Eighth Grave After Dark
by Darynda Jones
St. Martin’s Press/Macmillan May 19, 2015
Current availability: Hardcover/e-book/audio | 304 pages/Audio 9 hours
Library Book. No remuneration was exchanged and all opinions presented herein are my own except as noted.
Charley Davidson has enough going on without having to worry about twelve hellhounds hot on her trail. She is, after all, incredibly pregnant and feeling like she could pop at any moment. But, just her luck, twelve deadly beasts from hell have chosen this time to escape onto our plane, and they’ve made Charley their target. And so she takes refuge at the only place she thinks they can’t get to her: the grounds of an abandoned convent. Of course, if hellhounds aren’t enough, Charley also has a new case to hold her attention: the decades-old murder of a newly-vowed nun she keeps seeing in the shadows of the convent.
Add to that the still unsolved murder of her father, the strange behavior of her husband, and Charley’s tendency to attract the, shall we say, undead, and she has her hands full…but also tied. While the angry hellhounds can’t traverse the consecrated soil, they can lurk just beyond its borders like evil sentries, so Charley has been forbidden from leaving the sacred grounds. Luckily, she has her loyal team with her, and they’re a scrappy bunch who won’t let a few thirsty hellhounds deter them.
While the team scours the prophesies, searching for clues on the Twelve, for a way to kill them or at least send them back to hell, Charley just wants answers and is powerless to get them. But the mass of friends they’ve accrued helps. They convince her even more that everyone in her recent life has somehow been drawn to her, as though they were a part of a bigger picture all along. Their presence is comforting. But the good feelings don’t last for long because Charley is about to get the surprise of her crazy, mixed-up, supernatural life….
I love Charley, I really do. Darynda Jones brings this woman to life book after book, always facing huge problems with humor, if not always with dignity. There are few characters so well and completely developed. I think there must be a lot of snark in Darynda herself to write a character who can find something funny in a birth situation. And Reyes, Charley’s husband, is no slouch either.
This novel revolves around a big prophesy that says Charley’s and Reyes’ daughter will bring down Lucifer. I’ve been trying to figure that out since Charley’s pregnancy announced itself. My theory has been that Lucifer will take one look at his grandchild and fall in love and thus he’ll be destroyed. Isn’t that how it is supposed to work?
Yeah, not so much. Turns out that Lucifer is not your average loving grandfather with a videocamera and an armful of stuffed animals. He’s more like a grandpa with an armload of wriggling demonic nightmares.
I’m told there are two kinds of speculative fiction writers: the planner and the [seat of the] pantser. I get the feeling Darynda is a pantser. I never feel her word is fully constructed; it is to some degree and you will get to see that in this story as characters true identities are revealed. But, it’s always some new ability or understanding that pulls Charley et al out of trouble. The mythologies are also very mixed up – which is not necessarily a bad thing. But the unplanned feeling and the mixed mythos combine to make the story line, and this novel in particular, feel messy. This series is more about the characters for me.
It is certainly funny — even the poignant parts are kind of funny.
It’s also got a lot of sexy in it. Charley and Reyes are obviously not worried about harming or scaring the baby!
A lot happens in this storyline although it takes quite some time to get going. I thought too much time was spent on the happy event at the beginning of the book. The side mystery, the living person Charley has to save, does tie nicely into the overall storyline, which is nice because in some series I feel these side stories have no purpose except as filler. And, from the middle to the end many things will happen that completely change the direction of the tale. It’s opened up a new vista for the entire series and I think it will be without giving up the fun we’ve come to expect, even though that could change a little bit.
This is an important book in the series, you will not want to miss it.
Additional retail links are available at the author and publisher sites. I am not affiliated with Amazon.