Having read the Library of the Dead trilogy featuring FBI agent Will Piper a number of years ago (I just read that it’s being made into a movie which I think is fantastic!) and having enjoyed it immensely, I was happy to give Glenn Cooper’s three new books a try, starting with Near Death. I will also be reviewing The Resurrection Maker and The Devil Will Come in the next few weeks, so make sure to check in again to see what I think of them.
Near Death features FBI agent Cyrus O’Malley, an emotionally drained father caring for his young daughter, Tara, who is dying from an inoperable brain tumor. In the midst of this emotional turmoil, he is also investigating a serial killer that has left a slew of victims in his wake, young women with mysterious drill holes through their skulls.
Agent O’Malley’s nemesis is Alex Weller, a successful, charismatic neuroscientist who experienced a near death experience when he was a young boy. The memory of this experience has haunted him ever since that day and he is obsessed with developing a chemical that will allow him to repeat this experience. Alex will stop at nothing to develop this chemical, crossing the line from benign scientist and researcher to cold blooded killer, putting him squarely in the sights of Cyrus O’Malley.
The concept of near death and the afterlife, although interesting and thought provoking, can be a difficult subject to be tackled in this type of genre but I think that Glenn Cooper has done a great job in dealing with both the ethical and theological issues without making the discussions between the characters too preachy or overburdening the flow and pace of the novel itself.
Personally I felt the pace wane a bit in the second half of the book and I thought that perhaps some of the plot points were a little too convenient. However, on the whole these were just minor things that did not take away from my enjoyment of reading Near Death. Glenn Cooper has once again created a fast paced, page turner that blends thriller, suspense and science fiction all in one neat, tight package.
I give this 3.5/5 stars.
If you would like to learn more about Glenn Cooper’s previous novels or read more about the author, just click on one of the images below.
Thank you to NetGalley and Lascaux Media for providing me with an e-reader copy in exchange for an honest review.