The Dirt on Ninth Grave
Charley Davidson, #9
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Date of Publication: January 12, 2016
Number of pages: 337
In a small village in New York lives Jane Doe, a girl with no memory of who she is or where she came from. So when she is working at a diner and slowly begins to realize she can see dead people, she's more than a little taken aback. Stranger still are the people entering her life. They seem to know things about her. Things they hide with lies and half-truths. Soon, she senses something far darker. A force that wants to cause her harm, she is sure of it. Her saving grace comes in the form of a new friend she feels she can confide in and the fry cook, a devastatingly handsome man whose smile is breathtaking and touch is scalding. He stays close, and she almost feels safe with him around.
But no one can outrun their past, and the more lies that swirl around her—even from her new and trusted friends—the more disoriented she becomes, until she is confronted by a man who claims to have been sent to kill her. Sent by the darkest force in the universe. A force that absolutely will not stop until she is dead. Thankfully, she has a Rottweiler. But that doesn't help in her quest to find her identity and recover what she's lost. That will take all her courage and a touch of the power she feels flowing like electricity through her veins. She almost feels sorry for him. The devil in blue jeans. The disarming fry cook who lies with every breath he takes. She will get to the bottom of what he knows if it kills her. Or him. Either way.
I chose this quote, because it is quintessential Charley, even if she can't remember who she is. Plus, Cookie is the bomb.
I took Mr. P his order while watching Cookie refill her customers’ water glasses. They must’ve been new to the world of Cookie Kowalski-Davidson. She wasn’t the most graceful server. That fact became exceedingly evident when the woman reached over Cookie’s arm to grab a French fry off her beau’s plate. Big mistake. The movement surprised Cookie, and a second later a wall of cold water splashed out of the pitcher and onto the guy’s lap.
When the icy liquid landed, he bolted upright and shot out of the booth. “Holy shit,” he said, his voice cracking, the sudden chill to his twigs and berries taking his breath away.
The horrified look on Cookie’s face was worth the price of admission. “I’m so sorry,” she said, trying to right the situation by blotting the large wet spot at his crotch.
She repeated her apologies, frantic as she poured all of her energy into drying the man’s nether regions. Either that or she was serving off the menu.
The woman opposite him began to giggle, hiding behind a napkin shyly at first, then more openly when she saw her boyfriend’s shocked expression. Her giggles turned into deep belly laughs. She fell across the seat of the booth, her shoulders shaking as she watched Cookie see to her boyfriend’s needs.
Yep, they were definitely new. Most of our customers learned early on not to make any quick movements around Cookie. Of course, most wouldn’t laugh when a waitress tried to service their lunch date either. I liked her.
After several painfully entertaining moments in which my guileless friend changed her technique from dabbing to outright scrubbing, Cookie finally realized she was polishing her customer’s erector set.
She stilled, her face hovering inches from the man’s vitals before she straightened, offered the couple a final apology, and returned to the prep area, her back two-by-four straight, her face Heinz-ketchup red.
I used all my energy to hold back the laughter threatening to burst from my chest like a baby alien, but inside I lay in a fetal position, teary and aching from the spasms racking my body. I sobered when she got close. Cleared my throat. Offered her my condolences. “You know, if you have to keep buying your customers’ meals, you’re going to end up paying the café to work here instead of vice versa.”
She offered a smile made of steel wool. “I am well aware of that, thank you.”
Alright, first off, if you haven't read any of the previous 8 books in the series, go away until you are caught up. There will be series spoilers in this review, because if you haven't read the first 8 books in the series, what are you doing reading this review?? Get thee to a bookstore or library and read the books!! I promise, you won't regret it. Then you can come back and read this.... It's okay. I'll wait. :)
So, the ending to Eighth Grave After Dark left us all hanging when Charlie basically poofed and then reappeared elsewhere with no memory at all. Talk about the mother of all emotionally charged cliff hangers. As soon as I saw this ARC was available, I jumped in with both feet, arms waving wildly and shot off my request. Snoopy dances were held when my approval came through (just sayin) and I couldn't wait to dive in. You know how they say what you do the first day of the new year is what you will be doing all year long? Well, I my friends, was reading this totally awesome book. Bodes well for the rest of my year, no?
I don't want to spoiler this book in any way for those who love Charley, Reyes and the motley crew of friends and family they have collected. All I will say is run, don't walk, to go get this book. There was something about watching Charley not know Reyes, that just ripped out my heart. *hand on my heart* Not gonna lie, I was a bit choked up. It was like Charley was doing penance, trying to change her nature, but her personality and big ole heart couldn't be constrained.
I was torn between rushing through the book and taking it slowly, savoring the read. After listening to the last 4 book in audio format, I have their voices in my head. But I plan on listening to this for a reread later in the year. It was just that good. 5 star read, all the way.
Thanks to Netgalley and St. Martin's Press for the opportunity to read and review this book.