Sick to Death
By Greg Levin • ★★★★★
Levin's book is interesting both in plot and concept, and the characters are well-defined. Gage, the main character, who finds himself with a bad-news cancer diagnosis on page one, is a great antihero, and the plot crackles with tension all the way through the last page. The dialogue is smart and realistic. I recommend this book, especially if you like dark humor—and much of it is quite dark. But much of it is quite funny, too.
I debated dropping a star because at the end of act two, the book shifts into borderline ridiculousness—something the characters do affects the entire nation, which is played almost tongue-in-cheek. It didn't work for me, and I was afraid it would doom the rest of the book. But Levin pushes the camera in again for the third act, and the book gets back on track.
There are a couple of minor editing issues—one of the main characters has a niece whose name changes from Stacey to Naomi and back again, and there's a dialogue scene where the character speaking is misidentified. Perhaps I'd give it four-and-a-half stars instead of five, but the brilliance of the rest of the book led me to round up again.
—Paul Austin Ardoin