Up until recently, I had never heard of Weston Kincade. Then I read some short stories written by him in a couple of anthologies. I realized after reading those shorts that he may actually write some decent stuff. Also, he is a fellow Ohioan, so that’s a plus in my book. When he asked me to read his book A Life of Death, I of course said yes!
What’s it about you ask? *spoilers ahead*
The entire book is an adult Alex telling his young son, Jamie, about his life. Alex explains that his father died when he was younger, and his mother married an abusive drunk afterward, gaining three stepchildren in the process. Alex didn’t get along with the eldest, Frank, and was tormented by his stepfather, to which he refers to as “the drunk” throughout his story.
Alex soon learns that he has the ability to see the deaths of people when he touches something they were holding when they died. He discovers that a well-known family in the town was involved in a scandal that involved murder. He also finds out how the son of a homeless man died, and even sees the deaths of various men during the Civil War. But the real kicker is he discovers the truth about the drunk’s last marriage. His stepfather killed his previous wife *gasp!*. Alex’s trusty girlfriend, Paige, helps him to cope with his ability and assists him in helping those who’ve lost their lives.
There are a couple of rough spots in this book that are a little hard to read. Alex’s stepbrother is killed by a drunk driver, who gets away with the crime. Also, Alex’s youngest stepsister ends up getting killed by the abusive stepfather. These are real downer parts of the book, but also necessary.
Wait, why are those deaths necessary?!
Calm down, don’t get all worked up. The death of Frank is the first death (besides the death of Alex’s father) that shows how unfair it can be. It is also a first step in leading Alex to his future career as a homicide detective. The death of his stepsister, Gloria, while horrible, is also kind of necessary. It hits the characters hard, even prompting the stepfather to admit to killing his previous wife. Her death also pushes Alex into deciding he is going to help those who cannot speak for themselves. It’s a shock to the reader, as well. You can’t help but look at life and death a little differently after that.
So what’s this mom’s opinion?
Two ghostly thumbs up. A Life of Death feels a lot like a young adult book, but with adult themes and emotion. I liked that there was minimal gore and shock. It was a haunting read to say the least, and it truly makes the reader think about life and death. Weston Kincade has created a series here that he could keep going for a long time if he wanted. I think it would also make a great movie! It spoke to the outcast teenager in me in many ways and also to the adult that hides somewhere in me (I refuse to grow up all the way!). A Life of Death is a great read for horror fans and young adults and everyone in between.