After dying in his lover’s arms, Adam wakes up bobbing like a cork on a mysterious sea, reborn into a dark, violent world. The circumstances of his birth there are unusual enough to raise alarm, stirring speculation that he might be some kind of prophet. Deeply disturbing scenes of torture and death, some involving infants, will haunt readers, as Adam discovers the horrors of the life after life. He draws parallels to the atrocities of Nazi prison camps--and discovers, to his shock, that Hitler and other evil leaders are revered in this realm.
Samimi’s stream-of-consciousness narrative and decidedly fanciful plot capture attention from the first page, and his use of the active voice allows readers to feel as if they are part of each scene, though the gruesome situations he relishes describing are not for the faint of heart. Sly, tongue-in-cheek cameos—Trudeau, father of the current Canadian prime minister, hopes his son hasn’t gone into politics—lighten the mood, but Where the Dead Go wholly targets an audience that thrills to horror fiction’s extremes. Samimi’s imaginative though disconcerting tale will captivate readers who like their fiction decidedly dark, dystopian, philosophical—and unafraid of a grotesque joke.
Takeaway: This fever dream of a tortuous afterlife will please readers who like their horror grotesque and inventive.
Great for fans of: Clive Barker, Philip José Farmer’s Riverworld.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: B-