I recently read an article that noted how vital it is to hook your reader within the first few pages. Well, I would have to say “Don’t Fear the Reaper” does just that starting with Keely Morrison’s suicide and reawakening into the afterlife.
Unable to cope after her twin sister’s murder, Keely decides one night to end her pain and join her sister on the other side. What she finds, however, is a smart ass demon, a kind-hearted reaper and regret. While the novel is not altogether without lightness and humor, the opening scene was heart wrenching. I felt her parent’s pain; I felt Keely’s horror over her discarded life. I was sad, distressed, disgusted, empathetic, and obviously, totally involved.
The novel continues to follow Keely and her two companions as they navigate Purgatory in search of her sister, Jordan, and a solution to Keely’s potential future in Hell. Since suicide is a sin against the soul, she is automatically barred from Heaven. Meanwhile, Keely has to fight the temptation to take revenge on her sister’s killer, or her fate will most definitely be sealed.
This was a well-written, poignant read. Keely in particular exhibits the self-centeredness of teendom, mixed with awareness. Her regret at ending her life is thought provoking. Don’t we all wonder why suicide victims do it? And if the soul goes on as it does in Muto’s novel, what if we take all our pain with us? Without giving anything away, Keely’s ultimate fate sets it up so that a sequel could be pretty cool. But the story also stands perfectly well on its own. I say read it. Amidst all the vampires and angels, a book about the afterlife is refreshing. Found for as low as $9.99 in paperback at Amazon. The Kindle edition is $2.99.