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How to be Death (A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel) Mass Market Paperback – February 28, 2012

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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

AMBER BENSON co-created, co-wrote, and directed the animated supernatural web-series Ghosts of Albion with Christopher Golden, followed by a series of novels including Witchery and Accursed, and the novella Astray. Benson and Golden also co-authored the novella The Seven Whistlers. As an actress, she has appeared in dozens of roles in feature films, TV movies, and television series, including the fan favorite role of Tara Maclay on three seasons of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Benson wrote, produced, and directed the feature films Chance and Lovers, Liars, and Lunatics.
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Product Details

  • Series: A Calliope Reaper-Jones Novel (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Ace; Original edition (February 28, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1937007286
  • ISBN-13: 978-1937007287
  • Product Dimensions: 4.2 x 0.8 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,024,601 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Amber Benson co-wrote and directed the animated web-series Ghosts of Albion with Christopher Golden for the BBC. The duo then novelized the series in two books for Random House. Her first solo novel, Death's Daughter, was published by Penguin in 2009, with a children's book for Simon and Schuster called The New Newbridge Academy to follow in the fall of 2010. As an actress, Benson spent three seasons as Tara Maclay on the cult show Buffy the Vampire Slayer. She has also written, produced, and directed three feature films, including her latest, Drones, which she co-directed with Adam Busch and will be released later this year.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Theresa on February 28, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Calliope Reaper-Jones never imagined the one thing she avoided like a plague would end up fulfilling her life-long dreams of buying designer clothes -without the inevitable diet of ramen noodles to cover the cost- and dating hot guys. Who knew "Death" had so many perks?

Our once reluctant protagonist is dressed to the nines and eager to attend her first official outing as President and CEO of Death Inc. playing hostess for a Masquerade Party and Dinner at the Haunted Hearts Castle. First thing on the agenda: Prove she can handle the job. Second: Make her former boyfriend, Daniel, eat his heart out. She has a slutty rhinestone bikini that should do the trick! The tables are quickly turned however, when she discovers Daniel isn't at the party alone; a possessive paramour is on his arm. That proves to be the least of her worries when the annotated copy of "How To Be Death" is stolen and bodies start dropping like beads at Marti Gras. It's a race against time as Callie, Jarvis, Runt (Hooray!) and Freezay, a quirky retired detective, search for a vicious killer and thief before the stroke of midnight signals the end of Halloween and, possibly, the beginning of the end for all humanity.

This time around, the main focus is on the Aztec Pantheon which is particularly fitting for the story-line. Several intriguing new characters are introduced, most with secrets and/or hidden agendas. One of the dinner guests shares a brow raising revelation that is subtly hinted at in early chapters. I would love to comment further on that, and several other interesting character developments, but I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone. I'm thrilled that Callie's adorable side-kick, Runt, had a larger role in the story and also enjoyed the addition of former detective and old family friend, Freezay.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. Dzwigalski on March 4, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Not ashamed to admit that I enjoy the Calliope Reaper-Jones (aka Death) series, Amber Benson's take on the paranormal romance/supernatural/urban fantasy genre. The characters are imaginative, sarcastic and interesting and the stories have a creative playfulness that I really enjoy. Plus they're quick, fun reads.

This book read as more of a straight-up "whodunnit" than the last few, borrowing some of the more popular murder-mystery motifs (locked room mystery, retired policeman to solve the crime and plenty of femme fatales), while also adding to the Death-lore of the series.

Will now wait patiently to find out what happens next to Calliope and Death Inc.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Summer40 on May 11, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Amber Benson was smart enough to use one of her most beloved characters in her latest novel. Runt, the talking hellhound, is the pooch that everyone will adore. Other characters such as Jarvis (I miss his faun body), Daniel, Kali and even Calliope take a major backseat to characters that are not well-rounded,not interesting and unnecessary. I missed the Calliope from the past who encountered danger from every corner and handled it with stealth determination. In this novel, Calliope acts like she has no idea what she's doing. If the story involves an elaborate dinner party, shouldn't the author detail the food more so than the party dress? It was a labor of love trying to finish this book. Benson will come back with a stronger premise for Calliope.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By SciFiChick VINE VOICE on March 1, 2012
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Calliope Reaper-Jones is the new President of Death, Inc., following the murder of her father. She is given her father's original copy of How to be Death (A Fully Annotated Guide), and is told to keep it safe and hidden since it holds incredible secrets. But Callie must survive the night as a mortal during a formal dinner party and ceremony that quickly gets uncomfortable. Callie's ex-boyfriend is there with another woman. Then, her book is stolen about the same time someone is murdered in Callie's bedroom.

How to be Death is the fourth novel in the Calliope Reaper-Jones series. And unlike the previous installments, this reads like a clever whodunit. As always, Callie gets herself in outrageous situations with mostly humorous outcomes. My favorite part of this clever, urban fantasy series is the zany wit and eccentric characters. And this fast-paced, suspenseful mystery is no exception. Full of twists and surprises, I thoroughly enjoyed Callie's latest escapade. Urban fantasy fans should not miss this light-hearted, exciting series.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Devin W. Rowland on November 2, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent storyline. Great continuation of the Calliope Reaper-Jones series. Would highly recommend the entire series to anybody. Amber Benson is as good an author as she is an actor.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
This was my first book in this series and I was surprised at how easy it was to jump in. Amber Benson does a great job in filling in the back story without being cumbersome. My one trepidation was that Callie is a bit of a fashionista, which I am so not, but the story was not bogged down by fashion and girly things. What I noticed first off was how witty and intelligent Benson's writing is, although her Callie character is more of a slacker. I had to laugh when Callie described herself as not "erudite." Another surprise for me was that this was less of an urban fantasy and more of a supernatural murder mystery, and reminded me very much of the horror comedy movies of the 1970's (think "Clue" meets "Young Frankenstein") that I absolutely loved. There is a zany cast of characters, multiple motivations, and a haunted house. One thing that struck me as a little off was that Freezay (inspector) seemed to be doing most of the sleuthing and deducing, when it would have behooved Callie to be more involved in the process. She is, after all, supposed to be the heroine. However, that was in line with her character and in no way took away from my enjoyment of the book.
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