Joey McBride has eight seconds to tell his story and convince the Disbursement Department that he is worthy of going to heaven in Olivia Godat's The Final Eight Seconds. Joey is a bull rider. He entered a contest, injured himself badly, and is now in the hospital, fighting for his life. While there, Joey receives a visit from a Delivery Angel. She's from the Department of Procurement, and her job is to help him crossover. Confused by the situation, Joey refuses to accept his condition and what the Delivery Angel has told him. ''This is not a joke, but I have been sent for you,'' she said. ''See that cord attached to your body? You must cut it. Only you can do it, no one else can. It's what holds the essence of your being to your body.'' Joey felt he had much more to do on earth, so the Delivery Angel asked him why he thought he should stay.
Joey tells the angel what his pa has told him on his dying bed. Joey explained that he was running for Saddle Bronc Champion and wanted to do that, but he had to ride in the Nationals first. The angel disappears and reappears, informing Joey that The Procurement Committee wants Joey to tell him about his life. Thus begins a whirlwind of highs and lows detailing the life of Joey McBride. Does he live or crossover? The author tells an appealing, engaging, oftentimes humorous story in The Final Eight Seconds. The plot is strong, with elaborately written characters and picturesque scenes. The intriguing dialogues meld perfectly with the vivid imagery. A novel with a gripping premise and themes that are resonant. Godat has written the protagonist with emotional depth and succeeded to arouse the curiosity of readers regarding what they would do if given just eight defining last seconds of their life. This is a hugely imaginative work with unforgettable characters.