Title: Drama Queens with Love Scenes
Author: Kevin Klehr
Publisher: Nine Star Press
Amazon: Buy Link Second Edition
Genre: fantasy romance
Length: 342 pages
Rating: 3 stars out of 5
A guest review by Sirius
This was a well written book, but the characters did not engage me, therefore the whole reading experience was a frustrating one.
Allan is in love with his best friend, Warwick, but Warwick has fallen for cock-sure playwright, Pedro. As Allan tries to win back his friend’s heart, he also must come to terms with the fact that they are all dead.
Close friends Allan and Warwick are dead. They’re not crazy about the idea so to help them deal with this dilemma are Samantha, a blond bombshell from the 1950s, and Guy, an insecure angel.
They are soon drawn into the world of theatre – Afterlife style, with all the bitchiness, back-stabbing and ego usually associated with the mortal world.
Allan also has a secret. He has a romantic crush on his friend, Warwick, but shortly after confiding in his new angel pal, his love interest falls for the cock-sure playwright, Pedro.
Not only does Allan have to win the heart of his companion, he also has to grapple with the faded memory of how he actually died.
As you can see from the blurb the whole action of the book happens after the characters are dead, if this is not the setting you enjoy, I advise skipping it. I have no problems with such settings at all and have read some books set in different kinds of Afterlife that I really loved so I was eager to start this one.
Despite Angel being present in the book, the Afterlife does not adhere to any specific religion, so if you worry about preaching, don’t be. I had other problems though. Lets start with Allan and Warrick arriving in the Afterlife and then for quite some time wondering if they are starring in some bizarre reality show. I can get behind the idea that the characters needed time to process the fact that they are in fact dead, however, it would be nice if I actually got to see that happen. Because while it is possible that I missed AHA moment which the narrator had (Allan narrates the book), right now my interpretation is that one second he had no clue and at some point we just supposed to accept that he got it. Maybe that was the point, to do it without AHA moment, I am not sure.
You can also infer from the blurb that theatre continues to play a very important role in our heroes’ journey in the afterlife. I mean, it makes sense that since they were some kind of actors when they were alive and loved the acting so much, that powers that be would use theater as a tool to teach them whatever spiritual lessons they were supposed to learn before they could move on. I understand the idea behind it. Moreover, while theater is my second entertainment of choice after books, I am a consumer of theater art, I am not a creative person and of course I will accept that this is how some art people who actually play in the theater act and live their lives. I will accept that their emotions are so over the top that one will wonder whether they act in their everyday lives too. In other words, especially since author’s bio says that he worked in the theater, I will defer to his expertise.
However, theater being a frame (for the lack of better word) for everything that is happening to our characters surprisingly made me feel detached, made me trying to figure out whether the emotions main characters were feeling were real or not. I guess the bottom line is that I just did not care about any of them – at all.
I think another reason why I did not care about potential romance (or building romance, or reconnecting romance depending on your view) between Warrick and Allan was because I did not *see* any romance happening between them in this time and place, whatever that time and place may be. Oh we *heard* a lot about what happened before, but in this life or Afterlife, Warrick spend most of his time with somebody else and what happened before this life we were mostly told, not shown. There was one moment which had so much potential to make me warm up to them and it was not told the way I needed it to be to awaken my sympathy for these two. I did not have any preference for it to be written differently, I am just saying that the way it was written did not work for me.
What worked perfectly for me is the backstabbing between theater people. Sadly I have read examples of things like that happening in the real world, so that felt very realistic – again, not from personal experience, but from what I have read and heard I can totally buy professional jealousy and backstabbing between some of the performers.
The ending is not tragic, but not HEA, or even HFN, obviously there is a sequel coming, which I had no idea and had I cared about the characters more, I would have been annoyed, because I usually have no patience and hate waiting for more certain ending. But the only thought I had at the end of the book was basically that the next book will come when it comes and if I am in the appropriate mood I may read it.