Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for review.
Dying for a living is set in an undefined future where there are particular people who have the ability to come back from the dead. This triggered a backlash and the different Christian churches united under a single strong leader to fight this threat. Meanwhile, an agency is using these gifted few in the best way possible: To let people with way too much money get a second chance at life by having someone die in their stead. It’s a bit complicated, but that’s the gist of it.
The main character is filled with snark, to a large extent as a defense mechanism against a world that hates her for what she is while coveting the services she can provide. She is backed up by hot boytoy Lane and her best friend Ally (with the inevitable triangle drama), and things are going fairly normally …
Until it no longer does. She finds herself being questioned over a murder—her own, to be precise—and gets implicated in the murder of her abusive stepfather. Meanwhile, someone’s still trying to kill her—as they’ve killed several others like her—and she needs to sort out the emotions in her little triangle drama. What exactly is going on, and is she going crazy?
Though the premise is quite interesting, the book takes quite some time to get going, while simultaneously trying to do too much, explain too much, in too short a period of time. When I finally really got into it, I read two more pages and ended up staring at the back cover, which was a bit disappointing.
It’s written all in first person, and occasionally Jesse’s voice is grating, at least for me. I think the main time it really bugged me was a sex scene between her and Lane, where it was too clinical to be titillating, while simultaneously making me feel like I shouldn’t be reading it in public. It was a very strange juxtaposition!
In the end, I think it’s a decent book. If the subject matter—living-dead agents trying to uncover a conspiracy—seems interesting, it’s worth a read as origin story for the second book. I did read the first chapter of the second book, and the pace seems to pick up quite a lot.