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Eric Kline
E. Vince, author
Over-all AfterLife is a novel that explores the problem of human pain and suffering juxtaposed to a good God. The exploration of the theodicy problem progresses on Earth and in Paradise concurrently. The main proposition is that our free will is the foundational cause of the problem. Other premises presented include that God does not ordain our suffering and that God loves us. An angel is the main character who travels between Paradise and Earth to witness the various storylines play out. Book 1 There Will Be Trouble The Hill family is dysfunctionally grieving the impending death of the wife and mother, Karen, due to a congenital heart condition. After Karen’s passing, two of the surviving members of her family digress into progressively decompensating behaviors, the other surviving family member tries to stay on a healthy course. Karen enters Paradise and meets previously departed family members and many notable historical figures. Book 2 Making All Things New The two highly dysfunctional family members attempt to navigate multiple life-threatening situations, progressively degenerating in their perceptions and behaviors. The one substantially functional family member struggles against external obstacles to remain healthy. Karen receives a quest from God to help her struggling family. Book 3 The Redemption of God The crescendo develops and explodes. Is holding on to God’s goodness still warranted in view of the massive catastrophic events? Can those so incredibly traumatized continue to credibly love and trust God? Can the theodicy problem be solved?
In this Christian-focused debut, the first installment of Vince’s Afterlife series, the fractured Hill family grieves the looming death of their matriarch, Karen, who is suffering from a congenital heart condition. Her husband, Bert, is angry at the world and a bitter alcoholic, while daughter Melody (who later changes her name to Crescenda), is a self-absorbed teenager too caught up in a toxic romance and her friends to be concerned with her mother's impending death. Meanwhile, Karen’s son, Roy, is a quiet boy trying to cope with the loss of his mother and the dysfunctional family he has left.

When Karen dies, she awakens in a peaceful place “of rest and nurture” called Paradise. Under the guidance of distant relatives, and guardian angel AJ, Karen undertakes a spiritual journey as entertaining as it is profound (Paradise runs on a “buddy system,” to help newcomers “learn the ropes”), while AJ secretly watches over her family, attempting to steer them toward God’s encompassing light—and away from the shadowy, demonic figures luring them down a path of destruction. The result is a moving story of family, faith, redemption, and love, as Vince explores death—and its rippling impact on the Hill family—through biblical text, references to well-known biblical figures, and famous people from history (including Claude Monet and John Denver).

Beyond a transformative story of the ways love and faith shape life and death, this emotional narrative delves into the turmoil that chronic illness can cause within a family—and the negative vices people can succumb to when bitterness, anger, and heartbreak fester. Vince juxtaposes those grueling human emotions—and the dark feelings attached to death—against the spiritual beliefs of God’s unfailing love, making this an immersive read for Christian audiences of grief and deliverance, both in the living world and in the spiritual afterlife.

Takeaway: Christian study of one family’s journey through grief after the death of a loved one.

Comparable Titles: Mitch Albom's The Five People You Meet in Heaven, William P. Young's The Shack.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A-
Marketing copy: B+