Interview With Death

Tales from the Afterworld Book 1

Fiction - Fantasy - Urban
314 Pages
Reviewed on 05/04/2024
Buy on Amazon

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Author Biography

V. K. lives in the Seattle area with his wife of over 30 years. He has 2 grown children, a daughter-in-law, a son-in-law, and 2 dogs―a lab-mix from Corsicana, Texas and a peach poodle from Cheng Du, China. Outside writing, he works as a relief veterinarian. His hobbies include snowboarding, hiking, music, traveling, and reading/listening to variety of genres that vary as much as his eclectic taste in music.

His inspirations included Ernest Hemingway, Stephen King, J.K. Rowling, J.R.R. Tolkien, Neil Gaiman, Terry Pratchett, Tony Hillerman, Dan Brown, Erik Larson, David Grann and numerous other fiction and non-fiction authors. He loves origin stories and has long been a history buff. Additional inspirations include a history professor whose name has been forgotten and a one-semester professor at Texas A&M University, Pulitzer Prize finalist, H.W. Brands. Concerning writing, his style is a mix of supernatural fantasy, dark fantasy, urban fantasy, horror, and polymythology. While he dislikes comparisons, those that like Stephen King, Neil Gaiman, and Neal Shusterman might also enjoy his novels.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Gaius Konstantine for Readers' Favorite

Some barriers should never be breached because once crossed, there is no going back. Interview With Death (Tales From The Afterworld book 1) by V.K. Pasanen does more than cross boundaries; it obliterates them. Nathan Miller, a gifted journalist who pursues fame at considerable cost, also has one unique and perhaps unwanted talent. Mr. Miller has the uncanny ability to see Death personified as a grandfatherly figure dressed in black. While tragedy embraces Nathan's life from an early age, it doesn't diminish his hunger for fame, regardless of the escalating price. As alternate realities and timeless secrets are exposed, Nathan will also learn that he isn't interviewing Death but that Death is interviewing him, and his transgressions must be paid for in full. If not in this life, then certainly in the next.

Interview With Death by V.K. Pasanen is a psychedelic and metaphysical tale that cleverly relates to real-life choices and consequences. It's action-packed and filled with flights of fancy that showcase the author's vivid imagination while creating a kaleidoscopic reality. The writing style is flexible and highly effective, with even a brief switch to diary mode that provides deeper insight into the protagonist's slide into wretchedness. The characters were fascinating, and as this type of novel allows a writer to disregard some constraints when developing them, I was delighted to see V.K. Pasanen exploit that advantage to the fullest. I highly recommend Interview With Death to fans of supernatural tales; reading it is akin to the giddy delight of opening an unexpected present.

Lex Allen

The Man in Black, perceived as Death, has haunted Nathan Miller since his teens. Years later, Nathan, now a war correspondent, is the only survivor of an IED blast while reporting on a Special Forces mission. Nathan's perfect world shared with his wife and family is upended by The Man in Black via an interview and "job offer" that takes him through the Afterworld and a meeting with a "guardian angel" who turns out to be anything but angelic. In Interview With Death: Tales from the Afterworld Book 1, author V. K. Pasanen presents a rollercoaster ride through a philosophical afterworld with characters whose complexities make them as real and relatable as any I've ever had the pleasure of knowing or reading about.

Unique to my reading experiences is V. K. Pasanen's perspective and presentation of The Man in Black not as a monstrous and horrifying reaper of souls but as a sympathetic being commensurate with the newly dead in the journey to and through time and space to their next existence. Pasanen's wordsmithing is first-class. Mixing scenes through various times, matching past with present and future with past, is fascinating and, for this story, a perfect mix. Throughout the storyline, wisps of philosophy find their place within the horror, the magic, the fantasy, and the characters that will stick with you long after you've read the last page. Finally, this brilliant work of fiction could change how readers view the complexities of life and death, their vision of the so-called Grim Reaper, and their sense of heaven and hell. As a book reviewer, I've read dozens of books in this genre/category, but I can't think of any that were as good as V.K. Pasanen's Interview With Death.

