Sean Brogan has spent most of his life running from a past he can never escape. Emotionally abandoned by his alcoholic father and secretly blaming himself for his mother’s death, the scars he carries are ones no one can see.
On the anniversary of the day that changed his life forever, Sean flees New York City on his 1965 Triumph Bonneville, hoping to face the demons that plague his nightmares. He plans to slip into the sleepy town of Lake Fort, West Virginia as quietly as he did ten years before, but his life has never gone as planned. Sean never expects to see Rina, the blue-haired sister of his childhood best friend who makes it her mission to rescue the lost things. A hopeful dreamer who sits on the roof and watches the sunset, she represents all the things that he has lost.
As Sean spends time in the lakeside town that has haunted his dreams since he was a little boy, he has no choice but to face the pain that he buried from a life cut off too soon. In the blink of an eye, with a gun to his head, Sean is forced to confront what it means to fight for the will to live when your world has gone dark.
An anthem for those of us who have been left behind, “A Study in Terminal” is a vulnerable story about the human condition that reminds us that to beat your past, you first must turn around and face it.
I received this book from the author/publisher for free. All comments and opinions are entirely my own and this review is voluntary.
“Sunsets remind me that the darkness won’t last forever, that the light will come if I only wait for it.”
A Study in Terminal is a deep book that deals with real topics. Unfair topics. Unfair trauma. The unfairness of life and how we are expected to cope and live life “normally”. It’s a book that isn’t afraid to face the darkness that most of us–if we’re honest–face more than we care to admit.
“People always tell you time heals all wounds, but I don’t think that’s true. I think time numbs us, allows us to cope, to somehow continue on.”
This book isn’t the type of 5 stars that I normally say “I finished it in one sitting”, it’s a book that I read very slowly. Sometimes only a single chapter in a week. But I loved the resolution and ending so much that I can’t rate it anything but 5 stars. It’s such a powerful journey of overcoming self-hate and coming to terms with trauma.
The lines I highlighted overflow my notes app on my phone. The mystery was well written and though it is very subtle, it was enough to keep me wondering and desperate to learn what happened.
The only thing that left me just a bit dissatisfied was how little the romance was actually involved in the plot. I had expected Rina to be a bigger part of Sean’s healing. But as it is, Sean spent most of his time dodging Rina’s calls and texts, so that was a little disappointing.
Overall, this book is a really beautiful illustration of searching for light in the midst of the darkest storms.
“That’s when the healing begins, Sean, when you let people meet you in the darkness. Don’t wait to come to people in the light; let them meet you in the darkness.”
Trigger warnings: Suicide | Mentions of rape (not detailed) | Drugs | Smoking | Alcohol abuse