Title: Payable on Death
Author: RJ Roles & Jason Myers
Release date: July 13, 2020
I’ve long been a fan of RJ Roles work, his two releases ‘Girl’s Best Friend’ and ‘Loose Strands’ showing his knack for story telling as well as his continued progression as he becomes a stronger writer. I’ve seen a few of Jason’s works mentioned before, over on the Books of Horror Facebook page, but hadn’t yet read any of his individual work. When the two teamed up, I was excited for another RJ release and he kindly sent me a digital copy to review.
What I liked: ‘Payable on Death’ follows a group of women who have been friends for many years. All attending a private school, where they discovered that they could harness powers.
The story bounces between the past and the present and Myers and Roles create a mythology that at times is what you would expect of the “classic” witch, but they also take some liberties with the tried and true to update the stereotypes and allow the women to not be simple “spell casters.” This act of thinking outside the box definitely works in the stories favor, as it allows for somethings to happen that otherwise wouldn’t. A totally vague statement, I know, but to stay spoiler free, you’ll understand when you read it.
The two authors write with a singular, seamless voice, which was great to see. Never once did it come across as RJ wrote this part and Jason wrote this part, which can be the toughest act when co-writing.
Short, punchy chapters let the story fly by and I found I was engrossed throughout. This is part one, so it’ll be interesting to see where it goes from here.
What I didn’t like: I think reader mileage will vary with this one, as at times I was wishing for it to jump into the rated R realm, when the two authors stayed firmly in PG-13. For some, this will work just fine, for others they may wish it was less The CW and more Dr. Giggles.
The other thing that I found threw me out of the story was the usage of familiar names. Oddly, I had no issues with that when I read The Roo by Alan Baxter, but that was a part of the process. I knew that going in. Here, seeing the name Dr. Merry (I assume a nod to mutual friend and author Eleanor Merry) and Nurse Justine Woodward (another nod to author and friend Justin Woodward) made it hard for me to fully embrace those characters.
Why you should buy it: This was a really fun read, as I mentioned before, I was wanting to see how things played out and the back and forth between seeing how they arrived at their powers as well as how their present lives were being affected by that was great. For people longing for a new, supernatural series to dive into, this would be a great one to choose and when it comes from two great guys, even better.