Title: A Life of Death
Author: Weston Kincade
Date of publication: May 31st, 2017 (Originally published May 15th, 2011)
Genre: Fantasy, Paranormal, Young Adult, Mystery
Number of pages: 333
POV: 1st and 3rd person
Series: A Life of Death
A Life of Death – Book 1
The Golden Bulls – Book 2
Book synopsis (from Goodreads):
Alex Drummond is a troubled high school senior with a checkered past, a broken home, and a surprising ability. When he touches items that murder victims held in their final moments, Alex relives the events in gruesome detail, seeing what they saw, thinking their thoughts, and even feeling what they felt. But who will believe a troubled teen, especially when the murders are so close to home and might reveal skeletons hidden for hundreds of years? Join Alex as he struggles to find his destiny, understand love, solve the mysterious murders within his small home town, and speak for victims who can no longer speak for themselves.
Trigger Warning: Child Abuse
I have read a few books where the main characters have elements of Alex’s gift and for the most part, they bored me. There was a certain oomph missing from those books. So, when I agreed to review A Life of Death, I was expecting the same thing. My expectations were not high. So, imagine my surprise when I actually enjoyed reading this story.
What I enjoyed the most about this book was that it was a story within a story. The book starts off with an older Alex telling the story about how he started using his gift to his son. Then it goes back in time to when Alex first discovered his gift.
Alex had my full sympathy the entire book. His stepfather (aka the drunk) beat him senseless over the littlest things. His mother chose to turn a blind eye to what was going on. She showed more concern for her stepson than her own son. I have never despised a character before Vivian. He had to go to school with bruises and the school could do nothing. It was heart-wrenching to read. The only reason he stuck around was because of Paige and his step sisters, Abby and Glory.
I will admit that the scenes where Alex’s stepfather beat him disturbed me. It disturbed me because everyone knew he was getting beaten but no one did anything about it. His mother turned a blind eye and his principal and nurse did want to do something but didn’t want him in foster care. No wonder he had an attitude and didn’t apply himself. I want to make it clear that while those scenes disturbed me, they are essential to the book and Alex’s character development.
Alex’s gift kind of scared me. I couldn’t imagine touching an item and being transported the last owner’s death. I had shivers reading those scenes. I know that I wouldn’t have been able to deal with it like Alex did. I also know that I wouldn’t be able to use the information that I saw in those visions like Alex too. As I was reading those scenes, I did think to myself “Reckless“. But, he did use the information for good too. He avenged a couple of deaths using the information gleaned from those visions.
The end of the book was great but I did have some questions that weren’t answered in the book. Mainly about Coach Moyer and his disappearance. I do have a feeling that he will turn up in the next book. Speaking of that, I cannot wait to read it. The excerpt was fantastic.
My Summary of A Life of Death: 5 stars
I enjoyed reading A Life of Death. It was a fast paced, well written paranormal YA book with 3-dimensional characters. This is not a book where everything is sunlight and roses. This is a dark book that deals with child abuse, death, and dysfunctional family dynamic. It’s the darkness that makes this book shine. This is a graphic no holds bar book and I wouldn’t recommend it for anyone under the age of 16.
Will I reread: Yes
Will I recommend to family and friends: Yes
Age range: Older Teen
Why: Violence, language. No sex (Alex and Paige do kiss but nothing beyond that). There are some graphic child abuse scenes (where Alex is getting beaten by the drunk) and some graphic death scenes.
I would like to thank Weston Kincade for allowing me to read and review A Life of Death. All opinions expressed in this review are mine and mine alone.
**I received a free copy of this book and volunteered to review it**