I do not think that there can ever be enough books about anything and I say that knowing that some of them are going to be about Pilates.The more knowledge the better seems like a solid rule of thumb, even though I have watched enough science fiction films to accept that humanity’s unchecked pursuit of learning will end with robots taking over the world.-Sarah Vowell

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

The Dirt on Ninth Grave by Darynda Jones

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First of all, if you haven't read any of the books in this series, stop right now and go do that. You will really want to, as this is an amazing set of books. This is the ninth book in Jones' grim reaper series and when the eighth book ended on that serious cliff hanger, I was anxious to see what was going to happen. This was not what I expected. But it makes complete sense.

Janey Doerr woke up in an alley in Sleepy Hollow, New York with a severe case of amnesia, but a lot of people come forward to help her out with clothes and finding her a job at a cafe working for Dixie, where you the reader will find a lot of familiar faces, even if Janey does not. There's klutzy Cookie, a waitress who is engaged to Robert or Bobert as she calls him; Garrett Swopes, a regular whom she senses to be something like a cop; Ash, whom she can tell is not all human and is a total flirt; and of course, Reyes Farrow, someone she knows is not totally human, with a touch of evil around him, whom she is completely drawn to.

One of the first things Janey notices is that she can see ghosts and one of the first ghosts she can see is the thirteen-year-old gang-banger, Angel, who helps her out. Some of these ghosts, or souls if you will, seem to want something from her, but she doesn't want to get involved in what happened to them. She just wants to keep her head down and figure out what's going on with her life. For instance, she has a regular, Mr. Pettigrew, a former cop, who is being followed around by a dead stripper, who keeps talking to Janey. It seems that Mr. Pettigrew got her off the streets and when she died, he took over paying for her son's private school tuition in secret. Janey also sees that Mr. Pettigrew has a demon around his heart slumbering, but has no idea what to do about that.

Janey also learns about her other abilities, such as her knowledge of many languages and the ability to stop time and heal quickly and feel people's emotions and sense when they are lying. When one woman goes through her to move on and she sees the woman's whole life and feels her emotions as she does this, it completely freaks her out. But she still can't remember who she is. Even when Cookie slips up and calls her Charley, she does not recognize the name. Of course, that's not her true name.

Janey soon finds herself in trouble (no surprise if you've read the other books) when she finds out that the antiques store owner, Mr. Vandenberg, is in a great deal of trouble, as well as his family, who are being held hostage somewhere. There are foreign men in his store digging, it seems, into the dry cleaning store next door, which makes no sense. She goes to Bobert with this information, as he was a police officer back in New Mexico, and she knows if she goes to the cops they may not believe her, or if they do, they could go rushing in and get his whole family killed. Janey, of course, does not stop her involvement there, even though Bobert tells her to.

She also is trying to figure out what is going on with the waitress Erin and her babies, because she sees a dead woman when she looks at their pictures. Also, Erin has hated her since she got there. Janey thought it was because Erin would not be able to work extra shifts like she wanted to, but it turns out to be something much worse. She also has a bit of matchmaking to do for the busboy Lewis who thinks he is in love with the waitress Francie, who can't keep her eyes off Reyes, while the waitress Shayla, has been quietly waiting in the background for years.   And let's not forget the Headless Horseman. It is Sleepy Hollow after all.

Janey keeps getting the feeling that she lost something and that she must be a bad person if she can't remember her past. She just can't seem to remember who she is and it turns out that it is very important that she do so.  No one there wants to rush her into remembering as she has so much power now that who knows what she might do by accident if it all came back to her too suddenly. But her mind's refusal to remember will come with a cost.

I really enjoyed this unique approach to a story line. After what happened at the end of the last book, it makes total sense that this is what Charley would do. Sometimes things happen that are so horrible that we need to disappear for a while. She just happens to have the power to make it more real than the rest of us. She has such a big heart to go with that smart mouth of hers and both are constantly getting her into trouble. It's a good thing she has so many friends and family who care about her enough to drop everything to help her through this difficult time and be there for her.  She still has her boots and her endless supply of coffee and she's ready to kick some ass, which is a good thing, because I have a feeling there will a lot of kicking to do in the future.

Amazon link:  http://www.amazon.com/The-Dirt-Ninth-Grave-Davidson/dp/1250074487/ref=pd_bxgy_14_img_2?ie=UTF8&refRID=083F476M267WXG84KJCG

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