About The Book
Suicide should come with a warning label: “Do not try this alone.”
If you truly need out and want the job done right, you should consider using an outside expert.
Eli Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing. After reluctantly taking over his family’s party supply store following his father’s death, he is approached by a terminally ill family friend who’s had enough. The friend, a retired policeman, has an intricate plan involving something Eli has ready access to – helium. Eli is initially shocked and repulsed by the proposal, but soon begins to soften his stance and, after much deliberation, eventually agrees to lend a hand.
It was supposed to be a one-time thing. How could Eli have known euthanasia was his true calling? And how long can he keep his daring underground "exit" operation going before the police or his volatile new girlfriend get wise?
One of the things I liked was the writing, which I thought, in and of itself, was fabulous. Greg Levin has a way with words and can string them together in a way that leaves you wanting to read, simply to allow the words to roll off the tongue. Because of his style of writing and the nature of the book, the way it's constructed, I would actually consider this more in the vein of literary fiction or even just general fiction. The label dark comedic humor, I totally get, and I liked the dark, even, subtle humor, at times. Suspense though, doesn't seem to quite fit for me.
One of the reasons I think this book falls into literary more easily is because the first 60% of the book is exposition, almost entirely. Eli, the main character, is struggling after his father's death, and as he's faced with the request of a close family friend to end his long-term suffering, Eli obviously is faced with inner turmoil. So much so, that more of the book is exposition on how he feels, what he's thinking, his views, where he's at in his life, and what he's doing that the amount of actual action in the book is diminished. Now, the last third of the book picks up exponentially and I did find myself wanting to read to see what happens next. It was filled with a few twists, which I loved and which made the book much more exciting.
As far as Eli goes, I'm not sure I've ever been more unsure about the character. Maybe that is the authors intent--for the reader to sense Eli's turmoil and inner struggles, among his actions, to be mixed with a sort of ambivalence. It seemed to me that Eli lacked a depth of emotion. I'm not saying that's to the writer's fault (at least I don't think so). It's my hunch that he wrote him that way. To me, Eli really seemed a shell of a man. He just seemed to not feel. He barely feels anything, except euphoria and a sense of accomplishment, upon his first assisted suicide. And without giving anything away--I hate that!--he barely feels anything later in the book when certain events occur that should cripple him. He's either devoid of feeling or maybe the writer missed the mark here. I'm not positive, but I think it is his character.
All in all, The Exit Man was an extremely interesting read and I would be curious to see what Greg Levin's other books are like.
** Purchase THE EXIT MAN **
About The Author
The AuthorSigning books at Moby Dickens bookstore in Taos, NM
Greg's Website / Twitter / Facebook / Goodreads
Having spent much of his life weaving intricate tales to get out of things like gym class and jury duty, Greg Levin is no stranger to fiction. Greg’s debut novel, Notes on an Orange Burial was published in November 2011 by Elixirist (now 48fourteen) and has sold over 11 copies to his immediate family. Greg's second book, The Exit Man (available Spring 2014), is already being hailed as one of the top two novels he has ever written.
Greg has been getting paid to put words together since 1994, working as a professional business journalist, freelance writer and ghostwriter. He has written hundreds of feature articles, case studies and satire pieces, as well as a critically acclaimed business ebook.
When not busy writing, Greg enjoys thinking about writing, and spending time with his wife and daughter. He also enjoys cooking, traveling and exercising, as well as freestyle rapping for his friends even when they don’t do anything to deserve such mistreatment.
Greg was born in Huntington, New York in 1969, and then moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania with his family when he was six. He attended the University of New Hampshire and graduated summa cum laude in 1991 with a BA in Communication and a special concentration in Creative Writing.
Greg currently resides in Austin, Texas, where he is one of just 17 people who don’t play a musical instrument or write songs. He is currently wanted by Austin authorities for refusing to eat pork ribs or dance the two-step.