Category Archives: For Writers

Would You Terminate a Life …


24514903… to end the suffering associated with an incurable disease? In The Euthanist, Alex Dolan’s debut novel, this is exactly what his protagonist is doing. Kali,  paramedic by day and euthanist by night (and on her days off), is part of an underground group who will put you out of your misery if you meet certain criteria, your family is on board, and your physician agrees.


As you can imagine, Kali is tempting fate since her brand of euthanasia is illegal, and by the end of the first chapter trouble arrives in the form of an undercover cop. The cop, who is actually an FBI agent with a file detailing all of her “cases,” offers her a chance to avoid prison if she will euthanize his sister. Under great duress, Kali agrees, except the sister is not who she is supposed to be. Kali figures this out, reneges on the deal, and thus begins a twisting, turning game of cat and mouse.


The FBI agent, Leland Moon, eventually flushes Kali out of hiding and forces her to join him in a plot to exact revenge against two of the most heinous fictional characters I’ve come across in quite some time. Helena Mumm and Walter Gretsch are brother and sister who once lived together as man and wife. They are responsible for the abduction, torture, and murder of twenty or more children, and Leland Moon wants to close what has become a very cold case, but he needs Kali’s help, and ultimately he get’s it.


If you’ve perused my website and read the Four D’s series of posts, you know that I look for depth of character, story, insight, and language whenever I read fiction. Mr. Dolan has infused The Euthanist with all of these, giving Kali great insight, adding deep layers to the story and principal characters, and putting it on the page with a prose style that shines. If you are a reader that can handle dark subject matter, you will enjoy The Euthanist. If you are an aspiring writer, you should read this story with an eye toward a writing style that should be emulated.


If you have read or end up reading The Euthanist, leave a comment, and let us know what you think. 



The Four D’s: All in One Place

  If you’ve perused my blog at all, you may be familiar with a series of posts called The Four D’s. These posts stem from my experience as an MFA student at Pine Manor College in Boston, where I was fortunate enough to spend a semester under the mentorship of New York Times bestselling author Dennis… Continue Reading

More From the Gap

  If you did not see the preceding post that explains what it means to write from the gap, go here first.   Now that you have a basic idea of what it means to write from the gap, watch the video below. Robert McKee explains how to use the gap when writing beats in a scene, writing… Continue Reading

Writing From the Gap

  First, a disclaimer: none of the following concepts are based on my original thoughts. What I’ve outlined below is borrowed from Robert McKee’s book STORY. (More about McKee’s book and seminars later)    I think “the gap” is a key concept for any writer, and particularly useful for those authors who are writing thrillers or stories of suspense, or any… Continue Reading

Not One Among Them Left Unscathed

  Let’s consider modern battlefield surgery. I don’t have a military background, but I am a former surgeon with an extensive trauma experience, so I can make an educated guess as to how our wounded soldiers are treated.   First, conditions permitting, I would surmise that the wounded are removed from the field of battle as quickly as possible.… Continue Reading

The Organ Takers Wins an IndieFab Honorable Mention

  The Organ Takers was awarded the honorable mention spot for the thriller & suspense category in Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for 2014.   After the gold, silver, and bronze winners, that means The Organ Takers finished in fourth place, which translates to third loser. But hey, not bad for a debut novel that was… Continue Reading

The Organ Takers is an IndieFab Finalist

  The Organ Takers has been selected as a finalist in Foreword Reviews’ INDIEFAB Book of the Year Awards for 2014. What is Foreword Reviews?   Foreword Reviews is both an online and print review journal that reviews independently published books. It is distributed quarterly to 7500 librarians and booksellers and is also available at most Barnes &… Continue Reading