As debut novels go, “The Euthanist” was a bit surprising. The cover was chilling and effective. The divergent plot and protagonist were not what I expected at all.
Our protagonist is Pamela/Kali, a practitioner of euthanasia and assisted suicide who has a day job as a California firefighter/paramedic. A physically strong and motivated young woman of twenty-six years of age.
When one of her ‘clients’ turns out to be deceiving her about the severity of his illness her life takes a turn for the bizarre.
Her client Leland Moon is actually a healthy FBI agent. Rather than arrest her as a result of this entrapment, he uses his knowledge of her illegal extracurricular activities to coerce her into taking part in a plot to wreck vengeance against the pedophiles who abducted his son. He believes that this will bring some solace to the families of the pedophiles’ many victims.
One of the pedophiles, Walter Mumm, is in prison, the other, his sister Helena Mumm, is terminally ill. After Kali learns of the horrific experiences of the children at the hands of the Mumms, she comes on board with Leland. However, in the quest for revenge, Leland and Kali begin to question their personal beliefs of what’s right and wrong. The ending was quite compelling and makes the reader question their opinions on euthanasia.
What bothered me more than a little was Pamela/Kali’s weak motivation for becoming a euthanist in the first place. More importantly, I found that I didn’t really connect with her character – which is a deal-breaker for me. I really wanted to bond with her and although she was in sympathetic situations I remained unsympathetic towards her. At odds with what I felt I should feel about him, I found Leland Moon’s character to be unlikeable and manipulative. Also, I found several editing errors which I found distracting as a reader.
“The Euthanist” is a fast-paced debut thriller which is sure to be enjoyed by many – though for some reason the novel left me less than overly impressed. An excellent premise that somehow didn’t deliver. Overall “The Euthanist” didn’t live up to the hype, and I will be unlikely to read another novel by this author.
Alex Dolan was raised in Boston, lived in New York City, and currently resides in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to writing for several publications, he has recorded four music albums, and has a master’s degree in strategic communications from Columbia University. The Euthanist is his first novel.