The Business of Death — book review

THE BUSINESS OF DEATH by Trent Jamieson. Orbit Books £8.99

Reviewed by Matthew Johns

Jamieson’s Death Works trilogy centres on Mortmax, the Australian branch of a global company whose business is literally death. The employees of Mortmax work to make sure that when the dead die, their souls safely get to the afterlife – they call this ‘pomping’. They also ensure that creatures called Stirrers don’t pass through from the afterlife and take over dead bodies in their attempt to take over the living world.

The central character is Steven de Selby, a Pomp who has no ambition, an issue with authority figures and a fondness for Australian rum. His story begins as he meets a dead girl who seems surprisingly together, and then being shot at.

The three books comprising the trilogy all follow a similar theme – Steven battling his internal demons plus an actual nemesis, while trying to figure out his increasingly complicated love and business lives. Having fallen in love with her, he manages to bring the dead girl back to life using what is known as a Morpheus Manoeuvre.

De Selby’s flawed hero is believable, and it is easy to see some of the author’s own passions reflecting through his creation – indie music, Brisbane and Australian rum being the most obvious!

The Death Works trilogy is a definite page turner – it kept me entertained, and I was truly immersed into the story. The machinations of Mortmax and the afterlife, the complex characters and the imagery used throughout are excellently woven together into a gripping tale that I would heartily recommend.