Asher Syed

Interview with Death, book one in Tales from the Afterworld by V. K. Pasanen, introduces us to Nathan, whose journey unfolds through a turbulent life marked by trauma, loss, and existential questioning. From suspicions of staged military events to a journalism career covering atrocities and personal tragedies, he pushes forward through moral dilemmas, substance abuse, and surreal afterlife encounters in search of redemption and closure. Nathan meets Morton Death for a revealing interview about Death's role and the afterlife. Morton explains things like the White Room, where souls await judgment, and introduces Nathan to his sister. They witness souls passing and discuss the origins of mortals and Eternals. It is here, in these conversations, that Nathan learns about his potential as a Reaper, and the story truly begins.

Interview with Death is an interesting look at the evolution of one person who does not understand their purpose until someone, or something, sits them down and tells them directly. V. K. Pasanen does this with Nathan in the driver's seat. The writing style is very simple and straightforward, focusing on substance over style and adhering to formatting akin to a memoir, with the interview coming in sometime later in the book, and reminiscent of how Gurganus's Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All operates. It's a slow-burn read, as most novels taking a deep dive into eschatology are, and it is intentionally so. I like that some real people and stories are mixed into the narrative, and even little Sadako Sasaki gets a mention, which I found really touching. Overall, I think this book will do well with readers who enjoy a mix of philosophy and history in a supernatural series, and that's just what Pasanen offers.

Alma Boucher

In V.K. Pasanen's paranormal fantasy Interview with Death: Tales from the Afterworld, as a war correspondent Nathan Miller was well-known for his sharp observations and had already published a book. Nathan was living his dream with the perfect wife, family, and guardian angel. But Nathan saw a man in black almost every time something horrible happened, and every time he escaped the reaper's icy grip without getting hurt. Nathan and General Adamson's agreement was characterized by few compromises from Nathan, up until that terrible day at Almawt Lilkifaar. With the knowledge that he had blood on his hands, Nathan vowed to do everything in his power to atone for the lives lost because of him. Overwhelmed by remorse, Nathan sought comfort from his guardian angel but instead fell down the addiction rabbit hole.

Interview with Death: Tales from the Afterworld by V.K. Pasanen was a rollercoaster ride of suffering, death, addiction, love, and healing. It was fast-paced and jam-packed with action, with never a dull moment. It was a fascinating read, and I was hooked from the beginning until the end. The events and surroundings were described in such a way that I felt like I was there. The characters were authentic and relatable. The man in black was portrayed as a good friend to Nathan, but their relationship raised some red flags. Each character was introduced with their background and purpose in the story. The plot was masterfully planned and executed and left me with a lot of questions about death. I enjoyed reading this book and could not put it down until I was finished.

K.C. Finn

Interview With Death: Tales from the Afterworld Book 1 is a work of fiction in the horror, fantasy, and action subgenres. It is best suited to mature adult readers owing to its horror themes, sex scenes, graphic depictions of death and war, and adult themes around death and the afterlife. Penned by author V. K. Pasanen, we meet Nathan Miller as he is living a seemingly perfect life. When Nathan faces an unexpected offer from Death, everything he thought he knew suddenly begins to change. Despite his success, Nathan grapples with guilt and regret, finding solace in a devilish guardian angel. But when confronted with mortality, Nathan must navigate a spiraling nightmare and decide his fate.

Author V. K. Pasanen takes on a big concept and delivers a creative and thought-provoking exploration of mortality, redemption, and the afterlife. I really enjoyed the narrative style and its unique voice, which is totally apt for the subject matter. It gives an eerie sense of confidence and certainty to the work that makes you feel like you’re in safe hands but also have no idea where life (and death) will take you. Nathan's journey from success to despair to enlightenment was both captivating and emotionally resonant as he confronts his past and navigates the complexities of life and death. The author uses good pacing and a keen sense of the emotional journey and psychological arc Nathan grows through. Pasanen's vivid imagery, with atmospheric descriptions and witticisms, brought the story to life whilst also offering insights into the human experience and the mysteries of the afterworld. Overall, Interview With Death is a must-read for anyone pondering the meaning of life and the journey beyond, and those who enjoy original and accomplished storytelling at its best.