Wendell Mackey is no longer a man, but what is he? He is in the process of a transformation, but what exactly is he becoming? Not even Wendell knows for sure. The Death of Wendell Mackey begins three days into the main character’s escape from an institution where he had been held against his will in order to become a test subject for experiments of a medical nature. The author immediately whisks the reader into Wendell’s mindset and the suspense of the story begins to build.
The strongest aspect of this engrossing story hinges upon C. T. Westing’s ability to capture descriptive detail. The scenes are rendered in a cinematic style. The author leaves no stone unturned as he painstakingly draws the reader in Wendell’s dark and confusing world. Plus, the beautiful cover art complements the plot well.
The reader gets a glimpse into Wendell’s past as he hides out in his mother’s old apartment. Flashbacks reveal how he was tricked into undergoing the experiments that are now causing his skin to peel off along with his toes and teeth. The fascinating surface story invites the reader to dig into deeper implications such as the nature of man and the role of science in modern life.
The novel’s structure may strike some readers as difficult to read, not because of the writing (which is very strong and engaging) but because of the overly long chapters. Even with the streamlined nature of eBooks, readers often still find themselves hoping for manageable chapter breaks. Another issue in the novel that broke the flow of the narrative centers on paragraphs that often run the length of one, and sometimes nearly two full screens on an iPad.
The ending might possibly leave some readers wanting more, or it could strike other readers as the perfect fit. The Death of Wendell Mackey is definitely good because every reader will definitely find their own backgrounds and beliefs influencing how they interpret the story.
All in all, Wendell Mackey is a strongly drawn character the reader will feel connected to as they get to know him and all that has happened in his life. Scenes where he recalls details about his less than admirable mother certainly shed light on his character. The author keeps the narrative moving along, but it does not do the book justice to give too much of the plot away. Just know the story unfolds in a mesmerizing manner and Wendell’s mysterious transformation makes the story hard to put down.
You can connect with C. T. Westing via GoodReads.
Are you typically drawn to stories of this type?
A complimentary copy was provided by the author in exchange for this review. For more insight, read my Book Review Criteria.
Please share responsibly. Jeri Walker, 2013.
Sounds interesting scary mysterious all at once. 🙂
Voluntary drug experimentation can be frightening enough on its own. To go to the next level of forced experimentation is more the level of mad scientist stuff. Just in your review the conspiracy theorist in me is getting goose bumps.
Jon, in the past my husband volunteered for some medical studies. C. T.’s novel made me wonder about all the things that could really go wrong when medical science sits in the wrong hands.
I can’t imagine how one would go about describing a forced medical experiment. This would certainly be worth a read to see just how he was able to accomplish that. I do get that about breaks. It really does help the eyes when you make an effort to do them. 🙂
Sounds very interesting. I agree with Susan, I was also wondering how he describes it. This sounds like a movie story.
Ooo, I do love me a good narrative and this character sounds most intriguing. The weirdness of modern science and human nature are an irresistible combination. Also like the idea of expository detail, which can bring a story to life like nothing else. A great review of what seems to be a very fascinating read!
Krystyna, the descriptive detail in C. T.’s book really does make it well worth the read. I felt pretty envious of his skill in creating pictures with words while I was reading it.
I’m always afraid of getting too detailed in my writing and leaving readers feeling uninterested and bored. This is a good reminder that good writers use as much detail as possible… and some readers like it even more!
Dan, using as much detail as C.T. does can be risky, but he’s certainly talented enough to pull it off. I tend to be just the opposite in my style, but often wish I could be more descriptive
You had me hooked right off the bat. I really appreciate how you opened the review similar to what you would read on the back cover of a novel. Thanks for the heads up about the chapter length. I try to find as much time as I can to read but often I only have a few minutes in between a load of laundry or cooking dinner and I like to be able to pick a book up and read at least a chapter. When chapters are lengthy, I often get discouraged because once I pick up the book, I have a hard time putting it down until a chapter break. If I know the chapters are longer than the time I have, I often don’t even bother picking the book up until I have enough time. This book does sound interesting and I really want to know what he is transforming into. I’ll put it on my list of books to read on the weekend or on vacation when I have a little more time to spend reading each chapter. Thank you for the review and getting me interested in the book.
Mary, I can totally relate to what you say about needing chapter breaks. Otherwise it can be very hard to put a book down!
I’m one of those readers who really does need a chapter break here and there. Although I think they discussion about what science can do these days is an interesting one to address in a story; its kind of scary to wonder about the scientific experiments they could complete with the technology we have right now.
Although the title was off-putting, the opening paragraph of this review immediately drew me in! Great post!
This book sound like a good read and it reminds me of a movie where people volunteered for medical experiments but of course there were more cynical motives along the way.