Monday, February 8, 2016

Book Review: "15 Minutes To Live" by Phoef Sutton

"15 Minutes To Live" by Phoef Sutton was an unusual mystery with unseen twists and turns, heartbreak, love and obsession. The book opens by introducing us to our main character, Carl. He lives in his childhood home now that his parents have passed away. One night he hears pebbles scatter across his bedroom window just like he used to more than twenty years ago when his girlfriend would sneak over late at night for a tryst. When Carl looks out that same window he's shocked to see Jesse waiting for him in the back garden. He is both thrilled and flabbergasted when he descends the stairs to find her eagerly awaiting Carl's touch. They rush to the greenhouse under the trees and reenact a nights of passion they used to experience so long ago.

But nothing makes sense to Carl. Jesse seems to think she's still seventeen and she doesn't recognize the changes in Carl like his mustache. The next day Carl finds out that in fact Jesse has been dead for three weeks. How could this be possible? Is she a ghost or is there something nefarious going on here? The mystery starts there as Carl tries to winnow out what has happened to Jesse and why she has so much trouble with her memory.

I have to say that I found it impossible to walk away from this mystery. This shows just what a great writer that Sutton is. I say this because I actually didn't particularly enjoy the read. I found myself disappointed at just how depressing all the characters were. Every character looked at life as something to be endured. I can understand there being some people who feel their lives are tedious but I found the general emotional atmosphere overwhelmingly monotonous. I was disappointed to find myself in this position. It is unusual to both want to read a book but not enjoy the words. The need to know what was happening to Jesse was a magnetic force pulling the reader to the end of the book. But the actual ending was egregiously disappointing.

Part of me wants to give this book a two out of five because it was so frustrating. Another part of me recognizes the excellent writing that made me want to read every word. So, if you can stand depressing characters that don't have any joy of life and you have loved Phoef Sutton books in the past then try this one. On the other hand, if you like some hope or redeeming quality to the relationships in a book and you want an inkling of justice to seep through to the ending then I'd avoid this one, you just may end up as frustrated as me.

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