Charles de Lint's (@cdelint on twitter) The Mystery of Grace is a self-contained look into the afterlife. Altagracia, or Grace, has a lot of tattoos, her hands are marked with years of motor oil and grease and she has fallen in love too late. There's a bit of difficulty in a relationship where only one of the people is alive.
This is one of my favorite authors - his style is unique and he holds your attention with his deft painting of lives here and now, touched by the magic that is all around us.
Read this book and you'll learn why the dead wait for All Hallow's Eve. You'll find that conundrums exist here as well as there, that hate and evil are terrible anchors and that friends last forever.