The first phone call from heaven tells the story of a small town called Coldwater, Michigan. The story begins when one Friday a number of people started receiving a call from their loved ones who have already died saying that life after death is wonderful, that they are happy in heaven . Tess is contacted by her mother whom she had nursed during her illness, Katherine received a call from her sister to whom she had been so close until her death from an aneurysm, Elias Rowe is phoned by a man who blames him for his death, and Jack, the chief of police is contacted by Robbie, his son who got killed in Afghanistan.
At first, those people who are receiving the calls hesitated to share the news with others for fear of mockery. Until, Katherine Yellin announces on their church congregation that she is receiving a call from her dead sister. The news spread instantly, some are convinced it’s a miracle, some said it’s a hoax but whatever it is made Coldwater the center of media and people’s attention. People are drawn to this town to be a part of this miraculous phenomenon. National news reporters are sent in to cover the story. The police force is increased to maintain order among the supporters and protesters and also phone demands increased.
One man named Sully Harding, recently lost his wife and struggling to be a father to a young son, strongly believes that there is no such thing as miracle and it hurts him seeing his son, Jules waiting and hoping that his mother will call him soon. Driven by this event, Sully is determined to prove whether these “phone calls from heaven” is true or not. He begins to investigate on his own, Sully, working for a newspaper business, finds that working on print business provide access to information that just might find the missing link that ties all these phone calls together.
It involves cell phone carriers, amount of time since death, and a few other things that are too similar to ignore. With the help of Elias Rowe and the young girl from town’s library, he learns a couple of facts that the calls only come in on Friday, and each recipient happens to have the same cell phone plan. Something isn’t right and Sully didn’t stop investigating until he figures out what it is. Sully soon uncovered the surprising truth, he learned that the calls that other people are receiving has connection on what happened the day his wife died.
Sully was in the air force, he was flying in a fighter jet when he decided to make a pit stop to visit his wife. Upon landing on the airport he was given a poor flight instruction by a young traffic controller on a bad mood. Due to this poor instruction Sully’s plane collided with a small Cessna resulting on accident and deaths. Sully’s wife, Giselle, was speeding to the airport when he saw the smoke from the accident and panicked and the air traffic controller who causes the accident sped away and crashed on Sully’s wife that results death for both of them.
The father of deceased air traffic controller, Elliot Gray, has military intelligence experience that he was able to destroy all the data that would have implication to his son, and put all the blame on Sully, causing his imprisonment. Afterwards, the father of the dead controller accessed voicemails of different people in order to put together words and phrases that would make it seem like a call from their loved ones from heaven. The call is actually aimed for Sully, it is out of guilt for the death of Giselle but he never got the call.
After Sully confronts the perpetrator, he sped away from the perpetrator’s home with the news about the hoax but the snowstorm sent him off the road and onto the frozen lake. Then, his phone rang, it was Giselle, his wife telling him to get out of the car because the car is going to plunge in the ice. Sully did so just in time. Then, laying on the snowbank, he heard the siren of an ambulance. Someone had called 911, he was brought in the hospital and after he spoke with the chief police officer.
He learned that the Horace called in the station saying that there is a dead man at his property and when the police arrived that dead man was Elliot Gray himself. At the end of the story, Sully has proven that the “phone calls from heaven” are hoax. Thus, when he thought that it was Giselle’s voice Elliot last manipulated he scrolls his phone and check the unknown number which he heard Giselle’s voice on the car accident and realized that the call was made an hour after Elliot’s death. Sully realized that after all, he got a real phone call from heaven.