CORRECTION: I said in an earlier version of this review that this book was last in the series. I am overjoyed to learn that it’s not.
Publication Date: December 31, 2018
Dave Marwood and his girlfriend, Melanie, are due for a bit of a break in the country after saving the City of London from destruction. It’s a bit of a worry that Death, the last standing Horseman of the Apocalypse and Dave’s employer, is having a bit of an existential crisis and Dave has been acting as his flip-flopped toy scythed stand-in, but a relationship needs tending. The break, however; is not the peaceful time away the couple anticipates when they find themselves beset by ghosts and the people seeking them.
Serious Moonlight by Dave Turner is the fifth book in the How to be Dead series.
Part of my life’s work is finding books that give me the feeling I got when I first read the works of Douglas Adams, Terry Pratchett, and Jasper Fforde. The beautiful humor and massive creativity of the aforementioned authors are qualities shared by the great Dave Turner. The wealth of imagination is staggering and the experience of the reader is one of fun and time truly well spent.
Once again in Serious Moonlight world collide with Dave and Melanie heading off for a weekend break in the country at an inn that touts itself as being haunted. Dave and Melanie are bonding on the drive up when they come across a ravaged animal that spooks them both a bit. There’s always a logical explanation, right? Readers get a lot of relationship-building in Serious Moonlight. We see the playfulness of the characters and a depth to their connection. There’s an intimacy and a natural awkwardness so fitting for both of the people we’ve come to know.
Serious Moonlight takes place in the English countryside with all of the characters that readers of Stella Gibbons novels (Cold Comfort Farm) would expect to see but they all have a surprising edge. The book is cognizant of its Dad humor and is riddled with it. One of my favorite things is the frequent callback to the sinkhole opening in London in the previous Dave book. Very smoothly presented, people offer platitudes while expressing their opinions on how it might have happened. From the start of the book when we join Dave in ferrying a jogger who died of a heart attack, it comes up and it’ss almost seems a relief to Dave to be upfront with someone. He later fights back and urges just to be the one who cracks the world and the reality of their strange life. He’s living and in that moment, and readers will just feel his pain bonded by this journey we’ve all been on together.
The How to be Dead novels are technically novellas but there are no shortcuts in Turner’s work. The stories are whole, realized and as resolved as installments in a series will be. The flow is beautiful and I can’t speak for anyone else, I am entranced. I recently re-read Four Horseman and it was just as brilliant the first time. More brilliant than the first time as I’m convinced Esuries needs to be a Dr. Who villain.
Serious Moonlight is fifth in the series but can easily stand alone, but you are missing most of the story if you start with this final installment. Start with How to be Dead and read as languidly as you can. Relish them. Cherish them. When you’ve finished the fifth book join us in aching for more.
The sixth book in the How to be Dead series, Near Life Experience will be out soon.
If you’re looking for the perfect Halloween read, pick up the How to be Dead series. If you’re looking for a Christmas gift for the Jasper Fforde lover in your life. If you just want to be entertained, pick this series up today.
Read an excerpt and buy Serious Moonlight by Dave Turner on