Confined at home and given a book to review, I was surprised. “A Brush with Death” by Jody Summers was quite a pleasant experience.
Why do I say the book was a surprise? First, because it was a novel (a love story AND a mystery), and as I’ve told readers before, my preference is always non-fiction.
Second, the book was such a clear story that when one stops reading for a day or two, nothing is lost upon returning. (I’ve read other books with lots of intersecting stories and characters. Put the book down; pick it up and you initially are confused knowing where you are in the story and who’s who.)
“A Brush with Death” has only two locations: New Orleans where the young woman in the story lives (if you’ve been to New Orleans, you’ll love all the references), and Louisburg, Kansas were the young man in the story has a ranch.
The young woman in the story is a painter and has an idea to mix cremation ashes with her paints to produce memorial paintings.
The young man in the story is a rancher whose father has died recently. The son sees an ad for the ashes paintings and thinks the idea has merit. He contacts the painter and ultimately flies to New Orleans to deliver his father’s ashes. Love blossoms.
The problem is the painter discovers that the stories behind each of her ashes paintings seem to come to life, at first in dreams and then in real life. The painting incorporating ashes of her lover’s father provides the book’s major mystery.
I am typically not a science fiction or supernatural fan, but I found myself not objecting to the other-worldliness of the story. In fact, the story builds and becomes a real nail-biter.
The book’s title, “A Brush with Death”, is perfect, yet on Amazon I found two other books with the same title, but if you click on the link above (or the book cover), you will reach the Amazon page for the book I reviewed. Jody Summers, the author, is a poet who at age 50 was inspired to write the story after meeting an artist who indeed did incorporate ashes into paintings. Summers later found out that her painter inspiration had contracted a serious case of fibromyalgia, so she has pledged to donate a portion of her earnings from the book to further fibromyalgia research.
In addition to thoroughly enjoying “A Brush with Death”, I have a message for author Summers, I absolutely LOVED the very last line of the book. (Don’t cheat; the impact demands you read the entire story.)