This Side of Dead

Cecilia Denton (or C.C. for short) begins a three day weekend with a proposal from her boyfriend Brad to be his engaged to be engaged sort of fiance. Every girls dream right? For C.C. it is. Well almost. Regardless, she is willing to take it as it comes. On her way home she watches in horror as a man jumps from a bridge into the icy waters below. After making Brad stop the car, C.C. does the unthinkable and jumps in after him.

Malcolm Manchester, or Mal as his friends call him, is finished with this life. When he jumps from Crossroads Bridge, he expects to wake up in the hereafter. Opening his eyes, he is positive the face above him is an angel, but boy is he in for a rude awakening.

Death has a job. Three things are certain about that job. Humans live. Humans die. Death collects the soul. That’s it. There’s nothing more and nothing less to it. At least it’s always been that way until C.C. refuses to allow him to take Mal’s soul. After all she didn’t just jump into that cold water from a bridge to let Death claim his next victim. Not without a fight, but Death does hold all the cards and one of those Aces turns out to be Brad who Death has collected from a car crash.

In exchange for a chance to save Brad, Death proposes a game of sorts. If C.C. wins, Brad lives. On the other hand, if she loses, not only does she lose Brad, but Death will also collect Mal’s soul as well. So what is the game? Death sends C.C. and Mal on a scavenger hunt of sorts to prove that humans aren’t the lustful, greedy, and despairing creatures Death believes them to be. There is another catch. Death expects them to finish his game all in one long weekend.

Kelly Fitzpatrick does a grand job of weaving originality into a witty heartwarming story. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put the book down until the last line. Readers should come away from “This Side of Death” with a smile. The characters and their quarks make for a fun time and to me are very endearing. Overall this was a very enjoyable story but praise aside the only reason I couldn’t give this a perfect score is the shortness of the story. After finishing, I felt the ending to be somewhat rushed and felt a bit more story could have been added for additional closure of the characters. Regardless I would recommend the book for a nice afternoon escape.

Book Blurb for This Side of Dead

On Memorial Day weekend, Cecilia Denton hopped out of her boyfriend Brad’s car and leapt off a bridge. Far from suicidal herself, she did it to save a jumper, but she had no idea of the chain of events her heroic stunt would set in motion. Because Cecilia cheated the Grim Reaper, Death claimed her boyfriend instead. Now, Cecilia and Malcolm, the stranger whose life she saved, must go on a scavenger hunt of redemption. Either they prove to Death that there’s more to humans than greed and despair, or Death claims both Malcolm and Brad.

Malcolm Manchester didn’t ask to be saved, and he sure doesn’t want to be Cecilia’s partner in a game of Beat the Clock to restore Death’s faith in humanity. The heat is on Cecilia to give Malcolm a reason to live before time runs out—or send him off with a bang.

From the Blush Line.

Night Owl Reviews Feb, 2012 4.25