A darkly humorous, surprisingly poignant, and utterly gripping debut novel about a guy who works in Hell (literally) and is on the cusp of a big promotion if only he can get one more member of the wealthy Harrison family to sell their soul.
Peyote Trip has a pretty good gig in the deals department on the fifth floor of Hell. Sure, none of the pens work, the coffee machine has been out of order for a century, and the only drink on offer is Jägermeister, but Pey has a plan—and all he needs is one last member of the Harrison family to sell their soul.
When the Harrisons retreat to the family lake house for the summer, with their daughter Mickey’s precocious new friend, Ruth, in tow, the opportunity Pey has waited a millennium for might finally be in his grasp. And with the help of his charismatic coworker Calamity, he sets a plan in motion.
But things aren’t always as they seem, on Earth or in Hell. And as old secrets and new dangers scrape away at the Harrisons’ shiny surface, revealing the darkness beneath, everyone must face the consequences of their choices.
This is one of those books that is hard to characterize. Is it a mystery? Horror? Weirdly devised chick/bro lit? Bitingly witty workplace angst? This is ALL that! The author offers brilliantly imagined facets of Hell, ranging from the C-suite to never-ending puddles, and every page offers some new observation about daily life.
Keeping everything straight was a little chaotic, but well worth the effort. This is a multi-layered book that I can see generating some really lively book discussions about what it means to live a decent life. There is a lot to unpack here in terms of what it takes to tip people to the dark side.
If you’re familiar with the legendary story of Dr. Faust, you’ll recognize some of that. There is more of Marlowe’s original Faust here – the successful but unsatisfied man who sells his soul to the Devil for unlimited knowledge and worldly pleasure – than Goethe’s intellectual Faust. Why do people want more and what is it about those in our society who are obscenely wealthy and fortunate that makes regular people idolize them? What kind of person would sell their very soul for unlimited wealth? Timely questions I’d say.
Final word – this is some of the best modern satire I’ve read in a long time.