I have to say off the bat what a breath of fresh air this book is. It hooked me from the very beginning, engaging me right away with our charming, geeky, slacker hero, Steven the Psychopomp. If you're not familiar with the concept of the pomp, he is a person who helps ferry the souls of the dead to the underworld. And for Steven, it a family profession. But he's kind of coasting; bummed out about a failed relationship; drinking too much... nothing too terrible, but he's not about to win employee of the year.
Everything changes for Steven when someone starts shooting at him in the middle of a crowd, in broad daylight. He'd be a goner, if the spirit of the newly dead Lissa hadn't been there to help guide his escape. In quick fashion, all the pomps on the continent are being killed off --and their bodies inhabited by souls trying to escape the Otherworld. Steven goes on the run with Lissa's ghost, really having no idea how to fight what's happening and who is behind it all. Of course, when the mystery is unraveled, he must face off with the mastermind behind the plan, in a fight with stakes higher than he ever imagined.
I really liked this book right off the bat. Steven is likeable and relatable. For the most part, the world building was clear and easy to understand.. though things did get a little murky for me about 2/3 of the way through, while Steven was in the underworld. I lost a little momentum there... but not much. And don't worry --I was still satisfied at the end. My only (small) issue with the book was that it was set in Australia, and some of the language didn't entirely connect for me as a reader in the Southeast United States. (For instance, one character was noted to be wearing "cords & skivvies" and I still have no idea what that means.) But even that wasn't all bad, because it was kind of nice to have such a different setting than I've grown used to with other Urban Fantasy books.
I was also a little surprised --and pleased-- to have a little romance thrown in. We even had a love scene, which I enjoyed. I think I would have enjoyed it even more if it were in a little more detail. (**wink**)
I would definitely recommend this one --and I can't wait to get started on the sequel, Managing Death. 4 1/2 stars.