Afterlife by Marcus Sakey


Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

AfterlifeDo you ever read a book and immediately think this would make a great movie? That is exactly what I thought while reading Afterlife, Marcus Sakey’s latest work. Well, it appears I was not the only one to think that as it is going to be a movie directed by Ron Howard. Afterlife’s premise isn’t exactly new ground covered. There have been many other books and movies done along the same basic story line, but Sakey turns it up a notch in both emotional tugs and suspense.

Will Brody is an FBI agent assigned to a task force in Chicago. He reports to Claire McCoy. The two have both a personal and a professional relationship which they manage to keep separate most of the time. This changes with an explosion leaving Chicago, Claire and Brody forever changed.

The second chapter of the book opens with Brody waking up to a quiet Chicago-a changed street scape devoid of the natural rhythms of urban life. He sees Claire standing over him. Claire is beside herself with grief. And from that point on, the story is just mesmerizing. The title really gives the basic plot away, in that the book deals primarily with death and the afterlife from a fairly unique perspective. Can the dead still have a relationship with the living? Can the dead influence what happens in the world of the living?

I have but one quibble with the book. The first chapter is what most authors would make the prologue. Perhaps the author made it the first chapter because he wanted to make sure people read it, but it was frustrating as the relevance of that chapter didn’t become clear until far into the book. By that time, I imagine most readers will have forgotten all about Edmund and his fate at sea. No worries, it is a short chapter and takes just minutes to reread.

I am definitely looking forward to the movie of Afterlife.