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How To Be Dead

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Dave Marwood is trapped in a soul crushing dead end job. He’s in love with his work colleague Melanie and his only friend Gary is a conspiracy theory nut. His life is going nowhere until he has a Near Death Experience - though Death thinks of it as a Near Dave Experience. He discovers gifts he never knew he possessed and a world he never dreamed existed. A world where the Dave Marwood is trapped in a soul crushing dead end job. He’s in love with his work colleague Melanie and his only friend Gary is a conspiracy theory nut. His life is going nowhere until he has a Near Death Experience - though Death thinks of it as a Near Dave Experience. He discovers gifts he never knew he possessed and a world he never dreamed existed. A world where the Grim Reaper is a hard drinking, grumpy Billy Joel fan and the undead are bored, lonely and dangerous. How To Be Dead is the first part in a three novella series that tells the story of Death and his office staff protecting humanity from ghosts, zombies, vampires and medium-sized apocalypses. After a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.


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Dave Marwood is trapped in a soul crushing dead end job. He’s in love with his work colleague Melanie and his only friend Gary is a conspiracy theory nut. His life is going nowhere until he has a Near Death Experience - though Death thinks of it as a Near Dave Experience. He discovers gifts he never knew he possessed and a world he never dreamed existed. A world where the Dave Marwood is trapped in a soul crushing dead end job. He’s in love with his work colleague Melanie and his only friend Gary is a conspiracy theory nut. His life is going nowhere until he has a Near Death Experience - though Death thinks of it as a Near Dave Experience. He discovers gifts he never knew he possessed and a world he never dreamed existed. A world where the Grim Reaper is a hard drinking, grumpy Billy Joel fan and the undead are bored, lonely and dangerous. How To Be Dead is the first part in a three novella series that tells the story of Death and his office staff protecting humanity from ghosts, zombies, vampires and medium-sized apocalypses. After a nice cup of tea and a biscuit.

30 review for How To Be Dead

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jaela Lynndon

    Dave Turner immediately acquired the (somewhat dubious) honor of being one of maybe four authors whose books I’ve actually BOUGHT after reading one of their freebies. “How to be Dead (The ‘How to be Dead’ Grim Reaper Comedy Horror Series Book 1)” hooked me so I bought “Paper Cuts (The ‘How to be Dead’ Grim Reaper Comedy Horror Series Book 2).” It cost me all of $2.99, but I would’ve paid more. (Don’t tell Dave.) It isn’t the genre so much as the attitude of these books that draws me. Dave (the ma Dave Turner immediately acquired the (somewhat dubious) honor of being one of maybe four authors whose books I’ve actually BOUGHT after reading one of their freebies. “How to be Dead (The ‘How to be Dead’ Grim Reaper Comedy Horror Series Book 1)” hooked me so I bought “Paper Cuts (The ‘How to be Dead’ Grim Reaper Comedy Horror Series Book 2).” It cost me all of $2.99, but I would’ve paid more. (Don’t tell Dave.) It isn’t the genre so much as the attitude of these books that draws me. Dave (the main character now, not the author) nearly dies and meets the personification of Death – a crotchety fella who maintains an office in an upscale downtown building. While Dave is lying there nearly dying, he and Death have quite a conversation, which ends with Death offering to hire him. Dave starts off working with Death’s office manager, Anne. (of course Death has an office manager!) I don’t want to tell you the story, though; I want to tell you why I liked the first book enough to buy the rest: There are gorgeous lines here. Dave Turner has what many authors strive for – a way with words. Dave’s roommate, Gary, is digging through the refrigerator, looking for breakfast, and Dave asks what Gary thinks about death. Gary finds a likely repast, and as he pulls it out of the fridge he replies, “God is dead and I am an insignificant speck in an uncaring universe. But there’s cheesecake.” I can bond with that kind of logic. I've only read three so far, but I'm looking forward to the rest. (All by itself, Conquest's wedding is worth the price of the series.)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Catherine

    Short but very sweet, with shades of Douglas Adams. Likeable, funny characters, great world-building, and a good story with so much potential for the next book. Glad I wasn't reading this in public as it caused more than a few snorty guffaws (never a good look). Eagerly awaiting the next instalment!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Rabid Readers Reviews

