Suicide Girls in the Afterlife by Gina Ranalli

Where do we go when we die?  Is there a heaven?  Will there be a ferocious battle between good and evil that will determine the fate of our soul? We have all asked ourselves these questions during our most intimate bouts of self reflection and I’m sure we have assumed that no one will ever get the desired answers to these very important queries. Well, Gina Ranalli is here and she has given us all of the answers in her novella, Suicide Girls in the Afterlife.  When we die, we will end up in a hotel inhabited by singing pies, aliens providing room service and an elevator with a mind of its own.

From AfterBirthBooks.com:

What if you killed yourself and discovered that the “Afterlife” might actually suck? Pogue Eldridge is a woman who does just that, and she starts to realize that this Afterlife stuff isn’t at all what she expected.

Ranalli crafts a tale with a very unique interpretation of the afterlife.  In Ranalli’s world the recently deceased occupy a hotel where the lower floors are reserved for the “seedier” members of society and the lofts are dedicated to the morally wholesome.  It is a very interesting take on the age old question of, “Where do we go when we die?”. Ranalli is even able to slip in some social commentary where she discusses the intrinsic connection between wealth and perceived morality.  Hell, Ranalli even has a very fresh take on God’s only son and the Prince of Darkness.  See, Jesus is a carefree stoner who would prefer playing video games to saving souls and Satan is a whiny little Goth who is a tad bit too sensitive.  Together, these two characters provide the bulk of the laughs and originality found within the story as they attempt to guide the wayward souls to their preordained destination.  These extremely strong and undeniably unique characters are the strongest aspect of Suicide Girls in the Afterlife which is good because the story, although extremely inventive, tends to lose some steam as the book progresses.

The story is fun and cute and whimsical but it is also a bit anti-climatic.  There is a misconception with bizarro- people think that the genre exists as a vehicle for authors to indulge in the weird with little regard for literary conventions.  This is not the case at all.  One could argue that bizarro authors have to work well within the confines of traditional literary trappings because their settings and situations tend to be so outlandish.  In order for a bizarro piece to be successful it must be comprised of  well defined characters and an incredibly tight plot . Unfortunately Ranalli’s story comes up just a little short in the second act.  Sure, it was original but once all of these interesting characters arrived at the hotel things got, well, a little stagnant.  Luckily for the reader, the strength of this novel lies in the characters and they are vibrant enough to propel the audience through any lulls that may arise in the story. 

The other aspect of Ranalli’s story that really stood out was the small smattering of grotesque horror she included in this otherwise  innocent tale. Amidst the character banter and bizarre situations, Ranalli sporadically intersperses some truly horrific and unsettling images that will leave your mouth agape.  Let me give you this example: the main characters are trying to escape the dung demons (yes they are exactly what the name would suggest) and they seek sanctuary in an unlocked hotel room.  In this particular room there are dozens of bloodied baby limbs strewn about and in the middle of the gore is a man.  This man is making some truly unsettling noises while he violates the decapitated head of an infant in the most disturbing way possible.  These quick images of horror keep the reader completely on edge and make the overall impact of the novella that much more powerful.

This is a book that certainly will be enjoyed by veterans of the bizarro genre as it contains many of the classic elements that we, as lovers of all things bizzaro, have come to expect and embrace from the genre.  With that said, if you are looking for a nice introduction to the genre and are a fan of well established characters, well, Suicide Girls in the Afterlife might just be the book for you.

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This entry was posted in Bizarro, Reviews, Uncategorized and tagged , by Pat Dreadful. Bookmark the permalink.

About Pat Dreadful

Father of three. Impregnator of one. Pat lives in the backwoods of Pennsylvania where he splits his time between moonshining and moonlighting. He used to be the sole proprietor of a funky little site called Grade Z Horror but jumped at the chance to work with Meli and Colum. He was raised on King and Crichton but quickly found true salvation in the works of Ketchum and Laymon. When not selling plasma to afford those highly sought after Jeff Strand limited editions, Pat can be found sitting on his back porch with a pipe full of Perique and the sounds of summer coming through a beat up transistor radio. Simply put, he is a true ramblin’ boy of pleasure. The books that have shaped Pat’s warped lil’ ol’ mind have included Dweller by Jeff Strand, It by Stephen King, Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon, The Traveling Vampire Show by Richard Laymon and The Girl Next Door by Jack Ketchum. Pat is always on the lookout for a good coming-of-age yarn so shoot your suggestions to PatDreadful@gmail.com You can also follow his unsavory exploits over at theblackwoodsbible.wordpress.com

One thought on “Suicide Girls in the Afterlife by Gina Ranalli

  1. Pingback: Dreadful Tales Weekend Roundup « Dreadful Tales

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