Author: Trent Jamieson
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Release Date: 07/27/10
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.
Steven is no stranger to death -- Mr. D's his boss after all -- but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead to the underworld but now his clients are his own colleagues, friends, and family.
Mr. D's gone missing and with no one in charge, the dead start to rise, the living are hunted, and the whole city teeters on the brink of a regional apocalypse -- unless Steven can shake his hangover, not fall for the dead girl, and find out what happened to his boss -- that is, Death himself.
Plot: 4.5 Stars
The structure of the pyschopomps (or reapers) and the way they conducted business was very efficient, unique, and amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed the little details in regards to the psychopomping, and how the souls of the dead moved on. There was also a lot of detail involved in the underworld and the One Tree, without it feeling overwhelming to the reader. This was probably my favorite book containing zombies ever, because zombies tend to be hit or miss for me. And I'll admit, it probably took me a bit longer than it should've to realize that what Steven and his family/co-workers called "stirrers" were indeed zombies. All in all, this was a very unique urban fantasy tale, and I'm glad the main character was male.
Pace: 4 Stars
This novel was split up into two parts. Part one, which took up about two thirds of the book, really set the novel up in terms of worldbuilding and introducing characters. Although it was a bit slow at times, it was definitely needed to fully grasp the rest of the book. It was a roller coaster ride, setting up for the second part of the book which was non-stop action. There were plenty of twists and turns, and quite a few near-death moments. At least twice, I asked myself how Steven was going to make it. There was a point near the end of the book that got a bit philosophical, but the author handled it really well. What could've possibly been a very confusing scene, instead turned into Steven growing up and taking responsibility.
Characters: 5 Stars
Steven is my favorite male urban fantasy main character ever. I related to him so well, between his sarcasm, his laziness, and his lack of enthusiasm for the family business. When everything started going downhill, he really had to buckle down and grow up. I also enjoyed Lisa, the ghost of a fellow psychopomp that helps Steven on his adventure. Although she helps him out throughout the novel, that doesn't stop her from giving him hell along the way. The dynamic between the two was great, the two sharing both highs and lows. I wished we could've seen more of his cousin (and drinking buddy) but I'm hoping that will happen in the next book. And I loved that they referred to Mr. D as such.
Cover: 4.5 Stars
I really enjoyed this cover. I love that the cover model is in a suit, because it really gives off a business feel, and since the novel is about the business side of death it fits. Plus, Steven runs around in a suit for a while, a detail that stayed with me because I would hate to be stuck in a suit while running for my life in the summer. I also really liked the orange and yellow hues chosen for the cover. It's an under-used color choice in the genre and gives the cover a serious feel without being depressing as well. The last detail, the tree in the background, is actually there for a reason. All in all, this cover is very striking, but also very accurate.
Overall: 4.5 Stars
Disclosure: I bought this book for my own enjoyment.