“Steven de Selby's day had started ordinarily enough - a routine funeral visit (all in a day's work for one of Death's minions), followed by a trip to the local mall.
But then the dead girl appeared - standing right in front of him, where she wasn't supposed to be, warning him to run. And then the gunshots began.
Unfortunately for Steven, this is only the beginning of his problems. It seems that his coworkers are being killed off, enabling the undead to proliferate. He also has to travel down into the underworld and avoid getting shot at - all while suffering from the most horrific hangover.
And it seems that Steven will be the only one who can prevent the coming apocalypse, since Death himself has gone missing...”
“Death Most Definite” is the first book in Trent Jamieson´s new Urban Fantasy series called Death Works which deals with the corporate side of death. It´s written in a first person´s POV.
Main character and narrator is Steven de Selby, a slightly underachieving twenty-something who works, just like the rest if his family for Mortmax as a pomp. The reader is thrown into the story quite abruptly and is introduced to the world alongside. The book is divited into two different parts which are quite different in their pacing.
In the first part, the reader is introduced to Steven and the few secondary characters, including Lissa, love interest, life-saver and the girl he can never get. This first part is slower paced and tells mostly about how Steven is reacting to all the trouble, life-changing and threatening events that happen to him. This is however quite in character, as Steven comes across as a guy who is not really motivated and enthusiastic about his job, who just gets it done. He has few friends outside of his family, knows only little about his workmates and still grieves over his last failed relationship, at least at the beginning of the book. He comments the whole story with his dark, sly and sarcastic humor.
Once he meets Lissa however, his life changes. Lissa is quite the contrary of Steven himself. She seems to know a while lot more about pomping and also seems to be well-known and liked by other pomps. Later however, it is hinted that she never really liked her job as well. Steven falls in love literally at first sight of Lissa, even though he knows he can never get her. Because, you see, Lissa´s dead. Her spirit?/soul? lingers and refuses to be pomped in order to help Steven sort out the mess that is going on in Brisbane. The bittersweet relationship between those two is written very well and touching.
“The city has never looked more beautiful than it does now. I smile, and Lissa´s smiling too. She´s never looked more gorgeous. Ah, I tumble so fast, but this is different. I want to hold her hand, but I can´t. I want to wrap my arms around her and I can´t. She´s all I want but to touch her would destroy her and take away the little that we have. This perfect moment is nothing but a lie.”
Steven struggles to survive against Stirrers, zombie like creatures that inhabit the bodies of newly deceased, which leads to a few very tough situations for him and tries to decide whom to trust, because as more and more pomps die, it becomes obvious that it must be an inside job.
While he seems rather passive and more driven by others than by his own motivation or decision, his character slightly changes in the second, highly paced part of the book. After the enemy is finally revealed, Steven is forced to take resposibitily to avert Regional Apocalypse. Also, as his feelings for Lissa are getting deeper and more intense, he becomes willing to go through hell to save her, himself and also Australia.
The theme of Trent Jamieson´s book, to show Death from a corporate, highly efficient and strictly planned side is very original and instantly peaked my interest. Add the bittersweet lovestory that can only be described as “doomed to fail” and you get an entertaining and amusing story. It features numorous different mythologies of death and various allusion to pop culture.
Altogether, “Death Most Definite” with a new and surprising take on death a very wry humor and interesting, rich worldbuilding make for a great read. This is a series you should keep your eye on!
3.5 of 5 points from me!