Lex is not your average angsty sixteen-year-old. For the last two years she has morphed from a sweet, good girl into an angry, physically violent troublemaker with a penchant for punching almost anybody who annoys her.
The change is alarming and has no apparent cause. And deep down, Lex is conflicted and confused by her own actions. But it doesn’t take long for the irritation and exasperation to lash out yet again.
When her parents decide, after another near-expulsion, to send her away for the summer to her Uncle Mort’s in up-state New York, their hope is that some time with dirty farm work and good old-fashioned discipline may turn Lex back into the daughter they remember. The daughter her twin sister Cordy still is.
Leaving her family, especially her twin, is difficult for Lex. And it all seems a little odd to her since she hasn’t seen Uncle Mort for years.
Her perspective of odd was about to change dramatically.
Because Uncle Mort? Yeah, he’s not a farmer. Not even slightly.
Instead he’s a wild-looking, motorcycle-riding crazy man that spouts off about her (and him) being a Grim Reaper.
After getting situated in the little, eccentric town of Croak however, Lex can’t help but quickly come to terms with her new reality. It doesn’t take long before she sees the town and her Uncle in action and finds peace in her newfangled purpose.
Her rage is already starting to calm down as she begins to deliver souls to the next life – that is, when she’s not dealing with her infuriating, frustratingly attractive partner Driggs.
The only problem with this fresh start is her job limitations. When she arrives at the frozen scene of a death to Kill and send the soul to harmony with Griggs, oftentimes a murderer might be frozen in the scene as well. Her temptation to rid the world of such scum is incredibly strong, but very much against the rules.
But when bodies begin to pile up, dead by an unknown cause, it appears someone else seems to have the same idea…
Croak is a strikingly original novel with a tone of the unreal, otherworldly, and strange. I adored how Gina Damico created a whole mythology and world for these Grims to inhabit. It feels fleshed out – complete with a clever, witty, weird town that has a macabre, Tim Burton vibe. Very cool.
Our protoganist is tough, cross, and seem to be going through an internal struggle of pain. From the get-go I wanted to like her better, and I let her grow on me – which she did, as she came into her own.
Croak is increasingly interesting with its captivating premise, funny cast of characters, and sizzling chemistry between Lex and her bold, hot partner Driggs. There’s lots of mystery too, with the sudden rash of bizarre deaths where the victims have pure white eyes. Some detective skills come into play to solve the creepy, deadly puzzle.
Croak’s great sense of humor ranges from sardonic, sarcastic, dry, to goofy – especially highlighted in the Croak’s local diner, The Morgue, where you can imbibe in HomiCider, Mad Cowburger, and other hilarious named items.
I found Croak to be an impressive, addictive, unique debut that becomes surprisingly deep at moments. You won’t believe the twists nearer the end!
I’m happy to know a second book, Scorch, will be out in September – and I hope many more after that!
On a separate note, HAPPY BLOGOVERSARY to the Bibliophile Support Group! It's the first time I've really acknowledged it, as I usually hardly notice. But I want to thank all of my lovely, growing followers and readers! It's been FOUR years today and Croak is my 411th post! Wowza! I hope you all will continue to get the word out there about this blog and we can continue to grow and share in our adoration and addiction to books! :)