Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Not a Good Time to Die – Ray Spengler

What is the worst thing about this book? The fact that the synopsis does no justice to the tale contained within. After reading the back of this book I thought to myself – “dear Lord I really don’t want to read this” but once I opened it up and started reading, the book was wonderful. Sure the idea is very similar to the Butterfly Effect, but the story is different enough that there is very little comparison.

A more accurate summary: Douglas has just lost his wife; Jane, to Cancer… in his grief he considers taking his own life, and suddenly discovers that time has stopped… only its two hours before his wife’s death. Now he has the ability to go back in time to different scenes in his life and relive them, can he find a way to save her? Or is there a deeper meaning to this sudden gift of time?

So as a reviewer I’m going to tell you, ignore the cover art which makes this look like a gothic horror – there’s no horror here. Ignore the title, which sounds like a James Bond film – there’s not much action here. And most of all, Ignore that little blurb on the back of the book that makes this sound like a bad sci-fi channel movie. What you do have here is a story of a man who is very much in love, trying to go back and right the wrongs of his past, to save life of the woman he loves. As we go back in time with him (he’s an old man now) there are 35 years of marriage, ups and downs, joy and pain. The readers relive all of this with him, hoping that this time he’ll say the right thing, or make the right choice to change the course… or if nothing else to be a better husband. He never doubted his love for her… but when traveling through your life in high speed… your negatives glare out at you. And maybe this time he can to it? His time is running out, and his options are running thin… why would God give him this gift to relive if it wasn’t to save her?

Douglas is a very human character… at times we love him, at times we want to slap the bejeezus out of him. Many times we’ll wonder why Jane stayed with him at all. The story is very human… something that perhaps we all wish we could do after the loss of a loved one. For a first time author, this is a very good book. As far as an age rating – this one is not for the kiddies, minor instances of foul language, infidelity, a couple of lives lost, some bad behavior, alcohol abuse, basically think of bad things in your life that you wish you could change, and determine if you want your child reading about it. This book is NOT graphic, but the subject material might offend some parents. Also there are religious themes in this book that may upset non-Christians.

Either way, I recommend reading this book.

Not a Good Time to Die

4 comments:

J.J.Edwards said...

If, if that misaligned title were the worst thing in the novel, I should say it’s not bad. I mean as a novel. Keeping in mind your review, yes, it’s awful title, unfortunately. Almost puzzling effect left, after you argued, how the title “Not a good time to die” had come up with for the first place, and it also seems to show another good example of reviewer’s merit: perhaps that’s why we have reviewers. Since the far-fetching title in hand, I gave a thought over a new one. Countdown? Or Footed in two hours? Well that’s all I can think. Sorry if mine are not up to the task.

By the way I begin to question of what we can achieve by changing the course of life, and how it is profitable? And in what way? Do we not too simplify life? Of course I have many things I regret and hope to change--well, mostly hope never see it happen or face--but I am not sure if it really helps positively unless it’s accident or something. Especially if it’s about myself, I see little room for any other way even though I were in worst condition, in a way of character management. For every action of mine, better or worse, based on plausible and reasonable ground in a specific context of time and space.

I kind of am skeptical of that prospective of many changed-ifs can do any good. But still wonder if there is any good case to benefit me or others once diverted the course.

Ravenskya said...

I really think that there is an audience out there that would really enjoy this book, unfortunately that audience is the same that would probably never pick up a book with that title and cover. It's sad because it IS a good book.

And it is an interesting concept, a "Butterfly Effect" movie going forward rather than backward.

J.J.Edwards said...

As I now view back my comment on the post, wow, what a comedy I was then staging. Countdown? Footed in two hours? Simply nutty.... I should have pretended to joke; only I didn't. ;)

By the way, the Butterfly Effect you mentioned could have geared reversely, I might suggest or hope? Nevertheless what if, regardless of change of courses in decision of Douglas life, things turned out no different? I am sorry I don't want to be annoying, I just think what if no matter what you tried to get things or people or even yourself better, things look all the same in the end? I know it sounds naughtily antagonistic but I can't help feel that more plausible. However I try not to believe destiny.

It's fortunate, though, for a good-but-poorly-titled-and-covered book to fall in a caring reviewer's hand that people would know the true value with it.

Ravenskya said...

I just wanted to let you know that I received a copy of your book and will read it just as soon as I can... there are a couple I have to review ahead of yours, but I will get there eventually. Very nice cover by the way.