Science fiction and fantasy
Death Most Definite
by Trent Jamieson
Before the pace quickens we learn about Steven's family life. He's close to his parents, and trades insults and banter with his cousin Tim, who is known as a Black Sheep because he refused to become a Pomp. There are plenty of scenes of human closeness to begin with, establishing Steven's humanity and likeableness. However, things get crazy when Stirrers come on the scene. These destructive spirits from beyond the normal world inhabit and animate the bodies of the dead, a little like zombies but with much more intelligence, and they are the mortal enemies of Pomps. As the Stirrers multiply they begin to threaten Australia with far worse than a bloody corporate takeover.
Death Most Definite is a hooky page turner that starts with a juicy mystery about who is behind the killing spree, continues with a sweet thread of impossible unrequited love, throws in eldritch horrors and supernatural weirdness, then piles on unexpected twists to keep things interesting.
In spite of the title, Death isn't really definite in the world Trent Jamieson has created. The character of Death, known as Mr D, has a shifting face and is a strange guy. He isn't even the only Death in the world. The concept of death is also permeable, with creatures trying to pass out of the afterlife constantly.
Steven is an everyman. He's honourable, lazy, likeable, slightly built, and pretty normal, so it's easy to relate to him even when he's doing increasingly bizarre rituals or fighting for his life. However, because he's so regular he doesn't stand out as much as the cheeky cherub Wal, and he's not as memorable as Lissa who always knows what to say to put Steven in his place.
Death Most Definite is a charming and action-packed series starter, and the Death Works series is worth a look if you fancy a modern take on grim reapers.
5th November 2017
If you like this, try:The Dirty Streets Of Heaven by Tad Williams
An angel gets on the case of a missing soul. The first in the Bobby Dollar series.
Review © Ros Jackson
Source: own copy
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