By Claudia Lux
Brought to you by OBS reviewer Caro
A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.
Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.
Peyote Trip works in the Deals Department in Hell. His acting boss is KQ and his nemesis is Trey, and
although they are always budding heads, Pey’s life in Hell is going just as planned until the new addition
to his team decides to take over. Calamity Ganon seems to be the quiet type, new transfer, eager to
learn and make friends, but she has plans of her own.
In an effort to gain more human souls for Hell, KQ teams Pey, Trevor and Cal. Pey takes compassion of
newbie Cal, but quickly learns her true nature. Feeling betrayed, Pey begins investigating Cal’s
background and how she managed to get from Downstairs all the way to the Fifth floor. At the same
time, Pey has to keep an eye on his human souls, one being the Harrison family, which he has had the
pleasure of signing four Harrison generations. One more, and he will have a complete set, just what
Pey’s plan needs.
Meanwhile, in the land of the living, the Harrison family consists of Silas Harrison, his wife Lily, eldest
son Sean, and youngest daughter Mickey. Lily has been having an affair for quite some time, with Silas
slowly noticing a change in her behavior. Sean spends most of his time in his room playing video games
and on the internet. On the other hand, Mickey tries to keep active mostly to have something to do so
her parents won’t bother her. But one day, for the first time, Mickey is happy to be on the soccer team.
During practice several kids start making fun of her until, unexpectedly, fierce girl Ruth comes to her
rescue. Mickey feels an instant connection to Ruth and they begin hanging out. Silas notices how Ruth
makes Mickey happy and invites her to their summer trip to New Hampshire to Silas’ family’s lake
house. Lily immediately disagrees, but is out numbered.
While at the lake house, everything seems to be going smoothly, but Ruth begins to stir old family
secrets, slowly floating to the surface. The Harrisons personalities begin to change, all while being
monitored by Pey.
This was an intriguing debut novel. I liked the description of how Hell works in this world, just like any
office trying to gain customers. I could even relate to the repetitive music that plays in Hell to my own
office hahaha. The reader gets small descriptions here and there about details that make being in Hell
torture, such as having bad beer all the time. Smells that one wouldn’t pay attention to become a living
Hell. Pey’s side of the story and learning about Hell is very interesting, just like the information about
Calamity while she was alive. Cal’s story could be a short story of its own. I’m still very interested in
Finding out about Lily and Silas’ past gives the reader pieces for the big reveal, but Ruth led me on a
different path right until everything unfolded. Having the younger kids gives the story a coming of age
touch that goes well with the mystery. At the end, everything comes together with some plans going
well and some failing. Not to mention the hidden puppeteers that are exposed when everything comes
If you’re looking for an intriguing mystery with its own take on Hell’s customer service, I recommend
Sign Here. Don’t forget to read the small fine print!