on 16 March 2012
In Terry Pratchett's Discworld, Death is made corporeal (pretty much). Here, Death is made multi-national corporation (Mortmax is such a great name). The author has had fun setting up a business whose offices are strangely in-between this world and the Next, where the front doors demand blood to open, but where otherwise business goes on much like any other big, faceless outfit. The service they provide makes sure souls leave bodies and nothing else (the Stirrers) gets back in that shouldn't. Not just anyone has the ability to do this though. At the start of the story, someone is killing off all those who can, and Stephen de Selby finds himself on the run, trying to stay alive and stop the horror - just because there really is no-one else left.
I found Death Works by reading book 2 first just because it was in my local library, and I was hooked in. I was very glad to find the trilogy published as a download and it was tremendously satisfying to read the story from the beginning at last. There are some wonderful quirky things in this book, from the set-up of the underworld to the various supernatural and mundane characters in the supporting cast.
Another reviewer has described Stephen de Selby as a bit of a loser throughout, which makes him sound rather unsympathetic as the "hero". In fact, I found it more compelling that despite his weaknesses, he never actually gives up totally - partly because of strong connections to other people in his life. And because he definitely isn't typical hero material, the last book has more emotional impact.