For Erik Anderson, the Copenhagen line is his curse. He takes the train every night en route to collect souls. Like any lovelorn fool, he bargained his own long ago, and now pays the price— a lifetime of loneliness as a grim reaper. Stay distant— that’s been his mantra and what keeps him sane.
Until Mina Castner drops into his life like a whirlwind, one spilled drink leading to staying up until dawn with the woman. He believed one night couldn’t hurt, but he sorely underestimated her determination. Every encounter between them is reprieve from the guilt of reaping souls every night, but it can’t last. Even if she sparks long buried feelings, and even if her sheer presence intoxicates him, he can’t let this continue. For humans, his touch is poison, and if he slips up, it could cost her life.
I enjoyed this novel quite a bit. Paranormal romance is not something I usually read, but I was intrigued by the author’s description of the characters. This did not feature vampires, werewolves, or zombies, but grim reapers: Romance with death incarnate is fascinating to say the least!
What type of a person could serve as a grim reaper? How would this profession (for lack of a better word) affect that person? Through Erik, the reader catches a glimpse into the supernatural elements that are intertwined with a world much like our own and sees how one choice can change a person’s life forever.
But the story is not only set in the supernatural. The narrative is balanced by the inclusion of Mina and her very human concerns about love and relationships. This is where McIntyre’s skill shines through; Mina faces the same type of a life-altering choice—to remain in her predictable life or to throw caution to the wind and chase after a mysterious stranger.
How we approach our lives—through deliberate choices or through following fate—helps create the mood and tone of the story. The internal debates the characters have with their consciences make their actions more realistic and understandable. Erik suffers from his choices, knowing that his actions bring death to others: He agonizes over these decisions even as he claims the souls. Mina faces her choices with determination, but with the knowledge that she cannot control fate; some things are just out of her hands. And sometimes taking a leap of faith can lead to negative consequences.
As introspective as the characters are, this is a romance. Death is something that comes for all of us, but McIntyre manages to put a human—and a humane—face on the grim reaper that leads a reader rooting for him to find love.