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Eager reader of history, mystery, classics, biographies, steampunk, lit fic, science, scifi, and etc. My reviews are mostly positive--I rarely finish or write about books I don't enjoy. My TBR is too high for that.


Croak (Croak, #1) - Gina Damico

The Grim Reaper wears a black hoodie . . .


In the last two years Lex’s behavior has gotten increasingly angry, erratic and violent, and no one, not even Lex herself, knows what’s up. As a last resort her parents send her away to spend the summer with her Uncle Mort in the country—it’s the first time Lex and her twin sister Cordy have ever been separated and neither are happy about it.


Lex thinks she’ll be milking cows, but Uncle Mort has other ideas and he gives her an end-of-life job she never knew existed, “killing” the dead, or to be more accurate releasing souls from the bodies of people who have already died. It’s a strange community of workers, but Lex is beginning to feel a sense of belonging she hasn’t had in years and her anger is slipping away. For a while anyway.


Through the wonders of ether travel Lex and her (cute guy) “killing” partner arrive on the scene soon enough to see real killers, now temporarily frozen in time and helpless, if the death has been violent. Having to let murderers go free and unpunished is reactivating Lex’s rage. They aren’t supposed to get involved in vigilante justice, but Lex wants to and that is threatening to destroy the new life she doesn’t want to lose.


This all sounds grim, but the book is actually a mostly winning mash up of silly and serious. Corny puns and some comic book like characters, including Lex’s wacko wisecracking mad scientist uncle, blend not always seamlessly with teen angst and issues of morality, mortality and justice. The book concludes with something of a cliffhanger. Lex figures out what she needs to do, but that story will be told in the sequel Scorch.