“The Last Time I Died” by Joe Nelms / Reviewed by Clay Stafford

The Last Time I Died by Joe Nelms


Okay, this one made me pause. Highly different from my normal fare. At first, I wasn’t fond of the novel, but I couldn’t stop reading. That’s crazy. The reason is because the writing is just too darn good. Then after I got sucked into this character’s mad descent, the character was so complexly written that I couldn’t give the guy up. You’ve got to read this book! The last book I read that did this to me was Fight Club. I read that book once, but when the movie came out (starring a young Brad Pitt), I saw it (literally) six times at the 99-cent movie theater. This novel had the same effect on me. It’s a story I don’t think I would ever be able to write and it amazes me authors such as Nelms can turn out a world such as this.

This is a first-person novel of a man looking back at his unraveling life while his present life falls apart. The psychological first person format helps the reader view it from the main character’s perspective, even the fantasy of his detached self, where I began to wonder – and this is what the book is about – what is real and what is not? Sometimes I think the guy is going out-of-body for a detached third-person, which is freaky unto itself. It’s a dark book filled with caverns of repressed memories. The main character is a man focused on the negative who clearly sees the negative in others and acerbically – even laugh out loud – describes them. Reading this book is like watching a slow death. I can only imagine how tired Nelms was at the end of each day as he worked on this novel. For character studies, you don’t beat this one. It brings new meaning to the old phrase, How do I make you love me? As I read, I kept hearing Elton’s Blue Moves album in the background. You know, citing this character and in my own armchair-psychologist’s opinion, sometimes forgetfulness can be a good thing; I’m convinced that it is not always best – and I’m sure health professionals would disagree – to go digging in old tired mental graves. Obviously, this is a thrilling story that interested Nelms and one that he cathartically needed to write, definitely one you need to read, and a new author whose next book you should eagerly await.

Well, this should give you a few eclectic titles to read over the next few days. Get in touch with these authors, learn about them, and tell them you would like to see them at this year’s Killer Nashville.

And remember, if you buy your books through the links on Killer Nashville, you’ll still get the great Amazon discount prices, but – better yet – a portion of the proceeds goes towards the educational events sponsored by the good volunteers at Killer Nashville. So support Killer Nashville while you’re supporting our featured authors!

Until next time, read like someone is burning the books!

Clay Stafford

– Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker (www.ClayStafford.com) and founder of Killer Nashville (www.KillerNashville.com).  As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages.  Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” (www.OneOfTheMiracles.com) and the music CD “XO” (www.JefferyDeaverXOMusic.com). A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.”  (PW 6/10/13)

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