Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight Series #1)

Death and the Girl Next Door (Darklight Series #1)

by Darynda Jones


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Darynda Jones, author of The New York Times bestselling series that began with First Grave on the Right, brings us Death and the Girl Next Door, a thrilling Young Adult novel garnering high praise and early buzz from major authors

Ten years ago, Lorelei's parents disappeared without a trace. Raised by her grandparents and leaning on the support of her best friends, Lorelei is finally beginning to accept the fact that her parents are never coming home. For Lorelei, life goes on.

High school is not quite as painful as she thinks it will be, and things are as normal as they can be. Until the day the school's designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, night after night. Things get even more complicated when a new guy—terrifying, tough, sexy Jared Kovach—comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity. What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can't have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Darynda Jones's first foray into the world of teens will leave readers eager for the next installment.

"Unique, witty, and touching—I LOVED THIS BOOK!" —P.C. Cast, New York Times bestselling author of The House of Night Series

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780312625207
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Publication date: 10/02/2012
Series: Darklight Series , #1
Edition description: Original
Pages: 304
Sales rank: 318,507
Product dimensions: 5.62(w) x 8.08(h) x 0.82(d)
Age Range: 13 - 17 Years

About the Author

Winner of the 2009 Golden Heart® for Best Paranormal Romance for her manuscript First Grave on the Right, New York Times bestselling author DARYNDA JONES can't remember a time when she wasn't putting pen to paper.

Read an Excerpt




The small town of Riley’s Switch, New Mexico, had only one coffeehouse, so that’s where I sat with my two best friends, knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that only two of us would make it out of there alive. Though I did tend to exaggerate.

The fresh scent of pine from the surrounding mountains, which mingled with the rich aroma of coffee, lingered forgotten. In its place was a tense silence. It thickened the air around us. Emotions soared and rage simmered as I glowered at the traitor sitting across from me, waiting for him to flinch, to cower under my scrutiny. I would make his life a living heck if it were the last thing I did. Mostly because I wasn’t allowed to use the word Hell, being the granddaughter of a pastor and all. Otherwise, Casey Niyol Blue-Spider, aka the Glitch, would be toast.

“I swear, Lorelei,” he said, caving at last as a telling bead of sweat trickled down his temple, “I didn’t take it.” He shifted nervously in his seat and scanned the Java Loft, most likely to see if anyone was paying attention to the unscrupulous activities going on right under their noses. Since we were the only patrons in the place, probably not. “And even if I did, and I’m not saying I did,” he added, jabbing an index finger toward me, “who the heck cares?”

I lowered my voice, controlled the tone and inflection of every word, every syllable, striving to make myself sound menacing. I took up a mere five feet of vertical air space, so menacing was not always easy for me to accomplish. Slipping into a cryptic grin, I said, “You realize the minute I touch your hand, I’ll know the truth.”

His gaze darted to the hand he’d wrapped around his whipped almond toffee cappuccino with nonfat milk, and he jerked it back out of my reach. His hand. Not the whipped almond toffee cappuccino with nonfat milk.

My best friend Brooklyn leaned in to me and whispered, “You know he accidentally deleted seventeen songs off your classic rock playlist, right? And he used your toothbrush once without asking.” She glared at him, the contempt in her eyes undeniable. “I say make the traitor squirm.”

Glitch’s jaw tightened, and I could sense his inevitable defeat like a dog senses fear.

“Tag-teaming?” he asked, indignant. “Isn’t that a little unsportsmanlike?”

“Not for a couple of heartless dames like us,” Brooklyn said.

I turned to her with a smile. “Oh, my god, I love it when you talk pulp-fiction detective.”

“I know, right?” she said, her dark skin and brown eyes a picture of joy.

