This “smart and darkly glimmering story, a hold-your-breath thriller written in finely wrought prose, and a book that will spark a hundred conversations about risk and love and the dignity” follows one woman’s search for her former best friend–into the underworld and beyond (Lauren Groff, New York Times bestselling author of Fates and Furies).
Elena Kelly was a body broker or “corpse wrangler,” and when she was working, she was one of the best in her field. But Elena got too ambitious–cut too many corners and too many ethical (and legal) safeguards. After running afoul of the law and medical profession, triggering a huge scandal in Louisville, Kentucky that quickly went national, she lost everything.
Now humbled and on a strict, three-year parole, she works as coroner’s assistant in Danville. Though still trying to come to grips with her regret and guilt, she is unexpectedly drawn into the search for her former best friend’s missing body. Elena knows what can happen to a body that goes “missing,” how it can be salvaged and used indiscriminately for spare parts, and she endeavors to seek salvation in finding Lia and bringing her body home, as complete as possible. Her desperate search drags her back to the underworld of the dead and pits her against a new and nefarious corpse wrangler–one more talented and deadly than she ever was.
Pulling back the curtain on those who exist on the edge of the medical profession, the ones who remove skin and tissue and bones from the dead, for use by surgeons, medical students practicing technique, cosmetic surgeons, medical equipment companies and science labs, Second Life thrillingly and philosophically explores our obligation to protect the dead and examines what happens when we–literally–leave the land of the living.