Review: 15 Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton

15 Minutes to Live by Phoef Sutton
Release Date: May 5, 2015
Publisher: Brash Books
Pages: 186
Source: Book provided by NetGalley for review



Carl moved into his childhood home after his parents died. It’s a house filled with fond memories…like when he was a teenager and his girlfriend Jesse would throw pebbles at his window at night to lure him outside for frantic sex. So he thinks he’s dreaming when late one night, he hears those pebbles hitting his window again…and there she is outside, aching for his touch. It’s only as they are ravaging each other again that he realizes it’s too good to be a dream.

It’s her. She’s back as if nothing has changed. But it has. For one thing, it’s been twenty years since high school. And she died three weeks ago.

Is she an imposter? A ghost? Or is the answer even more chilling? It’s just the beginning of a dangerous, unpredictable, and bizarre odyssey for them both…where nothing is what it seems… and every minute counts.

A substantially different version of this book was previously published as “Always Six O’Clock.”


Review: The name Phoef Sutton seemed vaguely familiar and the plot sounded good so I requested this book for review. I was very happy I did. Sutton, it turns out, is a television and movie writer. He also co-wrote Wicked Charms with Janet Evanovich. And he’s one hell of an author in his own right.

The plot centers around Jessica and her memory problem. Her short-term memory is gone (something called Korsakoff syndrome) and, at the age of 40, she thinks she’s 18 and in high school. Basically, it’s like her life is resetting every 15 minutes. She doesn’t remember anyone trying to kill her, she doesn’t remember meeting Kit (four times in an hour), nor why she’s driving strange cars or in strange houses.

The plot also centers around Carl. He’s just a regular guy, living his life day to day, who ends up in this weird situation with his high school girlfriend and her brother-in-law. What immediately drew me in to the character of Carl were his semi-defeatist thoughts. We’ve all had them – ‘I should just (insert your own dream here)’. To me, the idea that he’s not stoic and brave at every turn, that he gets frustrated with his own life, makes him likeable.

While I really did like all the characters in this book, there were a couple of secondary characters that stood out. Frank, Jessica’s brother-in-law, was a truly likeable character – someone you’d meet and want to make your friend. Ryan was more of a likeable scumbag. A teacher who was having affairs with a different student every year, he was somehow human underneath. While I wouldn’t want to be friends with him, I didn’t not like the character.

The writing was excellent, with plot twists all the way through to the end. Sutton has another book coming out shortly (Crush) which has soared to the top of my TBR list.