Purgatory Playhouse Book Cover Purgatory Playhouse
Magic Emporium
E.J. Russell
LGBT, Fantasy, Action/Adventure Anthology
Reality Optional Press
March 25, 2021

Staging a musical in Purgatory can be absolute hell.

Lonnie Coleridge last saw the sun in 1968. Since then, he’s been consigned to Limbo, still wearing the same tie-dyed T-shirt and bell-bottomed jeans he had on when he left his life behind. He and others like him have one chance each year at redemption: produce a show for the Greek pantheon. Whoever pleases this very specific—and temperamental—fan group could earn the right to move on.

But after a literal act of god (*cough* Hermes *cough*) destroys their sets, lights, and costumes, the company needs emergency help to rebuild. Without it, all of them could poof out of existence forever.

Out-of-work theater technician TD Baylor has precisely three things on his cosmic wish list: a job, a place to stay, and a boyfriend who isn’t a total tool. He thinks he’s got the first two nailed when he gets a line on a two-week gig that includes room and board. So what if the job tip came from a guy who was leaning way too hard into the LOTR cosplay at a sketchy Halloween pop-up? At this point, TD doesn’t have anything more to lose, so he figures…what the hell.

He didn’t realize hell was the operative word.

When Lonnie greets him at the theater door, though...whoa. TD fantasizes that item number three could be within his reach. But then Lonnie gives him the bad news: This is Purgatory Playhouse, aka Theater of the Darned. In two weeks—if they’re lucky and can successfully mount a musical version of A Midsummer Night’s Dream—the company will return to Limbo after the curtain falls. If they’re not lucky?

Remember that part about hell?

Purgatory Playhouse is part of the multi-author Magic Emporium Series. Each book stands alone, but each one features an appearance by Marden’s Magic Emporium, a shop that can appear anywhere, but only once and only when someone’s in dire need.

Available at Amazon.

Reviewed by Melissa Brus

Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team

The premise of this book is genius. The gods are bored and have devised a plan
to entertain themselves by turning purgatory into a theater. Chaos (the thing not
the Titan) ensues. So when the Magic Emporium sends TD Baylor into the mix,
the gods seem to have underestimated what a good theater tech can do.

It took me a bit to get into this story. I was a couple of chapters in and was not
sure. I am so glad I kept going. The momentum picked up and I figured out what
was going on and then I could NOT put it down. There are moments of absurdity
and hilarity and moments of true poignancy. The relationship between TD and
Lonnie Coleridge is so sweet and hot. The idiosyncrasies of their different times
make it all so much more intriguing. This is a great addition to the Magic
Emporium collection.