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Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1)
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Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1)

3.52  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,200 Ratings  ·  138 Reviews
Steven de Selby has a hangover. Bright lights, loud noise, and lots of exercise are the last thing he wants. But that's exactly what he gets when someone starts shooting at him.

Steven is no stranger to death-Mr. D's his boss after all-but when a dead girl saves him from sharing her fate, he finds himself on the wrong end of the barrel. His job is to guide the restless dead
Kindle Edition, First Edition, 338 pages
Published August 1st 2010 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2010)
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Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Jan 06, 2016 Kelly H. (Maybedog) rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone who likes male protagonists in UF and doesn't mind some love story mixed in. 
This was fun. There's lots of humor but there's a lot of action and drama too.

Things that are really great:
Different world from the usual fantasy fare. The only "standard" things in this aren't that common: a being called Death and psychopomps, except these are human. There have been great TV shows with reapers such as Dead Like Me and Reaper but this is still different. It really felt fresh to me.

Non-stop action.

Humor that is fairly funny.

Main characters who actually have families and friends.
Oct 25, 2011 Sequelguerrier rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Odin's ravens and the world tree provided a completely unexpected link between the book I read just before, The Age of Odin, and 'Death Most Definite' by Australian Trent Jamieson. The story happens in the present in Australia but it is once again a present seen through a distorting lens. Steven de Selby follows, without terribly much conviction it can be said, the family profession. He is a 'pomp' a human conduit that helps the souls of the dead to transit to the nether world. He has a serious ...more
Apr 20, 2013 Nikki rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Unlike a lot of people, I don't have a particular hate-on for present tense narration. I do it myself, often, when I write -- but sometimes it just doesn't work, and it didn't work here. For the first chapter I was just wondering what felt off, but once I noticed it, I couldn't stop noticing it. Because it's in first person, it pretty much has to be the person's own thoughts: but it's impossible to believe that when the narrator keeps explaining things to the reader. It's a difficult line to wal ...more
Jan 01, 2015 Jason rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Karina Sumner-Smith
In my search to find urban fantasy novels that don't make me roll my eyes, I thought I'd give Death Most Definite a try. While I'm not going to declare it the find of the year, I'll admit that it kept me entertained on my morning subway ride.

Steven de Selby is a bit of an underachiever: when he's not working as a psychopomp for Mortmax Inc. (a good 9 to 5 job sending souls of the departed on to ... wherever it is they need to go), he's sulking over his ex and drowning his sorrows in a pint (or s
All Things Urban Fantasy
Review courtesy of

DEATH MOST DEFINITE is the first in a new urban fantasy series about the corporate side of death, that blends an amalgam of afterlife mythologies, and a zombie uprising, all told from the POV of the underachieving guy who realizes he has to save the world and fight Death itself for the girl he can never get.

Pomps pomp the dead, we draw them through us to the Underworld and the One Tree. And we stall the Stirrers, those things that so desperate
Jul 17, 2011 Sara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-5-stars
Plot: 4.5 Stars
The structure of the pyschopomps (or reapers) and the way they conducted business was very efficient, unique, and amusing. I thoroughly enjoyed the little details in regards to the psychopomping, and how the souls of the dead moved on. There was also a lot of detail involved in the underworld and the One Tree, without it feeling overwhelming to the reader. This was probably my favorite book containing zombies ever, because zombies tend to be hit or miss for me. And I'll admit, it
I was disappointed by this book. The blurb made the story looked like it would be something I would like and I was actually interested in the background and the universe that it described. The ideas were good. The execution... not so much.
The hero is a reaper who falls in love with a dead girl in the first few pages of the first chapter. Even before we have a chance to learn about him, his work or his world. I couldn't let myself believe that and since that was one of the core elements of the b
Oct 20, 2011 Dorothy rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Alright, I've finished the book, and now I’m sure: To my mind, Death most definite is just OK.

Despite an intriguing opening sentence: "I know something's wrong the moment I see the dead girl standing in the Wintergarden food court.",
the book is not particularly original. The main character is familiar (to quote myself) “We’ve yet another male-less-than-stellar-magic users; thrown in to the thick,” but this time the protag’s got more of an occult power. He’s a psycho pomp (Read: grim reaper)
Jennifer Lavoie
I loved this book. I'm so glad I picked it up on a whim, and I'm mad at myself for not reading it the minute I got it. Instead I waited a few months. This book was so different from other urban fantasy books I've read, because it's part horror, part urban fantasy, part... something new.

