Book Jacket

 

rank 34
word count 17622
date submitted 21.08.2011
date updated 19.12.2013
genres: Fiction, Thriller, Comedy, Crime
classification: moderate
incomplete

The Exit Man

Greg Levin

Suicide should come with a warning label: “DO NOT TRY THIS ALONE.” That's where Eli comes in.

 

Nobody sets out to become a euthanasia specialist. It’s the sort of profession one might fall into after years of failure in more traditional fields. Or after reading too much Nietzsche. Or after carefully evaluating the global parking situation.

Or after witnessing an ailing loved one endure lasting physical and emotional suffering.

Or, as in Eli’s case, all of the above.

Eli Edelmann never intended on making a living through mercy killing. After reluctantly taking over his family’s party supply store following his father’s death, he is approached by a terminally ill family friend who has had enough. The friend, a retired policeman, has an intricate plan involving something Eli has ready access to – helium. Eli is initially shocked and repulsed by the macabre proposal, but soon begins to soften his stance and, after much deliberation, eventually agrees to lend a hand.

It was supposed to be a one-time thing. How could Eli have known euthanasia was his true calling? And how long can he keep his daring underground "exit" operation going before the police or his volatile new girlfriend get wise?

(cover design provided by Bradley Wind - author of Bulb)

 
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tags

black humor, double life, euthanasia, final exit, helium, rogue, sardonic, secular humanism, suicide

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178 comments

 

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Billie Storm wrote 269 days ago

Oh, you're at it again. This will keep me happily giggling, with a slice of lemon at the side to temper too much joy, and in keeping with that mordant humour, all afternoon. (As per usual there is a mote of sad truth to the hilarity). I've already had a fit of giggles. Which is good. Hey, that is good.

On the shelf as soon as poss.
x

namefailedmicturation wrote 289 days ago

Comedy is difficult to get right. You do it well.

MagentaHead wrote 377 days ago

Simply brilliant, Greg. I love your style of writing and the quality of prose is top notch. It reminds me a little of Douglas Coupland but better. I hope you'll upload more so I can read the rest.

Chris

The Fantastic World of Sean Cleary

Chris80 wrote 398 days ago

This is superb, Greg. Proper writing. Great title as well.

Really like the mood you create (at least in my head); the light-hearted beginning ('two thumbs up') sets the tone for me, and you manage to carry this on throughout. The nature of the theme naturally creates a bittersweet-ish and melancholic platform, but the way you present it through the mind of Eli makes it highly enjoyable to read. I'd buy it.

I don't have any fingers to point or any clever remarks about how to improve it. Because I think it's bloody brilliant so far. But I'd be very interested to know where Eli goes from here.

Seringapatam wrote 410 days ago

Greg, this is clever writing and I enjoyed it so much. I can see you did a lot of work here before you even started writing it and it is now paying dividends isnt it. All it needs now is for you to get on here and push it now. Great narrative, brilliant flow to your book. cool premise. Loved it.
Sean Connolly. British Army on the rampage. B.A.O.R Please consider me for a read or watch list wont you? Sean Connolly.

Andrea Taylor wrote 483 days ago

I commented on your other book, realised its published and so checked this out. You are a writer. No question. An amazingly riveting start, so who can fail to read on? Fame awaits!
I dont normally ask for return reads (well, never) but your writing is so good I would appreciate a quick look at mine; am I wasting my time? I would value your opinion, even though it wont be your sort of book. Thanks!
Andrea
the de Amerley Affair

Jane Mauret wrote 489 days ago

Hello, Greg
I had read some of Orange Burial but I see you wanted comments re A Noble Profession.
This reads as well as the other book and I am stuck for finding critique at this moment in time.
You are tackling a subject that polarises the community but you have done it an acceptable way.
I think the saving grace is the humour (and this will rankle even more so with the above group!).
I think black humour has place in difficult subjects, especially when handled so expertly.
I will keep reading as I was mesmerized from the off.
It comes as no surprise that Orange has been published.
You must be a natural and there are not too many of them around.
I will try and find something to complain about (!).
Best wishes.
Jane Mauret
I CAN LAUGH - NOW!

