Paperback, 234 pagesPublished August 1st 2012 by Eternal Press
Thirty-six-year-old Irene Dunphy didn’t plan on dying any time soon, but that’s exactly what happens when she makes the mistake of getting behind the wheel after a night bar-hopping with friends. She finds herself stranded on Earth as a ghost, where the food has no taste, the alcohol doesn’t get you drunk, and the sex…well, let’s just say “don’t bother.” To make matters worse, the only person who can see her—courtesy of a book he found in his school library—is a fourteen-year-old boy genius obsessed with the afterlife.
This sounds suspiciously like hell to Irene, so she prepares to strike out for the Great Beyond. The only problem is that, while this side has exorcism, ghost repellents, and soul devouring demons, the other side has three-headed hell hounds, final judgment, and eternal torment. If only there was a third option…
I am always nervous when I read a book about life after death. Not because I am religious and offended or anything, but just because
most some of them are SO BAD. Fortunately, this is not one of the bad ones.
Have you ever read a book where you didn’t really like the main character, but still liked the book? That is this for me. Irene makes bad decision after bad decision. Starting with driving home black out drunk and crashing her car into the water. I am sure you are asking yourself, “But how can it get worse?” It does. Just trust me. I really wanted to punch her in her face page after page, and just when she would do or say something that would start redeeming her in my eyes, she would follow it up with an idiotic statement or action. Oh Irene, I want to root for you. I want to like you. I also want to kick your legs out from under you and leave you in the street. You are selfish.
Of course, her little sidekick, Jonah, is a doll. And many of her hateful comments and actions are toward him. Which make them worse. He is just a kid who has figured out how to hang with the dead. There is nothing wrong with that. I suppose. He has the patience of a saint, and even after being mistreated by Irene, he still stands by her, and even helps her accomplish her goal.
There are a few other side characters, who I thought would become more important as the story went on, but they didn’t. So I won’t spoil anything for you by talking about them. They did provide some good perspective on the afterlife for Irene. And by the way, if the afterlife is like it is portrayed by Bruce, I am not looking forward to it.
There were hints of a love connection, but nothing concrete. I know Bruce did not intend it to be a love story, and that she intended it to be about an imperfect woman finding her own way (which I would have to say, she was successful in getting that point across) I still felt the absence of a romance. I believe it would have given Irene more depth as a character, and she could still save herself. Romance isn’t always about the knight in shining armor coming to the rescue. Sometimes the damsel in distress finds she can save herself.
Overall, Hereafter gets a solid 3 1/2 from me. I think it would have made up that other 1/2 if it had been a little bit shorter. I appreciate the detail, but don’t need to know what is going on every second of every day. Cut maybe 50 pages, and I would have been left wanting more.
Also, don’t forget to check out Terri Bruce’s Guest Post on my blog for her book tour and my Birthday Bash. They both are over, but it is still a good post.