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The Suicide Collectors (2008)

by David Oppegaard(Favorite Author)
3.23 of 5 Votes: 1
0312381107 (ISBN13: 9780312381103)
St. Martin's Press
review 1: How I love post-apocalyptic, end of the world stories. In my opinion, the 2 best novels that involve the crash of civilizations and the struggle to continue on are Stephen King’s The Stand and Cormac McCarthy’s The Road. I have also heard that George R. Stewart’s Earth Abides is pretty good but have not had a chance to read it yet.So when I read that David Oppegaard’s debut novel involves a plague called The Despair that wipes out 90% of the population, I knew this book was for me. So how does is rank? It is a very good debut. It is a step behind The Stand and The Road, however it is a compelling novel in it’s own right.As already mentioned, a plague called The Despair has killed off 90% of the population. The Despair causes people to up and commit suicide withou... moret any warning. There is no known cause or cure. After someone commits suicide, people in black robes show up to collect the dead. They are known as the Suicide Collectors.Our main character, Norman, returns from a fishing trip one day to find that his wife has committed suicide. Norman kinda snaps and he decides that he will not allow the Suicide Collectors to take his wife’s body. So when they show up, Norman kills one the Collectors and they are forced to leave without his wife’s body. Norman has won the confrontation but he has made a very dangerous enemy.Norman cannot continue to live in the same house so he talks his neighbor, Pops, into taking a trip to Seattle, WA. Norman was told by a drifter several years prior that the city of Seattle was rebuilding and that a Dr. Briggs was working on a cure. So, they decide to take the easy way to Seattle by flying a plane but nothing is easy when society is collapsed.Half way through their flight, Norman and Pops are forced down in the great state of Kansas. They meet up with up my favorite character of the book, Zero. Zero is young girl whose father has just committed suicide. The three decide to join forces and continue the trek to Seattle. Along the way, they meet interesting characters and get involved in several dangerous situations.What I liked: The overall arc is fascinating and you will feel compelled to continue reading until the last page. So plan to stay up late when you start the book.I also really enjoyed the strangeness and mystery of the plot. For example, who are these Suicide Collectors and why are they so quick to recover the dead? What is causing The Despair? Mr. Oppegaard doles out the explanations in small doses and you will not want to stop until the very end. Oh the ending, depressing but satisfying that will leave you completely in shock.What I didn’t like: My main issue with the novel has to do with the despair (sorry, bad pun). In The Stand and especially in The Road you live the crushing misery of death and destruction. The Suicide Collectors attempt to create an atmosphere of a gloom but it never really comes across on an emotional level.The three main characters also run into some dangerous situations but they get out of it too easily. With the collapse of the rule of law, it would be dangerous to travel anywhere and I never really felt that the characters were in mortal danger.Last word: A stellar debut novel that will have you flipping pages until the wee hours in the morning. I will definitely be picking up David Oppegarrd’s next novel, Wormwood, Nevada.
review 2: This book was unique--it had bits of my favorite genres (dystopia, mystery, apocolyptic type stuff) and some new stuff--some kind of virus that makes everyone feel depressed and lonely (and there are mass suicides)...I like the twist.The ONLY thing I would like to have more information on is...well...the end. It didn't explain how or why it all happened, or really tell the reader what happened with the characters. That kind of ambiguity I can take to an extent (Margaret Atwood does that all the time)...but I *almost* felt like the author was just trying to get out of coming up with an explanation... oh well? Quick easy holiday read. less
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Gotta say I really loved it. Creepy in the best way. A lil sad too.
second person ruined it for me.
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