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An Unexpected Afterlife

(The Dry Bones Society #1)

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  295 ratings  ·  79 reviews

He lost everything. His wife. His job. His clothes. Oh, and his life.

When he wakes up, naked and alone, in the Mount of Olives Cemetery, Moshe Karlin finds that the afterlife is not what he had expected.

The doomsday prophecies of the Hebrew Bible are coming true, but why does everyone seem to want him dead?

He’ll have to work very hard to win back his
Paperback, 278 pages
Published March 28th 2017 by Amazon Digital Services
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Read full review at Musings Over Nothing

Moshe Karlin wakes up naked at a cemetery at the Mount of Olives, Jerusalem the morning after his 40th birthday. He catches a taxi to his house, trying to remember what prank his best friend Avi had pulled on him the previous night, only to find Avi and his wife Gallit in bed together. As if that was not enough to enrage him, Avi throws him off his house, saying Moshe has been dead for two years.

He reaches out to the local Rabbi Yosef, the one who buried M
A unique and unusual take on the resurrection, An Unexpected Afterlife, blends humor with the heart-crushing reality that life goes on without you and the result on those who would rise again.

Original and a well-developed cast made the reading seamlessly flow.

The devotion of the main character to his wife is something to behold. Even after his 2-year absence and her moving on to his best friend, he must come to the realization that a moment in time for him was years in their lives.

Some things j
Ellie Mitchell
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Set in East Jerusalem, An Unexpected Afterlife follows the journey of Moshe Karlin, a forty year old husband and father, who awakens from the grave two years after unknowingly leaving the world of the living, to find that he has been replaced by supposed best friend, Avi.

As we learn more about Moshe’s predicament, others in his situation begin to appear, none any the wiser to the cause of their resurrection. I found Moshe’s character to be kind and humble, a true gentleman seeking to do what is
Oct 24, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017-reads
This originally appeared at The Irresponsible Reader.
Moshe Karlin wakes up after his birthday party got out of hand -- so out of hand that he doesn't remember drinking as much as he clearly did, he doesn't remember what happened to his clothes, or why he's in the cemetery on the Mount of Olives. He makes it home, crawls into bed and finds another man in his bed with his wife. The man (his best friend and business partner, Avi) and his wife are pretty freaked out -- as is Moshe. Moshe because
Kevin Swaine
Mar 14, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and the very realistic approach taken to what resurrection might actually be like. I thought the character development was excellent and I really got to know the many characters in the book. I really could not put the book down and cannot wait for the second book in the series to come out.
Oct 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Wow. I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book but the description sounded interesting so I thought I’d give it a try. I loved it. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop. A man wakes up in a cemetery and finds out that he died two years ago. Why is he back? What’s he going to do now? This book explores the Jewish religion, but at its core it’s a story about people. That’s what kept me reading. The pace was good and kept moving right alone, and the twists kept coming. I was satisfied with the e ...more
Linda Suchy
Mar 22, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-enjoyed
I am loving the books coming from this local author (Dan Sofer living in Jerusalem). I live in Netanya, Israel. I could not put this book down and can hardly wait for the next in the series. The characters are so well-developed and easy to care about. I highly recommend Dan's books. ...more
Valerie Campbell Ackroyd
I had picked up a bundle of books for my Kindle app for traveling and as a result I started reading this one without knowing what the premise was, thinking it was some kind of murder mystery. Wow, the first chapter stunned me. Mystery it is but it isn't really a murder mystery. Moshe Kanin wakes up in Jerusalem after what he thinks was a heck of a 40th birthday bash to find out that, actually, he has been dead two years. He goes home to find his wife has taken up with his best friend and wants n ...more
Debbie Young
Sep 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting premise. A man "wakes up" in a cemetery 2 years after his death. More follow. the story takes place in Jerusalem and as it progresses we meet a Rabbi who risks everything to help the "resurrected", the Rabbincal Council who declares them evil and a syndicate that takes advantage of them.

The story builds nicely but falls off a cliff at the end with no clear answers. But, surprise, there is a sequel coming. Maybe then.....
Boundless Book Reviews
This story holds true to its title! This kind of afterlife is much unexpected, and the unexpected continued throughout the entire story. It was hard for me to get into at first, but once I was in, I was hooked.  

I loved the uniqueness of this particular afterlife and the twists that kept me guessing.

Overall, I loved the book and felt it’s a good read. I give An Unexpected Afterlife: A Novel a strong 4 Boundless Stars. I only wish it would have captured my interest from the beginning.

