The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones #Review

The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones #Review
The Dirt on Ninth Grave

One StarOne StarOne StarOne StarHalf a Star

Series: #9 Charley Davidson
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Published by St. Martin's Press
Released on January 12, 2016
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher

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So, this series just ups the ante with each new release.  The end of the last book left me with my mouth open.  I had no idea what was going to happen next.  I love this series with its humor, suspense, world building, but mostly its characters.  There were a lot of reveals in the last book and one big cliffie.  I was tingling with excitement when I held this book in my hands and it did not disappoint.

As I stated, this is a series and this is the ninth book.  These must be read in order.  In fact, if you are reading the series and haven’t read the last book, there may be mild spoilers for you here.  I’ll do my best, but it’s hard to talk about the book without some giveaway stuff.

Alright, so this book opens with Charley living in Sleepy Hollow, New York as a Jane Doe.  She has lost her memories and has no idea who she was before she woke up behind the cafe.  In the last few weeks, she has a job and a place to stay thanks to the lady who owned the cafe.  Janey (what Charley goes by at the moment) knows she is different, but she understands enough not to share her differences even with Cookie her fellow waitress and best friend.  Janey can see and hear dead people, she can see a whole other spirit world overlapping the physical one, she can sense feelings and intent, and she can tell that the enigmatic Reyes Farrow who comes every day to eat at the cafe isn’t human.

While terrified about what she can’t remember or who she might really be, Janey is content with her life.  Dixie her employer is a nice if straight-shooting lady.  Cookie and her husband Robert are her best friends and she feels close to them like family.  She enjoys the daily parade of the Three Musketeers- Garrett Swopes, Osh, and Reyes Farrow- who cause every female to drool and go weak at the knees.  It is the dark shadowy bad boy, Reyes, that has her close attention.  She shouldn’t be attracted to him especially since the few times he bothers to note her existence he looks angry, but she is.

Janey wants to ignore other people’s issues, but there is something in her that won’t let her.  She doesn’t like that two of the other waitresses seem to hate her for no real reason, one of her regulars has the ghost of a stripper hanging around him and he has a weird demon looking thing growing in him, one of her best customers seems to be in danger from terrorists, and she brings food to an old lady living near her along with a homeless man.  Ghosts want her help and a creepy stalker won’t take no for an answer.  But through it all, she doesn’t know why any mention of a baby or mother losing her child brings her to her knees and why no one has come to claim her.  Was she an awful person before she lost her memories?

And so, as you can see, things have taken an interesting turn in the series.  Charley knows nothing and is making her way along by instinct, but she doesn’t realize that everyone who loves her has surrounded her and hopes that she will find her way back to them.  They all understand because professionals like Gemma have made it clear that Charley must regain her memories on her own or it will do a number on her.

It was interesting to read this one.  In a way, it was like a reset back to the beginning when Charley knew so little about her powers and gifts and things were simpler.  But overlaying that is the reader’s knowledge that Charley’s ignorance of who she is and what she can do along with the powerful and dangerous enemies out looking for her and looking to further their agendas causes quite a bit of suspense.

As is usual for a Charley Davidson book, there are many paths that Charley is pursuing that seem impossible for her to follow through and complete.  She keeps so many balls in the air with her usual blend of snark, lucky, and understated skill.  I loved how all the usual characters are very much a part of the story and the reader knows them even if Charley does not.  The sizzling connection between Charley and Reyes is there though she pulls a stunt that I don’t blame Reyes for being angered and hurt by.  She can’t know what she is doing to him by not remembering him and acting like he is a suspicious person, but yeah, it wasn’t easy.  He loves her so much and that clearly shines through.

The ending was breathtaking and yeah, I teared up over one huge loss for the team.  Wow!  It came so suddenly that I had to reread the section to grasp what went down.  I’m still reeling a bit from the overall effect of this book.  Book ten cannot come soon enough.

Urban Fantasy lovers really need to give this series a go and continued series followers will find this a strong segment even if it seems something a bit off the path.

I received this book as both a review request and a prize, but that didn’t affect me posting up my honest thoughts.

Challenges Met:

Romance Roundabout #8 UF
Literary Pickers #8 Nail Polish

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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.


  1. Wow, I need to hurry and start this series. I think this will be one that I binge read 2-3 books in a weekend, like I do the Kate Daniels books. I will be caught up by the time the next book releases for this series. Awesome review!

    1. I pretty much binged books 1-3 which were all that were out at the time. I howled with laughter and loved the UF and mystery elements, too. Oh yes, Kate Daniels was my last years binge series. 🙂

  2. Sophia Rose I’ve seen this book reviewed all over the place and I have vowed to read this series in ’16 Happy Weekend!

  3. I recently read Melanie her review of this book and she really enjoyed it too, maybe it’s time I gave this series a try, I’ve heard a lot of good things about it and I lvoe a good urban fantasy series. The amnesia plot line in this book sounds very interesting and well done, even though normally I am not a fan of amnesia plot lines. Great review Sophia and I am glad you enjoyed this one 🙂

    1. This is quite the unique series because of the way it blends paranormal, mystery, and comedy with the romance taking several books to truly develop. I do enjoy it even if Charley drives me nuts at times with her over the top behavior.

    1. LOL! The skulls are a thing with each series cover because she is the Grim Reaper and solves murder mysteries. I’ve not seen any of the decoration in the foam in person, but it seems cool in pictures.

    1. Yeah, that ending on 8th grave was a lulu. I was glad to have this one. You’re not too far behind. 🙂 I skipped the novella in between and I need to go back for it. Because Reyes…sigh.

    1. Oh, I still hurt for this loss. But sigh, Reyes. He does make up a little for it. He stayed so steady and strong through all this and I loved that even with amnesia she still feels the pull to him.