Reviewed by Marta Tandori for Readers' Favorite
Ever thought about checking out of your train wreck of a life and then watching the not-so-pleasant aftermath from the sidelines like a spectator sport? That’s exactly what happens in How I’m Spending My Afterlife, a well-written novel by Spencer Fleury.
Alton Carver, an attorney in his mid-thirties and under federal investigation for embezzlement and securities fraud, decides to bypass all the unpleasantness by faking his own death and then making a beeline for Costa Rica, where he plans to live like a king on his ill-gotten gains. Certainly a great plan if he can pull it off. The only problem is, Alton never thought it would be so difficult to leave behind his beloved four-year-old daughter, Clara, or his wife, Nicole. Steeped in shame and remorse, he breaks into his own house – only to discover that his wife has already planned his wake, somewhat prematurely, in his opinion. Instead of hightailing it out of town like he had originally planned, Alton decides to watch his wake unfold from the vantage point of a neighbor’s tree house and is shocked to see his widowed wife cozying up to another man. However, that’s only the first of many eye openers awaiting Alton from his lofty vantage point in the afterlife…
How I’m Spending My Afterlife is entertaining and well-written, making for a compelling read. It’s also one of those stories that delivers a hard life lesson: if you’re gonna fake your own death, you’d better have a damn good plan in place and you’d better be prepared to carry it through. Fleury delivers his prose with a touch of self-deprecating humor reminiscent of John Grisham, giving his protagonist, Alton Carver, vulnerability despite the cocky attitude. It also brings home the message that our perception of ourselves is much different than how others see us – and rarely do we like the image we are presented with. Bad decisions and revenge make for a bad cocktail, yet How I’m Spending My Afterlife is an irresistible cocktail that must be savored slowly for maximum enjoyment.