Title: A Life of Death
Author: Weston Kincade
Pages: Serial Novel
Release Date: June 8, 2011
Content Screening: Violence; Adult Language
HDB Rating: 4 Keys to My Heart
Recommended to: Readers who can deal with intense child abuse scenes, and other tough issues while reading.
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Alex Drummond is a troubled high school senior with a checkered past, a broken home, and a surprising ability. When he touches items that murder victims held in their final moments, Alex relives the events in gruesome detail, seeing what they saw, thinking their thoughts, and even feeling what they felt. But who will believe a troubled teen, especially when the murders are so close to home and might reveal skeletons hidden for hundreds of years? Join Alex as he struggles to find his destiny, understand love, solve the mysterious murders within his small home town, and speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves.
Reader be warned, A Life of Death is not an easy read. Weston Kincade doesn't pull any punches in this book. It deals with child abuse, murder, and the inevitability of death. Everything is presented in vivid color, against the stark background of what should be a normal childhood in a normal town. While the synopsis deals a lot with Alex's mysterious ability that isn't really the main focus of the book. Just be warned, most of this book isn't pretty.
That being said, I was pleasantly surprised at how polished and quick moving A Life of Death turned out to be. This was originally a serial novel, but I was given the opportunity to read it as a whole entity. On the one hand, reading it in its entirety was nice. Things flowed along, and I didn't have to wait to see things resolved. However I can also see the benefit of reading this as a serial novel. Some parts seemed overwritten to me, but I had to keep in mind that I wasn't waiting a week, or even two, between reading.
In terms of content, you've read my piece above. A balance between light-hearted moments and dark ones is attempted here, but there is still a lot of sadness built into Alex's life. It's hard not to feel for him. I saw Alex in my mind many times while reading. A boy who lost a father. A boy whose mother has checked out. A boy who has to deal with things that, by all rights, not even people twice his age should have to deal with. I became one with Alex as I read and, even when things felt bleak, I rooted for him. Credit where credit is due, but Kincade definitely knows how to write a character.
As for Alex's ability, I saw how it fit into the story and why it was necessary. I'm still not one hundred percent sold on it, but it did make things interesting. Watching as he relived other people's deaths was both eye-opening, and terrifying. I'm not sure he ever had the chance to do too much good with his ability, but it wasn't for lack of trying. It adds another layer to his life, and keeps things from being all about his problems at home. For that, I was appreciative.
I know I'm rambling, but it's tough not to. There is so much wrapped up in A Life of Death. So many minor things that, as a whole, contribute to make this a book that's honestly tough to put down. It is a bit long. It does deal with tough issues. However it's put together in a way that creates a need to know what happens next. Whether you read this as a serial novel, or as a whole, I suggest you give this a place on your reading list.
FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.