The Life That Got Away, by Clay N. Sauls ISBN 9781945271175
Four out of five stars
This is a book that is disturbing to read, as it progresses you often pause and ponder if the main character is not a sociopathic murderer. It is clear from very early in the story that he is a disturbed, obsessive personality, so it is certain that he is a sociopath, the question is whether he is a murderer.
When the narrator hears that his “girlfriend” in Seattle has been sexually abused, he abandons his life in Boston and drives across the country in a “noble” quest to defend her honor. The adventure includes a stop at his mother’s residence in South Carolina. Her name is Beatrice (Beth) and the fact that she has no interest in having him defend her honor does not deter him in the slightest. Early in the book, he mentions that he lives alone and wanders out at night in dark places carrying a sharp fish-scaling knife. Without question, this immediately establishes the creepy-dangerous guy bona fida.
The trip itself is not without difficulties with the locals and when he arrives in Seattle, there is some very ambiguous discussion of his living arrangements with Beth and her roommate Elaine. There is no question that the author is very good at expressing the spooky guy character. He professes great love, but it is not the kind that you would want to receive.
The story sometimes wanders a bit, with filler included that could have been tightened. In one sense, this is because of the quick, firm establishment of the narrator being a creepy guy. Additional evidence sometimes comes across as extraneous. However, it would be a solid beginning of a screenplay for a movie thriller if the actor and director were properly selected.