Brooke and I met when we threw down in the third grade. By the end of my first and only catfight, I had a few missing hairs, a broken fingernail, and a new best friend. And we were practically twins. If not for the fact that she had long sable hair, chestnut skin, and light brown eyes, and I had curly auburn hair, pasty white skin, and eyes the bizarre color of chimney smoke, people would never be able to tell us apart. Probably because we were both exactly five feet tall. Not a centimeter more. Not a centimeter less. It was eerie.

In choreographed unison, we refocused on the slimeball sitting across from us.

“Spill,” she said.

“Okay, sheesh.” He pushed back his cappuccino and folded his arms over his chest, a defensive gesture that only added fuel to my suspicions. “I admit it. I had a copy of the test beforehand, but I didn’t steal it.”

“I knew you cheated.” I reached across the table and whacked him on the arm. Thankfully, Glitch wasn’t much bigger than either of us, so the punch quite possibly registered somewhere deep in the scary depths of his boy mind. Or that was my hope, anyway. “You blew the curve, Glitch.”

Guilt washed over him. I could tell by the thin line of his lips, the chin tucked in shame.

“You’re such a wiener,” Brooklyn said. “I really needed those extra points.”

“And where on planet Earth did you get a copy of the test?” I had to admit, I was more than a little astonished. And a tad jealous.

He shook his head. “No way. I’m not giving up my source. And besides, you both got B’s. It’s not like you failed the stupid thing.”

Brooklyn reached over, curled a fist into his T-shirt, and pulled him forward until their noses were mere inches apart. “Clearly you do not understand the innate intricacies and often illogical drives of an A freak.” She let go, disgusted. “I hate your guts.”

“No, you don’t.” He took a swig of his cappuccino, unconcerned.

Like Brooklyn, Glitch was a bona fide child of two nations, with dark, coppery skin from his Native American father and hazel green eyes, compliments of his Irish-American mother. And thanks to a compromise between the two, he had the coolest name on earth: Casey Niyol Blue-Spider. The mix of ethnicities gave him a rich, enigmatic attraction. Though he hardly needed to, he kept his short black hair spiked with blond highlights in an attempt to make himself seem wild and unpredictable, which was always good for a laugh. Glitch was about as wild and unpredictable as a carrot stick. Though he did have an unnatural fear of turtles that was interesting.

“You’re just intimidated by my manly physique.”

Brooke snorted. “This coming from a boy who’s barely tall enough to get on the roller coaster at the state fair without a permission slip from his parents.”

His grin took on an evil luster. “Least I get on, short pants.”

“Oh yeah? Well, at least I wasn’t voted most likely to acquire gainful employment as Santa’s elf.”

“Guys, guys,” I said, holding up my hands for a cease-fire. “We can’t fling short jokes at each other when we’re all short. It’s just not effective.”

“That’s true,” Brooklyn said in disappointment.

“No, it’s not. I am three, count them, three”—he held up three fingers for us to count—“inches taller than the likes of you two. I can’t believe I’m willing to be seen in public with either of you.”

“Glitch,” Brooklyn said, a warning edge in her voice, “I will stab you in the face if you ever speak to me again.”

He squinted at her, completely unmoved, then turned to me and asked, “So, did your grandmother get her computer running?”

“No. You’re just going to have to stop by sometime and fix it.”

“Cool.” He smiled in anticipation. “What’s for dinner tonight?”

I knew he’d do that. Brooke had already invited herself over, claiming she needed to upload her assignment because the Internet at her house was down. Glitch would come over, fix my grandmother’s computer in about ten minutes, and then my two best friends would spend the rest of the evening keeping me company.

It was the same every year. For a week before until a week after the anniversary of my parents’ disappearance, they spent almost every waking moment with me, watching over me, seeing to my every need. They were amazing. I’m not sure what they thought I would do if left alone—I’d never been particularly suicidal—but they were the dearest friends a girl could ask for. The air seemed to turn dreary this time of year, thick and heavy, so having them around did help. And I totally loved being waited on hand and foot, so naturally I milked it for all it was worth.

