“Sweet,” I said, astounded at my acting skills. I should’ve gone to Hollywood when I had the chance, but when that old man offered to take me that one time at an abandoned gas station in the middle of nowhere, I wasn’t sure I could trust him. Mostly because he had rope, duct tape, and lots of condoms in his backseat. Still, I’ll never know what could have come of it. How far I could have risen.
There are two types of people in the world. Those who hate Charley Davidson, and those who will love her no matter what.
I'm in the latter camp. So take my 4 star with a grain of salt. If you didn't love Charley, you're going to hate this book. If you loved Charley, come on over. There's a lovely little circle of us around a Satanic bonfire, and we have marshmallows, pointy sticks, and Hershey's, because the only time Hershey's chocolate is worth eating is when it's in a S'more. You're free to use the sticks however you so choose. But I digress.
It's like a parent with their fantastically stupid child who they think is the most smartest wittle Einstein in the whole fucking world. Said parents will coo at that idiotic child and say "Ooh, isn't my darwing wittle pooh bear so adowable?! Isn't she?! Isn't she?!" as the idiotic brat is cramming a small Lego up her fucking nose while you're standing by looking on nodding and thinking "One day, my child, you will be blessedly removed from our fucking gene pool. Wait for it."
With Charley Davidson, I'm kind of like that parent. No matter what kind of idiocy comes out of her mouth, no matter how stupid she is, no matter how inappropriately snarky she is, I will still think Charley Davidson is the shit. If she bit off a wee little bunny's head in front of me and then bared her teeth in a bloody grin, I'd stare in shock for a moment, and then stammer out "Well...maybe that bunny was asking for it," and I'm neither a fan of victim blaming nor a bunny hater. Quite the opposite.
I loved this book because I love Charley, but I have to admit that it's one of the weaker ones in the series.
The Plot: It goes all over the damn place. If you want a straight, linear plot, you're not going to find it here. If you haven't read Charley before, don't even think about touching this book because you're not gonna understand a single fucking thing. It'll be like an insider's joke where everyone is laughing at you (not with you).
Charley is a private investigator, albeit a paranormal one. In this book, she's...
- Got an anonymous naked ghost in her car. It's a little hard not to look at his penis because hello, the dude's naked (and old. Not cool.)
The poor guy needed to be done with whatever it was he’d left unfinished. I couldn’t have him running around naked forever. It just seemed wrong.
“I’m having a hard time not looking at your penis.”
- Got a dead Chinese man in her bedroom, and although that wouldn't ordinarily be a problem (I dated a few Chinese guys myself), this one is dead, he's been in her room for as long as she's been there, and now...there's just something off about him.
- Got a client who's sold his soul to the Devil. Literally.
- Probably going to have said Devil as a father-in-law one day, considering her lover and "night-fiancé" Reyes is the son of the devil. Or the spawn of his flesh. More the latter, really. Who knew the Devil didn't like traditional procreation?!
- Had some random ass guys show up in her bedroom in the middle of the night and they're not surprise strippers
- Found out that her man may or may not have a sibling. Oh, hell!
- Trying to deal with an evil stepmother and a dad who's dealing with cancer slash midlife crisis. What else would you call running away to sail off into the Atlantic. With cancer (ok, fine, in remission). Clearly crazy runs in the family.
- Lost roughly $17 million in a card game. Fine, more like $1.7K. It's just a few zeroes off.
- She's trying to hook up her best friend and her uncle, both of whom are making googly eyes at each other, and both are too shy to make a move.
- Trying to prevent a couple of teenagers from doing the Romeo and Juliet thing.
So you can see why this book isn't for everyone. I have to admit, I have the attention span of a peanut. Sometimes a book delivers a million storylines, and I absolutely hate it. Sometimes a book like this happens, and I love it, because I love the character, because I find the situations interesting. Your mileage may vary.
“I tend to forget how beautifully your plans work when each and every one goes awry, including the one that left you stranded on a deserted bridge with a man who had every intention of burning you alive.”
Ok, so Charley kind of has a bit of a hero complex. And I mean "a bit" in the sense that running headfirst into a metal pole is "a bit" painful. She's snarky, she's irreverant, sure. She's also got this overwhelming sense of stupidity that makes her want to rescue every stray soul out there in need of help. Whether it's matchmaking her best friend/receptionist to her uncle, or saving an errant soul from eternal nudity, to playing card games with a demon...she'll do anything necessary.
My heart broke all too often. Even when people passed through me who’d gotten past their hardships, their heart-wrenching pain, and had lived long, full lives, seeing that part of them still cut me to pieces. So, maybe all this time I’d been hanging with Mr. Wong, I was really putting off the inevitable, the truth, not for his benefit, but for my own.
Charley is often too sympathetic (and often empathetic) for her own good.
And she's often got a sense of humor that's hilarious to those who love her...but can seem overly forced to those who don't.
I dialed her number. Got her voice mail. Waited for the beep. Then I did my best creepy kidnapper voice. “This is a ransom demand,” I said, my voice raspy. Kidnapper-y. “Deliver one hundred boxes of Cheez-Its to the unmarked—ignore the license plate—cherry red Jeep Wrangler sitting in your parking lot by noon today, or you will suffer the consequences.” I paused to cough. Raspy was hard on the esophagus. “They will be dire.”
“I’m not stupid,” I said, growing tired of his questioning everything I did. “I do use common sense.”
“You have to have common sense to use it.”
I stiffened. He did not just say that. “You did not just say that.”
“When it comes to humans, Dutch, you are blind. You do things for them that no other person alive would do.
I don't like asshole alpha males, and one could argue that the Son of the Devil, Reyes Farrow, is an asshole alpha male, but in this book, he is entirely tamed. He wears an apron, he works as a waiter, he adores Charley despite her obvious idiocy. This wolf is now a puppy. A really hot puppy, but a puppy, nevertheless, and it's often frustrating to me that Charley leaves him hanging...
“When are you going to answer him?” Cookie asked, drawing my attention.
“When he deserves an answer,” I volleyed.
I can't even blame little 12-year old Amber for her crush.
A hopeless sigh slid through Cookie’s lips as she finally looked at him. “You’ve set the bar too high now. No one will live up to—” She gestured to all of him. “—all of that. You’ve ruined my daughter.”