Don't Fear the Reaper, She Might Make You Laugh—First Grave on the Right Reviewed

Published 29 Apr 2024
by Anca Antoci

Title: First Grave on the Right
Author: Darynda Jones
Released: 01.02.2011
Buy from Amazon
4.03 (read)
Our review:
5.00 (read)

First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones is fun, light urban fantasy. It came highly recommended in one of my favorite Facebook groups, Fans of Urban Fantasy, so I had to give it a try.

Darynda Jones’s “First Grave on the Right” is a super fun urban fantasy book that mixes mystery, romance, and humor in a gripping story.

What I Loved

“First Grave on the Right” is so good at mixing up two mysteries—the murder and the romance—that you won’t be able to put it down. Charley, the protagonist, is a private investigator and a grim reaper, which makes the story more intriguing. She also helps the police as a consultant, so she's always busy.

Charley’s character shines with wit and humor, making her a truly engaging protagonist. The banter is hilarious. The way she interacts with her uncle Angel and best friend Cookie adds depth to her journey and gives us a glimpse into her mind. I also loved all the supernatural elements of the story, but I won’t delve into it because I don’t want to spoil the story for you.

The chapter titles, with their funny t-shirt and bumper sticker slogans, bring some extra charm to the story and lighten things up. The storyline was fresh and original, and the plot twists were unexpected. It had me turning pages like crazy.

I saved this on to add to my review:

Never knock on death’s door. Ring the doorbell, then run. He totally hates that.—T-SHIRT

I may not look like much, but I’m an expert at pretending to be a ninja.—BUMPER STICKER

What Didn’t Resonate With Me

That’s a tough one, because I can’t think of a single thing I didn’t like about it, which is rare because I always find something I wish was different. I’m not saying this book was perfect, but I must have been utterly entertained, that if there was anything less than perfect, it slipped through the cracks.

Maybe there’s a tiny thing that made me chuckle, but I promise you this didn’t pull me out of the story at all. It was the way the spirits (and the supernaturals) see Charley as “sparkly.” I get that it was meant as a beacon, because she was the reaper and the spirits passed through her into the light, but somehow it made me think of Twilight vampires and I doubt that was intentional. Still funny.


Finding humor in the macabre: The novel blends dark and light elements, with Charley Davidson’s profession as a Grim Reaper providing a unique opportunity for gallows humor. Jones uses wit and sarcasm to make death and the supernatural less frightening.

Embracing your individuality: Charley is an outsider, grappling with her gift of seeing ghosts and her unconventional job. The story explores themes of self-acceptance and finding strength in what makes you different.

The nature of good and evil: The presence of Reyes Farrow adds complexity to the concepts of good and evil for reasons I can’t expose without spoiling the end of the story. The lines get blurred, forcing the characters to question their own definitions.

Love and desire amidst the unconventional: The romance between Charley and Reyes is a central theme. It explores the complexities of love that blossoms in unusual circumstances.


In conclusion, “First Grave on the Right” is a must-read for fans of urban fantasy seeking paranormal mystery, romance, and humor. Darynda Jones’s amazing storytelling, along with a badass main character and a vividly imagined world, makes for an engrossing read.

So, if you like urban fantasy with a touch of humor, a sassy female lead and dark, mysteriously, shadowy love interest, give this series a try.

Our final verdict: