Wednesday 25 June 2014

The Deadliners - Rachel Medhurst

After being offered the chance to read fellow blogger Rachel Medhurst's debut offering, The Deadliners, how could I refuse? The concept seemed fresh and original and since I have been in a huge reading slump recently, I thought something fresh would help me out of it. I was right. I have been trying to get this review written up for weeks but I struggled to find the words to say just how much I loved it - plus a number of personal reasons meant posting on my numerous blogs also had to take a backseat. However, here I am - about to tell you why you need to read this.

You don't stop living when you die.

Synopsis | Have you ever wondered what happens when you die?
They're called Deadliners, they're spirits and they play fate with human lives. These 'deadline assignments' have karma which must be cleared by the time they die. What the deadliners don't know is that by helping others they are also clearing karma of their own.

They're a strong family unit who would do anything for one another - until one of them has to take Danny's wife over to the other side. Will they be able to go through with it? The group finds themselves in unfamiliar territory as each one of them faces their toughest lesson since they've died: letting go.

Danny loses control as his friends start doing what they want, instead of their jobs. What was making them forget their training? Was there something darker going on? Never before had a deadliner group been so torn apart by the challenges that each one had to face.

Plenty of books have spoken about what happens after you die but Rachel certainly puts across a different idea in the book. Essentially, the Deadliners live in what I would call purgatory. They are told who will be passing across soon - their assignments - and have to clear the karma of their assignments. Whilst clearing other peoples karma, they unwittingly clear karma of their own - and will eventually pass across to the other side. When people pass across, they either become Deadliners or pass straight across - Deadliners will eventually also pass across.

Having no control over the assignments they have been given can make some assignments very emotional - and you sometimes see Deadliners begging for an extension. Anna has to help her own mother over and Danny gives her extension after extension until she cannot have anymore - yet when Anna is assigned Danny's wife, he begs much the same until it is too late - Anna cannot extend any more. She is then called upon to pass on over the side, she has done all she needs to do.

However, the group is pretty much lost without her. Charlie misses the lady he loves, Danny is desperate to pass over himself. The group soon descends into chaos as Danny loses total control over all the Deadliners in his group. 

The concept of the novel is unique and the storyline is very strong - I believed in Anna and Charlie's potential relationship, Danny's impending self destruction and the passion they feel when it comes to letting go of their loved ones - whilst they may be dead, they don't want their loved ones to pass over before their time - even if it is their time. With everyone neglecting their assignments, it is entirely plausible that Anna should get called back to the group - you instantly tell from the first few pages that she is the mother hen of the group and it only seems right that she is called upon to find the root of the problems.

All in all, I really loved this novel - Rachel has done incredibly well - weaving together a unique concept, a strong plotline and relatable characters into a fantastic first novel. You all really should buy this book now!

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