Sophie Bonaste takes a uniquely humorous look at the infamous character of “Death” in her new novella, Death Gets A Boyfriend. Having existed for tens of thousands of years, Death adopts the latest fashions and attempts to “assimilate” into each new century he lives in. Despite his very serious job of bringing death to those who are on his list, he never interacts with his charges, primarily because they cannot see him, until he is sent to usher Tommy Neilson. It was to be a simple death. Tommy was to step in front of an oncoming vehicle, Death would touch his heart, and that would be that. Except he couldn’t do it. For the first time, Death hesitated and that is precisely when Tommy opened his eyes and said, “hello.”
From that moment forward, Death would move from a totally anti-social heavenly being to a love smitten man who had a boyfriend for the first time…ever. The small and inconsequential things that most new couples take in stride, Death both reveled in and ultimately questioned to, well, death. Tommy took each of his quirks in stride and fell more and more deeply in love with the delightfully awkward man whom he renamed Babe. But death cannot be cheated and the “Boss” upstairs must make the difficult decisions that Death must then carry out. Could that mean that he would lose the one person who he loves? Surely there had to be a loophole somewhere.
Death Gets A Boyfriend was a light-hearted, tongue in cheek romance that was both a tad dark and funny. Told in first person with Death narrating, the schooling of Death was both intriguing and downright ridiculous at times. Everything was a “first” for this character, from failing to do his job, to kissing a real, live man. Even before Death meets Tommy, we are aware that he struggles with his job. The “Boss” is presented as an eccentric lunatic who is somewhat like an idiot savant, but whom later proves to have great compassion and tenderness even while asking Death to do the unthinkable. Death has little option but to comply, even when it may mean his happiness will be forfeit. And what about that happiness? Death had led a solitary and closed off existence prior to meeting Tommy, but once they meet, Death embraces everything “human” he can find, albeit somewhat reluctantly at first. It is his naïveté that brings out the humor in this story.
Even though we are continually reminded that Death is the harbinger of life ending, the sweet awe-filled moments he experiences, such as his first kiss, are just lovely to read. Tommy seems to take the fact that he is now Death’s boyfriend in stride, to the point where one must really suspend all kinds of disbelief—this is a fantasy piece of writing, nothing less. When approached in that way, as if one was reading a fairy tale, then the novella becomes a sweet tale of found love and magical moments.
Author Sophie Bonaste gives us a sweet romance that seems implausible but turns out to be uniquely different and entertaining. You will find your self rooting for Death by novel’s end and hoping that the almighty is the one who really has a heart after all.
A review copy of this book was provided by Dreamspinner Press.