Book Review of We Live Dying by Tyler Klumpenhower
Available from Black Rose Writing (coming soon!)
In his psychological thriller biopic, author Tyler Klumpenhower matches psychiatrist Dr. Brian Cruse against his deranged patient, Tucker Wilson. As they struggle in their daily sessions at Bermingham Penitentiary, Dr. Cruse begins to unearth Tucker’s past as he reveals his many issues with a woman named Dorothy who haunts him from his childhood, as well as philosophical asides in which Tucker and Brian discuss God, Satan, and the afterlife. As the story progresses, we see Tucker from within and without as Mr. Klumpenhower deftly writes Tucker’s thoughts through journal entries and direct first person interaction with the reader. Dr. Cruse is examined in much the same way, with windows into his struggling relationship with his wife, Adelaide and his own perceptions of Tucker and his increasing insanity. The book ends with a stark revelation that even Tucker Wilson would never have suspected.
Mr. Klumpenhower’s plot works well with the novel, lending itself to an in-depth study of the human will and fragility. The writing style of changing between characters is well-executed and doesn’t leave the reader confused as to who is speaking. His use of tone and voice help these transitions well. While there are a few lapses in writing style, the weight of the characters and plot drive the story well and engage the reader smartly, pressing us to need a resolution. Klumpenhower ends the story with a climax and solid closing that will leave the reader breathless.