*** Review may contain spoilers for previous installments in series. ***
Charley Davidson is back for her seventh round of cray-cray situations, murder n’ mayhem, and grim reaper pandemonium, only this time her snark is the sole weapon in her arsenal because she has to do it all sans caffeine. Fortunately for her, she has a strong crew of secondary characters at her back, and in this installment she’s going to need every single one of them! This audiobook was emotionally taxing; I went from laughing out loud at the heroine’s lunacy, to weeping with joy about that THING we’ve all been waiting for, to blubbering over the death of one of their own. But, this novel wasn’t just about the feels because it also featured mucho plot threads, wonderful epiphanies, and made some pretty significant mythology headway. The overall experience was rendered even more perfect with the delightful Lorelei King at the narrative reins.
I like listening to these books because they are light, fun, and typically don’t require much thought—ear candy at its best! SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY changed all of that because every chapter, while entertaining, was also crucial to this series’ overall story arc. Charley solved a ten year old case in fifteen minutes, and even though that initial plot thread was quickly overshadowed by several others, it was still super important because it was related to the twelve, and pulled agent Carlson into Davidson’s inner circle. Then, the priest’s minor haunting episode brought Heaven and Hell to the fore by introducing the Vatican and bounty hunter angles. And finally, don’t even get me started on the suicide kidnappings and Silvia Star! There were a lot of seemingly unrelated incidents in this installment, however upon closer inspection every single one was part of the bigger picture. Genius!
Charley never fails to crack me up with her t-shirt sayings, eccentric naming habits, and outlandish sense of humour. Her lack of progression as a character used to frustrate me, but the evolution of her abilities, and that of her sidekicks more than make up for her shortcomings in that area. Cookie was as terrific as always, and it appears as though her daughter, Amber, will play a pivotal role in this story as well. Reyes isn’t quite as evil as he used to be, but both Charley and The Dealer definitely kept him on his toes. I actually got a kick out of Swopes for once, and even Ubie managed to surprise me. There were unfortunately two deaths in this installment; Belvedere’s which was a given (haha!), and one other that broke my heart.
Darynda Jone’s writing style is without a doubt addictive; however it’s Lorelei King’s voice that keeps me coming back for more. She adds a whole new level to Charley with her saucy tone, and uncanny ability to switch from silly to serious in the same breath. I gave this audiobook five stars, but it should be noted that the narrator earned at least one of them all by herself thanks to her A+ delivery. It takes longer to listen than it does to read, yet with King in your ear those extra hours feel like a gift instead of a burden. This novel was one of the most suspenseful in this series to date, and that aspect really came through in Lorelei’s performance via her character voices, and the high impact action scenes.
SEVENTH GRAVE AND NO BODY was audiobook magic, plain and simple!