Seventh Grave And No Body by Darynda Jones

Posted April 23, 2015 by Meoskop in Book Reviews, Paranormal, Romance / 2 Comments

On a magenta background with smoke a similarly colored belt sits, a gold skull buckle centered between title and author nameYour faves are so very, very problematic. Seventh Grave and No Body set all my Hipster Racism alarms blaring. First Darynda Jones adds some pointless backstory to Charley Davidson in the form of a black childhood playmate, Ramona. Said playmate exists for only a few sentences and exists only to serve Charley. Ramona dies at the age of seven, on her way to Charley’s house. Rather than cross over, she stays on earth to be Charley’s on demand playmate until she feels Charley is emotionally ready to process her loss.

“When she crossed through me, I saw the true meaning of love, and I’ve never forgotten it.”

Seventh Grave And no Body by Darynda Jones

Ramona exists solely to add emotional depth to Charley. That’s it. She has no other purpose in the story and she has no people of her own. One can argue that it’s better for Charley to have black friends than not, of course. To that I say let’s look at a few more examples. Charley is meeting her uncle in the courtroom of a black judge. While Charley is established as socially awkward with only a tenuous grasp on appropriate behavior, that doesn’t excuse what follows.

“You know,” I said, trying to put an end to the torture, “about that last incident. If I’d known that guy had schizophrenia, I never would have made that face. But daaaang, girl,” I added, going the homegirl route, “you were the bomb. I mean, those moves were tight.” I did an exaggerated head nod and threw in some gang signs for good measure. Uncle Bob closed his eyes, unable to watch. “Seriously, girl, the way you threw me over your shoulder like that? Sheeeee-uht. I had lower back pain for days.”
Seventh Grave And no Body by Darynda Jones

What. The. Everloving. Fuck. (Why did I start reading Darynda Jones again? What is wrong with me????) At this point I considered closing the book but eight volumes in I’m apparently desperate for some goddamn closure. Jones puts just enough plot furtherance in each installment to make you think the end is in sight before screaming “PSYCH OUT” and dancing off to the next book. What does the judge in question do? She issues a continuance in the case based on Charley’s hunches. Later it’s explained that Charley helped the judge’s family member overcome trauma, earning the judge’s faith and gratitude. This is because Charley is the Mary-est Sue in all of Mary-dom.

Wait! We’re not done! Charley has been working a love triangle with Garrett Swopes as the dark horse to toxic, deceptive, abusive Reyes Farrow. Darynda is done with Garrett so she hands him off to an ex-lover complete with a newborn baby. Garrett has been used as actual breeding stock. I’m not even kidding. There’s the paragraph about his Voodoo heritage versus the baby momma’s Vodou heritage leading to her deliberately seeking him out to merge their bloodlines into a powerful child named Zaire. Yes, as in the former name of the Democratic Republic of Congo. Charley’s response is a judging shrug at his having unprotected sex and congratulations on his new fatherhood. (Charley is unexpectedly pregnant herself, so her thoughts on contraception ring hollow.)

I hate Charley Davidson. I loathe Charley Davidson. I’m starting to think the abusive relationship she finds herself in is what she deserves. While Jones has toned down the dynamics in this and the prior installment, Reyes Farrow is still far from a prize. He continues to lie to Charley while working his own angle. Charley has come face to face with a side of him that desires nothing more than to kill her, yet shrugs it off. He uses anger in an attempt to control her. Charley often modifies her own behavior to avoid unpleasant scenes. He ignores the concept of consent. That Charley routinely defies him does nothing to make the rest of their dynamic palatable.

His grip tightened. He’d never known his own strength, and he was proving that once again. One hand had a firm hold right where the hellhound had swiped at me like a hungry tiger. I winced, but he didn’t notice. He wouldn’t. Not with the all-consuming anger riveting through him as it was now.

– Seventh Grave And no Body by Darynda Jones

Again, why did I come back to this toxic mess? I’d resolved to quit but one rainy day at the library and my good sense flew out the window. I can’t even get into the book trying to sell us on Charley’s nonexistent ability to be a good mother. She’s a horrible mother. The baby doesn’t even need to be born for us to know that. In fact, all we need to know is that the series has already laid the creep-tastic groundwork for the child’s lover. There is an actual Jacob for future Renesmee, leading me to wonder if we’ve been reading Twi-fic with better than average removal of the serial number. I need to stop. Everyone remind me that closure is just another word for walking away. (Duct tape bondage, people. Duct. Tape. Bondage.)



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