Saturday, July 13, 2013

INDIE BOOK REVIEW: 'Graveyard Shift' offers unique look at religion



There are a lot of different religions out there.

When you consider the religions from the past – those that have been essentially forgotten at this point – that number essentially quadruples.

What ‘Graveyard Shift,’ by Angela Roquet, does that’s so interesting is that it takes just about every religion imaginable and lets them collide in one fully-formed world. That world is both funny and fascinating. Really, it’s a neat trick.

‘Graveyard Shift’ is the story of Lana Harvey, a reaper in the afterlife. Her job includes ferrying souls to their intended destination. What do I mean? Christian souls go to the Christian deities, Muslim souls go to their appropriate deities and Hindu souls go to their own area. Even atheist souls are addressed – they’re essentially dumped in the middle of the sea to float adrift for eternity.

Since this is a political world, though, there’s some jockeying for position. Some souls get "shifted" for political favor.

Lana finds herself on a special mission when she must find one special soul – one that can help her boss, Grim, stabilize his power base and ensure that the previous wars between the religions are essentially avoided.

Along the way, she’s dealing with a ticked off Egyptian deity that is having troubles of his own – since most of the world has forgotten about his religion, he’s seeing fewer and fewer souls. His brother, Horus, is simultaneously trying to get Lana help him hook up with her best friend Josie – and use her new standing in the community to his benefit.

Lana doesn’t like being a pawn, but she’s not sure what else she can do. Add in her drunk friend, the angel Gabriel (who keeps having run-ins with Peter), the bird Holly Spirit and a new love interest with an old world attitude and Lana has her hands full.

At its heart, ‘Graveyard Shift’ makes no grand declarations about religion. Each religion has strengths and weaknesses. ‘Graveyard Shift’ merely lets the reader explore each world – including the hilariously neutral Limbo – at whatever pace they’re comfortable with.

Really, this is one of the best indie books I’ve read in a long while. The only thing that keeps it from getting five stars are the grammar and spelling errors. I can put up with a lot – but this book had a few too many for me to be comfortable about giving it five stars.

I’m already looking forward to reading the second and third books in this series, though. For me, that’s the mark of a great story.

‘Graveyard Shift’ is available on Kindle for .99 and in paperback for $13.46. (Note: Prices may change)

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