It’s not “boy meets girl, boy loses girl,” but rather “Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy’s friends begin dropping like flies.” - Peter O’Mallick isn’t just having a bad day; he’s having a bad life.
It’s bad enough when your girlfriend suddenly casts you a cold shoulder, your grades are slipping and those around you no longer understand what it’s like to walk in your shoes; but walking around with the innate power to end lives—something Peter begins to realize he has had since birth—takes the angst to a whole new level.
And Hamlet thought he had it bad.
Encouraged by his guidance counsellor, the suicidal seventeen year old begins to blog about his experiences in order to try to understand this power and himself. The self-directed therapy helps, and strangers who follow his online story virtually befriend him, as it appears that his curse is mostly limited to those he is in close contact with.
However, there is one stranger secretly following his story who isn’t there to understand, help or cheer him on; just as Peter begins to understand that being born as a harbinger for death might actually be a blessing rather than a curse, this stranger is intent on finding a way to use Peter’s power for nefarious purposes.
This novel by Mr. Leslie comes complete with a foreword from Steve Vernon. [Mark Leslie] delivers. He delivers in this book, I, Death, as well.
I, Death is a lively, intriguing and fast-paced easy-to-read story of a young man named Peter ’Mallick who is struggling beneath a death curse. … [A] death rattle coming of age story; it is a song, and it is the world’s funniest dirty joke—all rolled into one. — Steve Vernon (from his foreword)
Leslie's disappointing second novel (after One Hand Screaming) fails to live up to its interesting, if not wholly original, premise. Death follows Peter O'Mallick everywhere he goes. People he knows keep dying, including his parents, his ex-girlfriend's father, his English teacher, and even the substitute who replaces her. He hopes the death and destruction that circles him is mere coincidence; in time he learns otherwise. Hearing of Peter's "affliction," criminal forces seek to recruit him to be their weapon. The book is undone by several factors. Firstly, two thirds of the novel are presented as a blog written by Peter; however, the manner in which Leslie references the teenager's pop culture interests is forced and shows a lack of knowledge, and his general tone and language are those of an adult writing the way he thinks teenagers might speak, not how they actually do. Secondly, the aforementioned blog is overlong and occupies so much of the novel's real estate that the other parts feel tacked on, as if they originally belonged to a separate work. Finally, the most serious problem is the treatment of women, who are routinely beaten, raped, threatened, and killed simply to move the plot along and spur the men into violent, often horrible action.