The question of what, if anything, comes after death has fascinated people for thousands of years, and over the years people have come up with all kinds of cosmologies that supposedly answer that question.  This isn’t just the province of philosophy and theology, either; novelists have been creating their own visions of the afterlife for ages as well (for a truly unique vision, I recommend Kevin Brockmeier’s The Brief History of the Dead, which is also available at the Field Library).  And now Markus Sakey has written a thriller which is also a romance and a speculative fiction novel on the subject, called Afterlife, and if you’re interested in a new take on post-death existence, this is a book not to miss.

Afterlife starts as a thriller: a pair of FBI agents, Will Brody and his supervisor, Claire McCoy, are in Chicago, investigating a terrorist who has already killed 18 people and thrown the whole country into a state of panic. In the midst of this investigation, the two find themselves falling in love and planning for Will to retire from the FBI so that he and Claire can get married without compromising her career.

All of which is thrown into disarray when Will is killed by an explosion set by the sniper he and Claire have been chasing down. From Claire’s point of view, this is a nightmare that renders her already difficult job almost unbearable. For Will, this is the beginning of something new. He wakes up without a scratch to a different Chicago, dark and seemingly abandoned. There are no cars, no planes, none of the people he was just standing beside.  There are people here, though, people like him who died suddenly and violently with a lot of life force left.  Some of them, like Will, are decent people looking for another chance, but others are dangerous and violent, and Will needs to figure out how to survive in this afterlife and find a way to reunite himself with Claire.

The manhunt Will was engaged in doesn’t end with his death; it just gets deeper and more complicated. And when Claire joins him, their love is strengthened by their surroundings and the tasks they’ve set themselves, because heroes remain heroic even after death.

Good vs. evil, life after death, love everlasting: if these aren’t things that interest you, then you can skip this book.  Otherwise, dive into a wild and unique world that will give you a whole new perspective on the Afterlife.


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