On the morning before her 67th death, it is business as usual for Jesse Sullivan: meet with the mortician, counsel soon-to-be-dead clients, and have coffee while reading the latest regeneration theory. Jesse dies for a living, literally. As a Necronite, she is one of the population's rare 2% who can serve as a death replacement agent, dying so others don't have to. Although each death is different, the result is the same: a life is saved, and Jesse resurrects days later with sore muscles, new scars, and another hole in her memory. But when Jesse is murdered and becomes the sole suspect in a federal investigation, more than her freedom and sanity are at stake. She must catch the killer herself - or die trying.
©2014 Kory M. Shrum (P)2014 Kory M. Shrum
I liked the world this story is set in, I read a lot and it is something new that I have not read/listened to before. This book does start out slow (or at least for me it was) and it took a bit before I really liked or cared about any of the characters. It was probably at about 50-60% that it finally pulled me in and kept me at the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Jesse was eventually very likeable, her snarky sarcastic personality grew on me. I have to say I really liked Lane and Ally and the other characters. They were all interesting without taking away from the main characters. I can’t wait to see where the story goes next and what twists and turns we are in for.
While her voice seems familiar Hollie Jackson is a new to me narrator. She did a great job on the voices and I could easily differentiate all the characters. I look forward to listening to other books that she has narrated.
Audiobook was provided by Author/Publisher via Audiobook Jukebox for an honest review.
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Yes, fast, funny, entertaining, interesting
Dying for a Living is the 1st book in the Jesse Sullivan contemporary fantasy series by the esteemed Michigan resident Kory M. Shrum. I have to admit that I was very sceptical when I received this audiobook for review, but after talking with a friend and listening to the sample on Audible I decided to give it a try and I’m very glad I did…
The story follows Jesse Sullivan, a cute and sarcastic young lady that dies for a living. How is that possible you ask me? Well, Jesse is a Necronite, a person that doesn’t stay dead after a fatal accident. She is employed as a Death Replacement Agent and she takes the place of clients that are supposed to die at a certain time, saving their lives and dying in their place. She can resurrect after hours or days and back to work she goes. Everything is well until after her 67th death someone tries to make her stay that way. What follows is a thrilling adventure, filled with conspiracies and lots of tense moments. That’s all I’m willing to say on this subject, not wanting to spoil the story for the potential readers.
Dying for a Living is in no way the kind of book that I usually read. I fancy myself to have an open mind and to this I attribute my interest in this genre. The big surprise was that I really enjoyed the book, the story, the characters and the original idea behind all of it. I like Kory‘s writing style! It’s fast, easy to follow, witty and funny, delivering a very entertaining story. The main themes are touching on life death, sexual equality, religion and much more. Also, I loved the rich and vivid characters.
If I was hooked by this book, although i’m not a fan of the genre, i can imagine how well received will be by those who read such stuff all the time…
The narrator is Hollie Jackson, a very talented voice over artist that brings Dying for a Living to life in a big way. This was my first audiobook with Hollie as a narrator and I can say that I enjoyed it very much. Her natural reading style, combined with the ability to change voices and accents with ease, keeps all the characters well differentiated in the listeners mind. Dying for a Living is full with snarky and funny remarks made by Jesse and Hollie is just perfect, nailing them every time.
The almost 9 hours of the Dying for a Living audiobook passed like a breeze and I wasn’t able to stop listening…The fast paced, intriguing story and the solid performance by this excellent narrator brought me to complete immersion and at the end of it I was left with a nice experience that made me want to continue with more books in this series.
Kory M. Shrum and Hollie Jackson fit hand in glove and I’m sure we will see more great projects from the two of them…
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Dying for a Living (Jesse Sullivan #1) by Kory M. Shrum is urban fantasy at its best, it’s zombie fiction with a new and fresh twist, it’s entertaining, it’s fun….Until I listened to Shurm’s book I thought that fiction about the ‘living’ dead had had its day and believed that the trend should be swept under the carpet or be flushed…either option seemed viable so I was pleasantly surprised to find that Shrum’s new and creative way of representing the living dead doesn’t involve any shuffling, snarling, apocalypse causing, virus spewing corpses. In fact, Jesse, the main protagonist, has spunk and a good sense of humour (albeit mostly sarcastic) and even though she insists on wearing nonmatching shoes her dress sense is still an enormous improvement on the mangy rags of her fictional contemporaries. The term zombie is also derogatory so, even though at one stage she does threaten to eat someone’s brain and turn their skull into a cereal bowl, can everyone please use the more politically correct term Necronite, thank you very much. Necronites, or people that test NRD positive, not only don’t stay dead but if recruited to be death replacement agents can, for a fee, take the place of someone about to become a ‘ghost on toast’. Biologically and logistically Kory’s fictional world is believable and well developed and so are her characters.