JHood98 wrote 497 days ago

Wow! Truly amazing!
This is an idea I have never even presumed would be thought of, but I am glad it was. The idea of a sort of suicide 'assistant' is eerie yet enticing. Not to mention how beautiful your writing is and how amazing Eli is. Sorry for fanboy-ing
haha
I look forward to more of this in the VERY near future!
-Jacob

JHood98 wrote 497 days ago

Wow! Truly amazing!
This is an idea I have never even presumed would be thought of, but I am glad it was. The idea of a sort of suicide 'assistant' is eerie yet enticing. Not to mention how beautiful your writing is and how amazing Eli is. Sorry for fanboy-ing
haha
I look forward to more of this in the VERY near future!
-Jacob

Kevin Bergeron wrote 512 days ago

Greg,

This is very very funny. Eli's voice, his razor sharp wit, and the story, engaged and held me all the way through the seven chapters. I particularly enjoyed Sgt. Rush's attitude towards life and death.

I don't have a lot to say about this, because it's just very good. I do have to wonder where this is going, however. Eli has so far killed (or rather assisted) two people. I know he's hooked and he's just going to keep on doing this until something stops him. So far I've been carried along by the voice, characters, and premise, but something else has got to happen pretty soon to give the story more dimension. So far Eli is pretty comfortable doing what he's doing, so there isn't a lot of conflict there. Maybe he's going to fall in love or something like that. I don't know, but I'd love to read more of this to find out.

Kevin

readaholic wrote 514 days ago

Don't suppose this will be out for Xmas, Greg, but really hoping to see it on Amazon in the spring.

M

Sue Harries wrote 577 days ago

Very good! Love the humor, rated and will add to WL as soon as space. Sue 'It's a Dog's Life'

Abby Vandiver wrote 582 days ago

Wow, great book. I have seen a movie or something on an assistant in such an act, can't remember but what I remember certainly doesn't diminish this great book. Even though there is a lot of narrative, I found it interesting and it held my attention.

Good job.

Abby

bellatrix wrote 607 days ago

Brilliant! I love the humour. The book is a refreshing look at what is often viewed as a controvertial subject matter - very much in the news this week - cannot wait to read more.

David 2012 wrote 620 days ago

When I was younger, I read Vonnegut and Allen for their offbeat humor. I can now add Levin to the list. Your destiny might very well include the transition to becoming a last name.

MarkWilliams wrote 649 days ago

First book here I've read to the end (of what you uploaded). You had me on the edge of my seat. Brilliantly written! Scary.
Mark (The Rat, the Squirrel and the Gyroscope of Death)

Karamak wrote 667 days ago

Wonderful dark humour just my cup of tea although not sure what my gran would make of it! I am convinced there is a market for it and could quite easily see this in my local bookstore good luck I hope you get it published. All the best, Karen, Faking it in France.

Grace_Gallagher wrote 723 days ago

Please get published soon, I want to share this with people outside of authonomy!

Grace_Gallagher wrote 726 days ago

Brilliant, unique, topical... and funny. Looking forward to reading more. I like the chatty style.

Charlie James wrote 726 days ago

Quite liked this, interesting idea. Thanks.

rebeccafisseha wrote 727 days ago

Just started reading this and I'm hooked! Goes down like butter. Funny as hell! As a reader I feel like you're talking to me face to face.

DeidreS wrote 729 days ago

GREAT PITCH.......entertaining!

JMTE23 wrote 729 days ago

Backed!

riantorr wrote 750 days ago

Well researched!

Regards,
Rian Torr
New London Masquerade

FrancesK wrote 754 days ago

Hi Greg, just looked in to see if you have uploaded any more of this tasty black comedy. Sadly, I could find no more. How about just a couple more chapters? And did you see that news item recently about helium being in short supply worldwide? Could this scupper our hero's chances of expanding his business? - Frances K

Dean Lombardo wrote 755 days ago


Hi Greg. Totally cool! Way to hook your reader right from the start. Chapter 1 knocked my socks off. I will definitely read some more.
Check out my SF/thriller "Space Games" when you get a chance. Thanks.

Dean Lombardo

scargirl wrote 761 days ago

great pitch! outstanding stuff!
j
what every woman should know

Anna Salole wrote 766 days ago

Greg, you had me hooked at "Comfortable?" I ask. Genius!

katemb wrote 768 days ago

Brilliant!

FRAN MACILVEY wrote 778 days ago

Dear Greg

This is my second review of "A Noble Profession" the first being five months ago. I have read a little further this time, and discovered a lively mind beneath the seemingly cynical exterior and the black humour. It seems to me that this is not so much a story of death, as the story of one man's struggle to cope with his unhappiness. We can all identify with the MC's dilemma - who among us has not felt powerless to "help" anyone with cancer?

Because of personal issues, my reading is curtailed. Too close to the bone, I regret. But, in any case, my original high rating is fully vindicated. Well done, Greg.

