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Hereafter by Terri Bruce


by Terri Bruce

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“Why are you staring at me?”
“Well, it’s just, because…you know. You’re…” “Well…dead”

When she awoke in the morning, it all came back to her. She had searched the web for information about ghosts and the after life, but found nothing describing her situation.

She got in the shower and brushed her teeth. She felt, just because she was dead, that was no reason she shouldn’t take care of normal hygiene.

Suddenly, it came to her. There must be others in the same situation as hers. So she left the house in search of more answers.

When Irene waved to Mrs. Boine, she waved back. She ran up on the porch and began talking to her, only to find out she was dead too. As they talked two little girls came out asking for Grandma to push them. Mrs. Boine told Irene that they couldn’t see her, yet they knew she was there.

Irene came right out and asked Mrs. Boine what she was supposed to do? Where was she supposed to go? Mrs. Boine said she had everything she could want right where she was, so why should she go anywhere.

Irene was in Limbo, but at least now she knew she wasn’t the only ghost. She found that ghosts tended to have an aura about them. She couldn’t help but wonder – Where’s the bright light? – like in the Ghost Whisperer.

She found herself in front of a house and noticed the name Johnson.Why did that sound familiar to her? Then she remembered, the kid, Jonah could see her and his name had been Johnson. But what could a 14-year-old kid tell her? She felt she had to talk to him. She went in the house, even though he wasn’t home, and she hadn’t been invited in. It was obvious from his bedroom he was alive and well. But why could he see her? She knew he could be unseen, invisible to others, too. Why? How?

book of spells

She left a note and hoped he would come find her. When he did, he told her he found a book with spells, about astral projection and transcendental meditation. They talked about what he had discovered from reading books. She kept asking him questions. How would she get to the afterlife? What was ahead for her?

“You’re like a two-year old, you know that,” was his response.

And so began their journey to find the answers that would help Irene move on.


Pretty cover and an appropriate title.

I got some chuckles when…..Well, I can’t tell you. For the subject of death, I really like Terri Bruce’s approach to it and the afterlife and the time in between. How would you react? What would you feel like if life went on without you? Is there life after death? Funny light-hearted look at death. A lot of food for thought in this book.

Irene - was a spoiled rotten brat. Selfish. The 14-year-old kid acted more like an adult than she did. She didn’t put her full effort into her job, even though she liked it. Definitely liked drinking and had no qualms about calling in sick, after partying all night. She felt she had done what she was supposed to do, wasn’t that enough? She had an education, a good job, family, friends and a love life. What else was there?


“Why aren’t ghosts good at telling lies?” ” Because you can see right through them.”

“…what kind of mistakes do ghosts make…” “Boo-boos.”

“What kind of street does a host live on?” “A dead-end.”

“Who does a ghost invite to his party?” “Anyone he can dig up.”


“Cops Undead: Miami”

“Today is the first day of your afterlife”

“You can’t come in. I didn’t invite you. ”That’s vampires.” “

“Here take my sock, it’s stinky, just like you”


The book brought to mind Charmed, Supernatural and Ghost Whisperer, three TV shows that deal with magic, death, ghosts, the supernatural, the paranormal……when Irene and Jonah talked about scrying, finding lost objects, spells…..made me think of all three shows.

Maybe ignorance is bliss. Maybe we are better off not knowing what is to come. What is life about? The infamous, why me? Regrets? Set a wrong right? Unfinished business. Who does the judging? What are the rules?

The ending wraps it up nicely and left me with a warm fuzzy feeling and a smile. All’s well that ends well, went through my mind. ( )
  sherry69 | Jan 25, 2016 |
Even though she has to work the next day, Irene goes out drinking with the girls. Her friends sensibly tell Irene to take a cab with them but Irene, realizing that she needs her car to get to work the next day hops behind the wheel of her car. Irene then suddenly finds herself standing on the side of the road next to her car. It takes a while for her to realise that not only is she dead, no one can see her or hear her. Luckily for Irene she meets, Jonah whose interest in death rituals has allowed him to find a spell which allows him to speak to and interact with the dead. Irene, with Johah's help, embarks on a mission to learn what comes next or more specifically, what to make of her undead life.

