Monday, July 6, 2015

Fifteen Minutes to Live


Fifteen Minutes to LiveFifteen Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I downloaded this book for free from Bookbub and it turned out to be one of the best (if not the best) freebies I've ever read. I couldn't put it down. The plot is downright's like a darker, more intense version of "50 First Dates."

The story begins when the protagonist, 36 year old Carl, is visited one fateful night by his high school sweetheart, Jesse, who is acting like no time has elapsed since high school and is behaving like she's seventeen years old (though her face and body reveal her true age). Carl, believing she is perhaps going through a midlife crisis and playing some kind of game with him, allows himself a night of frenzied passion with her. But when Carl discovers that Jesse supposedly died three months earlier in a boating accident, and realizes she is losing her memories of recent events every 15 minutes, Carl is forced to weed through a web of secrets to figure out the truth about Jesse.

I can't say anything beyond this without giving away juicy spoilers, so I'll just state that the novel continues to navigate the reader through all sorts of twists and turns, and every time you have that "a-ha" moment where you think you've learned the truth, another layer is peeled away.

I love the characters. Carl, the MC, isn't perfect, which I find refreshing. He's self-deprecating with amusing quirks like trying to befriend a raccoon...he just comes across as very human. And his love for Jesse, though not always noble or logical, is fierce and moving. And then you have Jesse, who manages to shine with strength and determination, despite the fact that her memory resets ever 15 minutes. Not to mention all of the supposed antagonists--whether it's Martin, Ryan, or even Frank, aren't your cookie cutter "bad guys." They're complex, with redeemable qualities that make it difficult to hate them outright. Frank's character is hands-down the most beautifully conceived/written.

The only reason I would even knick half a star from 15 Minutes to Live is because of a few spelling errors (i.e. spelling the word "hand" as "band," etc.), and because of dropping Kit. I realize Kit is a secondary character who didn't have a huge role to play in moving the plot forward, but I feel that Sutton spent a lot of time developing Kit's character into one that the reader falls in love with, and I wish there had been at least a short scene near the end reconciling him with Carl.

Otherwise, 4.5 stars to an intriguing and gripping read, and I look forward to seeing what else Sutton has out there.

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