This was not at all what I was expecting. It's like the lightness and sass of Sookie Stackhouse meeting the talking-to-dead-people and grimness of Har...moreThis was not at all what I was expecting. It's like the lightness and sass of Sookie Stackhouse meeting the talking-to-dead-people and grimness of Harper Connelly, if you want to draw a paranormal parallel. Charley is a private investigator who occasionally helps the Albuquerque Police Department. She's also THE grim reaper. I think the strongest part of this book was the characters - her uncle, her assistant, her assistant's daughter, and the various dead people she deals with every day, from high profile lawyers to a 13-year-old gang member. The romance angle appears in the form of a supernatural being who is never physically there. It's very strange, and it almost feels like it was thrown in because some sex is required. It seemed much more a meeting of bodies than a meeting of minds. Then there's the big surprise when his identity is revealed (you will never see this coming in a million years), which promises to take this series in a much different direction. I'm not sure how I feel about that. Sadly, I think I would have loved this without the romance angle complicating the plot. There are ways to add romance without pulling so much away from the plot's momentum. Still, I'm hoping the second book will be more focused, because it's a great concept with great characters.(less)
I don't know what's gotten into me, but it seems like I'm suddenly giving everything 4 stars this year! I guess I'm just happy to be reading. I had to...moreI don't know what's gotten into me, but it seems like I'm suddenly giving everything 4 stars this year! I guess I'm just happy to be reading. I had to give this one 4 because it's my favorite of the series so far. (Oh, and I have to say: I've been complaining recently that series books should have a recap of the last book instead of a teaser for the next book, and Jones did an excellent job of reminding the reader about key plot points without being obvious about it. Points for that!) It seems like Jones finally found a balance between the characters and plot elements. The romance fits in better, Charley's investigation feels more investigative (for lack of a better word), the already fun characters have really established their personalities, there are some great plot twists (especially toward the end), and everything just works. One warning for queasy readers... While the sex bits are toned down from the previous books (not that that's saying much), there is one scene that is particularly violent and very jarring in the midst of this light-hearted, sexy series. Yeesh. As always, the ending will leave you with a lot of anticipation for the next installment! (less)
You know how I love Peter Pan, and it's always risky reading any kind of retelling, but... Wow. This book was incredible. It takes the theme of death...moreYou know how I love Peter Pan, and it's always risky reading any kind of retelling, but... Wow. This book was incredible. It takes the theme of death from Barrie's original, which has largely been lost in subsequent retellings, and takes it to a whole new level. The mythology all makes sense, the story is multifaceted, and it really makes you think. I liked how she tied together Barrie (including the stories of his dead brother David and his relationship with the Llewellyn Davies family), the fictional Darlings, Peter, and the fictional Preston and his family. It all meshed so well. The multiple points of view (the deceased Preston, his grieving mother, Wendy, and Peter) really lent itself to a complex picture of what death (and life) means on either side of the divide. There were lots of layers and subtle overlapping of characters between Here (Neverland) and Before (real life) that you can either read right past as you enjoy the story or pay close attention and get even more out of it. I can't really do it justice.
The only reason it didn't get 5 stars (and it came awfully close) is because I was irritated by a handful of editing errors (I know, I know) and because I wasn't really satisfied with the motivation behind the murderer's crime and the convenience with which the person was able to get away with it so unrealistically. Basically, the death of Preston was a majorly important plot point, and logic seemed to flee with the necessity of making it happen. It seemed like a weak point in an otherwise very strong story.
I would recommend this book to just about anyone, including Peter Pan fans and anyone interested in thinking about what happens when we die and why we live. So good.(less)