Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1)” as Want to Read:
Death Most Definite (Death Works Trilogy #1)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Death Most Definite

(Death Works Trilogy #1)

3.52  ·  Rating details ·  1,393 ratings  ·  149 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
Paperback, 416 pages
Published August 5th 2010 by Orbit (first published January 1st 2010)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Kelly H. (Maybedog)
Jul 17, 2012 rated it really liked it
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 frien
Oct 25, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Jul 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
Oct 17, 2011 rated it it was ok
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)
Apr 20, 2013 rated it it was ok
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
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
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
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
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
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Fangs for the Fantasy
Mar 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Karina Sumner-Smith
Aug 16, 2010 rated it liked it
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
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.
Maria Schneider
Jan 11, 2013 rated it did not like it
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
Graham Clements
Feb 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
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
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
Angela Oliver
Aug 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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.
Apr 18, 2011 rated it liked it
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.
Zara Khan
Feb 08, 2016 rated it liked it
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.
Oct 23, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: sf-2010, fiction
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.
Aug 28, 2011 rated it did not like it
Won't even finish it. doesn't make much sense, and the main character seems to be a jerk, who I just can't care if the fellow who shot at him had had a better aim. Would have saved me some reading time.
Apr 13, 2011 rated it it was ok
The writing is dull and all the characters are unmemorable. I didn't like the voice of the main character and didn't care about him at all. It did have a story to tell but unfortunately the execution is weak.
Mar 02, 2011 rated it it was ok
I thought this was a lightweight book, and the "hero" had a cavalier attitude toward tragic deaths. And I didn't like the way he treated his dog.
Aug 20, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am looking forward to reading the rest of the series!
Ian Irvine
Dec 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Witty, clever, original, moving, and a great adventure, too. I loved it.
Jul 22, 2017 rated it liked it
This series has definite potential. I gave this a solid 3 stars. I'm hoping that the remaining two books (and the novella) will capitalize on this potential and pick up at least a fourth star in my book.
I've always been fascinated with books, movies, and television shows that use Death itself as a character. And if humor is involved I'm downright giddy.
For me there were a few downfalls but not many. For starters, I kept getting many characters confused. It seemed like there were many support
C. E.  Stokes
May 26, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: did-not-finish
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Shelley Nolan
Sep 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This was such a great book. I loved the way death was portrayed as a business, and the detail that was used to create such a vivid and believable story world. I really liked Steve and how he did everything he could to stave off the Regional Apocalypse. A fantastic read, and I can't wait to dive into the second book in the series to see what happens next. And I know it is going to be a hell of a ride.
Jul 15, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
Relative to other books in this genre, this is one of the best ones I have read in a long time. My complaints are very minor, and are generally of the dismissable type, because the journey was fun, so I'm being generous with this rating (it might be a 3, but my expectations were low going into this).
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • A Devil in the Details (Jesse James Dawson, #1)
  • Dead To Me (Simon Canderous, #1)
  • Master of None (Gavyn Donatti, #1)
  • Hard Spell (Occult Crimes Unit Investigation #1)
  • Necropolis (Matt Richter #1)
  • Dog Days (Dog Days, #1)
  • Unshapely Things (Connor Grey, #1)
  • Imperium (Caulborn #1)
  • A Kiss Before the Apocalypse (Remy Chandler, #1)
  • Blood Blade (Skinners, #1)
  • Hard Day's Knight (Black Knight Chronicles, #1)
  • Bleak History
  • Power and Majesty (Creature Court, #1)
  • Afterlife: The Resurrection Chronicles
  • Dead Things (Eric Carter #1)
  • Child of Fire (Twenty Palaces, #1)
  • Sixty-One Nails (Courts of the Feyre, #1)
  • Chimera (The Korsak Brothers #1)
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.

Other books in the series

Death Works Trilogy (3 books)
  • Managing Death (Death Works Trilogy #2)
  • The Business of Death (Death Works Trilogy, #3)
“That's like saying Firefly's Mal was just Han Solo. He wasn't.” 6 likes
“This would be all so very Mad Max if I was driving a V8, and if it wasn't me.” 1 likes
More quotes…