I'm a little late this week, because last week was crazy busy with writing and producing a new short story. But here is the latest review for the Fall for the Indie Book Challenge.
This time I'm tackling Kory M. Shrum's Dying for a Living (A Jessica Sullivan Novel) or maybe I should say giving this book a great big hug rather than tackling it. There is so much to like about this story.
Here's a little summary:
Jessica or Jesse makes her living as a Death Replacement Agent thanks to a genetic variation that makes her a Necronite, someone whose body can restart itself after dying. So she acts as a kind of death magnet when accidents happen she can step in and die on behalf of someone, then reboot herself after a brief down period. But one day a "client" tries to kill Jesse permanently. In trying to figure out why, Jesse uncovers a rat's nest of conflicts and conspiracies within the agency she works for and various other authorities. On top of that she's trying to manage a personal life including friends, a lover and someone who is somewhere in between.
One of the toughest things about a book like this is making the fantasy of Necronites and their place in society and how society reacts to them believable. I'm happy to say that Shrum does a great job with this. I was impressed with how well-thought out the scientific, social and political aspects of this sort of thing were in this book. Shrum builds a world that behaves exactly as you would expect our society to deal with finding out that there are people among us for whom death isn't a permanent condition.
In addition to creating a believable world for this story. The characters are also highly credible. Jesse is snarky, funny and sharp about a lot of things, but a bit thick about emotional issues. Given her backstory which I won't spoil for you, she is exactly what you might expect. She's likable, but still has her share of faults and manages to confront some of them in the course of the story. The supporting characters like her lover, Lane and friend/coworker Allie, and mentor Brinkley also have depth that makes Jesse's relationship to them interesting to the reader and makes them effective plot movers rather than just props.
Overall, I am very glad that I read this one, and will likely read the next in the series, Dying by the Hour.