High schooler Christian Gettis is dead. And yet, he’s still conscious—after being thrown from his vehicle during a car accident, he finds himself unable to pass on. Guided by another spirit named Alexander, he learns about the universe’s sense of balance; his death left ripples in the lives of everyone he knew, but the woman who swerved into his lane, Barbara, has no idea that her actions led to his death.
To find his place in the afterlife, Christian has to take some of the misery his loved ones are feeling and share it with Barbara by haunting her. He can use any of the established tricks—cold spots, strange noises, moving furniture—to make her miserable, but it’s misery she needs, at least until Christian discovers that maybe things aren’t exactly as they seem to be.
Christian is an amusing protagonist, with a sense of humor—and maturity—matching his age. It becomes clear relatively quickly that there’s more to Barbara than Alexander initially shares; the things she says don’t quite line up with what Christian knows. But Christian has his own anger to process, making it difficult to care about what she’s going through.
That anger is one of the novel’s driving forces. Christian grapples with it as he learns more about Barbara, his shortsightedness about others literally impacting his ability to navigate the world. It’s not entirely a story about forgiveness—it’s not that preachy—but RD Meyers’ writing does explore multiple themes through his journey, adding texture to what might otherwise just be fun fluff.
Meyers’ humor keeps the story from ever slipping into boredom, though it doesn’t always hold the reader’s attention. There are some sections of the book, particularly those where Christian is trying to puzzle out what’s going on, that spend a little too much time on his lack of knowledge versus action. These moments drag down what’s otherwise a fun and inventive story—Christian is at his most interesting when he’s being an impulsive teen, and these moments of sitting and thinking feel comparatively dull.
WRONGFUL DEATH is an enjoyable twist on the ghost story. Even if it doesn’t haunt the reader long after reading, it’s a fun and entertaining story with a good sense of humor and a generous dash of originality.
~Melissa Brinks for IndieReader