    Dave Marwood is a great character. For a lot of people doing nothing is the easiest way to live, but Dave works hard at his apathy. We see in the novel a character that is willing to think of others before himself even in the most extreme situations. He is a guy who is living and feeling despite his efforts to the contrary. Dave has seen ghosts since he was a small child, and he seems comfortable and at peace with them—they seem rather stubbornly married to their earthly existence contrary to wh Dave Marwood is a great character. For a lot of people doing nothing is the easiest way to live, but Dave works hard at his apathy. We see in the novel a character that is willing to think of others before himself even in the most extreme situations. He is a guy who is living and feeling despite his efforts to the contrary. Dave has seen ghosts since he was a small child, and he seems comfortable and at peace with them—they seem rather stubbornly married to their earthly existence contrary to what other popular fiction might tell us. Dave is ideally situated to fill the job that Death proposes to him. Death is an interesting guy. The way that Turner layers this immortal character is fascinating. Death is petulant. The human body is simply a meat puppet for the soul. They are silly and useless and yet he seems to care about making Dave understand his point of view. He needs that contact. Death is horribly busy but lives in time as though the eras are rooms in a house so that his hectic pace never ends. Death has had to distance himself from his friends and their ill-advised choices (Famine once took a wife!) so that he is only about work and chocolate biscuits. He is not infallible. As Turner says early in the novel, “Some days you are Godzilla. Other days you are Tokyo” (Kindle Location 63). Mostly in How To Be Dead I loved the layering of truths and interlacing of humor. The style of writing speaks to Turner’s writing experience in the smooth flow and easy spirit of the characters. The ghost that Dave meets on the subway is quite happy to continue riding the train. He says that it makes him feels as though he’s alive which gives this spirit a contentment that is unique to the genre. That Dave isn’t the guy to push a subject to suit himself leaves this reader eagerly anticipating where this series will go next.

  4. 4 out of 5

    ✟Roxanne✟(Death by Book Avalanche) ☠

    4 Stars ★★★★ 'You know my motto,' said Gary. 'A stranger is just an arsehole I haven't yet met'. I must say I'm on a bit of a roll with finding books that just strike my funny bone...and I love it! Here we meet Dave, who is a loner and an old fashioned romantic. His job is crushing his whole being and he can't bring himself to tell his colleague that he's in love with her. In an attempt to impress and be her hero he ends up having a near Death experience. Now he's part of something big, something h 4 Stars ★★★★ 'You know my motto,' said Gary. 'A stranger is just an arsehole I haven't yet met'. I must say I'm on a bit of a roll with finding books that just strike my funny bone...and I love it! Here we meet Dave, who is a loner and an old fashioned romantic. His job is crushing his whole being and he can't bring himself to tell his colleague that he's in love with her. In an attempt to impress and be her hero he ends up having a near Death experience. Now he's part of something big, something he never knew existed...and The Grim Reaper? Well, he's just a bit of a geezer really. A geezer with great worldly advice. 'Every time you tell a lie an angel punches a unicorn in the face with a kitten.' Death truly focuses on what's important in the world...the real big questions... 'Even though he can backflip and lightsaber duel, Yoda claims he needs to use a walking stick. What's that all about? Apart from claiming disability allowance?' No one ever appreciates Death's efforts, like Dave, he is overworked and underpaid...so how about working together? They could have the perfect partnership...or it could just end in tears. Random, funny, odd and weird, this short story is a great read. It was just a bit too short and ended rather abruptly. I would love to read the next books in the series.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tony Duxbury

    I enjoyed this short comedy/horror. Dave isn't happy with his life, it's going nowhere. That is until he dies and meets Death. For some reason he is sent back to live again. The Grim Reaper takes a liking to Dave, they share a few words over a pint. Dave finds he has an ability that he never wanted, he can send restless souls onward. Death is overworked and underpaid, no one appreciates his efforts. He needs help and offers Dave a job. Death isn't the best boss in the world, but for the first ti I enjoyed this short comedy/horror. Dave isn't happy with his life, it's going nowhere. That is until he dies and meets Death. For some reason he is sent back to live again. The Grim Reaper takes a liking to Dave, they share a few words over a pint. Dave finds he has an ability that he never wanted, he can send restless souls onward. Death is overworked and underpaid, no one appreciates his efforts. He needs help and offers Dave a job. Death isn't the best boss in the world, but for the first time in his life Dave finds fulfillment. Lovely dead-pan humour. Odd, quirky, funny. I would recommend this for a pleasant and amusing read.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Mike

