The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Charley Davidson has retrograde amnesia in the 9th installment of this fun, fast-paced series. She's working as a waitress in a diner in Sleepy Hollow, NY, using the name Janey Doerr ('cause Jane Doe is so cliche). Her inability to remember her name or anything about her past causes occasional panic attacks, but she does have some new friends to cheer her up and a stalker cop to shoo away, so there's that. Also, there's the fact that she sees dead people, an angel seems to be trying to kill her, and the mundane wintry world co-exists with one of fiery hot winds and desolation which no one else seems able to see. Good thing she's got coffee! Lots and lots of coffee. She'll need it if she's ever going to figure out what is up with her new BFF Cookie calling her "Charley" in moments of stress, the drop-dead gorgeous Reyes who never sits in her section and isn't really human, and the white-eyed old dead woman Janey sees in all photos of her coworker Erin's baby.
I absolutely flew through reading this book--found every excuse to sneak a few minutes to read, even staying up wayyyy too late one night. Even though Janey/Charley doesn't recognize all her friends and family from the previous eight books, readers of the series will enjoy watching her meet and fall in love with them all over again. Especially Reyes--I particularly enjoyed her confusion over her obsession with this man who seemed to hate her and yet was always there, watching out for her. I appreciated the astonishment and resentment Reyes felt toward this woman whom he'd loved for "a thousand and one" years--how could she have forgotten HIM? Likewise, Janey/Charley's heartbreak when she learns that Reyes still loves the wife who left him, and the torment of being unable to walk away like she believes she should do.
This may be my favorite book of the whole series. So far. Can't wait for the next one!!
For readers' advisors: story and character doorways are very strong, as is language doorway (humor). This book had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion. There is some sexual content, but far less than earlier books. There isn't really much violence in this one, as compared with all the supernatural fight scenes of previous installments. What there is isn't terribly graphic. There is a fair amount of profanity, as usual, but it fits the characters.
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