Waking Up Dead


Fiction - Paranormal
Kindle Edition
Reviewed on 10/29/2013
Buy on Amazon

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    Book Review

Reviewed by Lit Amri for Readers' Favorite

Callie Taylor is murdered and she expects to be sent straight to heaven or, worryingly, hell. Surprisingly, she ends up in Abramsville, Dallas. She tries to go back to her hometown, but she cannot go beyond the city’s limit. Her life as a ghost there is lonely, until she witnesses the murder of Molly McClatchey. She determines to catch the killer because Molly’s husband, Rick, is accused of the crime. Knowing that she needs help from the living, she searches for a ‘sensitive’, someone who is able to communicate with a ghost. Haunting and hilarious, Waking Up Dead is the first installment of the Callie Taylor series written by Margo Bond Collins.

Waking Up Dead is attention-grabbing from the get go and reminds me a lot about my favorite 1990 film, Ghost. The prose is flawless, comprehensible, and frank. The plot is well-constructed and not redundant with other tangential details. It has a clear direction and great twists from start to finish. I liked the friendship pairing of Callie and Ashara – I enjoyed their witty banter. I also absolutely adored the funny and wise Maw-Maw. When Stephen joins the group, the unofficial, somewhat vigilante crime-solving team felt complete. There are some crime-related parts that I found a bit difficult to read but, overall, the story is not laden with disturbing details. The ending is great with a cliffhanger that promises more things to come for protagonist Callie Taylor and her living friends. Simply put, this is an excellent and faultless paranormal series from Collins.

Samantha Rivera

What happens after death is something that many people have thought about but most think it will lead to some type of afterlife. They assume that the dead go to heaven or hell. But no one really talks about limbo. Poor Callie has been killed in her hometown and her murderer still roams free. For some strange reason she’s been transported to an entirely new town in a whole other state with no idea as to her purpose. Unfortunately, she’s also a ghost and one big problem is that not everyone is able to see her when she tries to communicate. That turns out to be bad because Callie has witnessed a murder and she’s determined the wrong man should not be blamed for it in Waking up Dead by Margo Bond Collins.

This book is very interesting as you follow Callie's story. She’s learning how to navigate being a ghost and also how to solve a murder of someone she sort of cared about. Callie is amazing because even though she’s dead and most would assume she has limitless powers (she doesn’t), she’s just like a regular person. Her biting wit and sarcasm are evident on every page but the people who are chosen to help her are just as interesting and funny along the way. Waking up Dead is great in how it details a life after death and the truth of what happens to those ghosts who are simply stuck in the real world with no way of moving on or going home.

Jack Magnus

Waking Up Dead is a paranormal mystery written by Margo Bond Collins. Callie was tortured and killed in her home town of Dallas and is somewhat perplexed when she finds herself in neither heaven nor hell, but in Alabama. Abramsville is a small and tidy town whose city limits she is not allowed to cross. Any attempts to do so result in her instantaneous reappearance in front of the town hall. Callie has tried to communicate with the living and has been mostly unsuccessful -- the one guy who does see her pees himself in fright when she appears in his mirror. Lonely and bored, Callie selects homes in town where she can spend an evening with the inhabitants, living, as it were, vicariously through them. One of her favorite houses belongs to Mollie and Rick McClatchey. Mollie's an art teacher, and Rick owns a music store. One Thursday, as Mollie is preparing dinner and Callie is watching her cook, a strange man comes into the house and brutally slays Mollie. Rick is charged with the crime, and there's nothing Callie can do to set things straight...or is there?

Callie, the unlikely hero in Margo Bond Collins' paranormal mystery, Waking Up Dead, is smart, sarcastic, and very funny. It's fun to watch her figure out her limitations as a ghost and see how she works at getting the real murderer caught. The other supporting characters in the book are almost as much fun. They're real-life people who somehow are able to see and communicate with Callie. Along with the fun and paranormal stuff, however, Collins has written a first-rate mystery with spot-on detection headed by Callie and her unlikely sidekick, Maw-Maw. Waking Up Dead rocks. I loved every minute I spent reading it.

Mamta Madhavan

Waking Up Dead by Margo Bond Collins is a compelling story in which Callie Taylor finds herself in Alabama after her death. She is expecting to go to heaven or hell and it is mystifying for her as to how and why she landed up in Alabama. She is a witness to another murder and she wants to inform the police about the real killer of Molly McClatchey so that an innocent person is not framed for that murder. But then she is still caught up in the surprise of being in Alabama. Will Callie be able to find out why she is in Alabama instead of heaven or hell? And will she be able to tell the cops who really killed Molly McClatchey?

The story is very intriguing and original. The author has used her expertise and deftly woven a tale of mystery, murder, and suspense. It is a fast paced book that leaves the reader wanting more. There are two plots in the story, both of which are equally filled with suspense. Mystery books are always exciting for readers because there are many avenues for readers to put on their thinking caps and solve the puzzle before the author reveals all. Apart from how Callie landed up in Alabama after her death, the plot of Molly McClatchey's murder is equally intriguing. The author has managed to run the two murder stories together without making it too heavy for reader.