My review of 40: A Novel by Travis Thrasher

Publisher: FaithWords (May 4, 2011)

Music producer Tyler Harrison has made a life for himself far away from the home of his youth, the home of his emotionally distant and judgmental father. After a visit to his dad, who was struck speechless after a heart attack ravaged his body, Tyler starts to experience hallucinations. Nine months before his fortieth birthday he's visited by someone claiming to be an angel named Matthew, delivering a message that Tyler will die on his birthday. As Tyler becomes consumed with anger and fear and confusion in the wake of this message, trying to avoid his past and his present, he finally makes the decision to try to make his peace before his death, a decision that leads to unexpected outcomes.

Travis Thrasher continues to surprise me with the variety of the stories he has penned. 40 was again different than his previous works, an emotional and suspenseful journey with a satisfying conclusion. I must admit that at first I did not enjoy this book as much as I did some of his previous works (Isolation continues to be one of my favorites) as I thought the book was a bit slow to get started. However, as I became immersed in it's pages, as the suspense revealed itself, the story grew on me and soon I was flying through the pages in the second half. Thrasher is an accomplished writer who can entertain while inspiring personal reflection.

Ultimately, I was left deep in thought as I thought about the decisions I make in my own life. I would like to assume that I make much different decisions than a man like Tyler, and in some ways I do. But Jesus also reminds us that our actions start in our heart, and my heart is not so different than Tyler's. Tyler is a complex character, deftly developed in his history and motivations. Thrasher reminds us that our choices can lead to dark outcomes, but that God's always there alongside us, waiting to lead us home, waiting to free us.

I give this book a solid recommendation rating of 4 out 5 stars. I must warn readers that there is some foul language that the author includes, likely to add to the believability of the character, but this may offend some.

Book received courtesy of the publisher for the purposes of this unbiased review.