Death Most Definite (Steven de Selby #1) by Trent Jamieson

Released: August 1, 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 323
Publisher: Orbit
ISBN-13: 987-0-316-07800-9

If it wasn’t for Dark Faerie Tales’ debut urban fantasy authors reading challenge, I never would have picked up Death Most Definite, and I would have been missing out on a fantastic novel.

Trent Jamieson‘s debut novel is all about a Psychopomp, or Pomp, named Steven de Selby. His job? Helping the dead get to the Underworld, and banishing Stirrers (those who come back to occupy dead bodies) when they show up in Brisbane. It’s a family business — his parents are both Pomps but his cousin and best friend, Tom, is what they call a Black Sheep — someone who comes from a Pomp family but who chooses not to be a Pomp.

Life is moving along at its normal mediocre rate for Steven when a dead girl pops up and saves him from a gunman. This event is but one of many attacks on Pomps across the city and Steven soon finds himself pomping friends, family, and colleagues, while the big boss, Mr. D., remains out of touch. It’s up to Steven and the dead girl to figure out what’s going on and stop the regional apocolypse.

I have to admit, I wasn’t totally sold on Death Most Definite when I first saw it on the list of potential reads for the challenge. Nothing against male protagonists but it just didn’t grip me the way some of the other back blurbs did. But it was in the store the other day when I went looking for new reads and I took it as a sign that I should invest. I’m really glad that I did because it was a fun, riveting story.

Steven reminds me of Harry Dresden in some ways. They’re both self-deprecating, with ghostly sidekicks. However, Harry’s a powerful wizard and Steven’s a middling Pomp, so the similarities are mostly personality-based. That being said, if you like the Dresden Files, it would be a good idea to check this book out. Death Most Definite has a great plot that keeps you wondering what’s going to happen next, plus some wonderful world building, particularly later on in the book. (I won’t use specifics to avoid spoilers.) All of the characters are great, particularly Lissa, Wal, and Mr. D., for different reasons. Steven is a great main character, with enough flaws that he’s not annoying. And Trent Jamieson injects enough dry humour into the narrative to keep you hooked.

I’d recommend this book to anyone who loves a paranormal adventure, with a touch of romance. The next book in the series, Managing Death, comes out in just a few days, and I’m going to get it the first chance I get!

Only one book left to meet this challenge…

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