The bell jingled, announcing a new customer before I could answer Glitch, but I was busy prying my fingers apart anyway. I’d spilled mocha cappuccino over them—hot mocha cappuccino—when I tried to add a sprinkle of cinnamon earlier, and few things were more disturbing than sticky fingers. Forest fires, perhaps. And people who claimed to have been abducted by aliens.

“I have to wash my hands before we go.”

“Okay.” Brooklyn rummaged through her bag and pulled out her phone for a quick check as I scooted out of the booth, grateful for the excuse. For some reason, the fact that my parents had been gone almost ten years exactly, like some kind of milestone anniversary, had me more melancholy than usual. “I’ll keep an eye on the traitor,” Brooke continued, “until we can decide what to do with him.”

“Do you need ideas?” Glitch asked, turning feisty. “I know lots of things you could do to me.”

“Do any of them involve piano wire and a razor blade?”

I laughed to myself and headed toward the back of our favorite and pretty much only hangout. It sat a mere block from our alma mater, Riley High, and we practically lived in our corner booth. I ducked past the snack counter and into a very dark back hall. Judging by the boxes lining the narrow passage, I’d be taking my life into my hands if I risked a journey to the little señorita’s room without illumination, so I ran my hand along a paneled wall. Where would I be if I were a light switch? Just as the tips of my fingers found the switch, a silhouette stepped out of the shadows and brushed past me. I startled with a gasp.

“Excuse me,” I said, placing a hand over my heart.

“Sorry.” The guy paused slightly before continuing on his way, and in that instant, I saw the makings of utter perfection: a long arm with shadowy curves that dipped around the fluid lines of muscle; a tall, wide shoulder; dark hair that curled playfully over an ear and led to a strong, masculine jaw. Something inside me lurched, craving a closer look at his face, but he walked by too fast and the hall was too dark for me to catch anything else.

After a couple of seconds, I realized my hand had brushed against his arm. It was enough to send a vision crashing into me, like the flash of a nuclear bomb, bright and unforgiving. Tamping down my surprise—I hadn’t had a vision in a very long time—I pressed shaking fingers to my forehead to wait out the familiar storm, to see what treasures would wash ashore in the aftermath.

Yet the things I saw were unreal, impossible, and certainly not of this world: A desolate landscape lay before me with scorched clouds and a roiling, violet sky. The air was stagnant and so impossibly thick, breathing it took effort. Then I heard the clanging of metal. I turned to watch in horror as a being, a boy of no more than sixteen or seventeen, fierce and somehow not quite human, struggled with a dark, monstrous beast. The boy’s arms corded as tendon and muscle strained against the weight of the sword he wielded. He slashed again and again, but the monster was fast, with razorlike talons and sharp, gleaming teeth, and the boy knew what those teeth felt like when they sank into flesh, knew the blinding pain that accompanied defeat. But he also knew the power he himself wielded, the raw strength that saturated every molecule of his body.

Another herculean effort landed a thrust in the monster’s shoulder and continued through its thick chest. The monster sank under the boy’s sword with a guttural scream. The boy looked on while the beast writhed in pain, watched it grow still as the life drained out of it, and somewhere in the back of the boy’s mind, he allowed himself to register the burning of his lungs as he struggled to fill them with air.

Blood trickled between his fingers, down the length of his blade, and dripped to the powdery earth beneath his feet. I followed the trail of blood up to three huge gashes across his chest. Evidently three of the monster’s claws had met their mark, laying the flesh of its enemy open. I gasped and covered my mouth with both hands as the boy spun toward me, sword at the ready. Squinting against the low sun, I could almost make out his features, but the vision evaporated before I got the chance. A heartbeat later, I was back in the dark hallway, gasping for air, one palm pressed against my temple, the other against the wall for balance.

I squeezed my eyes shut, fought the memory of the vision, the fear that summoned the taste of bile in the back of my throat, the feel of blood dripping down the boy’s arm.

