Don't Fear the Reaper by Michelle Muto
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I've been aware of Michelle Muto for months, but only just got around to reading one of her books. She's an up and coming indie writer whom I hope we'll be hearing a lot more from.
If it weren't for holiday craziness, I'd have read this in one sitting - partly because it's well written and easy to devour, and partly out of desperation to see if things ever get better for the protagonist. I should warn you, the main character commits suicide in the first scene, and Muto doesn't pull punches when describing the scene, sensations, or the horrified reactions of family when they discover the body.
Once dead, Keely Morrison finds herself in purgatory, which in this case is right here on earth. Her welcoming party are a demon and a reaper, no angels, which doesn't bode well for where she'll end up, but here's the catch, there's some dispute among the higher powers over where she ought to spend eternity and the decision won't be handed down until her funeral. Her job in the meantime is to avoid any temptations that will take her out of heaven's reach.
But how easy is that to do in Keely's situation? She killed herself out of grief in order to find her sister, Jordan, a murder victim. The murderer is still at large and not slated to go to trial. Demons offer her the chance to take out her revenge on him, but if she does, that'll condemn her to hell. Add to this the fact that her demon escort, sent to tempt her, isn't always clear cut in his motives. Is he really trying to help her sometimes, or is that just another layer of deception?
Add to *that* the fact that Jordan is still in purgatory herself, when Keely assumes that she'd have gone straight to heaven. The story there puts yet another twist on the moral dilemmas of the plotlines. I'll admit I did predict the ending, but I still enjoyed sitting back and watching it unfold.