This was such a fun and unique book! It’s a great blend of a murder mystery, family drama, and dark humor. Even before I started reading, the synopsis was giving me all the Grady Hendrix vibes. I mean I’m so here for the all of Hendrix’s unique and weird takes on things, so I was totally sold on this one.
There are quite a few characters to keep track of and there are 2-3 main stories that are interwoven throughout the book. The book is also half on Earth (mainly New Hampshire) and half in Hell, and the switching between the two is perfect.
Peyote Trip (yes that’s his name) has worked his way up to the 5th floor in Hell, meaning he currently works in the Deals department. He has spent millennia in Hell but now he has a way out of Hell and only needs one more member of the Harrison family to sign a contract for him to succeed. Calamity, the newest member of the Deal department though, might just be what ruins things for Peyote. While her naïve personality has made friends out of the two, her own agenda might just be what derails all of Peyote’s planning. Peyote was a great character and not what you would typical think of when thinking about someone who has gone to hell. At first he seems a bit meek but as we learn more about the circumstances that lead him to Hell, you realize he isn’t such a bad guy.
Earth side, we have the Harrison family and we follow three out of the four members of the family. Silas, the father, is still coming to terms with his brothers death 18 years later after being convicted of murdering 17 year old Sarah. Lily, the mother, is having a secret affair and is grappling with the way her life turned out. Finally we have Mickey, the youngest member of the family; who at 12 is learning how to navigate puberty. The family is headed to the lake for 6 weeks and Micky’s newest friend Ruth, is along for the ride. With Ruth getting closer to the family, secrets from the past are coming unraveled quickly.
I didn’t particularly like any of the Harrison family characters, but I did think Lux did a fabulous job of giving each their own voice and personality. Both Mickey and Silas give off weird vibes, especially Silas when it comes to Ruth. But I really felt that Lux was able to take these very normal characters and make them stand out. I thought Lily was going to be a bigger character, and while she plays pivotal roles in the story, her end result was a big lackluster, imo.
You really get two stories in one with this book and it’s not till the end that they come together. I was completely invested in finding out the HOW of the connection though, and didn’t fell disconnected from either side at any point while reading. The way Lux crafted Hell was unique and I I loved it. Instead of the traditional fire and brimstone version of Hell, instead it made me think more of ‘The Office’ meets ‘The Good Place’, with it’s slight annoyances (ie pens stop working, the ac is broken, only Jägermeister is served at the bar etc). The workers of Hell are other people who have either sold their soul or were just bad people.
This was way less of a ‘Horror’ book than I thought it would be so I’m inclined to say that’s a mislabel genre-wise, though I guess just the setting being Hell classifies that way? I’m not sure. Regardless , this was a solid dysfunctional family mystery, with tons of sarcastic and witting dialogue. I really enjoyed reading this!
Sign Here comes out October 25, 2022! Huge thank you to Berkley for my advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion. If you liked this review please let me know either by commenting below or by visiting my instagram @speakingof.books.