David Oppegaard has a real feel for creating end-of-time landscapes. Here, the world has been gripped by The Despair, an unseen force that causes people to commit suicide. They are then grabbed up by the Collectors, inhabitants who have attempted suicide but failed. This has an edgy feel, and the main character, Norman, is a strong individual and immensely likeable
as he attempts to battle the Despair and destroy the Source.
On the surface, The Suicide Collectors has the earmarks of something special,
but it all falls apart at the end. There are too many similarities to simply let them slide: Norman casts a hand grenade into a black abyss, recalling elements of Tolkien's Lord of the Rings trilogy. Others have seen pieces of M. Night Shyamalan's film about mass suicide called
This debut novel by the author, like his followup, Wormwood, Nevada, shows promise, but both books ultimately disintegrate on the last pages. His prose is flowing,
demanding that you turn the page; characters are well-sketched. But his finales fail. Here, the bad guy is a light. Just a light. After nearly 300 pages, the reader is left with nothing but a "beautiful light." Very weak.
Certainly Oppegaard is working on a third novel. We can only look forward to an entire book that captures our attention and not just everything but the last 10 pages.