When I first saw Sign Here showcased on the Book of the Month website, I could not have thrust my money at this book any faster. I practically jumped on top of it. I cannot recall when I decided on a book that quickly, to date.
All that being said, I don’t know if my disappointment is born of excruciatingly high expectations or if the book just simply fell flat for me.
Sign Here is Claudia Lux’s debut novel. Its blurb is rather tongue-in-cheek, earning my attention with witty taglines like “…a guy who works in Hell (literally).” Our story is centered around our anti-hero, Peyote Trip (yes, that’s his name). He works on the fifth floor in Hell, which puts him squarely in the deals department. For comparison, think sales. He has been waiting for a millennium to collect on one of the biggest deals of his life, which is where the poor Harrison family comes into play. The family in question is spending their summer at the family lake house with their daughter’s new friend, Ruth, at their side. Piece by piece, bit by bit, the family’s deepest traumas and secrets begin to come to light. There is an equal and opposite reaction for every action, and their consequences are darkening their front door.
I thoroughly enjoyed Lux’s depiction of Hell. It can be summarized as an unending sequence of annoyances for the rest of eternity. Small, inconsequential, but utterly infuriating, regardless. There were many facets to the afterlife that I thought were quite unique and interesting, and frankly, I could be convinced to read many more books set in this version of Hell.
I was disappointed in the writing style. After reading such an amusing blurb, I expected that the humor and snappiness would continue throughout the narrative. Ultimately, it didn’t (though there were some amusing parts). The pacing was a bit off to me, making it feel like trudging through at certain points. It also didn’t help that the story felt largely disjointed.
While Sign Here is far from a bad book, I feel like a disservice was done by having such strong writing as the blurb. It set my expectations quite high; frankly, the book didn’t quite stand up to them.
I am looking forward to seeing more from Claudia Lux. This was a great debut, and I’d love to see how they grow from here!
You can find Claudia Lux: Facebook, Instagram, and their website.