Here’s another debut fantasy with an original and intriguing premise: ferryman Charlie Dawson, condemned to transport souls to the underworld for all eternity, finds his existence unraveling after he prevents a young woman from committing suicide. And his life — such as it is — rapidly gets very complicated. In her review, Jaclyn Fulwood at Shelf Awareness writes,
Since the moment of his near-death more than two centuries ago, Charlie has been in the employ of the shadowy Ferryman Institute, guiding newly deceased souls through the departure process. When a Ferryman fails to convince a spirit to cross over, it becomes a vengeful ghost; Charlie Dawson, star of the Institute’s stable, never fails… In an age when the Institute competes with comparable organizations like the Sisters of Valhalla, Charlie is simply too good to let go. Supported by his refined mentor Cartwright, but stalked by internal affairs liaison Inspector Javrouche (the only person who actively despises him), Charlie limps through his malaise until he receives a special assignment from the president of the Institute — to see to the soul of one Alice Spiegel, a soon-to-be suicide — and is surprised with options: “Be a Ferryman or save the girl. Your choice.”
Gigl pays homage to Greco-Roman mythology while poking fun at corporate structure, but this fast-paced fantasy has its serious side, taking the real-life problem of getting stuck in a dead-end job to a more mystical but still weighty extreme. Gigl seems to realize his concept treads familiar ground; readers will find easy laughs here, but more introspection than in novels with similar premises.
The Ferryman Institute will be published by Gallery Books on September 27, 2016. It is 432 pages, priced at $16 in trade paperback and $7.99 for the digital edition. Click the images above for bigger versions, or read an excerpt at the Simon & Schuster website.