The Grim Reaper … what do you say about such a being? He has been depicted in almost every culture as a collector of souls, a ferryman to the land of the dead, an evil deity that takes delight in taking the lives of people. He is a fascinating and terrifying being. 

He is often viewed as a skeletal figure in a dark robe and carrying a sharp scythe, one used to cut down the lives of the souls he claims. He is considered heartless, even soulless. But what if …? What if the Grim Reaper felt emotions? What if the Grim Reaper had a soul or a heart? What if the Grim Reaper was once a living, breathing person?

A.J. Brown breathes emotion and mercy into the legend of the Grim Reaper. With stories of a woman racing against the clock to save her husband, an artist painting pictures with hidden messages, a young girl facing a decision in the final minutes of her life and eight other tales that will leave you questioning your views on the Grim Reaper.

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Grim by A.J. Brown is a collection of eleven short stories. Each story is a take on the familiar character of the Grim Reaper. I don’t know about everyone else, but when I think of that particular tale, I see a skeletal figure clad in a black cloak and hood wielding a scythe. At least that’s what I pictured before I read this book.

As I thought about what to say in this review, it occurred to me that we tend to see the Grim Reaper as an evil figure, but none of the characters in that role in these stories was good or bad. Surely the other characters had opinions on the subject, but as the reader, it was fascinating to see the characters going about their business. That’s not to say the characters were emotionless in their stories. There were some that made me cry because of the emotional investment the character serving as Death had in the story. There were others where the characters simply went along as though that’s just the way things were, and there’s no sense getting upset over it.

The stories themselves were great, but the storytelling was fantastic. While these stories are dark, they are emotionally charged and not unnecessarily graphic. Over the course of the story, the reader gets a strong sense of the who, what, why, and how. Some of the endings are satisfying and some are heartbreaking. Regardless of what’s going on in each story, each of them comes together to create a memorable reading experience. I can see myself going back and reading some or all of these again.


We all have that vision of the Grim Reaper as a terrifying, heartless, skeleton like creature in a black flowing robe with the dreaded scythe in hand who enjoys his job. Well, what if he is a she or feels pity and other emotions while reaping souls? These stories give you different insights and maybe will change your mind about Grim, anyway you look at it only two things in life are certain, death and taxes. Brown has again delivered a great book with his folksy charm and his way with his words. I highly recommend this book and any other but this author.