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Monday, December 6, 2010

'Managing Death' Death Works #2 by Trent JAMIESON

Received from the publisher

From the BLURB:

It's not easy being Death. For starters, people keep dying. And then, they keep getting up again. Steven de Selby got promoted. This makes the increasing number of stirrers (and the disturbing rumours of a zombie god rising sometime soon) his problem. That time management seminar he keeps meaning to take would also remind him that he's got a Death Moot to plan, a Christmas party to organize, and an end-of-the-world thing to avert. Steven must start managing Death, before Death starts managing him, or this time the Apocalypse will be more than Regional.

** Contains SPOILERS if you haven’t read book #1 **

‘Managing Death’ is the second book in Trent Jamieson’s ‘Death Works’ series.

Steven de Selby is back at his psychopomping best. Except this time around he isn’t middle-management in the business of death. . . in this second book Steven has actual responsibilities as Australia’s Regional Death. Still working for Mortmax Industires, Steven is now a head-honcho with his own (understaffed) team, a conference to plan and a zombie god to destroy and save the world. . . just another day at the office, really.

Jamieson unabashedly jumps helter-skelter into his second ‘Death Works’ novel. There is little page-time given to the magic of this alternate universe and not much ground is revisited from book #1. And the lack of back-tracking actually works, because the book picks up pretty much where ‘Death Most Definite’ left off (and the releases are fairly close together). It means that from the on-set ‘Managing Death’ is quick; balls-to-the-wall, pedal-to-the-metal, take no prisoners summer blockbuster reading – BRILLIANT!

Steven is back and dysfunctional as ever. In the first book he was an aimless slacker, and wholly likable for his ‘average joe’ relatability. In ‘Managing Death’ Steven is still dealing with the fallout from his apocalyptic heroics, and struggling with his new responsibilities up the Mortmax corporate ladder. Steven has turned to drinking away his problems – among which are severe under-staffing and a zombie god hell-bent on destroying the world. It’s no wonder Steven hasn’t been ‘coping’ well. . . I still love Steven as our hero. He’s such a typical Aussie bloke, and it’s that ordinariness that makes his moments of brilliance (far and few though they may be) that much more impressive. I love that Steven is saving the world while dealing with his own neuroses and character flaws.

I read and liked Jamieson’s first book, ‘Death Most Definite’. . . but I had a few BIG issues with the artificial ‘romance’ in that first book. In ‘Definite’ Steven quickly (and against all common sense) fell in love with a ghost called Lissa. Well following the events of the near-miss apocalypse, Steven got the girl and Lissa is back in this second novel. . . even if their relationship isn’t running as smoothly as either of them would like.

Surprisingly what I didn’t like about Lissa and Steven in ‘Definite’, I was able to ignore and enjoy in ‘Managing Death’. It helps that in this second novel the impossibility of Steven’s attraction is just taken as a given. . . it happened, I had to get over it. And in the aftermath of that awkward romance, Steven and Lissa actually have a rather epic and romantic (sometimes tragic) love story to be told in ‘Managing Death’. I especially loved the fact that Jamieson acknowledges the hurdles these two have to overcome if they want to be together. And those hurdles are illuminated by a disgruntled ex-employee called Rillman. . .

I also loved the humour in ‘Managing Death’. It’s that slightly irreverent, Aussie farce. . . a little bit dark and biting, but ultimately hilarious. Jamieson inserts humour into what would be otherwise hum-drum scenes to elevate the tension and drama and I LOVE it!
I kick open the door. And there are my staff having their Christmas party. A big Christmas tree is in one corner, someone is giggling by the photocopying machine. Tim is talking to some bigwigs from the state government. For all this, everything seems so forced; a party going through the motions. The door slams shut behind me.
Everyone, glasses in hand, spins around, and there I am. Me with my blood staining my shirt. Me with a bloody knife in one hand. Me with the torn and gore-stained pants. Me with blood squelching in my shoes with every step.
I walk over to the bar and pour myself a Bundy – a tall glass, neat. My pinkie finger still dangles a little. I down the rum in one gulp. No one has moved, not even Tim.
“Oh, and merry fucking Christmas,” I say, waving the glass in the air.
‘Managing Death’ is definitely summer blockbuster reading. Expect blood and gore, blokey heroics and a dash of romance. . . Jamieson offers up a sizzling Aussie Urban Fantasy and I can’t wait to dive into the third book!


'Managing Death' will be released on January 3, 2011

1 comment:

  1. ok! I need to read Death Most Definite! This sounds so awesome! Great review Hon! =D

    btw... check out my review of the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning! You need to check this series out!


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