(Images used by permission from Collective Inkwell)
You guys know me.
If ever a story grabs me, dragging me relentlessly to the finish, it's a story with solid characters.
It's not the plot, though a good plot helps. It's the way the characters respond to the way their lives have changed that makes me keep on reading. Their response doesn't have to be logical, it only has to be logical to them.
Oh, and I love a dark story.
So, it's no surprise that I loved "Crash", by the remarkable writing duo David Wright and Sean Platt, that brought you such serial writing excursions as "Yesterday's Gone" and "White Space."
This one is a great stand-alone novel!
So what did I like about it:
This is about a topic that most people have felt in their lifetimes. Grief. The main character of this novel, Thomas, is consumed by grief over the death of his daughter, in a car accident. He is the survivor of the accident, and every waking moment of his day is spent grieving, and trying to remember what has gone on before and during the accident. In processing his grief and his loss of memory, he has been filming the aftermath of car accidents, until he sees something in his pictures that he cannot believe.
This plot was the perfect vehicle for a different take on the traditional ghost story. Just the plot would have kept me zipping through the story, but there were a couple of other (more important) things that I loved.
Thomas Witt can't move on from the accident, and you can feel it in every word that is on the page. Everyone else seems to want him to move on, but he can't. I felt for this guy in so many ways. I also felt for his wife Meg. She is trying to make Thomas come back to the land of the living to help her complete their writing and move on with their family, but he can't move forward.
These characters were painful to read.
It was like being a fly on the wall of a life coming apart, powerless to do anything to help, you just have to watch. Without trying to make a joke, it was like watching an accident, feeling bad that you're watching, but unable to turn your head and mind your own business.
Life after grief. Redemption.Can one pull oneself out of a downward spiral? I don't know about you, but character and theme go hand-in-hand, one guiding the other. This story talked about some heavy stuff, but didn't beat me over the head with it. It just was what it was. That is true, masterful writing, Mr. Wright!
I love all kinds of genres, as you know from reading my blog. I don't like tired plots full of tired characters.
This is a ghost story, but it is an unusual one. I like when that happens. I love when a writer takes a tired old formula and spins it around and makes me take notice. Awesome!
All-in-all, I give this 5-stars ***** for it's tackling of a very touchy subject (no I won't tel you what it is) and for not flinching when the story got hard and dark. That's what made this story for me. I consider writers, like Wright and Platt, to be braver than shit for tackling the darker aspects of life without looking to see who is watching them. With that having been said, I do not recommend this story to everyone. It is dark and some of the aspects of this novel may not be suitable for someone who has lost someone. There are other aspects that may test the mettle of readers. This book is definitely for an adult audience. Excellent work, Mr. Wright and Mr. Platt. Excellent work, indeed!