What happens after we die? It’s a question that remains unanswered until we learn first-hand, but in the meantime, the unknown spawns creativity. A multitude of songs and books have been written, movies made, each with their own particular twist on the subject. I prefer the light-hearted versions. Why go the route of Faust when we can listen to Day-o while watching Wynona Ryder, family and dinner guests made to dance by the ghosts that are haunting their house. While author Deb McEwen’s, Beyond Death doesn’t go as far as the zany comedy of Beetlejuice, she does present an interesting, witty look at the afterlife.
I found the beginning a tad slow, (I can be an impatient reader) but the story really picked up when a last minute switch puts main character, Claire, in the wrong cab and she and her cab driver, Ron, are killed in an accident on the night of her engagement. (There’s a lesson to be learned here; don’t hunt for your cell phone and drive a cab at the same time.) Once Claire realizes she’s dead, she’s furious.
Ron heard the panic in Claire’s voice and realized she’d worked it out. Poor girl. She’d had her whole life ahead of her and he’d ruined it…. “I’m so sorry Claire. Really, really sorry.”
“Sorry,” shouted Claire. “Bloody sorry! Sorry doesn’t cut it, buster. Wait ‘til I get my hands on you. I’ll effing kill you!”
“Err, I hate to be the one to point this out, love,” said Ron, “but I think you’ll find you’re a bit late for that.”
Her displeasure doesn’t end there…
Thinking of the whole death experience, it had not been what she’d expected in the least. There hadn’t been a tunnel, a white light or any of her dead relatives beckoning her or steering her in the right direction. The last was a disappointment. If she had to be dead the least that could be done was to reconnect her with her adored grandmother who had died more than two years before.
Their Admin-Angel, Gabriella, six feet tall and black as a moonless sky, guides Claire and Ron through the initial steps of ‘beyond death.’ Their challenge is to help the dysfunctional families they’ve left behind put their lives in order. It’s a common theme in ‘afterlife’ stories for a very good reason. It works.
From the sobering description of a tsunami and the thousands of lives it claims, to the humor of ‘newly dead’ Claire popping in on one of her twin brother while he’s in the bathroom, Beyond Death, touches on a wide range of emotions. The plot lines are cleverly told, and the ending is satisfyingly upbeat with the promise of more adventures to come.
If you’d like to learn more about Deb McEwan, you can find her at: http://www.debbiemcewansbooks.com/