    A funny fantasy that was actually fairly funny. True, it's set in the grey, hopeless, dystopian Britain of Tom Holt, but it manages to keep a sense of humour about it. The author's main fault as a writer is that he tends to dangle his modifiers. Almost amusing enough for me to want to read the sequel, but I think not quite. Perhaps if it had been a full-length novel rather than a novella, it might have built up sufficient depth to hook me fully. There was some promise of that, but in the compres A funny fantasy that was actually fairly funny. True, it's set in the grey, hopeless, dystopian Britain of Tom Holt, but it manages to keep a sense of humour about it. The author's main fault as a writer is that he tends to dangle his modifiers. Almost amusing enough for me to want to read the sequel, but I think not quite. Perhaps if it had been a full-length novel rather than a novella, it might have built up sufficient depth to hook me fully. There was some promise of that, but in the compressed space of a novella it wasn't quite fulfilled.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Anna

    Would have been a fourstar despite the lack of original ideas if the story hadn't had such a loose end ending. It kind of just stops. Not on a cliffhanger but also with no end. As if the writer had run out of paper or computer juice before the final sentence. I've said it before and I'll say it again: if you write a series, people, make sure each book stands on its own two feet.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lyn

    A page turner I really enjoyed this novella, it was witty and well paced with more than a nod to Mssrs. Adams and Pratchett, it hit my funny bone(s) more than a few times. I'd like to have got my teeth into something longer and for an avaricious reader such as myself, I seemed to devour it almost as soon as I started reading it, which is a good thing because the writing style flowed well enough that I didn't notice until I came to the rather abrupt (and slightly obvious) ending. I would have liked A page turner I really enjoyed this novella, it was witty and well paced with more than a nod to Mssrs. Adams and Pratchett, it hit my funny bone(s) more than a few times. I'd like to have got my teeth into something longer and for an avaricious reader such as myself, I seemed to devour it almost as soon as I started reading it, which is a good thing because the writing style flowed well enough that I didn't notice until I came to the rather abrupt (and slightly obvious) ending. I would have liked to have read a little more of an explanation about the whole Emily saga but maybe if you're ready to suspend your disbelief on one aspect, you just have to suspend it on the whole and take it as it is. All in all I enjoyed it and would read another in his series.

  9. 4 out of 5

    pauline marshall

    Hilarious! This book was actually witty, funny and full of banter! I honestly couldn't put it down or get enough of it. All of the characters stood out to me with their eccentric personality and the way they go bout looks . And the banter between Death and the main character was just so funny and lovely I was at the edge of my seat! I'm shocked this was on my shelf for a long time l.mao

  10. 5 out of 5

    Alec Moody

    I'm getting worried, I'm now reading my second trilogy about dying and the after life - and as I'm approaching my dotage, this may be considered an unhealthy interest. I have to fess up, I'm a Terry Pratchett fan, so my image of Death is tainted by Terry's writing and Dave Turners Death certainly bares a resemblance to Terry's version. That aside this book is enjoyable and fun, my only criticism, this book is a tad too short - although maybe that is a ploy to get me to read book 2.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Avidreader

    I'm not usually a fan of ghosts or paranormal stuff, but this book had me laughing out loud. Dave Turner's use of language and turns of phrase is priceless. I've read all four in the series. Easy, fun reads.

  12. 4 out of 5

    ♥ Joy Joy ♥

    The story is a little slow on moving the plot along, but the comedy makes up for it. Short but hilarious.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Zoe Dingwall

    my only complaint is I wish it were longer!!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Sian Taylor

    For fans of Ben Aaronovitch and Jodi Taylor, this is a brilliant little book. Some have compared it to Terry Pratchett, but I don't see the similarities really. Death is personified, in the same way as TP's books, and that's about it. Enjoyable, easy to read, with hints of what's to come in the later books - can't wait to read them.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Sharleen Wilson

    What an entertaining little read. Punchy, funny and charming. I found myself liking the lead character immediately and Death is an interesting fellow. Well with a look as an entertaining filler between some more heavy reading.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Breffni