Steven was such a different character, too. I liked how he didn't care about some things, liked his job because it was easy for him, and is incredibly vain about his hair. And yet when you look into his personal
Maria Schneider
Aug 24, 2013 Maria Schneider rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Meh. Started out really strong and got continuously darker and darker. There was a good mystery going that degraded to a mess of going back and forth to "hell" with people who died, but sort of didn't (or at least could still be talked to and learned from) and then died again (or were at least still in the process of dying from a soul standpoint) and morphed here and got pretty tangled and more ridiculous as it went. It's not a horrible book if you like noir, but I think the latter 1/ ...more
Fangs for the Fantasy
Steven is a Pomp. He acts as a conduit for the souls of the recently dead to pass on to the underworld. Working for Mortmax industries with his fellow Pomps, they work in the Brisbane subsidiary (with other branches across the world) to ensure the ghosts pass on and the evil Stirrers don’t come back the other way

Except things are going badly wrong. Pomps are dying, ghosts are going unpomped and the whole organisation has fallen apart. Worse, the Stirrers are coming through in greater and greater
Kirsti (Melbourne on my mind)
Well. Death really IS most definite in this book. I thoroughly enjoyed it though. The action starts from the first page, and by the end, I pretty much just wanted to give Steve a cup of warm Milo and tell him that he deserves a good lie down.

Steve is in the family business - pomping the dead. Basically, he's a reaper, transporting the souls of the dead from this dimension to the next. When other Pomps (including basically everyone he knows) start turning up dead, he's left running for his life.
Oct 07, 2010 Angela rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: paranormal
I was keen to read this book because the author is an Aussie boy and even better from Brisbane in Queensland. Me being a Queenslander myself. This was his first book published too.
I found it a little hard to get into at first. I know it sounds sexist, but most of the books I read are written by females, so of course us females write from a different frame of mind. I was surprised to find myself sucked into it by about the 3rd chapter. Trent gets quite discriptive with his scenery and the many ch
Kristin  (MyBookishWays Reviews)
You may also read my review here:

It’s been a bad day for Steven de Selby. He has a hangover from a night of drinking with his cousin, and best friend, Tim, a dead girl is following him around (who he might actually be falling in love with), someone is killing his co-workers, and there’s already been an attempt on his life. Steven is a Pomp, or a Psychopomp, working for the family business (Mortmax), drawing the souls of the newly dead through to the Under
Graham Clements
Mar 27, 2011 Graham Clements rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in Brisbane (where I lived for five years so I was familiar with much of the settings), it's a horror novel with some wit. The reluctant hero Steve is a "pomp". The souls of the recently departed must pass through a pomp to travel to the afterlife. The trouble is, someone is killing all of Australia's pomps. What is worse, stirrers (angry murderess souls) are jumping into the bodies of anyone who dies and causing havoc. With the aid of the soul of a beautiful recently killed pomp, Steve has ...more
Well a slightly different Urban fantasy read here, Set downunder which has to be one of the few places I don't read about quite as much, and to be honest I don't think I know anymore about Australia after reading it than I knew before, so im not entirely taken by the world building on that side, however there is also the underworld involved here and by comparison theres quite a pretty picture painted about what thats like which is good. The plot element sees Steven De Selby rise from Zero to her ...more
Zara Khan
Feb 14, 2016 Zara Khan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Actual rating 3.5

The main character is a little too whiny for my taste but the guy has been through a lot considering that his parents got murdered ,The girl he is in love with is dead and his colleagues are dying , You Can't exactly blame him.

This book takes a new take on the underworld .which was creepy and intriguing at the same time

The first book is good enough and ended pretty nicely so I have high expectations from the sequel.
Angela Oliver
Aug 26, 2014 Angela Oliver rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
How does someone as incompetent as our hero manage to survive the biggest scourge his people have ever faced? Well, thankfully this story answers this question.

Overall, this reminded me somewhat of the Dresden Files, if it were narrated by Richard Mayhew*. He is swept along in events entirely out of his control, puts faith in the wrong places and faces some heart-breaking losses but with a healthy dose of wry, self-deprecating humour. Highly entertaining.