Like all good fantasy Dying for a Living manages to explore and reinforce many pertinent issues of our age, it is a veritable smorgasbord of 21st century ideology and explores freedom of sexual orientation, rights of the minorities, religion and even tackles the sensitive issue of abuse. Jesse, the marginalised other, subverts the stereotypical ‘mindless-people-munching’ zombie and Hollie Jackson’s excellent narrating skills literally give life to her voice and character. Hollie’s perfect voice intonations and her natural narrating style enhances the narrative and the listener can almost forget that the book is being read to them but instead they are submerged into the narrative, swept away with Jesse on her journey as a death replacement agent and her fight to solve the mystery of her ‘attempted’ murder. Hollie Jackson and Shrum’s Jesse are a perfect match so if you enjoy audiobooks, are a fan of Urban Fantasy and are looking for something original and fun, then Dying for a living by Kory M. Shrum will live up to your highest expectations.
Audiobook provided for review by the author.
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I loved it. I wish the dying sequence was more fleshed in. Too little time was given to experience of dying and replacing, renewing someone's energy. I wanted more sci fi and less intrigue or plot twists. Overall good listening, especially on 10 hour trip.
Say something about yourself!
This is a totally new view on zombie ism. Jesse is a zombie who actually performs a service for people that being, die for them. Jesse has a genetic abnormality where she can heal from most situations. The government has set up a program in, which necronites, the PC term for Jesse, die for other people.
Being a necronite has many implications for religious and political institutions. That is a back ground story of the humanity on necronites. Of course, Jesse is unique as a necronite base on events in her life. She is in a situation where people are out to kill her on so many front that she does not know where to turn. There is a history behind her and her BFF that has been wiped from her life. Missing parts of your memory is the one draw back of her work.
Jesse is snarky, resourceful, and funny. She has a great supporting friends who add depth to the story. This is not the aimless stumbling resurrected people who crave brains. Necromites are people with a genetic condition. So if you crave a new zombie novel this is it.
The story was interesting, but the constant swearing ruined it for me. I'll be avoiding any other books in this series because of that.
Excellent, surprising, entertaining.
Other urban fantasy series like Jim Butcher's The Dresden Files.
The one with the hooker made me laugh the most. The fight scenes were also great. And I loved the parts where her lovers want more from her but she isn't ready for that.
Hey, when your job is dying for a living, is any health benefit package really sufficient?
Jesse Sullivan is a necronite and hired as a consultant by the government to participate in federally sanctioned life regenerations. Basically, a client pays a fee to the company, an AMP (a simple acronym for a fancy term for psychic) is consulted, and a necronite is assigned to shadow the person on the day of their predetermined death. When death comes, someone has to walk through the tunnel of light into the void and that is what Jesse is paid to do. Don’t worry, she regenerates in anywhere from a few hours to a day later (depending on the circumstances of death). The story opens on the morning of her 67th death as she meets her client, her life assistant (Allie) in tow. He’s a pretty dull business man and sure enough, Jesse saves him later in the day, after many hours of watching him make boring calls and process paperwork. The most exciting thing about this man was his use of improper slang, such as ‘zombie’ for necronite.
The 68th death was much more interesting. Jesse was assigned to a prostitute. Yep, Jesse got an education during this day’s work. These were some of the best scenes of the book, having me laugh out loud. Who was pretending to be the boat again? What are we bending the other direction? Of course, Jesse has to stay in the same room as the client the entire time, so she got to play a different role for each of the prostitute’s clients throughout the day, including a sex worker in training. Ha!
The story gets a little deeper when someone tries to outright kill Jesse (yes, even zombies can be killed) and it is just luck that her friends are able to save her in time. This event is the start of a deeper mystery for Jesse, Allie, and Lane (Jesse’s friend with benefits). There’s a lot of people and groups, including many religious organizations, that see the necronites as unnatural. It’s hard to nail down just which group or which individual wanted Jesse dead for good. Her case handler, Brinkley, goes missing and suspicion falls on him.
But then things get even weirder for Jesse. Most necronites don’t recall much of their lives before their first regeneration. Jesse’s first death was due to a barn fire. She has a complicated and sometimes painful past; as the story moves forward, Jesse has to start working through some of that. Then we have Gabriel, a black winged, suited man that only she can see and interact with. Now Jesse must question her own sanity.
I really enjoyed this fast paced urban fantasy. It used science to explain (sort of, it’s still fiction) the regenerations and then placed it within a boring government job. Jesse’s ability isn’t unique (there are others, although not bunches, like her) and it is used like a tool in her weekly job. I really liked this new take on zombies. With our current culture saturated with zombie books, movies, tv, music, costumes, games, etc., I wasn’t sure I would find this book interesting. Instead, I was pleasantly surprised when I realized that I didn’t want to put the book away.
