Today I am reviewing The Dismantling by Brian DeLeeuw for TLC Book Tours. As always, I am provided with a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
About the Book (from the publisher): Troubled med school dropout Simon Worth is faced with the grim reality of failure and massive student loans. Haunted by the accidental death of his sister, he accepts a lucrative job at Health Solutions as a black market organ broker, arranging the sales of kidneys and livers from donors who need the money to recipients whose time on the transport list is running out.
Eight months into the job, Simon is tasked with finding a match for Lenny Pellegrini, a severely depressed ex-NFL player with a serious drinking problem and a failing liver. When Simon is contacted by Maria Campos, he believes he’s found the perfect donor. The surgery goes according to plan, but soon afterward Lenny makes a cruel and destructive decision, while startling secrets from Maria’s past further complicate the situation. Under tremendous pressure to keep the media and authorities from exposing Health Solutions, both Simon and Maria find themselves the targets of Peter DaSilva, Simon’s boss, who is desperate to protect himself and his organization at all costs. Backed into a corner, Simon is forced to decide that, against his better moral judgment, the only way to survive is to put his trust into Maria.
My review: This novel is a very compelling read. Murky moral lines are drawn – and not drawn – as the protagonist, Simon, comes face-to-face with the ramifications of his decision to work at Health Solutions. Exploring the black market organ trade as well as the very-much-in-the-news stories of ex-football players who are suffering from the effects of too many concussions, too many injuries, and the resulting brain trauma, this story is a reflection of part of our world today.
What I loved about the book – and what I found troubling as well – are those murky moral lines I mentioned. How do we validate our decisions? Where do we draw the line? When do we say ‘No?’ At what point do we take responsibility for our actions and try to atone for them? DeLeeuw has written a very good thriller. He isn’t afraid to take on these moral dilemmas and even though the characters are flawed, he has fleshed them out so fully that we understand them. We identify with them. And that’s the hook, isn’t it? We identify with them. so there is a certain logic and inevitability to their choices. On a certain level, they make sense. That’s what DeLeeuw has done so well.
The back stories of Simon and Maria allow us to discover what haunts them and what has shaped them into who they are today. And, as is the case in so many good novels, the need for redemption, though not always consciously realized by the characters, fuels much of the action.
This is a very good thriller that explores moral issues more deeply than most books in this genre. I really liked it. DeLeeuw is a talented writer who has created a riveting and unsettling read.
A very good book, indeed.
About the author: Brian DeLeeuw is an author and screenwriter living in Los Angeles. His first novel, In This Way I Was Saved, was published by Simon & Schuster in 2009 and long-listed for the Dylan Thomas prize, with editions published in the U.K., Germany, and France. “Some Kind of Hate,” an independent horror movie he co-wrote, is currently in post-production. He is a graduate of Princeton University and received his MFA in Fiction from the New School.
Good news! One of you will win a copy of The Dismantling. Just leave a comment on this post and I will choose a winner on Friday evening. Good luck!
For those of you who have always wondered what I sound like: Visit yesterday’s post about Enabling the Change. I took part in a video hangout with 4 other bloggers and, for better or worse, there I am. It’s a short video and it’s pretty entertaining. This is your chance to hear my voice. You may not have another one! Don’t say I didn’t warn you.