Linda Zagon
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing

I would like to thank author Dan Sofer for an ARC of “The Unexpected Afterlife” by Don Sofer for an honest review.
The genres of this book are Fiction, Adventure, and Satire.
I find that the author has written a unique intriguing, and entertaining story.
I really like the way Dan Sofer describes his flawed characters who also seem complex and complicated.
The story opens at Mount of Olives Cemetery where Moshe Karlin awakes stark naked. Moshe is confused and makes his way home to find his wife and f
Yael Shahar
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jewish-fiction
Three times daily, we Jews praise God for “reviving the dead”. The thing is, no two Jews are likely to agree on what it means. Some, following the prophet Ezekiel, prefer to think of it in metaphorical terms—the resurrection of Jewish national life out of the ashes of the past. Others see it in more literal terms. I’ve tackled one interpretation of this enigmatic tradition in Returning. But Dan Sofer presents an altogether different—and utterly delightful—view of the rabbinic traditions surround ...more
Vera mallard
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
Moshe Karlin's life has taken an unusual turn. After waking up naked and alone in the Mount of Olives Cemetery, Moshe thinks it's the day after his birthday party. However, he finds two years have passed and unbelievably he was dead and buried. Unable to understand what has happened, he consults with his local advisor, Rabbi Yosef. Rabbi Yosef has a totally different take on Moshe's resurrection.

Moshe finds he has lost his wife to his best friend
Ray Foy
I have problems with this book, yet it doesn’t suck. It is a technically well-crafted story in that dramatic arcs keep the tension building in all 68 chapters, but it contains themes and allusions that don’t sit well with me.

The premise of the story is that people are returning from the dead (which seems to be the de’jour plot device these days). They appear in cemeteries, naked (reborn; new start), with little or no memories of their deaths. Some remember their previous lives and some don’t. Mo
Sheila Carsins
Mar 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Splendid book. It's a valuable morality play. It brings it all home to me, to see how differently people choose to live their lives. The wonderful main character Moshe, discovers that what he originally thought was a perfect life, wasn't so perfect, and that he'd unknowingly wasted his first life and neglected what truly matters in life. After his incredible "rebirth," he slowly, painfully, but eventually, realizes where his priorities should have been the first time through his life. The rest o ...more
May 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Seems at first like a strange book for a Catholic to read, right? It was actually really intriguing and educational for me and I enjoyed it enough to really want to read the sequel (though not SO much that I’ve already read it)! I’m not sure whether a Jewish person would say the same, but I didn’t have any religious qualms with it (say, like how I won’t read Dan Brown’s DaVinci Code because I have no interest in reading what I consider to be blasphemous things about Christ). Rather, for me, the ...more
Gayle Pace
Aug 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, suspense
(You Only Live Twice?) I wasn't really sure if I would enjoy this or not but I'm glad I decided to read it. It's a mixture of characters who have a depth to them. They aren't simple characters. They are very complicated which makes them interesting. The author gives you characters that you want to understand and get to know. The characters are more realistic since they are far from perfect, they have their baggage. There are quite a few characters that are a support for each other. M
Bella Reads and Reviews
Sep 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Complex, interesting characters in a most unusual situation. Moshe Karlin wakes up lying on the dirt in a cemetery, naked and alone, with no recollection of how he came to be there. Before long he learns the alarming truth: he died two years before.

Without going into the plot or the outcome, let me simply say that this novel grabbed my attention from the get-go with all its possibilities, and it was a great read. In addition to being highly creative in his premise, Sofer gives us humor and adve
Gordon Long
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
A new twist on an old plot: what would you do if you woke up and found out you were dead? Would you take it as a chance to start over, or would you make a desperate attempt to get back what you lost? Moshe Karlin is given this opportunity, but despite the promise of the title, the results are pretty predictable. He decides to take up where he left off two years ago and everything falls apart from that point. If nothing goes wrong, where’s the fun?

The fascinating part of this novel, though, is no
Puspanjalee Dutta
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
AN UNEXPECTED AFTERLIFE by Dan Sofer is the first book of the Dry Bones Society. It chronicles the journey of Moshe Larkin after he found in unfavorable conditions.
Moshe is back from death only to find that his wife is living with his best friend, forgotten by his daughter, a bankrupt business, no money, no food, no shelter and above all, no identify at all.
In his journey to get back his own life, Moshe makes some unexpected undead friends, found alias with a Rabi and some narrow escape from sla
Aug 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
An Unexpected Afterlifeby Dan Sofer is a novel set in Israel and concerns the end times. As the reader begins to ask questions, they are drawn into the story from the start.
Dan Sofer writes with an easy style that is endearing to the reader. With comprehensive descriptions, the reader 'experiences' life in Israel and is completely caught up in the action.
I thought it was a very clever plotline which reminded me of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel.
The novel prompted questions from me - what is
Wall-to-wall books - wendy
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 Stars!

