6 Ways to Die by R. Mac Wheeler

6 Ways to Die by R. Mac Wheeler
6 Ways to Die by R. Mac Wheeler
Publisher: Self-published
Genre: Young Adult, Suspense/Mystery, Contemporary
Length: Short Story (113 pages)
Age Recommendation: 16+
Rating: 3 Stars
Review by: Astilbe

Alcoholic parents treated Margarite as an unwelcome stranger, then left her at fourteen with her thirty year old autistic brother. At sixteen, things really sour, thanks to her brother. A medical researcher, Reggie engineers the ultimate plague. Fanatics seek to control him. The government pursues them as terrorists. Margarite witnesses ruthlessness, compassion, and competence she couldn’t imagine from her brother, but the world needs a miracle. The best she and Reggie can do is wing it.

If Margarite wants to save herself and all of the other innocent people who are at risk, she’s going to have to think on her feet.

The dialogue was well done. To give one specific example of why I enjoyed it so much, Margarite and Reggie both had unique speaking styles that perfectly matched their characters. I especially enjoyed the scenes that involved them speaking to each other because of how much of their personalities could be figured out simply by paying attention to how they spoke and what they did and did not say.

At first I struggled to stay interested in the plot because it had such a slow start. The narrator spent several chapters introducing the characters and exploring their backstories before digging into what was going on with the plague that they were trying to stop. While I liked meeting the characters, I really would have preferred to jump into the main conflict sooner. Delaying it for so long didn’t leave enough room to fully explore what happened once the pacing picked up.

The explanation of how the plague worked made me shudder. The narrator explained it all in detail without derailing what was currently happening to the characters as this explanation was being shared with the readers. It was interesting to have so much information about this disease before the plot thickened. I was glad it was written this way.

I’d recommend 6 Ways to Die to anyone who is in the mood for something intense.

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