Second Grave on the Left

St. Martin's. Aug. 2011. 320p. ISBN 9780312360818. $21.99. CD: Macmillan Audio.
As we learned in First Grave on the Right, winner in manuscript of the RWA 2009 Golden Heart for Best Paranormal Romance, P.I. Charley Davidson works part-time as a grim reaper, escorting the recently deceased upward. Here, she tracks down a missing woman while contending with love-interest Reyes, who happens to be the son of Satan and who's currently left his body behind. Seems that he'd like to avoid being tortured by demons wanting to use him to get to Charley, whom they see as a stepping stone to heaven. First Grave got some nice reviews, and this is getting a nice push, so listen up for fans who like fantasy, romance, and a bit of humor.
PI/Grim Reaper Charlotte "Charley" Davidson, who made a splash in her acclaimed debut, First Grave on the Right, returns in another comic paranormal mystery. In investigating the disappearance of Mimi, a friend of her business partner, Cookie, Charley has an advantage that most sleuths lack—she's able to communicate with the dead. Her investigations reveal that a number of Mimi's former high school classmates have disappeared or died, and the prime suspect is a U.S. senatorial candidate who may have something to hide. Meanwhile, Charley's relationship with sexy Reyes Farrow (also known as the Son of Satan) continues to develop. Reyes has a lot of secrets, but he's about to reveal something so startling that even the Grim Reaper has a tough time accepting it.
VERDICT The Grim Reaper angle makes this an obvious choice for urban fantasy/paranormal fiction readers, but the blend of humor, heat, rapid-fire dialog, and suspense brings to mind a paranormal Stephanie Plum. Charley's second adventure ends on a cliff-hanger, so there's certain to be more to come. [See Prepub Alert, 2/21/11.]—Nanette Donohue, Champaign P.L., IL
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