Book Review: The Suicide Collectors, by David Oppegaard

I realize it’s been a while since my last book review. I have been reading. I simply didn’t have many good things to say about what I’ve been reading. That all changed two days ago when I opened this book. To be honest, I haven’t sat down and read a book this quickly in good, long while.

The Suicide CollectorsFrom the publisher:

The Despair has plagued the earth for five years. Most of the world’s population has inexplicably died by its own hand, and the few survivors struggle to remain alive. A mysterious, shadowy group called the Collectors has emerged, inevitably appearing to remove the bodies of the dead.” In the crumbling state of Florida, a man named Norman takes an unprecedented stand against the Collectors, propelling him on a journey across North America. It’s rumored that a scientist in Seattle is working on a cure for the Despair, but in a world ruled by death, it won’t be easy to get there.

Death is sweeping across the world and people are killing themselves…except Norman.

The Suicide Collectors isn’t your typical end of the world tale. Something called “The Despair” is sweeping the planet. People find themselves despondent, depressed, and have lost the will to live seemingly overnight. Large groups of folks take pills, share a gun, or jump off buildings. Eventually around ten percent of the world is left. I found the premise for this book to be refreshing, even if some people may find it a little depressing.

I also like the way Mr. Oppegaard doesn’t take the act of suicide lightly. He handled such a delicate subject in a thoughtful way, going into philosophical explanations as well as the emotional damage it wreaks on those left behind. At no point did I believe he was taking things lightly. Most of these characters have lost loved ones to The Despair and we get to see how they struggle with that loss on a day to day basis. We also get to see the tug of The Despair on their souls–how at certain points they think about ending their own lives as well.

With only a handful of main characters, it was easy to like, and follow, them. Our main character, Norman, is just a guy trying to live. He’s seen the worst The Despair has to offer and still manages to somehow keep pushing forward. His attitude has a ripple effect on most of the people he meets on his travels. Along with his longtime neighbor, Pops, Norman sets out from Florida, traveling cross-country to Seattle, seeking a rumored cure for The Despair. Things don’t go as smoothly as Norman and Pops would have liked and they find themselves walking through Kansas where they meet an eleven year old girl named Zero. Zero has nothing left in Kansas and wants to see the ocean. Our three heroes head out together and even more bad things happen from there. The characters all struggle and are believable in those struggles. I thought they were all well done.

This is a dark book which tackles many grim subjects. Some folks probably won’t want to read about such a bleak society. I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Mr. Oppegaard’s world. Other than a lag toward the middle, this book moves along at a good pace. You’ll be turning pages long after you should have closed the book.

I also really liked how the author kept much of The Despair shrouded in mystery. He gives readers enough to keep them going, but not too much to spoil anything. Anytime an author leaves readers with healthy questions, it’s a good thing. It’ll have them wondering about plot points long after they close the book.

The ending was borderline brilliant, in my opinion. I can’t really go into details without spoiling things, but there’s a bit of irony there. Simply put, it was excellent.

If you’re looking for a quick and engaging read about the end of the world as you’ve never seen it, then pick up a copy of The Suicide Collectors. Each page brings something different and exciting. Mr. Oppegaard takes readers on a grand and unforgettable adventure that’ll leave them wanting more. The end never looked so good. The Suicide Collectors is out now, so grab a copy today.

What I liked:

  • The Premise. It’s different, and well done. It’s easy for readers to see the author took a thoughtful approach to such a sensitive subject.
  • The Characters. I cared about each main character. The secondary characters were even memorable which is a testament to the author’s skills.
  • The Pace. Dude, this is one quick read. You won’t want to stop until the last word, on the last page is over.
  • The Mystery. What is the Source? Where does it come from? How can it be stopped? You’ll have to read, and even then you won’t have all the answers. I really liked that air of mystery surrounding why wholesale suicide starts affecting our planet. Readers get some answers and are left to piece together the rest. Well done.
  • The Sense of Adventure. By the end of this book, readers will feel like they’ve crossed the country through the perils of a collapsed society along with Norman. Our characters have purpose and understand what’s at stake if they fail. Not only is the journey grand, but it’s also memorable.
  • The Ending. Some people may not like it, but I enjoyed the sense of irony. I think it took balls to end the book the way Mr. Oppegaard did, and I applaud him for it. To be honest, it felt like a logical, and fitting, way to end this story.

What I didn’t like:

  • I’ve only got a few minor gripes with The Suicide Collectors. There’s a few phrases that feel overdone toward the beginning of this book. It also seemed like everyone had to tell their backstory and experiences with The Despair. Zero’s name, and the explanation as to why that’s her name, felt forced.

Overall: I’m giving The Suicide Collectors four out of five stars. Mr. Oppegaard spins an unforgettable tale about the end of the world in a fresh feeling way. He gives readers characters they care about and puts them on a grand journey of hope and survival. The fast pace will have readers hungry for what comes next and wishing for more time in Mr. Oppegaard’s world. If you’re looking for a thrilling, intelligent, and thought provoking read, then The Suicide Collectors is the book you’ve been looking for. Give it a try today.

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