The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love
For me, The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love was one of those books that I really enjoyed while reading but found very easy to set aside and forget about. This meant that it took me far too long to read, which is a shame because the book picked up considerably in its back half.
Roxanne Love has died three times, and each time, she’s come back to life. She has no idea why she’s been able to evade death. She only knows that she hates the attention she receives whenever it happens. Her twin brother, Reece, has also died and come back to life three times. The difference between them is that when Roxanne dies, there has always been a strange man waiting for her on the other side, welcoming her, before she reluctantly returns to the land of the living. For Roxanne, the experience is horrifying.
Three times Roxanne has eluded the Reaper’s attempt to escort her to the Beyond. Frustrated that he can’t keep her, the Reaper takes human form in the body of cop Santo Castillo, a man so overwhelmed by grief over the death of his wife and unborn child that he tries to commit suicide. At first determined to locate Roxanne and finish her off once and for all, Reaper/Santo instead finds himself serving as her protector when a hoard of demons attack her family’s bar. He certainly never expects the feelings that awaken in him as the two take to the road to escape the evil that is now hunting Roxanne.
To her horror, Roxanne learns that she and Reece are gatekeepers to the darkest part of Hell, and Abbadon, the ruler of the Underworld, wishes to use them to gain control of the human world. She places her trust in Santo, who she believes is an angel sent to protect her. But Santo knows the truth, that far from her salvation, he will need to finally take her soul if she has any chance of escaping eternal damnation.
As I said in my introductory paragraph, I enjoyed reading this book when I was actually reading it. My trouble came when I set it down. I simply felt no compulsion to pick it back up again. At first I was mildly interested to find out the nature of the world author Quinn has imagined, however, long stretches between reading sessions meant I had to backtrack to refresh myself on what was what. This contributed to a slight sense of confusion, and it wasn’t until about the two-thirds mark that things fell into place, all of the questions that had been accumulating finally answered in such a way as to really pull me in to the story.
Told from three points of view – Roxanne’s, Santo’s and Reece’s – the story’s pacing was a bit problematic. Roxanne and Santo have known each other all of half a day by my reckoning before they are engaging in sexual activities. This while they are on the run from hideous hellhounds. I suppose strong bonds can develop between a couple who has faced life and death together, but still. And there’s a section in which Reece does battle with hellhounds went on a bit too long.
The answers about who and what Roxanne and Reece are and their part in the plans of the Beyond are slow to come, and when they do, they often come in the form of lengthy exposition given by various characters. Too, you have to be willing to accept a healthy dose of insta-love given how quickly the relationship between Santo and Roxanne develops.
But the tension that Quinn manages to create with one horrific hell-beast attack after another is enough to keep you turning pages. In the end, The Five Deaths of Roxanne Love is a decent paranormal thriller that I can see appealing to fans of the TV show “Supernatural” (which I am). You’ll need to stick with it, however, to get to the truly good stuff.