Gordon Houghton's Damned If You Do swings eerily between black humor and utter terror. When our deceased narrator's number is (literally) called, he is pulled out of his coffin to work for "The Agency" as an "Apprentice to Death." Stuck in a zombie-zone midway between life and death, he "exists in a kind of existential purgatory-a state correctly referred to as undead." But life as a zombie isn't easy. He misses the comfort and security of his coffin. However, with the help of Death's right-hand men (the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse: War, Skirmish, Pestilence, and Famine), he comes to learn the ropes.
The next seven days are devoted to helping Death dispose of his unfortunate victims in the most unpleasant of ways. From the hysterically slapstick, "Death Due to an Incredible Sequence of Unfortunate Accidents" to "Death by Asphyxiation" where our hero watches in horror as one of his former lovers is buried alive, memories of his own former life come flooding back, ultimately leading (where else?!) to his own grisly demise. Through it all, Death's little helper realizes that being a zombie isn't great-but it's a whole lot better than being dead-and decides to live.
We can promise you've never read anything quite like Damned If You Do, a wholly original, mordantly morbid, darkly humorous ride through life, death, and everything in between.