JKass wrote 778 days ago

Wow what a unique story. A great story full of moral dilemmas and dark humor It immediately reminds of me Dr. Kevorkian or 'Dr. Death' a man i later voted for in my home state of MI. Probably one of the best things I've read on this website. Highly starred and backed.

Paul Beattie wrote 785 days ago

Really good stuff, Greg. Six stars and on my shelf.

The prose is terrifically smooth - clean and spare but full of wonderfully original phrasing and subtly restrained lyricism. There's an immediate, almost filmic quality to the storytelling which I found particularly involving. The dialogue feels real and purposeful and helps both to add vibrancy to the scenes as well as fleshing out the various characters. The novel (both in terms of the conversational exchanges and Eli's dark, rather detached ruminations on life/death/the mundanities of his existence etc) is also very funny in places with a good blend of jaded, rather cynical satire and lighter, almost slapstick absurdism. The plot sounds original and well thought out and, with its mix of comedy, pathos and social commentary, should appeal to a broad cross section of readers.

If I were to make a suggestion, it would be to perhaps introduce a little more dialogue into the opening chapters. I'm particularly thinking about chapter 1. While it's very involving and cleverly sets the tone (both comically and philosophically) for the rest of the book, I think, if you added a little more dialogue (eg a deliberately bland exchange between Eli and his client - weather, family, football etc - before the bag goes on) it would energise the overall feel of the chapter, as well as heightening the surprise/shock//comedy of the subsequent mercy killing scene. Just a thought.

In short, a stylish, funny, very accomplished piece of writing. Thanks and best of luck. P

marfleet wrote 785 days ago

Well I am enjoying this as much as Notes on an Orange Burial. The writing is a joy and it is lovely to read someone who enjoys using the language as much as Greg does! Call me sick but I laughed out loud at the “giving the valve another quarter turn” and also love the love the Fox News dig.
The MS is clean of errors; at least that I can see. I can’t wait to see where it goes and will buy this one too when it is published!
I have already given it 6 stars and will back it as soon as a place comes up.

Cheers
Andrew
A Fatal Misuse of Time

Adeel wrote 785 days ago

A very nice reading which could be termed as highly remarkable and deserves 6 stars. Will put it on my book shelf soon.

Rog50 wrote 786 days ago

Backed A Noble Profession. I am not an author or writer. I can’t give advice on grammar, punctuation or other writing practices. But know a good story when I read one. Your book was recommended by CC Brown author of Dark Side. Read, liked, star rated, and backed. Hope you will find a place on your shelf for their book.
Rog50

Iso Nuys wrote 787 days ago

Comments for a Noble Profession

This has been on my watch list for some time, and having finally found a spare couple of hours to catch-up on reads, I’m glad I remembered to look at this one.

I read the first chapters. The start is arresting. Clinical. The idea is excellent and potentially lends itself to some very dark comic moments. Part of me wanted to have more emotion at the start, but I guess that goes against what you are doing here, so perhaps a little more sensation then? Maybe a greater sense of the person he is ‘helping’ on his way? Family photographs on the sideboard, bills on the mantelpiece – that kind of stuff.

I really like how you present the different methods of suicide. I hope you continue to play with these forms throughout. It feels fresh.

I’m glad that you delved into the MC’s background in the next chapter. It tells me that you know what you’re doing. Other than a few too many personal pronoun starts in the opening chapter (and they can be hard to avoid in the first person), I don’t have any nits.

If you decide to make a determined run for the desk I’d back you.

Kind Regards

Iso

Carolyn Brown Heinz wrote 795 days ago

I see you've risen to #30 and I get why: this black humor take on euthanasia is a marvelous read. And I LEARNED so much! I thought those methods would work. Seriously, I had an exit all planned in case my present perfect life goes bad. I don't know how the whole book will go, whether the wit will grow tiresome before it's over or how the plot will come together. But I'm putting this on my watch list and I'll be back for more.

Andrew Hughes wrote 800 days ago

Ch’s 4 and 5.
I really enjoyed Eli researching helium and being swayed by Wikipedia. The surreal phone conversation with Rush was handled really well.
The line at the start of the park scene jarred a bit. I think it should be ‘My intentions were twofold’. Eli checking to see if they could be overheard shows a bit of a natural criminal mind at work.
I thought maybe Sgt Rush could give a technical lecture on what constitutes a suspicious death in the police handbook, and tell Eli to avoid those pitfalls – though I suppose the whole method is meant to allay suspicion. We get a sense that Rush is aware of how the police can collect evidence in the phone conversation about muscle relaxers.
The horse-trading for the date of the deed was great.
I loved the shopping list and the idea of straying from best practice.
I wondered would Eli be more conscious of the trail he is leaving, as the Law & Order shows have taught us – internet searches, security cameras, supply-store receipts.
Should it be artistic instead of artful?
Eli considering the hazards of a botched attempt was very good as it showed he could be selfish and fairly sinister. The idea that he’s given dutch courage by the pills and booze seems to be an important one. Maybe we should see that more throughout the planning stage.
This is a really enjoyable read. Looking forward to the rest.
Andrew.
The Morning Drop.

