I found even more odd (odder?) was the fact that she just appeared with no explanation. She was just…there. It’s not until the end that the reasons wherefore are explained.

Thinking about it now as I write, the title; Third Grave Dead Ahead isn’t actually used in the book unlike the first two in the series. I’ve loved this series so far and can’t wait until Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet is released.

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