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Tina's Reading Books

Genre fiction lover:  Romance, Sci Fi, Fantasy, Mystery, Urban Fantasy

The Dirt on Ninth Grave

The Dirt on Ninth Grave - Darynda Jones

I started reading this book with some hope and some trepidation.

I did not like the last book very much. As a matter of fact over the course of the series I have not been enjoying the overall central arc of Charley discovering what she is. For me the way the story is spooling out feels muddy and not very thoughtful.

If the central story of Charley's origins and her fate felt more ... I dunno... immediate, exciting, cohesive... I would be all over this. In raptures. But instead it feels like it is getting in the way of a good series. I fell in love with the first book. Utterly in love. I was really enjoying the series until i kinda wasn't. I think if this had just been a PNR detective series with all the same personalities and without the the boggy "What is Charley" stuff happening in the middle, I would love it still.

That said, I really enjoyed this installment. You know how when a tv series kinda goes a little off tilt and the next season they do a reset? That is what this felt like. In the aftermath of some really WTF stuff that happened at the end of the previous book (and WTF not in a good way, imo) Charley ends up in Sleepy Hollow, NY with no memory of what or who she is. We meet her as a waitress named Janey Doerr (of course Charley would never be as mundane as to call herself Jane Doe).

She has discovered that she can see dead people. It has taken her awhile to come to terms with that but she manages to roll with it and keep it a major secret from her co-workers. Even though she has no idea who she is, we recognize her still as Charley. She still has her insane love of coffee, her penchant for naming inanimate objects (Hi Denzel!) and her need to help people. I found it interesting that even though she is still Charley, the author managed to mute her somewhat in a believable way. Part of Charley's shtick has always been her outsized personality, her slapstick humor, the way she seems to never take anything too seriously. Her personality is only 1/2 outsized, her humor has been turned down to ten instead of twenty and she is very aware of the seriousness of her situation even though she tries not to dwell on it. It was like seeing Charley through a smoky mirror. I actually liked this smoky mirror Charley.

Of course her team manage to find her and surround her as regulars in the diner she works at. It was nice to see everyone there but also not quite their normal selves and they watch over Charley and wait for her to regain her memories.

I admit, I have not always been a fan of Reyes, but this book made me like him a whole lot. There was a thread of pure romance in this one. Charley has to fall for Reyes all over again not knowing who he is, while he has to stand helplessly by and wait for her to remember him.

A big plus for me is that Charley does some ghost-y stuff in this one which has always been my favorite aspect of the series. She helps solve a couple of ghost related things in satisfying side plots as well as play matchmaker.

I also admit, I liked how the author affected Charley's memory return. It was a good moment of series continuity and rather ingenious.

So this book was a good rebound from a couple of real clunkers