    This is a very short book (less than a hundred pages) and is the first in what is currently a 5 book book long series. The books protagonist is a man named Dave Marwood. Dave is a fairly predictable character, he works in an office in London, fancies his co-worker Melanie, and shares his apartment with a conspiracy theory obsessed, unemployed man named Gary. Nothing exciting or unusual seems to happen in his life, until Halloween night. He goes out to celebrate Halloween with a friend when he runs This is a very short book (less than a hundred pages) and is the first in what is currently a 5 book book long series. The books protagonist is a man named Dave Marwood. Dave is a fairly predictable character, he works in an office in London, fancies his co-worker Melanie, and shares his apartment with a conspiracy theory obsessed, unemployed man named Gary. Nothing exciting or unusual seems to happen in his life, until Halloween night. He goes out to celebrate Halloween with a friend when he runs into a drunk Melanie. He takes this opportunity to speak to her and hopefully work up the courage to ask her on a date. All is going well until Melanie drunkenly stumbles out in front of an oncoming vehicle. Dave pushes her out of the way to save her life, but he gets hit by the car and killed instead. This is where we are introduced to the first of the Four Horsemen, Death. He loves tea and biscuits, believes that chocolate Hobnobs are humans best invention, and seems to be very very bad at his job. He grants Dave a second chance at life, and gives him his business card with the address of his office printed on it. When Dave wakes up in hospital he tries to convince himself that it was all a dream, but as the days pass by it becomes increasingly obvious that was not the case. I was originally expecting this to be a poor copy of Sir Terry Pratchett's work, but I was very wrong. This book may draw done influence from Discworld, but it definitely stands out on its own. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to read something silly and quite humerus, this is the only book to have ever made me laugh out loud! This was the first book I have read by Dave Turner but I have already dived into the second book in the series and will definitely read more of his work in the future.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Charlene Goff

    Deadly read The title caught my attention and the reading was a romp in the comical insight of dearh. The character of Death is overwhelmed and adept at an occasional mistake. The reference to Keith Richards caused me to have a good belly laugh. I usually avoid reading books that are supposedly humorous. Dave Turner did an excellent job of maintaining his objective of a humorous reading adventure. Be prepared to LOL.

  18. 4 out of 5

    MarioneTTe

    A short and sweet story, How to be Dead is a great introduction to the main cast in the How to be Dead series. You'll probably blast through it in no time, but that's OK. You'll have a few decent chuckles and a good feel for the characters by the end of it. Think of it like a long prologue. One that politely reminds you to set the pot to boil and get out a few biscuits as you get your chair cushion juuuuuust right.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Jayne Holmes

    Hilarious Loved the concept, the sense of humour and the style. Death's sarcasm is perfect. Only problem is they're too short! We need more!

  20. 4 out of 5

    Richard Burke

    Pretty well written but unfortunately it didn't tickle my funny bone ... and it's very short.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Andrew Watts

    Fantasic book and a great read

  22. 5 out of 5

    Syber Beynon

    I read all four of this series over three wonderful days.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Anne

    Brilliant I Loved this book Can’t wait to read the next books in the series Easy book to read I read it in 2 days

  24. 4 out of 5

    Mysterioso

    Ripping yarn. Some choice turns of phrase. Good way to put in a lazy Sunday afternoon :)

  25. 4 out of 5

    Tattooed_mummy

    A quick read, well written and fun. I really enjoyed it. It has a rather satisfying finish I thought. And I'm looking forward to reading more in the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Jade Mary

    This was a really fun, quick read!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Aine

    Really enjoyed this. Made me laugh. Definitely going to read the rest of the series.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Debra Ann Harris

    Death is funny Dave and Death are a great comic team. I loved the wise guy humor. Fun and quick read. Looking forward to the rest of the series.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Cheryl

    Great read. Received books 1-3 novellas in one book. Amazon gift for my birthday. Perfect read sitting in my window, birds singing, window on the screen Spring in the apocalypse. How to be Dead in the middle of coronavirus, why not! Sit back we are in for a good one! Enjoyed this book Dave Turner pulls you into the story. You read the book and understand the Grimm Reaper on a personal level. He is a part of the human experience. You KNOW him, he knows about YOU. Story takes you for a walk on the Great read. Received books 1-3 novellas in one book. Amazon gift for my birthday. Perfect read sitting in my window, birds singing, window on the screen Spring in the apocalypse. How to be Dead in the middle of coronavirus, why not! Sit back we are in for a good one! Enjoyed this book Dave Turner pulls you into the story. You read the book and understand the Grimm Reaper on a personal level. He is a part of the human experience. You KNOW him, he knows about YOU. Story takes you for a walk on the other side.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Astiara

    3.5 mostly because it is not a complete book, i mean it feel like a prologue where you discover how dave came working for death, And then you expect the main part of the story which isn't there. Don't misunderstand, it is a great book, it make me really want to read the next to finally see what happen, and maybe get a lot more of death who is a real funny guy! I don't think i have read about a grim reaper quite like this one, i love it!!

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