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Claudia Lux Books In Order

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Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Claudia Lux is an American horror/thriller author best known for her debut novel, Sign Here. She graduated from Sarah Lawrence College and then majored in a master’s degree at the University of Texas at Austin. She is a resident of Boston, Massachusetts. Sign Here has been described as a darkly humorous and utterly gripping novel in which the author brilliantly combines suspense, satire, and pathos to create one of the best works of literature set in Hell.

According to an interview published online, Claudia admits the inspiration behind this book all started with a simple but annoying insurance commercial. It was one of the commercials repeated countless times during one of those favorite shows. And when it popped up for the billionth time, she broke up in an outburst, saying, “This is Hell!” Then she began thinking about what the hell would look like, and soon she had an idea for a book.

Claudia began writing her debut novel in the winter of 2018 through agent Lucy Cleland and published it three years later. Sign Here is a modern vision of Hell. According to the author, souls reach Hell on different levels depending on how they sinned in their previous lives. The worst of the worst souls arrive in a place known as Downstairs. Some of those sent there become line workers and are tasked with applying different torture methods; in other cases, the Downstairs souls are the ones on the rack.

The main character in this story, Peyote Trip, is a resident of the fifth floor in Hell; hence, his afterlife is somehow bleak. He resides in an apartment and works an office job as a caseworker. He is assigned to tracking the plights and challenges experienced by the mortals, and when one of them is needed to the point of doing anything to get what they desire, he shows up and strikes a deal with them through an infernal contract. In signing the contract, the mortal gives up their soul to the devil, and Peyote then uses his powers to fulfill all their earthly desires.

Contrary to what is expected of agents of Hell, Peyote treats his co-workers and clients with respect, dignity, and honor, especially when it comes to assisting his new workmate, Calamity, to adjust to all the endless irritants of life on the fifth floor. Peyote and his mates always carry five pens whenever they go because the first four pens never work. If a soul hates jazz music, it will be the only station available on the radio for them, and it cannot be turned off. No food is truly cold or hot, and neither is the living space. Hell’s representation in this book is the epitome of genuine discomfort. It’s like an itchy sweater on a humid day.

Calamity finds herself working with Peyote’s career goal of securing the fifth and final contract from the affluent Harrison family. Getting five souls from the same family to sign the contract is known as Complete Set and ultimately promises Peyote a vital promotion. The author narrates the story from the perspectives of three Harrison family members: Silas, Lily, and their daughter Mickey. She takes the reader deeper into each character’s point of view, highlighting their darkest temptations and awkwardness in equal measure and creating a high level of empathy for her realistic characters, which adds to the imminent danger.

Claudia’s unique highlight of Hell is engaging and grounded in relatable discomforts and spiked with surrealist imagery. You will be enthralled by the sheer humanity displayed throughout the pages. No character in the story comes off as good or evil. Just like everyday humans, they are all products of their natures and upbringing.

The fact that the narrators are hiding something adds to the unpredictable dynamic between the reader and the story. Additionally, another positive aspect of this story is the setting, Hell. Just like the 2016 American fantasy comedy TV series, The Good Place, the afterlife is quite both bureaucratic and tedious. While there’s outright torture, there is also a lot of paperwork that’s also torturous in a unique way.

Lastly, it’s important to note that this book is much darker than the description. There are scenes of violence either referenced or described, part of the character’s backstory showing an awful, traumatic childhood in a dangerous cult, then sexual assault in a foster home. There is also a plotline that involves the killing of a teenage girl and some references to self-harm and an eating disorder.

Overall, Sign Here is more about the intricate web of humanity and all our terrible choices. Life is complex. Every person is living their own and trying their best to blend with existence here on earth.

Book Series In Order » Authors » Claudia Lux

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