Fans of urban fantasy won't find much to draw them into this story. Irene is indeed a ghost but this is far from a typical ghost story and is actually more of an examination of life - specifically what matters and what doesn't. There is little action to speak of and the one major question which is asked throughout the novel really doesn't get answered. Despite that fact, Hereafter doesn't have an incomplete feeling and this is probably because I personally could not take another minute of reading about Irene the protagonist.

Irene is an extremely unlikable character and it is worth noting that I don't believe Bruce means the reader to identify with, let alone like Irene. She is very much in denial that she died as a result of drinking and driving and might even have a drinking problem. Though Irene is a supposedly 36 year old woman with an M.B.A (a fact we are reminded far to often), Jonah, her 14 year old sidekick, is far more mature than her. Irene vacillates constantly between fits of rage and remorse. She lashes out cruelly at Jonah though he does nothing but help her, risking the trust of his parents and his good school record. At times, I honestly could not understand why Jonah kept coming back because Irene was certainly not worthy of his attention, let alone his concern. Irene is beyond self absorbed and only seems to show momentary concern for Jonah when he is in physical danger.

The plot of Hereafter is quite slow moving. Though Jonah encourages Irene to plan and act with agency, the only time Irene acts with any agency is when she is being petulant. As a result, events just seem strung together with Irene simply reacting and Jonah playing the role of the clean up man. Hereafter is set up as an existential crises which is a boring read at the best of times. I kept waiting for Hereafter to go somewhere and the ending was simply anti-climactic after all of those pages of angst.

Read More ( )
  FangsfortheFantasy | Mar 9, 2014 |
After a night out drinking with the girls, Irene wakes up on the side of a road. Not really sure how she got there, or why some Good Samaritan didn't stop to help her, Irene jumps in her car to drive back home. Once home things just don't seem to be adding up, like the amount of missed calls she has, or the endless amount of mail at her door. In full blown panic Irene bumps into a boy names Jonah who breaks the news about her untimely death to her. The two characters set out on an adventure to get Irene to the afterlife. Sounds simple? Being dead is a lot more complicated then searching for a door and tunnels with lights at the end.

I really enjoyed this story. The thing I love most is the character interaction between Jonah and Irene. At first I just thought Irene really treated Jonah like crap. I mean here Jonah is perfectly alive dedicating his free time to helping Irene and she is fussing at him, and just being rude to him. As the characters develop I enjoyed the intersection between the two and it reminded me more of a sister and brother bickering away. Also Irene's emotions are more realistic because she is newly dead and lost and confused that would make any ghost snippy.

I also loved how factual this book is. There are so many different kinds of afterlife theories and religious beliefs it is mind boggling. I love learning about the different afterlife traditions of each culture. Terri Bruce really took the time to research her material, to give readers a factional take on the afterlife but cleverly twisted it into the story. I as the reader felt like it was real and was excited to learn so many awesome facts.

As Irene is bumbling along in the afterlife you get a take on the world through the ghost perspective. The rules they have to follow, and things only they know about and can see. You also get to learn what you really see out of the corner of your eye that makes you look, and why humans can't really see ghost. I loved it, yes I see you giving me crazy eye because this is only a story, but it gave me moments of excitement like "Oh ya that could totally be true". I have don't have a hard time separating fiction from reality I just chose not to.

I definitely recommend this book to readers. I loved wondering the Hereafter with Jonah and Irene, and other things that go bump in the night. ( )
  Dbookwhore | Mar 30, 2013 |
Original review here: http://offbeatvagabond.blogspot.com/2013/02/indie-book-review-hereafter-afterlif...

