By: Tom Hunt
Published Year: 2018
Publisher: Berkley Books
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way shape or form influenced my opinion.
Summary (Provided by Goodreads): His wife is sick.
He needs $200,000 to save her.
A mysterious man offers to give him the money with just one catch: He has to murder someone to get it.
Gary Foster’s life is finally heading in the right direction. After years of trying, his wife, Beth, is pregnant, and he recently opened a business with his brother. But one phone call changes everything....
After collapsing suddenly, Beth has been rushed to the hospital. Tests reveal a devastating diagnosis: an inoperable brain tumor. Their only hope is an expensive experimental treatment available abroad, with a cost that’s out of their reach. And Beth’s time is running out....
Then a strange man approaches Gary and offers the money he needs, on one condition: that he kill someone, no questions asked. End one life to save another.
In this nail-biting debut novel of domestic suspense, one man makes a choice that forces him to confront the darkest reaches of his soul and betray those closest to him. As he’s swept up in a nightmare of escalating violence, he must question his own morality—and determine just how far he’s willing to go to save the woman he loves.
The cover did not appeal to me at all, and honestly, the summary didn’t either. I almost passed on reviewing this book, but some part of me went “give it a chance. Maybe you’ll be surprised!” Basically, the first impression on this book was not good.
What I thought
Full disclosure, I got through about 65% of this book, felt I couldn’t continue, and skipped to the final 10%. Also, as a warning there will be spoilers ahead so that I can talk honestly about what I disliked.
Gary and his wife have been married for almost 20 years. After years of trying, they are finally pregnant. But their lives are changed when she is diagnosed with a brain tumor. When traditional treatment doesn’t work, they apply to an experimental trial and find out that it will cost them $200,000 to take part. One day, a stranger calls and offers Gary the $200,000 with one catch. He must kill someone else.
Initially, my reaction was ugh, no. But then I thought about it and I thought that the psychological part of it could be really interesting. Then the book started and it alternated between Gary’s perspective and a drug dealing ex-con, Otto. Turns out that HE is the one who wants Gary to commit murder. He wants him to (spoiler) murder a bad cop. But! And this is the big but, it’s not for any righteous reason. It’s because he has gotten himself into a situation where he owes too many people money. He only has enough money to pay one of the people, and if he doesn’t pay both his life is in danger. So he decides to take advantage of an extremely emotionally vulnerable man, by offering him $200,000 to get him out of a situation he got himself into.
Surprise surprise, when Gary does murder the bad cop, Otto doesn’t give him the money. Now, I don’t mind psychological thrillers, but the level of a drug dealer who was dealing with his own issues is not my thing. I actually almost put the book down at 17% because I knew it wouldn’t be my thing. I think part of the hard part of reading about this was that you do get so much from Otto’s perspective and you get to see how terrible of a person he is.
I just honestly couldn’t deal with a lot of it. I could tell it was starting to get too violent and too convoluted for me.
The saving grace of this novel, and the reason I even made it to 65%, was the writing. It was easy to read and I honestly had no issues with the writing. I would easily pick up another book by Hunt if the synopsis piqued my interest. It was honestly just the story that I couldn’t handle. It was not my thing at all.
Obviously the writing got me a little bit, because even though I didn’t want to read the rest of the book, I wanted to see how it ended. The good (and maybe bad?) thing was that when I read the ending I was left with a feeling of “I definitely made the right decision.”