Brent Cummings has an addiction to pain killers…. and he is an emergency room doctor. Right off the bat, you can see how he might have an on going problem. One day on his way home, he stumbles across a woman’s body in the fog. He ends up accused of intent to distribute controlled narcotics by the police when they come to investigate and a coworker (Plucky, a cancer specialist) must come to his aid. However, when he goes to the pharmacy to fill his prescription for methadone, he sees the same woman, living and breathing. Brent spirals in and out of sanity for the rest of the book.
To date, I have enjoyed several Lorn books. So I dove into this book expecting the same twists and surprises. However, I found this book rather predictable. Now, let me be clear. I was entertained through out. Lorn is an excellent story teller even if you’ve guessed where the story is going. Yet I kept waiting for that little bit of something extra that would put this story up there with other Lorn books. I think, in large part, the lack of surprises is due to the very small cast in this story. Essentially, we have drug-addled Brent, his helpful coworker Plucky, and the dead (or not dead?) woman. I guess you can count Brent’s altered awareness as a fourth wheel to the story. So from the beginning, I guessed the story would go one of two ways and at about the half way point, it became clear to me which way it was going to go.
Due to the small cast, there were fewer female characters than we normally see in works by this author. However, he doesn’t skimp in making them whole and interesting characters. There’s several female side characters and even a memory of a lady from Brent’s past.
I enjoyed the details that went into the tale, especially the loose references to other Lorn books that take place in and around Bay’s End. As usual, Lorn put in small touches that made connecting with this story easy and entertaining. For instance, describing the graffiti drawn on the bottom side of top bunk where Brent has to spend down time – amusing and yet I can totally see that being there. While predictable, there was still some suspense in seeing how it all unfolded and who would still be alive at the end. It was an enjoyable tale even if it lacked the polished genius of other Lorn works.
Narration: Kevin R. Tracy did a good job with this narration. He had a certain desperate intensity for Brent that carried throughout the book and even managed to sound somewhat high or strung out at times. Also, once the creepiness factors starting coming out in the dialogue, he did a great job of getting those across to the listener.