Red2u wrote 801 days ago

I didn't think I w2ould find this all that interesting but the book caught me off guard. It's genuinely entertaining. I have rated it well Thanks for the read!
Red

Mel Brown wrote 802 days ago

Clever, funny, fast! Reading it makes me feel physically sick - and yet I read on! Simple style, intelligent prose. Bloody good.

Julia Strand wrote 802 days ago

Hi,

I picked this book out on the basis of its pitches, which both amused and intrigued me, and I've really enjoyed the opening chapter. I have a few comments (generally picky little things that stood out for being isolated in such otherwise good writing), so I hope you might find these remarks helpful rather than annoying:

- 'controlled-release nozzle' - my eye stumbled over 'controlled-release' which seemed to me to break the flow of the sentence. I know the character is describing something rather technical, but how about just 'nozzle'?
- 'couple pieces of duct tape' - I notice you've got 'couple' directly followed by the noun a few times in here - to my (British English) ear, there's an 'of' missing on this one, even if it runs better the next couple (of) times. Is this just a geographical linguistic variation?
- my eye also stumbled at the end of the paragraph: 'to make sure that where the tube enters the bag is airtight.' I would insert a comma, so it reads, 'where the tube enters the bag, it's airtight.'
- a few lines further down, there's the word 'atop' which jumps out at me as odd - can't precisely visualise this, but perhaps just 'on' or 'on top of'

All these things are extremely picky, I know, but I think the first few paragraphs are really important, and I just love the premise of the whole thing, so I'd love it to be totally perfect (according to me!)

The next bit is just great, especially being driven by Rimbaud to turn up the gas! I was slightly thrown by the 'radar screen', because the rest of the description has been so technical and objective. Presumably, he doesn't actually have one with him. Personally, I'd go for 'Not the slightest flutter, as far as I can tell.'

The next few paragraphs were totally absorbing - I had assumed this was a kind of 'go to Switzerland' euthanasia rather than a 'make it look like it actually was suicide' job, so I really liked the way you turned this around. I did wonder if 'eying' is a typo - I have a feeling it's 'eyeing' but I couldn't swear to it.

The nitty-picky things that occurred to me in the second half of the chapter were as follows:
- 'very unintentionally' - I don't doubt that this is a deliberate phrasing on your part, but I'd still go for 'completely unintentionally'
- I also don't like 'as we shall soon see' - it interrupts the flow and draws attention to the authorial voice. I think it becomes clear enough quickly enough that you could strike these few words.
- 'casting aspersions at them' - you cast aspersions ON someone's abilities rather than AT the person themselves. I would amend this sentence to say: 'casting aspersions on their compentence will likely only make them feel worse.'
- I'd say it's 'invitation TO' rather than 'invitation FOR' under the paragraph about jumping from buildings
- either go for 'nine times out of ten' or '9 times out of 10' in the jumping under trains paragraph. You know what, I've always thought exactly what you say about train suicides inconveniencing half of London / the UK. The other thing I've thought about that is that it must traumatise the train driver.
- and one that's not a nit-pick, but made me laugh out loud and say "This is brilliant!" - carbon monoxide poisioning being the least green method, resulting in you having to endure the scorn of recycling, Prius driving friends! Fabulous!

Overall, I really, really like this, and I intend to read more in due course (and shelve it too when I get on to my PC over the weekend), so I hope you're not irritated by my pernickety comments.

Julia
Time Was Away
(Feel free to pick nits to your heart's content in my work, if you have the time and inclination to read it - I'd be delighted!)

memphisgirl wrote 807 days ago

Life is just like you write it, in this work and in Notes on an Orange Burial. How many times do we find ourselves smack in the middle of the most absurd, grotesque, nut-house event and think, "I can't write this. I can't even tell anybody." Still, you let the secret out of the bag, and it reaches right up from the page. Smack! So much to savor.

