Monday, May 16, 2011

DEAD (as a doorpost) / Naomi Kramer

Reviewed by: BigAl

Genre: Mystery/Humor

Approximate word count: 9-10,000


Kindle  US: YES UK: YES Nook: YES  Smashwords: YES  Paper: NO
Click on a YES above to go to appropriate page in Amazon, B&N or Smashwords stores


Naomi Kramer lives in Ipswich, Australia, which is up the road a bit from Brisbane. A technical writer by day, Kramer wrangles a husband, two kids, and a couple cats in the evening. Somehow, she also finds time to write. We reviewed her YA novella, Maisy May, several weeks ago. She has three other books. One is a recently released flash fiction collection, Bad Fuck, not a Young Adult book, which we’ll review later. Her other books are a series of novelettes, like this one. The first DEAD(ish), is also the name of the series and available in a Greek translation if you’re so inclined. The second book in the series is (technically) DEAD.


In Dead (ish), we met Linda, a ghost, for lack of a better term. She’s dead. She’s also stuck between the earth and her next stop. It seems she can’t move on until she can find her body. I guess she’s not dead, just DEAD(ish). In (technically) DEAD Linda has finally made it to heaven. Before she adapts to life (or death) there she returns to Earth, tasked with resolving someone else’s problem. Now, in DEAD (as a doorpost) Linda is settled in heaven, and assigned to help a newcomer adapt. He also needs help understanding how he died.


Most books that depict heaven paint a picture of a place that’s nice, where everyone is amenable and gets along. Booorrrringgg. I could deal with that, I guess. The angels playing harp music all day would put me to sleep though. If you really only have two choices then sure, boring is better than that eternal damnation thing.

I much prefer Kramer’s heavenly ideal. The harps sound like electric guitars, that is when that is what the angels want. You work because it is fun and your choice. I’m not even going to discuss how sex is different from in that other boring version of heaven.

Linda’s character has evolved during the series. In DEAD (ish), she was evil. I’ll concede it was a playful kind of evil. Still evil. In (technically) DEAD, she was finding her way, adapting to how things work in heaven.

In DEAD (as a door post), for the first time I didn’t see Linda as evil and actually liked her character without reservation. Her wicked and irreverent sense of humor push all the right buttons for me. Linda has grown as a person, if you can do that after you’re dead. She tries to be nice to others, until they give her reason not to be. It looks like her “work” in heaven is going to be helping others whose affairs need straightening out before they can completely move on from their earthly lives. It gives her a chance to snoop, cajole, and get pushy with people who are covering up. This suits Linda’s personality perfectly.

If you’d like a glimpse of a better heaven and a chance to watch Linda in action as she clears up one more mystery to help someone’s smooth transition to the afterlife, DEAD (as a doorpost) is the book for you.


If adult language and themes offend you, this may not be the book for you. Avoid the buy button if an irreverent sense of humor offends you.

Although part of a series, any of the books in the Dead(ish) series can be read as stand-alone. The stories are all self-contained. Although some characters in addition to Linda appear in multiple books, knowing their back-story isn’t needed.

Kramer is an Aussie and proud of it. She spells like one and uses Aussie slang. If you run into a strange word, watch Crocodile Dundee again or try this resource. That might help.

Format/Typo Issues:

No issues.

Rating: ***** Five stars


Katy Cameron said...

Having just downloaded Dead(ish) tonight for my Kindle, I'm glad to see there's a series to follow, if I enjoy it, and that it's well rated. Looking forward to reading it now :o)

Paul Hadsall said...

After reading your review of DEAD (as a doorpost), I decided to download Dead(ish)to give the series a try.

The story premise was interesting, but the shifting first person viewpoint was irritating. I don't think I'm going to read any of the others in the series.

BooksAndPals said...

@Paul: I know that bothers some people. I had a tougher time keeping track of the viewpoint in DEAD(ish) than I did with the others in the series.