Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Guest Review: Kill Me by Stephen White
Published March 2007 by Penguin Group
I've always been grateful to my parents for instilling a love of reading in me. Now I'm also grateful to them for their continued support of my blog, including numerous guest reviews. Here's one from Mama Shepp's mama!
Many people choose the next book they want to read based on the author or the topic of the book. And that has been true with my husband and me. That is, until it is time to get in the car and spend the five plus hours required to visit our No. 1 son. We make the miles appear to go faster by listening to a book. But the book is chosen not by topic or author (although that can play a part) but by the number of disks in the package. We have timed it so we know how much we can hear and get the book finished by the time we pull back into our driveway.
It was thus that we stumbled upon a book by Stephen White. We were delighted and found our trip flew by as we were caught up in his characters, plot, and descriptive writing. Thus is has been no surprise that we have added more of his books to our reading piles. His books tend to be built around a psychologist Dr. Alan Gregory and his sidekick the local law enforcement. Usually the books are set in Colorado. KILL ME is set in Colorado but in this novel Dr. Gregory is used only as a listening board for much of the book until the end when he becomes the narrator and finishes the story.
Our hero (if that is how you might describe him) goes on a skiing trip and while there learns that one of his best friends has been seriously injured in a cave accident leaving him in a vegetative state for the rest of his life. Just as this is happening, our narrator is involved in a skiing accident of a relatively minor nature but which could have been much more devastating. But it is enough for his friend Jimmy Lee to step forward and present to him the idea that for a large sum of money (our narrator is extremely wealthy) you can buy a deal wherewith you will not be allowed to ever live in a vegetative state or suffer long months from some incurable disease. The company will step in to kill him, making the death look normal and creating no suspicion. He likes the idea and quietly buys into the program without telling his wife or anyone else.
As was probably to be expected, our “victim” develops a and realizes that his time is limited. However, he has recently discovered that he has a son from a one-night stand many years ago and feels he has unfinished business with this son before he is ready to die. He then sets about trying to outwit the Death Angels to allow him to have more time. He is comfortable with leaving his wife and daughters–they will be well provided–but the son must have some type of peace with his life. From this point, the story becomes a hide-and-go-seek type of story with many twists and turns and suspense. We learn far more about the narrator’s character and that of the attractive woman who comes to “help” him elude the Angels (his term for the organization).
The book is well written and covers a topic that was completely new to me. I spent the time hoping he would outsmart the Death Angels and considering the wisdom or lack thereof of making such a deal if it were offered to me. Will he outwit the Angels? Will he seek a relationship with his son? Will a cure for his tumor be developed? Will he leave his wife for the woman who tries to “help” him with his dilemma? These are just a few of the questions that are answered in this book.
If you are lured into reading this book, then I strongly recommend you also read MISSING PERSONS which is even better. No wonder I have a stack of White novels sitting by my bed luring me into using a lack of common sense when it comes to time to turn off the light and go to sleep.