Hereafter follows a 36 year old woman named Irene. She loves her independence, she loves her job, she loves to party. After a night out with friends, she wakes up with no memory of the night before. She thinks she has been drugged or something. So she heads home to sober up. But she finds out that she has missed many calls and there is a week's worth of mail in front of her door. On a visit to her worried mother's house, her mother doesn't notice her. While pondering what is going on she runs into a 14 year old boy named Jonah who tells her she is dead. They soon embark on a journey to find out how to deal with Irene's afterlife and if she really wants to “go-into-the-bright-light” or stay on the living plane. It is easier said than done.

I had a lot of fun with this book. I love a good ghost story and this was definitely one them. Now, this isn't an action packed thriller or anything. I won't lie, I was expecting a little Darynda Jones, but what we got was just as good. There were laughs, there were some tears and some very thought-provoking moments. This is a read that will stick with me.

Our main character Irene was really interesting. It was very easy to relate to her, but she had her moments. I mean she could be quite the bitch sometimes. She was so selfish and stuck in her ways and that was what made her a compelling character. She didn't want to face her reality at all. She didn't want to face that everything she knew was now gone. But in the afterlife, she did find others like her who wanted to stay. But I love how much she learns even though she was so stubborn. I honestly didn't know where Irene would end up or even if she would try to change. I really loved the character development and Irene was a great lead.

But I absolutely loved Jonah. He was a little smartass, but very bright. He was a bookworm and knew far more than a 14 year old boy should. He could see Irene because he read how to astral project. I loved how diverse he was as a character. He was 14, but he acted like more of an adult than Irene. Sometimes she just reminded me of a petulant teenager. Then there were times when you remind yourself he is a 14 year old boy. Why didn't I find boys like this when I was 14? I loved the dynamic between him and Irene. Although, I hated how mean she could be towards him. He was obviously a social outcast and there were times I did want to kill her for things she said to him. Hell without him, I really don't know how much Irene would have discovered about the afterlife or just herself in general.

This is one of those character driven reads. Bruce did a wonderful job with the character development in this book. Once it was finished, I really felt like I lost a friend. We have to go through Irene's denial, her trying to accept her predicament, her trying to come to terms with how she died (she avoids it like the plague) and more. I love what she learns through some of the people she meets. Like through different cultures and beliefs, ghosts can receive presents and such. I even like the creative explanations of how we pick parking spaces, the way we stop at red lights, and long waits in lines. That was a pretty interesting way of bringing this into the real world and made it even more interesting. Very smart.

I won't spoil what happens, but it is great and I am happy to know there is more to come. I love the search for a guide and who they found (or well, who found them). It was very interesting, but again, I can't spoil. This is one of those reads that was very thought provoking and makes you rethink your life and what you have done with it. It is a profound read that was very entertaining and human. It can get a tad bit slow in parts, but it was still a great read. Highly recommended. ( )
  harleyquinn0887 | Feb 12, 2013 |
By Terri Bruce

After a night of bar-hopping with her friends Thirty-Six year old Irene gets into her car and starts to drive home, when she wakes up she is on the side of the road and she soon realizes she has been gone not just over night but for days. When she is wandering around she runs into a fourteen year old boy who explains to her that she is actually dead. Now Irene is determined to find the “tunnel” and make her way to heaven.

This is an interesting look into a ghost story, it is not scary it is more of a dramatic novel than anything else. The only problem I had with this novel is the May-December romance. I am not sure the author initially created a romance between the fourteen year old and the thirty six year old but when you have them “joking” with each other and it ends with one or both of them blushing and looking away that scream flirting, add in how Jonah gets highly upset when she gives attention to anyone but him, and how “over protective” he is it screams romance. Besides this you have an arrogant woman who has to reevaluate her entire life and come to terms with the position she has found herself in it is a great novel.

As always if you have any requests or recommendations email me at:
For More Reviews be sure to visit my blogs at:
You can even follow me on Twitter
@BookWormRflect ( )
  BookWormRflects | Sep 24, 2012 |
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