Memphis Girl (Lisa)

Iva P. wrote 809 days ago

Greg, I fell into this book and did not stop until I finished chapter 7. Will there be chapter 8 soon?
Extraordinary controversial subject and good writing, what more would one to wish for? In fact, I was so engrossed with the matter that I forgot to laugh. I'm for euthanasia because I believe that everybody should have the right to die with dignity, but I never really approached the subject of the actual exit. Fascinating. On my shelf now.

Iva P.
Fame and Infamy

readaholic wrote 810 days ago

I have to agree with all those who say 'Noble' is OUTSTANDING.

G.L is a remarkable writing talent.

Nick Goulding wrote 817 days ago

‘A Noble Profession’
The cover is simple but effective. It draws attention. The short and long pitches give just enough away to entice with the promise of subtle black humour.
Chapter one opens with a chillingly matter of fact assisted suicide, with careful attention to details and which cleverly ignores the elephant in the room, the emotion of the situation. It reads, in parts, like a self-help manual, and in others like dark diary of death. The list of ‘methods’ is horrifically gripping with just the right info content balanced with humour.
‘Can be tricky business’/’Can be a tricky business’?

Chapter two has a wonderful counterpoint – delivering death versus facilitating life-enhancing parties. I like the almost chatty, tell you a story, style. It adds realism, as if a personal confession is presented to each reader. The dialogue is convincing and entertaining.
The writer has a wicked sense of humour which will appeal to many. The book is well-written with a simple, direct style.

Chapter three is equally amusing and dark. Nice move when the helium link comes. I loved the three incidents of being shocked, upstaged buy Sgt Rush. The angel/demon dialogue also worked.
‘Never been as impressed by my father as I was during…’ should it be ‘so impressed…’? Not sure.

Overall a successful and entertaining novel which features gallows humour which may be controversial. Controversy sells books. I wasn’t sure I’d like this but sometimes it is cathartic to laugh at the most horrific aspects of life (and death). A generous scattering of stars.

Nick
‘Where She Lies’

Tod Schneider wrote 821 days ago

Just finished chapter 7. Totally outstanding!

scarlettwarrior wrote 823 days ago

I've only read a handful, but this is by far the funniest book on here. It appeals very much to my sense of humour, and I can imagine the prudish and closed minds out there being shocked and appalled by it. Fantastic. When I get time, I'll read more. This is my kind of book, and there aren't many (if any) out there like it!

Tod Schneider wrote 823 days ago

Outstanding! Hilarious! Creepy! This is bound to generate picket lines or fatwas!

I've only just read the first chapter so far, and am delighted. Well done!

I'm new to authonomy, and am overwhelmed at how much there is to read. Also finding my way in terms of feedback. Some manuscripts are in need of serious attention and I don't want to hurt feelings. Fortunately this is not one of those. The only feedback I can come up with seems petty, but I'll toss it in for what it's worth: you have at least a couple spots with singular v. plural disagreement. Not enough of a problem to lose sleep over unless you've got OCD or you're a bitter English professor who has never published and is stocking up on helium and plastic bags and... (oh gawd, what if he IS?) oh wait, I'm drifting. so, those sentences I'm referring to: "Trying to take their own life," I might change to "lives". "Friends who...drive a Prius" might change to Priuses, although that doesn't flow off the tongue very well. And it's hard to say over and over again fast. Priuses priuses. Nearly impossible.
Wonderful book!
Tod Schneider
Lost Wink

Mr. Nom de Plume wrote 824 days ago

Interesting and different. Backed

johnpatrick wrote 824 days ago

Hello Greg,
Just read the first three chapters in one sitting.
Overall impression - this is excellent writing, entertaining and perfectly weighted prose. Its slip-streamed whilst still informative (noble gases) and peppered with juicy descriptions ('plain vanilla questions' ).
The start is dramatic but the slight emphasis on the rubber gloves worked well to pique the reader's interest even more.
The BS is delivered concisely. The end of chapter 2 sees the dialogue-driven narrative motor forward at just the right time. I was beginning to feel the MC was a little flat and unappealing - not unsympathetic just not interesting enough to motivate further reading. This is very subjective, maybe even slightly cultural, as this is a firmly American story. But as I say the narrative motors forward with the intro of Sgt Rush - a very likeable character.
I don't know if I can add anything constructive. The MC is ordinary at the beginning - pre present career - and that is necessary to convey and integral to the MCs development. However the tone tends to the smartass with the decription of the various potential methods and combined with the ordinariness of the MC I think this is where the narrative is weakest. A relative weakness as on the whole this is excellent writing.
All the Best!
John
Dropping Babies.