Christie Schuler Smith, The
"McDaniel shows real storytelling talent and a penchant for irreverent humor."
Lee Wesselmann, author of
Trutor & the Balloonist and The Earth
and the Sky
"A little gem....I personally found myself laughing out loud far more than is strictly healthy."
The Site for Book Lovers
"Wonderful characters and clever situations, laced
with a hilarious and occasionally sick and twisted sense
of humor....It's funny, exciting, poignant, even scary,
with some big surprises and nice twists...."
"There have been many works that play with the ideas
of a literal instantiation of Death, guardian angels,
and a less-than-perfect heaven. Some have been good,
some not so good, and some just plain bad. This one belongs in the good box....Great fun."
Shepherd, Amazon Top 500 reviewer
TO SUCCEED IN HEAVEN WITHOUT REALLY DYING is not a self-help book, but a darkly satirical, modern-day urban fairy
tale concerning the adventures of a young man coming to terms
with life, death, and all their crummy consequences.
It's also the underground novel that prompted a letter of
complaint from a member of the Church of Scientology, even
though the author wrote enough to offend just about everybody.
Micah Cohen was five years old, he lost his parents to a horrible
accident. He was convinced he would have died himself, had
it not been for his guardian angel -- in the form of a little
girl he never saw again.
over twenty years later, Micah is living in the frenzy of
Manhattan. With Christmas right around the corner and no one
to share it with -- add a thankless job, no close family or
friends, Micah believes that his life has become too hard,
his existence too inconsequential. Sadly, he decides to end
it all...but the attempt fails ridiculously.
just when Coltan pops up in the middle of Micah's living room.
Possessing supernatural powers and a sadistic sense of humor,
this bumbling "agent for the afterlife" has come
to collect Micah's soul. But there are two slight problems:
Micah is still alive, and now has second thoughts about committing
suicide. Reluctantly, Coltan must admit defeat.
by his new lease on life, Micah's determined to set things
right. One good thing comes in the form of Christine, a young
homeless woman he befriends. But soon Micah learns that she
is more than she appears to be: his childhood guardian angel,
now grown up. (Naturally, they can't help but risk upsetting
the cosmic order of the universe by falling in love.)
this happiness may be fleeting. Just as Micah realizes how
wonderful his life has become, Coltan reappears to inform
him that his days are now numbered -- for Death Itself is hunting Micah down. And so Christine, ever the dutiful
protector, must prepare to do battle over Micah's soul.
she save him? What does Death have in store? And who -- or
what -- is Coltan? Is he really working for Death as he claims,
or a force far, far more terrifying?
story was first developed as a screenplay titled HEAVEN SPENT in 2000,
which received some attention in Hollywood thanks
to a favorable review from the staff of entertainment website Aint It Cool News, citing it as one of the best "undiscovered"
scripts of that year. It later went on to receive other accolades in select screenwriting contests.
satisfied in letting his story sit on a shelf because producers
deemed the project too offbeat, author Adam McDaniel reworked and rethought the material
into a full-length novel.
Following is an email I received from one Micah Cohen, who shares the same name as the lead character of my book. (And yes, this was a geniune email.)
Man, why'd you name the protagonist in your book "Micah Cohen"? You know, now whenever I Google myself, which I don't do often but which other people might do on occasion (hot chicks "google," right?), I come up with your book and it smacks of some born-again propaganda and I don't want to be associated with that. Can you please change the name of the protagonist to something else? You're making me look bad, man.
The Real Micah Cohen
I must sincerely apologize for the horrible, grievous torment that you must have endured as a result of this unfortunate coincidence.
Alas, it is rather difficult for me to change the character's name within the book, as it has already been in print for the better part of 2 years. And, unlike those companies which produce tainted bottles of aspirin and faulty baby carriers, issuing a worldwide recall of the book is not within my budget at this time. Should I win the lottery and have money to burn, well... I'll think about it as I toss my Franklins into the fire.
With all due respect, I must point out to you that, according to the Yahoo and Google search engines, the name "Micah Cohen" has not placed among the top 1,000 searchable names within their celebrity indexes. It is very likely to assume, then, that the most frequent persons who have performed searches of said name as of late are you and *possibly* me.
With these, I hardly doubt the many theoretical/potential/assumed "chicks" in question, of whom you so thoughtfully speak, will be swayed away from your charms in relation to a fictitious character. If anything, perhaps you might use such fame to your advantage. After all, I share the same name with a convicted child molester, and believe me, it's done wonders for my social life.
P.S.: Regarding your "born-again propaganda" comment, fear not -- if anything, HOW TO SUCCEED IN HEAVEN WITHOUT REALLY DYING is blatantly offensive to our most popular religions, even sparking a letter of protest from a member of the Church of Scientology! I'm sure this knowledge will give you much peace of mind.