by Rob Rosen

Book Cover: Sort of Dead
Editions:Kindle: $ 4.99
Pages: 197

Nord wakes up to find himself sort of dead. Well, that is to say, he's dead, alright -- murdered, in fact -- but not in heaven, at least not yet. In this limbo-like state, he meets Max and learns that everyone there is waiting for the final poof, hopefully to a better place. Only, with unfinished business back in the real world, like bringing his murderer to justice, Nord's poof is nowhere in sight. So he and Max set out to find the killer and make things right again. Of course, that's easier said than done when you're nothing more than a couple of randy spirits.

With the help of Voltan, a diminutive mystic with a predilection for turbans, and Clark, a nerdy computer geek eager to shed his loner past, plus a ghost accountant Bruce, Bruce's drag queen brother Eve O'Destruction, and Nord's kick-ass mom, the newly enamored pair set out to hunt for the murderer, and are quick to discover how much they'd taken for granted when they were alive.

In this hysterically funny and often poignant mystery about fate and love and family, it ultimately takes dying for our heroes to have the times of their lives.

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Reviews:Kazza on On Top Down Under Book Reviews wrote:

This is a hard book to pull quotes from because, effectively, it’s one of those books where one thing is linked heavily to another. It’s difficult to strip Sort of Dead down to its undies, you need the naked and bared open version to fully understand the anatomy of the soul of the story and the nature of the characters.

It’s a lot of fun and zaniness that I inhale from Rob Rosen. Other writers can’t always get a pass from me on the things Rob Rosen says – boobies, FFS… it cracked me up here. And the irony of life – death in this case – gave me plenty of laugh out loud moments while reading.

In fact, we, the sort of dead, were in a living room. Irony, it seemed, transcended life.

I cannot begin to tell you how much I love irony. People and the things they do, the things they think and say. The irony of situations…. ahhhh. 4.5 “Poof” Stars!

Sammy on Joyfully Jay wrote:

Wielding his humor like a scalpel in the hands of a world renown surgeon, Rob Rosen sends down a raucous, quirky new comedy/romance story called Sort of Dead. Featuring a drag queen and some exceptionally well-endowed men, living and dead, this novel is one insane moment of brilliant comedy writing after another. If you aren’t familiar with Rosen’s work, then you will find this story to be just a hair short of crazy, but let me tell you, the journey he takes you on is well worth the time.

Nord (Nordstrom—he was born in a Nordstrom’s department store) wakes up one morning to clouds rather than a ceiling, naked rather than clothed, and lying beside a handsome man, Max, whom he has never met before. Max becomes Nord’s guide in a place that Nord christens as Arby’s (his favorite restaurant because of the jamocha shakes, apparently), which is a halfway place where spirits who have unfinished business await the final “poof” that will send them on their way. Nord learns that while Max knew his own death was imminent (due to him having advanced leukemia), Nord lost his rather abruptly, by being shot in the back while at work. Once the two of them work out that they can communicate via a connection with a psychic found on Yelp, the race is on to discover who did the deed that landed Nord at, uhm, Arby’s.

First, they go back to Max’s former apartment where they discover Clark who, shall we say, enjoys self-gratification—a lot. He is a computer geek and just what Nord needs to figure out what was on his computer that got him killed. From there, the two ghosts tell Clark to get the help of a medium so they can communicate their needs more effectively, since trying to type out directions drains both Max and Nord way too quickly, sending them back to…Arby’s. Enter Voltan from Yelp—or Lewis as he is actually named. The two men hit it off immediately, an investigation ensues with Nord taking the lead, and a friend from Arby’s (Bruce) tagging along. It is all insanely hilarious, just shy of crazy, and the most entertaining story I have read in a long time.