And there was a love triangle! I despise love triangles in general, feeling that they are also overused in the last 10 years. But this one was different. Jesse wants simple – like friends with benefits kind of simple. She’s not looking for a long-term, deep connection kind of relationship. But both her lovers are. Plus our main character is bisexual (without it being a big deal). I loved this aspect because Jesse was so many things – government consultant, snarky wit, center of some big mystery – and oh, yeah, she also swings both ways. It was footnote to her character, not the main aspect. So the love triangle really worked for me, adding to the character building instead of ticking me off.
I almost passed on this book and I am ever so glad I did not. There’s a lot of cool stuff that happens in the second half of the book, but I don’t want to toss spoilers around. Let’s say that there is plenty of action, some sacrifice, more character development, and more dealing with the past. It’s excellent. I am very much hoping Book 2 in the series makes it’s way to audio as well.
The Narration: Hollie Jackson was a good fit for Jesse Sullivan. She really pulled off all of Jesse’s witty remarks and defensive mechanisms. She had distinct voices for all the characters and good range that included male and female characters.
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DYING FOR A LIVING
Author: Kory M. Shrum
Narrator: Hollie Jackson
Type of Book: Audiobook - Unabridged
Length: 8 hours, 56 minutes
Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Paranormal Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
* I received a free copy of this audiobook from the author in exchange for an honest review.
This book grabbed my attention right away. The narrator's voice is perfect for the lead character. She has just the right amount of attitude to pull it off.
I have to say I LOVED this book. It is so rare to find a story that is truly unique. DYING FOR A LIVING is one of a kind. It is a completely original story. It takes a lot to get me excited about a new book series, but I am excited about the Jesse Sullivan series and can't wait to listen to more of these audiobooks.
Jesse is different. She may be a bit emotionally damaged (ok, maybe she is more than just a little damaged) but despite the emotional baggage she is a wonderful heroine. She may not have super powers, but she has something better: she is a Necronite and works as a Death Replacement Agent.
What is a Death Replacement Agent? Well, to describe her job I will have to describe Jesse's DNA mutation. Jesse has a special DNA mutation which gives her the is ability die and to then heal and return from the dead. Some people call people with this gene zombies, but that is a politically incorrect term. The proper term is "Necronite."
Necronites are able to work with special predictors who tell people the exact date of their death. If a Necronite is present at a person's death, they are able to "replace" them and die in their place. Now, that is a unique storyline.
Think you know what this book is about from what I have detailed above? Think again! This book has so many twists in it that you need to pay attention.
The narrator has the perfect voice for Jesse. Jesse has a sarcastic sense of humor and the narrator does an exquisite job of delivering her many one liners. I laughed out loud a few times and even snorted a couple times.
DYING FOR A LIVING is a great book to listen to. I'm sure reading it would be good too, but it is definitely a book that lends itself well to narration.
The characters in the book are very well developed and as the story progresses we learn more about the main characters. Because of this the listener is always kept interested. There is never a dull moment.
I rate this book as 5 out of 5 stars. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
I look forward to listening to DYING BY THE HOUR which is the next Jesse Sullivan novel.
Love the Ally/Jessie chemistry. It's electric (see what I did there, lol). The main character Jessie is amazingly funny. I love it. The writing is 2 parts clever, witty and lots heartwarming. On to listen to book 2! Love the audible version as much as the written one. The reader? is able to convey all characters in a believable and un-confusing way.
I enjoyed Hollie Jackson's narration in Graveyard Shift and thought I'd give this one a try. But something about the main character crossed a little too far from splendidly sassy to just unlikeable for me to enjoy. Perhaps it gets better, but I couldn't get very far, despite Hollie being a good narrator.
Interesting, likeable characters and an intriguing plotline. Looking forward to the next in the series!
Put a bit more thought into it.
All of them
Didn't read the whole book couldn't stand how boring it was.
"A nice urban fantasy"
I came across this by chance. And was glad to have found it, because it was better than I thought it might be.
Having listened to a couple of humdrum books in this genre recently I wasn't expecting much. However I was pleasantly surprised.
The humour was not too overwhelming, allowing for a fairly decent criminal plot within the story to develop.
The heroine has her sarcastic moments, but I think given her background she's allowed. The people that surround her care for her as well, and she finds out how much they genuinely care by the end of the book.
I won't say more, because that would lead onto spoilers, which I personally don't believe in doing.
The narrator is good. It was going through her catalogue that led me to this series of books. Hence the purchase because I think she's better than a lot of narrators out there, and she's fast becoming a favourite of mine.
Overall Jesse is a character you want to support, and you find yourself wondering what will happen in her life next. For me that means I'm more than happy to purchase book two in the series to see where it goes.
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