Ever since I could remember, I had a tendency to see random flashes of inconsequential situations in my head, which, by definition, could point to any number of debilitating diseases. I wasn’t psychic or anything. I couldn’t conjure visions whenever I wanted. Images just seemed to crystallize in my mind out of nowhere, and at the most inopportune times too, shimmering like reflections off water. Sometimes they were just flashes of nonsense, glimpses of the impossible, like a rip in the afternoon sky that let night seep through. Nothing ever came of those.

But sometimes the visions either had been or would be, as though I could see into both the past and the future. Like the one time I accidentally saw into the past after touching my grandfather’s hand. He had been a thousand miles away, and I caught a glimpse of the first time he laid eyes on Grandma. She’d tucked a strand of hair behind her ear as she walked to class with her friends, only to have the wind toss it back across her face. She laughed and tried again, and I felt the tug of interest in Grandpa the minute it hit him.

The ability rocked, I admit. But never in my life had I seen anything with so much punch, so much texture.

I hurried to the bathroom and splashed cold water on my face. Clearly that had been one of those flashes of nonsense. But it seemed so real. I could feel the weight of the air, the depletion of the boy’s energy as he fought, his limbs shaking from exertion and from adrenaline as it pumped through his powerful body.

I blinked and forced myself back to the present, forced myself to calm. Stepping back into the hall, I glanced around in search of the dark-headed boy, to no avail. Disappointment washed over me. For one thing, I wanted a better look. For another, I wanted a better look. The first was for obvious girl reasons. Those arms. That jaw. Who could blame me? The second was because of what I’d just seen. Surely my vision was metaphorical in some way. Scorched clouds in violet skies didn’t exist. And thankfully, neither did that beast.

I must’ve been in the restroom longer than I’d thought. Brooke and Glitch were waiting for me outside. But I couldn’t get those images out of my head. I’d never seen anything like them in my life.

As I grabbed my backpack with a shaking hand, I sensed someone watching. I turned to see Cameron Lusk sitting in a booth, his shoulder-length blond hair visible even in the shadowy corner. Though we lived in a small town and Cameron and I were in the same sophomore class, we hadn’t spoken in forever. He was more the loner type, scowling at anyone who tried to communicate with him. But still, he was right there. It would be rude of me not to acknowledge his surly existence.

“Hey, Cameron,” I said as I fished a tip out of my bag and turned back to our table.

“Your friends already left a tip,” the barista said from behind the counter. “See you tomorrow.” She grinned at me, knowing I’d be back. If I remembered correctly, she’d graduated a couple of years earlier and had gone off to college in Albuquerque. Must not have worked out, since she was now a barista in a small-town coffee shop. Or it worked out perfectly, and she’d gone to college to become a barista in a small-town coffee shop. Hard to imagine, but okay.

“See ya,” I said before glancing at Cameron again. He took the whole brooding thing way too seriously. The glare he’d graced me with could have frozen heck itself. “See you tomorrow, Cameron.”

He lifted a finger in acknowledgment. I felt oddly honored.

“What took you so long?” Brooklyn asked as I stepped into the late-afternoon sun. New Mexico was nothing if not sunny, even where we lived in the Manzano Mountains.

“Did you see that boy?” I asked, scanning the street.

“Cameron?” Brooklyn asked. If the distaste wasn’t clear in her tone, the wrinkling of her nose would have said it all.

“No, a dark-haired boy, tall and really, really muscular.”

Brooklyn jumped to attention and joined me in the search, turning every which way. “What boy? I didn’t see a boy. Especially not a tall, dark, and muscular one.”

Glitch peered in through the coffee shop window. “I didn’t see anyone either. Maybe you imagined him.”

“I had a vision,” I said breathlessly, and two sets of eyes widened on me. I knew we’d spend the rest of the evening talking about what I’d seen. If my vision was even remotely authentic, something very dreadful was about to happen to that boy.


