Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship}'s Reviews > Croak

Croak by Gina Damico
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May 07, 2015

it was ok
bookshelves: young-adult, death-reapers-zombies, 1st-in-series, read-in-2012, laugh-out-loud, urban-fantasy, bought-in-2012, interracial-multicultural, series-abandoned, dtb, bye-bye
Recommended for: fans of TV show Dead Like Me
Read from April 23 to 24, 2012

Weird, wacky and whimsical worldbuilding, Batman!
OR
Silly, stupid and senseless.

Depends on your outlook, and sense of humour.

This book is all about the worldbuilding. Forget about the plot, there isn't much of one and it isn't introduced until quite late into the book.

Croak is a town filled with places and characters with names linked to death e.g. Kilda, Mort, Corpp's (pub), Dead Weight (gym) etc, etc. Every single inhabitant, 82 including our MC, is an oddball and a former delinquent just like Lexington is at the beginning. A rebel without a cause. Punching, kicking and biting her way through life much to her own chagrin. She hates being unable to control her violent outbursts. But this makes her an exceptional Killer Grim -someone who separates the soul from the body at the precise moment of death with a single touch while her male 18-year-old partner, Driggs is a Culler who harvests the souls and transports them back to the Bank to be released into the Afterlife via the Atrium where Mr. Tell Tale Fart a.k.a. Edgar Allan Poe, Elvis and many a dead US president like to hangout to greet the newbies and socialise with the Grims.

Lex's new summer job seems to have a calming effect, giving her purpose and a sense of fulfillment. The town accepts, welcomes and understands her wild nature so she quickly feels at home despite the lack of internet and cell signal.

There's much to laugh at; the absurdity of death detecting jellyfish, the unsettling chemistry between Lex and Driggs and their inability to deal with it, but this balances out the horrors of reaping the horribly disfigured, the young and the murdered. Lex struggles to adhere to the rules by doing her job and only her job. She itches to chase after murderers and deal out some justice although she believes it's also unfair that people like John Wilkes Booth don't go to hell and reap a little of what they sow. And then Lex finds out why Killing is an intensely different experience for her in particular. (view spoiler)

The romance with Driggs gets a tad uncomfortable with a stalker/paedophile vibe at one point which he fully admits. The plot served only to sever the only connection the MC had to her old New York City life: (view spoiler). No attempt was made to mask the identity of the serial killer so there was no mystery there.

Humour is subjective. Sometimes I enjoyed it immensely and others it was over the top and irritating. The same goes for the worldbuilding. It gets a little complicated which along with the absurdness of it all, makes everything harder to comprehend. However, the unusual writing was fresh and exciting and encouraged me to read more.

Croak is like Dead Like Me on steroids. And LSD. I didn't hate it although I can't say for sure whether I'll read the sequel or not.
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Quotes Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} Liked

Gina Damico
“Life isn't fair. Why should death be any different?”
Gina Damico, Croak

Gina Damico
“Seriously?" she said with a glance of skepticism. Driggs and this nerdlinger? "You guys are best friends?"
Ferbus looked up briefly to give her a smug look. "We prefer the term heterosexual life mates.”
Gina Damico, Croak


Reading Progress

04/23/2012 page 1
0.0% "Shiny foil cover, doubles as a mirror. Don't like it -so. many. fingerprints."
04/23/2012 page 2
1.0% ""You bit him?"
"He called me a wannabe vampire. What was I supposed to do?""
04/23/2012 page 47
15.0% "This is a strange book. Unusual writing style. Sort of whimsical. Not sure if I like the humour."
04/24/2012 page 54
17.0% "Finally, some answers. Let's get this story started."
04/24/2012 page 79
25.0% "'"You hit back?!" she shouted.
Driggs was gaping in disbelief at his own hand. Slowly, he recovered and looked into her good eye. "I had a feeling you'd be more insulted if I didn't."'"
04/24/2012 page 121
39.0% "Getting a bit tired of all the whacky worldbuilding. Give me some plot now please."
04/24/2012 page 125
40.0% "'Lex dropped her hands. Unfortunately, Driggs followed suit, affording her the perfect opportunity to kick him in the crotch. Which she did.
"That...was...unnecessary," he groaned from the ground. Lex blew a tuft of hair out of her face.
"I disagree."'

I'm with Driggs. That was unnecessary."
04/24/2012 page 135
43.0% "'Lex sucked in a breath. Then she screamed. Then she swore very loudly. Seven hundred miles away, her mother unwittingly glanced at the money-filled jar in her kitchen for reasons she would never be able to ascertain.'"
04/24/2012 page 159
51.0% ""No offense," she said, "but all this sounds pretty far-fetched."

Sums up the whole book so far." 2 comments
04/24/2012 page 210
68.0% ""I told your parents we need to get an early start on the cow inseminations this year." LMAO!"
04/24/2012 page 218
70.0% ""I don't know how to explain who you are. Suspicions are going to rise. I can't necessarily guarantee that my father won't threaten you with a shotgun."
"He won't."
"Are you kidding me? This is a man who wouldn't allow our Barbies to play with Ken dolls.""
04/24/2012 page 268
86.0% ""Lex, in the space of two months, you've punched me in the face, kicked me in the balls, and permanently demolished my kidneys. You really think I believe you need protection?""
04/24/2012 page 311
100.0% "Well, that was a sad ending for something so predominantly light-hearted and whimsical."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by [deleted user] (new)

There's a character called Mr. Tell Tale Fart?

And what does this: the absurdity of death detecting jellyfish mean?

Premise sounds vaguely cool.


Literary Ames {Against GR Censorship} Edgar Allen Poe is referred to as Tell Tale Fart by one of the dead presidents. (a.k.a. = also known as)

The jellyfish detect when and where people are about to die so the Grims can scythe in and harvest their souls. If they don't get harvested then they're doomed to be ghosts for all eternity. No Afterlife for them.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

okay then. Random with the jellyfish, but strangely intriguing.

Re Edgar Allen Poe: hehe oh I get it, that's funny.


Jessica Day I completely agree. Once a plot was created I started to enjoy the novel but the first 13 chapters were awful...


Allie Horn I agree about the world building statement, Amy or "Ames". "This book is all about world building. Forget about the plot," I feel that the plot is kind of hinted at near the beginning but it is only towards the middle and the end that you learn more about it. Although once you learn more about the plot, the book picks up speed.


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