* ie: a man hopelessly out of his depth.
Ms. Nikki
I tried to read this novel a couple of times and ended up putting it to the side. There's a reason for that and it followed me until the end of the last page where they joked of baldness. I'm not trying to knock the writer. The reading was just so "boringly blah" and so was Steven, who seriously needed a brain. I didn't connect with any of the characters. Where was the action? Reading this was like a very long conversation that I wasn't paying attention to until it got to the good parts or I had ...more
Jazzfarer rated it really liked it
Feb 05, 2016
Apr 06, 2015 Mayda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Steven de Selby has a hangover, but that is soon to be the least of his problems. He works for Mr. D, who has gone missing, and his friends – fellow pomps who help the dead cross over to the underworld – are also turning up dead. In fact, one of them, while dead, still manages to save his life. And so, the chase is on to uncover the real bad guy and save humanity. This book had potential, but somehow falls a bit short of the mark. Perhaps because it is the first in a trilogy, it strings out the ...more
Urban Australia?? *mental record scratch* It wasn't pitched that way to me, but I could see someone doing it.

Anyway, this series has a somewhat different (if ill-defined) central death-based concept. It definitely could have used a little more exposition; I'm still not clear on how pomping rules work. And this book did a thing that I am not fond of, which is starting with super high stakes. Obviously there has to be some central motivating factor but it always kinda bugs me when boo
Bill Rogers
Feb 10, 2014 Bill Rogers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book tremendously.

Steven de Selby is a Psychopomp, a living gateway to the Afterlife for the souls of the recently deceased. Like all professionals in his field he works for Mortmax Industries, a company with (shall we say) worldwide reach and universal appeal.

He's not especially dedicated to his job, but it's a good living, except when you need to stall a Stirrer-- one of the Other Things which try to come back from the Underworld.

Even de Selby has noticed a few bad signs, thou
Gareth Otton
Apr 21, 2014 Gareth Otton rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Death Most Definite is a fun and interesting take on the countless legends of death and other psychopomps. In this story death is not just a personification of a natural act nor is he a deity of some kind, instead Death is actually a vast world wide industry made up of thousands of people who's job it is to guide the souls of the dead into death and keep a distant enemy known as stirrers from coming back to earth.

The protagonist in this exciting little tale is the lowliest employee of this vast
Feb 06, 2011 Christopher rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, sf-2010
Feels like the pilot episode of a dull TV show: tons of character set-up, right to the end, but the execution is so weak I never once cared about the characters. The dialogue is cliché. The main character is a milquetoast (intentionally, for reasons crucial to the plot, but why would you want that plot). And the overall situation is something we've seen done better dozens of times. It's not actually bad, but it's not what I'd call OK either.
Jan 22, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Corporate style grim reapers and corporate efficiencies, zombies, ghosts, love, loss, betrayal, geek humor, first person present POV.

It took me a few tries before I could get into this, and even when I did, the first part was kind of a slog. The second part, however, was awesomesauce -- fast-paced and imaginative. Despite not loving the first half, the strong ending makes me tentatively optimistic about the next book in the series.
Feb 16, 2016 Yarna rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend this book if you like urban fantasy and are familiar with the city of Brisbane. I cannot say enough about how fun it was to read a book like this that is set in the place I grew up. This must be what Americans who live in New York and Chicago feel like, seeing all their familiar places tinged with magic.

That said, there were a couple of elements of the book that bothered me.

*This may be slightly spoilery from here on*

The first was the insta-love between Steven and Lissa. By th
Hmm...where to begin. It's not often I read books where the main character is male. I started with Jim Butcher's Dresden Files a few months back and really enjoyed reading from the male POV so goodreads recommended lots of other books in this writing style. One of the first ones I put on my TBR list is this one, Death Most Definite. It took me forever to find it and I when I finally did I was incredibly excited to start reading it. I was not disappointed.

Jamieson creates an unusual world where t
Definitely a quick, fun read in the tradition of Dead Like Me with clear inspiration from fantasy deaths (i.e. Discworld)

I haven't read much urban fantasy set outside the North American, UK, or occasionally Asian settings, so the Aussie slang (with one exception, listed below) and Brisbane setting was refreshing.

Steven was approachable and likeable, and I love the family aspect of his life and work. I did find the love story was a little too much "at first sight" for me.

Actually the thing that
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Trent Jamieson is a science fiction and fantasy writer.

Trent works as a teacher, a bookseller, and a writer, and has taught at Clarion South.
More about Trent Jamieson...

Other Books in the Series

Death Works Trilogy (3 books)
  • Managing Death (Death Works Trilogy #2)
  • The Business of Death (Death Works Trilogy, #3)

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