Copyright © 2012 by Darynda Jones

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Death and the Girl Next Door 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 44 reviews.
kirstin913 More than 1 year ago
4 1/2 Stars I love the fact that Darynda has decided to write a YA series. There are so many of us that LOVE the Charley Davidson series, but since it is a little graphic in places, it's not really appropriate for younger teens to read. Death and the Girl Next Door, the first book in the Darklight series is perfect for those who want a PG-13 version of Darynda's snarky writing. But with a new series there is the obvious drawback - having to wait months until the next installment. Being a Darynda Jones fangirl, I dove head first into Death and the Girl Next Door with the unwavering knowledge that I was going to LOVE every page. Now that I have finished the book I can officially say, I loved it - but not every last page. There is a point (about midway) when the forward momentum of the story seemed to stall a bit. This doesn't last for long before the pace picks up again. Just when I had pretty much figured out what was going on, another layer got added to the story! This made the end of the book hard to deal with - not because the story didn't have an awesome cliffhanger, but it made it hard BECAUSE there was an awesome cliffhanger. *Sigh* I am not going to dwell on the fact that I have to wait five months until Death, Doom and Detention, I am just going to start counting the days until Fourth Grave Beneath My Feet is released.
maida-hearts-books More than 1 year ago
**Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and Darynda Jones for providing the review copy.** I always wondered what all the hype was about whenever Darynda Jones’ Charlie Davidson series popped up. I have yet to read said series, so I still don’t know what all the excitement is for...but what I do know is why Darynda Jones is so popular among teens and adults alike. It’s her writing style. Humorous, fun, light or in a one word description - entertaining. Death and the Girl Next Door was an exceptional start to the Darklight series. It left me wanting more! I just loved it! The storyline of this book was very interesting. Where the idea of reapers, angels and nephilim has all been done before, I found that Death and the Girl Next Door was original in the sense of presenting prophets as part of the paranormal world. I don’t think I have read a PN book with prophets - so that was something highly fascinating. But what’s even more intriguing is the idea of a past bloodline of prophets. The bloodline of Arabeth - which our heroine belongs to. I loved how Ms. Jones intertwined historic elements with modern paranormal ideas, creating a wonderful world for all readers to delve into. I have to say, where I liked and enjoyed the storyline, it was the characters that really drew me in. Lorlei was very kickass. She is smart, a great friend and she has prophetic visions! How cool is that!? I really enjoyed Lorlei’s determined personality. She handled every situation head on, and accepted her powers exceptionally well. The best thing about Lorlei was her authoritative side when it came to Jared and Cam. Every time they would begin an argument (that would lead to an all out battle) she put her foot down and told them to stop acting like 2-year olds. It was very funny. Although, I’ll admit, I did find her annoying at times, but that’s a minor detail amongst all the good in her. Now, this is where the good news come in. In the synopsis, it seems as if we are going into yet another love triangle. But don’t fret, we DID NOT have a love triangle. Yes, we have two guys - Jared and Cam - but only one of them is the love interest, and that would be Jared. I liked his relationship with Lorlei, but I found the romance to be cheesy at times and I thought the main characters “fell in love” way to quickly. Not that the romance was bad - it wasn’t - the story had plenty of swoon to dish out, I just thought it progressed too fast. That’s probably why (as much as I loved Jared) I found Cam much more interesting. Cam is the typical bad boy of the story. Where he and Lorlei don’t share anything romantic, I loved his character and determination to keep her safe. He was very mysterious and very likeable - what the hero of the book should be like.  My favourite aspect of this book, is the role that friendship plays in the story. Lorlei’s two best friends - Brooklyn and Glitch were amazing! They both had such distinct personalities, that it’s impossible not to like them. They were both hilarious and fun- and I loved their constant bickering with each other. Plus, they always stuck by Lorlei's side whenever she was in trouble. They were supportive and took care of Lorlei just like any close knit family would do. I couldn't get enough of them. Full of great dialogue, characters and non-stop action & mystery, Death and the Girl Next Door definitely got me hooked. After the crazy turn of events in the ending, I am anxious to get my hands on the next book, Deat
Mansa_Rae More than 1 year ago
