Thanks to NetGalley and Berkley Books for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: Available Now
His wife is sick.
He needs $200,000 to save her
A mysterious man offers to give him the money with just one catch: He has to murder someone to get it.
Gary Foster’s life is finally heading in the right direction. After years of trying, his wife, Beth, is pregnant, and he recently opened a business with his brother. But one phone call changes everything…
After collapsing suddenly, Beth has been rushed to the hospital. Tests reveal a devastating diagnosis: an inoperable brain tumor. Their only hope is an expensive experimental treatment available abroad, with a cost that’s out of their reach. And Beth’s time is running out…
Then a strange man approaches Gary and offers the money he needs, on one condition: that he kill someone, no questions asked. End one life to save another.
In this nail-biting debut novel of domestic suspense, one man makes a choice that forces him to confront the darkest reaches of his soul and betray those closest to him. As he’s swept up into a nightmare of escalating violence, he must question his own morality—-and determine just how far he’s willing to go to save the woman he loves.
I love books that forces a main character into a moral quandary. And no, it’s not because I’m sadistic! Okay. Maybe I am…a little. Seriously, I like to put myself in that person’s shoes and mull over what I would do in their situation. Killer Choice poses such a question, and it kept me thoroughly engaged throughout the entire story.
Gary is a realistic Mr. Nice Guy. He’s running an outdoor apparel store with his younger brother who he’s extremely close with. He adores his wife Beth and is devastated when just as they’re finally realizing their dream of having a child, Beth is diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor. But there’s hope in an experimental treatment overseas if they can come up with $200,000. Despite friends, family and fundraisers, they’re nowhere near the amount they need. And then Otto strolls into Gary’s life holding out hope.
What would you do to save the life of the person you love most in the world? Would you be willing to kill someone? To sweeten the pot, what if the target was a villain in every sense of the word, who had ruined other’s lives. Would that make a difference?
There’s a couple of things that grabbed my attention. First, the beginning of the story although a little slow, focuses on Gary’s and Beth’s increasingly frantic fundraising efforts. With the assistance of their friends and family, they put their story out on internet fundraising sites, hold hot dog fundraisers, and do interviews with the media. But despite their best efforts they don’t even make it to the halfway mark of their goal. So, when Otto approaches Gary with his offer, Gary is absolutely desperate and primed to do something, well, stupid. This makes his naïveté and serious lack of judgement, for the most part, understandable.
I also liked that Otto’s story was told and his life as a sketchy pawnbroker/drug dealer involved with some even nastier characters than himself, was almost as compelling as Gary’s. He’s in a desperate situation as well, which leads him to concoct this crazy plan. The dichotomy between these two men’s lives couldn’t be more stark. Under just about any other circumstances their paths never would have crossed, but because of Beth’s illness they do, and their actions result in horrible repercussions that drag in people who Gary also loves.
While the story is a little slow setting everything up, once Gary’s peaceful middle-class and Otto’s violent, criminal worlds collide, the pace is frenetic and I couldn’t put the book down. The ending is realistic and a little open-ended which made me wonder what the future would hold for Gary and Beth.
Despite the slightly slow beginning and a few implausible scenes, Killer Choice is a fun thrill ride of a debut, that reminded me a little of one of my favorite authors, Harlan Coben. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing what Tom Hunt comes up with next.