After Life – Review

“To learn the true value of something, all you had to do was lose it.”

After Life is a stunning book, that was so unexpected I am still reeling from it. If you want to read a novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat and constantly surprise you, this is a MUST READ!

Will Brody is an FBI agent, tracking a sniper wreaking havoc in Chicago. Claire McCoy worries he takes too many risks on the job, worries one night he won’t make it home. Her concern even more complicated because more than just his lover, she is also his boss.

Claire, running on no sleep and intense pressure to catch the sniper who is wreaking havoc and terror in Chicago, feels herself on exhausted and on edge. She wants to stop the madness. Brody in the field, focused on finding the same sniper no matter the risk, no matter the cost, doesn’t help. The city is wrapped in panic, the fear so intense it is a living, breathing thing.

“Maybe there was no bottom to fear. Maybe that was what made it fear.”

Yet, somehow amidst all this chaos, all this fear and panic and terror, Claire and Brody found each other and fell in love.

When this chase ends in an explosion, Brody wakes up, not a scratch on his body. But, the Chicago he wakes up in is dark, seemingly abandoned and eerily quiet. The relief he feels when he spots other people is short lived when they chase him with weapons. Whatever world he woke up in, it wasn’t the one he lived his entire life in.

Claire mourns Will, feeling the loss of him harder than anything she’s known before. Already running on empty, she can’t face her empty apartment. Strange dreams in an anonymous hotel room lead her down a path she can’t walk away from.

To quote the jacket, “What if death is just the beginning.”

And this is all THE BEGINNING of the novel! Worried I put spoilers in there? NOPE! That’s all in the description and the jacket. This my friends, is the beginning of a novel that throws all the rules of plot out the window and does whatever the hell it wants!

I’m going to try and wrap my thoughts on this book, nice and neat, without giving away any spoilers.

I opened this book expected a thriller. A standard suspense novel where an FBI agent tracks a serial killer. Sure, it says on the cover, “the love story from the film Ghost dropped into The Matrix.” I figured there would be some supernatural elements. Fine, great! Not even close. You really have to forget everything you think you’re expecting and just go along for the ride with this one. After Life will push the boundaries of your imagination and demand your full attention.

Claire and Brody are chasing more than just a serial killer. This novel is more than suspense, more than a supernatural thriller. It is an exploration of life and death, fear and love.

“It turned out that there was a difference between knowing you’d never see someone again and knowing they were dead.”

If you have problems with the idea of any sort of afterlife that deviates from any strict religious doctrine, this probably isn’t the book for you. After Life takes you into a world of life after death. A world where things are both familiar and unfamiliar.

I reference the cover earlier, where this book is described as a cross between Ghost and The Matrix. It is, but it isn’t. To me, this book felt much more a result of Dante’s Inferno meets The Odyssey. It is bold and iconic and epic. Brody and Claire journey farther in their duty to restore peace in the world we all know, and fight hard to ensure that their love doesn’t simply fade away and die out.

I highly recommend this book and am not surprised that Ron Howard and Brian Grazer have already embarked on making this into a movie. The plot is masterful, the emotions intense and palpable, and the characters scream with vivid life. If I had one piece of advice to give a reader, it is this: suspend what you think you know. Stop trying to figure it out. Simply let yourself be taken on the journey Sakey has written.

There are many books that examine the war between life and death. That showcase battles between good and evil. Books that take us on love stories that fill our hearts and ones that break them. But none are like this.

“Two lovers in the path of destruction they could not avoid.”

And for all that Sakey has written, all that he has created and plotted, he somehow manages to write an ending that allows for each reader to draw their own conclusions. Not of the story, we are left with a satisfying end. But to decide what it means. What the journey meant, what the future holds. He gives us the end of a story that is still ripe with possibility.

Beyond the existential debate on death and what it means, or life and what it means. Beyond the discussion of fear and terror, of good and bad, of right and wrong. Beyond all that, After Life is a love story. Two souls bound together, and the power of what that sort of love can achieve. What ends it can reach, what boundaries it can push. Life is a power. Death is a power. Fear is a power. And love is a power that can break through them all.

Thank you Amazon Publishing and Little Bird Publicity for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. I can’t wait to see this brought to life!

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