Darynda has done it again! This time she’s going to rock the world of the younger generation! As you know this is a YA, the characters are in high school. My first experience with this author was from The Grave Series, so I was intrigued to see a YA book come out. I wasn’t disappointed, another bang up job by this awesome author! The characters had perfect chemistry and wit entwining into a well written story. I really like the lead and her friends; they all complement each other perfectly. I think Darynda has a knack for writing a good support group for her lead. The boys of course will be every school girls crush and some adults too (I can say that because they are OLD and all – you’ll get this comment when you read the book – see how I drug you in?)… Good job Darynda!
aeynera More than 1 year ago
I like Darynda Jones. I adore her Charley Davidson series. But this book I deleted as soon as my new nook came because I just couldn't figure out just what the heck was going on and it wasn't moving at any sort of pace where I could fathom its direction, either. The characters were cliched, too. For this one, I say failure.
Saptarshi More than 1 year ago
Death and The Girl Next Door is the first book in Darynda Jones's young adult Darklight series. This book is filled with not only suspense, mystery, horror, but also a great deal of humor and a little taste of romance. This is the perfect book for readers looking for a little mystery and action as well as comedy and just a hint of romance. I personally had a really fun time reading this book. There were pages that had me at the "edge of my seat" while others had me laughing out loud so much that it irritated my sister after a while. Each page had me hooked and wanting to know what happened next. Overall, this book is a quick read that will have you hooked from the first page till the very last, and leave you wanting to read the second book right away! Quotes: “What did one say to a stalker? Um, pardon me, Mr.Stalker, but could you, like, not?” *** “That boy needs a hobby." “Stalking is a hobby." “So is serial killing.” *** “If Cameron kidnaps you, kills you, then buries your lifeless body in a shallow grave in the desert where your remains lay decomposing for several decades until they're accidentally discovered by some guy on a journey to awaken his spirit at the Salinas Pueblo Missions, can I have your iMac?" I gaped at her. "You've really thought this out. "I love your iMac." "I love my iMac too, and you're not getting her." "But you'll be decomposing.” *** “And," Amber said, practically drooling as she ogled him, "it's tradition for new arrivals to help with the pep rally." Brooklyn quirked her lips in doubt. "Tradition?" "It's a new tradition," Amber shot back. "Clearly the deeper meaning of the word has escaped you.”
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book lacks a lot of things. The book didn't grab my interest. Everything seems to happen so fast. And why would a person care for a guy who is trying to kill you is beyond me. One minute were getting to know the characters ,which isn't really much,the next it feels like you skipped a bunch of pages because all of a sudden there is this big fighting scene. The author just seems to want to get the story over with. We don't get what we usually get when we read good books, which is background on the characters to get to know them and connect so we will be pulled into the story. It feels like i have to read it. Like i am reading a grocery list. The book is just giving you facts about characters and then going into the middle of the story. I think what the author is hoping for is mystery, but its not hitting its mark. Plus there is no emotion. When you read a book you should be able to feel the emotion of the character as if it were your own and im not feeling that i feel detached. Like im just observing everything and feeling numb. There is no detail.
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Darynda Jones has done it again. Totally engrossing and fabulous. I thinm it may have been even better than Death and the girl next door which I loved. Great story telling and compelling characters. Always wanting more. Can't wait for the next book in the series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A great book, looking foward to the next two.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Really enjoyed and can't wait for second book.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love the grave series so i decided to give this book a go. Loved it and can't wait for the next book in this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Well written story that would make a great read for early teens . I liked the fact that the girl was real and likeable with the romantic lead a little bit bad boy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book even though I am far from a young adult. Characters were fun and I enjoyed the banter between them. Good quick read