Eternal Road: The Final Stop by John W. Howell
An imaginative story of one man’s entrance and journey in the afterlife. This is quite different than St. Peter standing before the pearly gates and checking a book to see if you can enter, or if you’re sent downward.
James Wainwright dies in a car wreck early in the story. As a spirit, he’s still driving, and he picks up a hitchhiker — who turns out to be Samantha Tourneau, with whom James had a childhood love. Samantha (mostly going by Sam) has grown up in the afterlife, as she was killed when she was in the first grade.
So a trigger warning: a girl is murdered at the beginning of the book. More depth comes to that plot line toward the ending.
James and Sam embark on a time-traveling journey: jumping into Tombstone, Arizona during the OK Corral gunfight, to the Alamo just before the battle, to more. I don’t want to list all the destinations and give away surprises in the story.
The time-travel locations have a feeling of randomness, but that gives an entertaining unpredictability. Also, these are times and places where James could spend his eternal home. Sam serves as a guide to help James find his eternal home, but the jumping through times is mostly out of their control.
Indeed, the time bouncing makes for a fun story, and it helps James and Sam get reacquainted after not seeing each other for 17 years. Their relationship deepens beyond that childhood affection. And Sam is a good guide to get James acquainted with this stage in his spiritual life.
However, James must face some struggles alone, as Lucifer himself makes several appearances in trying to convince James to join him in the hot place.
The book works on several levels and isn’t simply a time-travel adventure. In the book’s dedication, John talks about a lesson from his father: “we all have challenges in our lives, and those that can succeed in reaching their goals despite them will find happiness.” John certainly wrote a story to describe challenges for James to endure. James needs smarts and courage and assistance from Sam for those challenges. And throughout, he holds on to hope.
The book is available on Amazon.
Also, John is a prolific blogger, and you can read more of his stuff here.