It’s true, this one made me cry ugly tears, more than once. However, A.J. Rose’s novel, Reaping Havoc was worth every tissue that died during the reading of this lovely story.
Mitch Seeker comes from an unusual family. Each male in the long line of Seeker history is a Reaper—one who ushers souls into the light. By connecting with someone’s essence, Mitch is able to watch over them and guide them while they make their last goodbyes. Unfortunately all this power comes with a few hitches, one being that Mitch will live a total of 300 years and never be sick a day in his life. He is invincible during that time and able to heal quickly should he be injured. What that means for a gentle soul such as Mitch is that if he chooses to take a lover or a husband, he will watch him age and die. Consequently, Mitch has decided he will not become involved with any man until the latter part of his life on Earth, when he will begin to age normally. That means hundreds of years of loneliness—something Mitch has grimly decided he will accept.
Mitch holds to this incredibly difficult decision until he meets the new guy in town, Nate Koehn. Nate has run from a terrible tragedy that has left him fully determined to live life by his standards much to the chagrin of his controlling parents. Now, seeking to be a ski instructor in Mitch’s hometown, Nate turns his attention to the quite bookstore clerk whom many in town are eager to warn him about. You see, death has an uncanny way of following Mitch and Nate wonders if he should be worried that he could be next. Despite it all, Nate is determined to get close to Mitch, but Mitch is just as determined to keep Nate from knowing the pain of being involved with the Grim Reaper.
From clever world building to witty dialogue, Reaping Havoc deliciously twists all we have come to know about the Grim Reaper and gives him—a soul. Suffice it to say that the deft handling by this author when it comes to creating interesting and compassionate characters made this novel’s MCs, Nate and Mitch, some of the loveliest people to get to know. I was immediately drawn to Mitch, whose loneliness was palpable and whose unhappiness at being tied to a job he would never have chosen for himself, tore at my heart. The idea that there is more than one reaper and that they live among us was most fascinating and the world of other spiritual beings that Rose created was so well developed I was able to shed any misgivings or pangs of disbelief from the onset.
But it was Nate and his grief over such horrendous loss that really drew me into this story. Nate was outwardly so happy, so sure of himself and yet inside there were such moments of absolute despair and such a keen sense of loss. When he and Mitch finally drop the walls they have each erected, the result is a gorgeous meeting of two souls so much in need of love.
The story is fast paced and amusing at times, but fraught with one tragedy after another for a story about a grim reaper could hardly be lighthearted. Having said that, there were such moments of joy in this novel that the weight of another soul passing was more than manageable. All in all, Reaping Havoc was an incredibly tender love story that reminded us all to live each day to the fullest and never settle for just getting by for one day may be your last. This novel extends the hope and wish that you are surrounded with love when it is.