Better Off Dead

by H.P. Mallory
Kindle EditionRead July 4, 2013

Original Release Date: March 26, 2013

Length: 247 pages

Official Description: This is book #1 in the Lily Harper series.

If there’s such a thing as luck, Lily Harper definitely doesn’t have it.

Killed in a car accident before it’s her time to go, Lily learns that the hereafter isn’t exactly what she hoped it might be.

First, there’s AfterLife Enterprises, the company responsible for sorting out the recently dead and sending them on their way to the Kingdom, (aka happily ever after,) or to the Underground City, (not so happily ever after.) Learning that Lily’s death was indirectly their fault (her guardian angel, Bill, was MIA during her accident and was one of their employees,) Afterlife Enterprises offers Lily the chance to live again. But, as with most things involving the afterlife, beware the fine print. Most notably, Lily will have to become a soul retriever, venturing into the bowels of the Underground City to retrieve souls that were mistakenly sent there by Afterlife Enterprises during a Y2K computer glitch.

Second, there’s angel Bill. As if risking her second life in the Underground City wasn’t enough, Lily’s guide to the Underground is none other than her incompetent, alcoholic, womanizing guardian angel, Bill, the antithesis of anything wholesome. With only Dante’s Inferno and Bill to help her in her quest, Lily’s future isn’t looking bright.

Finally, there’s the legendary bladesmith, Tallis Black. As Scottish as his kilts and heavy brogue, Tallis Black is a centuries-old Celt who, for reasons only known to him, offers to train Lily and act as her escort into the depths of the Underground City. Dark, brooding and definitely dangerous, Lily knows she shouldn’t trust Tallis, but she also can’t deny her attraction to him.

Between soul retrieving in hell, dealing with Bill and trying to figure out what’s in it for Tallis, Lily wonders if maybe she would’ve just been better off dead.

My Take:

I love H.P. Mallory, and shame on me for not reading more of her work and falling by the wayside on her Jolie and Dulcie series’. This book is different from Mallory’s other series mostly because we don’t deal with witches, warlocks, vampires, werewolves, etc. Though Lily’s story is paranormal we have far less than one might expect. So lets see where to begin. Of course with our heroine, Lily Harper…Lily (gin) is unlike Jolie and Dulcie because she isn’t spectacular, she is not drop dead gorgeous, she’s overweight, she has very low self-esteem and she has no preternatural powers. Lily is regular until she dies which of course you’re expecting because of the book description. I like Lily, I don’t like the fact that we have to change her appearance because she is uncomfortable in her own skin, I just don’t like the idea of telling women that they are overweight and therefore can’t feel beautiful. Which honestly the book isn’t saying but it could come across that way pretty easily. Other than that I like her, she is an honest and vulnerable character who is going through a transition. Then there is Bill, I hated the character at first, he is so vulgar and annoying and very disrespectful, but he grew on me. Also, totally pictured him as Danny Devito, voice and all, even though it’s not accurate. Ok now to Tallis, oh goodness, this character is hard to get a feel of, you just know he’s supposed to be a love interest, there isn’t romance in this book btw, but he is a jackass! Ha, really though he just is rude and pushy and I don’t know what to think of him. I’m kind of on the fence, we’ll have to see when the next book comes out. II love the Scottish brogue that is written in, totally awesome!. Overall, I do like this story, which uses Dante’s Inferno as a map, the world is lush and we are just hitting the surface of what’s to come. The end felt rushed and incomplete though. I felt like we were missing a whole section, but again this is a series, so we’ll see if they can develop more character background and emotion so we don’t feel as detached (mostly from Tallis) as we did in the end of the one. There are so many funny moments that will have you laughing aloud and there is some action and creepiness throughout the book. I can’t wait for the next book to be published, it will be pretty fun!


“You just gotta be careful not to be so busy tryin’ to learn how to get a life that you forget to have one.”

Other Books by H.P. Mallory

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