What a fantastic, crazy ride that was. This book made me smile. It was a fun and very interesting story. There are so many ways to describe this book and they all contradict each other. Can a Biblical book that is based on history be fantasy or somewhat paranormal? But that's what is was really. Well whatever words you use to describe it - it was great!

It takes place in Jerusalem and is full of history and Jewish tradition. Great characters with excellent character development. There's
Teresa Collins
Oct 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I am not sure what I was expecting, even after having read the book description, but this story wasn't it. I guess I expected more fantasy and mysticism and difficult to understand religious ceremonies. Instead, what I got was a truly lovely story; a fantasy I must admit from my point of view because that's not what Revelation in my Bible says will happen when the Messiah returns. However, overlooking the differences in the religious thought; the characters were so well developed that I came to ...more
Dec 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Keith by: Mike Wertheim
This self-published series was recommended by an old friend and former housemate with whom I share strongly overlapping taste in fiction, and his call was right again. The pacing here is pretty good, and the plot, while necessarily obvious in a few spots, twists enough to keep me guessing. I am perhaps not quite as Jewish as the true target demographic, but I have enough understanding of the history of Jerusalem, Torah, Qabalah, and Orthodox Judaism to follow along, and of course he provides eno ...more
Jeffrey Hatcher
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
The book rates five stars on originality which is tricky for a story that falls into the time -travel genre. The bureaucratic overtones give great irony - though they probably make the book enjoyable only to adults. Sofer appears to poke fun at religion generally by hinting that mortals, with their myriad rules, haven't too much of a clue about a hereafter. Not being Jewish, I have the suspicion that there may be a good amount of subtle humor that I have missed as well.

Though the title is entic
Rachelle Poblete
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
Full review in our blog:


Writing was wonderful - the plot was fresh and the pace was good. The author’s way of describing anything and everything is very clear. The novel was set in Israel and I have gotten a glimpse of their culture, beliefs and places through this book. The characters were also well written, with their own flaws and emotional baggage. It was very easy to empathize with them. I also like the occasional insert of humor in its pages.

An Un
Susan S
Jun 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Absolutely the best book I have read this year, maybe decade. An unexpected and thoroughly satisfying conclusion to The Dry Bones Society journey. I give this book 5 Stars (because they do not have Ten Stars option).
While I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest opinion, I have also purchased it. This book (and series) have earned top billing in my library and I have recommended it to everyone I know..
It is filled with everything you could want in a book, intrigue, action, suspen
Carol Burt
Sep 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Love this book

I just love this book and can't wait to read the next one in the series. It's the kind of book that poses the question, "what if?" And then proceeds to answer it in a wonderfully entertaining way.

The writing is excellent and I didn't have any of my usual aggravating moments when I run across an awkward sentence or a typo. It is professionally written and edited, so it's smooth reading. And delightful!

I read An Unexpected Afterlife quickly because I couldn't put it down. There are
Samantha Henthorn
Nov 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a lovely book. Moshe wakes up after what he thought was his fortieth birthday party. Unfortunately he was very much mistaken and soon realises he has walked into an unexpected afterlife. It is two years later, everything has changed his wife is now in a relationship with his best friend, and his daughter doesn't recognise him. A Rabbi comes to his rescue and he discovers he is not alone, he died but has been resurrected without a navel, as have the other members of the dry bones society. Th ...more
Amy Shannon
Oct 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
Unexpected, indeed!

This story draws the reader in immediately, and gives them resurrection and the afterlife, right away. Read this book with your eyes wide open, even if you wish to squint or hide slightly. This story is intense, but emits a certain humor, dark or otherwise. An intriguing story that keeps you turning the page, and sometimes you may have to reread a page, a paragraph, or just a simple sentence just to make sure you got it right. Have faith or uncertain about the afterlife, this
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Dan Sofer won the 2016 Best Book Award (category: religious fiction) for his debut novel, A Love and Beyond ("A mysterious crime. A ruthless secret society. And a desperate bachelor...")

His romantic adventures and magical satires explore Jewish lore and legend on the streets of modern-day Jerusalem.

His new novel, An Unexpected Afterlife, hits the shelves March 28, 2017. (Available for pre-order on

Other books in the series

The Dry Bones Society (3 books)
  • An Accidental Messiah (The Dry Bones Society #2)
  • A Premature Apocalypse (The Dry Bones Society #3)

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