Dr. Ricky Starks is a psychoanalyst. His life is very predictable, always taking the same patients, walks, vacations at the same time. His wife passed away from cancer a few years ago so it's just him. On his 53rd birthday he gets a note saying that unless he finds out who sent him that note, he needs to commit suicide in 15 days or his relatives will start to get picked off. There are a few rules to the game and a lady named Virgil is sent to help "guide him to the gates of Hell" but other than that he is completely on his own to figure this out.
The game moves fairly quickly, since Ricky has only 15 days, but it gets more and more cruel which leaves you wondering why anyone would go to such trouble to try and destroy one person. The question isn't just if Ricky can figure out who is doing this to him, but what he is going to do once he finds out.
This was a captivating thriller that got even more interesting half way through the book when the book gives a twist. I'm not sure what Dr. Starks would say about the fact that I enjoyed reading about revenge. By the end of the novel though, I still wasn't sure why what happened was enough to drive the "bad guy" to ruin a whole bunch of people's lives.
First Line: "In the year he fully expected to die, he spent the majority of his fifty-third birthday as he did most other days, listening to people complain about their mothers."