Needless to say, the five main characters get into some very tight spots as they uncover a major plot and so much more. This novel races to the finish with each piece of the puzzle falling slowly into place and keeping the reader guessing pretty much up until the end. But it’s the love story, or really stories, that put the icing on this cake. Do Nord and Max go “poof” together? Does Clark give up his lonely life to date Lewis? Well, to tell you that would spoil the ending, but I will say that regardless of who gets to stay together, this book it is so worth the time it takes to find out. I love how silly and happy this book makes me feel, and I hope you do as well.

Scott on QueeRomance Ink wrote:

When I first started reading this story, I thought it was a little silly and was just going to be a fun read, but I was very surprised where Rob Rosen took this story, filled with many questions for Nord and Max!

Nord is “sort of dead”, as is Max who finds him. They and many others seem to be in a state of waiting, because it’s not heaven, hell, purgatory, or limbo. No St. Peter and no pearly gates or walking into the light. Both Nord and Max have an idea about getting to that final “poof” destination by finding some type of closure.

Everyone waiting to go “poof” has different reasons for why they ended up in the “sort of” state. But Nord’s is very different and he may not be able to find closure since he was murdered and the guilty party or parties have not been found.

In their exploration of their strange predicament, Nord and Max return to the “world of the living” and find Clark living in Max’s apartment. After they work together to get Clark’s undivided attention, they get him to call in a medium.

The cape and turban wearing Voltan shows up. With the help of Clark and Voltan, Max and Nord find out there are many things they can accomplish by working together.

The storyline wraps around a very famous movie from 1990, and several celebrities are mentioned at random.

Along this fun, humorous and dangerous adventure, Nord has made many friends, living and “sort of dead”. It has Nord looking back on his “alive” life and how he would have liked to be friends with those he meets.

He and Max gradually become more than friends and the . But the question remains – if Nord’s murderer is caught and he finds closure to go “poof”, what will happen to Max?

Rosen comes up with some interesting conclusions that all connect to closure for his characters.

There’s sadness and some emotional moments for Nord and his mother Sylvia, too. Sylvia was a wonderful addition to this novel. Besides the interesting characters of Clark and Voltan there are Bruce and Eve O’Destruction – both are surprising.

Arby’s also plays a very big part in the way of a recharging station, providing rest and comfort to many of the “sort of dead”. There’ also the suspicious characters on the alive side: Chaz, Glenn, Didi and Paula.

This is a first time read for me from Rob Rosen. “Sort of Dead” is excellently done, with creative world building, characters on the paranormal side and a twisted mystery to be solved.

Rob Rosen made “Sort of Dead” a page-turner for me and I can say I was not disappointed at this fascinating look into the paranormal, and what may be the afterlife for Nord and Max.

Jay V on Love Bytes wrote:

Being dead is a bummer, especially when you haven’t really gotten to where you’re supposed to go. Nord is trying to adjust himself to life after death, but it’s not quite what he expected. He’s not really at his final destination and it’s going to take an unusual crew on both sides of death to complete his unfinished business to move on – wherever that may be.

I hadn’t read the blurb to this book so I went in totally without prejudice – and I’m glad I did because it was a fun journey and has so much snark. Rosen is a new-to-me author and I’m entranced – his writing is clever without going over the top. When one is put in such an, well, awkward situation, one has to do things that are unexpected. With some naughty humor thrown in, this romp goes along trying to get things settled, with a nice mystery thrown in. Turns out the afterlife isn’t all is cracked up to be – it’s nice and all, but Rosen paints of picture of happiness almost being boring, which is a different perspective.

As the crew gets picked up to help Nord, things start to careen off in a most delicious way. The afterlife might be not be exactly what they were expecting but they’re trying to spice things up traveling to the real world to figure out how to fix lose ends and move on with less baggage. These characters could almost careen off to be cookie-cutter personalities, but you get a sense of heart, or heartlessness, from all of them. This isn’t so much a romance, but a queer book with some good sensibilities. There’s many themes that relate to queer life – found family, diversity, and something unexpected.

A joy to read – who knew that death could be so much fun.


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Other Books By Rob Rosen