Book Review: Once to Die: The Other Side of Dead

Title: Once to Die: The Other Side of Dead
Author: T.S. Epperson
Genre: Fiction; Christian Suspense
Year Published: March 28, 2023

Date Started: March 20, 2023
Date finished: March 27, 2023

This story follows a homeless man named Perry. He’s a good man but just ended up on the wrong side of life. He wants success and he wants to get away from all the dangers he’s encountered. Tension builds and things happen around Perry that he can’t control. He’s desperate for the better life and finds himself at confession with a priest. Throughout the story, there are other sub-stories about a few other characters. These stories seem to somehow connect to Perry’s situation but because this is a series, it seems these stories will move to the forefront later on.

I enjoyed this story. This was my first time reading a Christian suspense/mystery thriller having to do with cops and robbers more so than detective. There is a bit of fantasy in it but done so that it doesn’t feel like it’s fantasy but more like spiritual magic. I loved loved loved the parts of the story where Perry meets and talks to the priest. I wanted more of this. It felt so real how Perry was frustrated and confused about his existence. The questions he asked the priest were questions that every person who’s struggling through life would ask. The priest himself questioned his own existence as well. It was wonderfully written.

There is a heavy Christian vibe to this story, but not in a pushy way or anything of the sort, and not for every character. It’s mainly around the main character but it’s part of his plot and necessary. You can probably pick up religious vibes from some of the other situations not having to do with the main character, but if you don’t pick it up, it would simply appear as though they were just bad luck situations.

There was only one thing that I felt could have been done better and this is just a personal picky opinion, but I thought the ending could have tied a few things together. There was so much going on in the story and so many characters’ stories to follow. Mind you, it was well done, but I would have liked to have at least one of the characters’ stories resolved or a subplot resolved.

Who should read this book: If you enjoy a good suspense/thriller that moves a bit fast and contain multiples storylines, this one is excellent.

Note: I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway but the opinion is my own.

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