Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet is the first in her Lana Harvey, Reapers Inc. series. I picked this book up randomly after downloading a different free book on AmazonKindle and Graveyard Shift popped up as a recommendation. I was reading a similar book at the time, but after spontaneously downloading this book I decided to read the first paragraph to see if it was worth the time of the download, and kept reading. Until the very end. And even putting aside my other reading.
The Inferno has Evolved… Lana Harvey is a reaper, and a lousy one at that. She resides in Limbo City, the modern capital of the collective afterlives, where she likes to stick it to the man (the legendary Grim Reaper himself) by harvesting the bare minimum of souls required of her. She’d much rather be hanging out with Gabriel, her favorite archangel, at Purgatory Lounge. But when a shocking promotion falls in her lap, Lana learns something that could unravel the very fabric of Eternity. If the job isn’t completed, there could be some real hell to pay.
While a fluffy, and fun to read Grim Reaper Urban Fantasy Mystery (is that a thing? ’cause it seems to be a thing) there is more depth to this cozy novel than the sea of souls Harvey crosses to get to the different versions of heaven and hell. The writing was excellent, humorous, and interesting, so I was able to dig into the novel on a deeper level and really enjoyed my read. I liked the novel quite a bit for a couple of odd reasons perhaps.
First, the world building was great. The blurb on the front cover describes the novel quite well: A Lovingly Sacrilegious Journey Beyond the Grave. Roquet mixes mythologies, heavens and souls in her series, but my favorite bit of her world building is that the whole reason the levels of hell exist are due to the fact that they were all created by man. As man and earth continuously changes and heaven, hell, limbo, are shaped by the changes in that particular religious order. I’ve read a lot of angel/demon/reaper books and they are most are based on the premise that the judeo/christian worldview is right and real. And, that’s fine, in that world it is true. However, this is one of the series that says, these mythologies exist because they were created by humans and therefore all are right, even the atheists. As religions die off the afterlife for those religions also begin to die if they don’t learn to evolve. But dying deities will fight for their survival, and they have the years and experience in politics that Lana doesn’t as she finds herself in a little over her head with all the political maneuverings. Thankfully she has her friends and colleagues to help her.
The second thing I really appreciated about this book was that Roquet’s female characters are in charge of their own sexuality. In fact, one woman in the book ends a sexual relationship with one person in the beginning, tries to start another sexual relationship but finds that the guy is keeping secrets and ends it, then finds herself in a friends with benefits relationship by the end. As I was currently reading about yet another stereotypical female who is a virgin and attracted to a Scottish warrior and wants to have him use his sword on her, but he decides she is too innocent, it was quite refreshing to find a story where female agency involves taking ownership of having sex instead of avoiding it.
I quite enjoyed Graveyard Shift by Angela Roquet. It is a fun, darkly humorous novel with interesting world building. Lana has some growing to do as she becomes more involved with the politics in the AfterLife, but she starts out a smart female character, I have belief she’ll only get better as her character develops.