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When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller

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Psychologist Lamar Rose’s father is suffering from cancer and dementia, and wants his son to kill him and end his suffering. Lamar refuses, but his father keeps asking, and he relents. Then, from the pulpit of the church at his father’s memorial, his sister accuses him of murder.When I Killed My Father is a page-turner with a conscience, about a man caught between what is Psychologist Lamar Rose’s father is suffering from cancer and dementia, and wants his son to kill him and end his suffering. Lamar refuses, but his father keeps asking, and he relents. Then, from the pulpit of the church at his father’s memorial, his sister accuses him of murder.When I Killed My Father is a page-turner with a conscience, about a man caught between what is compassionate and what is legal. It addresses heavy and provocative issues like mercy killing and family strife, but it’s entertaining and moves with the pace of a thriller.


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Psychologist Lamar Rose’s father is suffering from cancer and dementia, and wants his son to kill him and end his suffering. Lamar refuses, but his father keeps asking, and he relents. Then, from the pulpit of the church at his father’s memorial, his sister accuses him of murder.When I Killed My Father is a page-turner with a conscience, about a man caught between what is Psychologist Lamar Rose’s father is suffering from cancer and dementia, and wants his son to kill him and end his suffering. Lamar refuses, but his father keeps asking, and he relents. Then, from the pulpit of the church at his father’s memorial, his sister accuses him of murder.When I Killed My Father is a page-turner with a conscience, about a man caught between what is compassionate and what is legal. It addresses heavy and provocative issues like mercy killing and family strife, but it’s entertaining and moves with the pace of a thriller.

30 review for When I Killed My Father: An Assisted-Suicide Family Thriller

  1. 5 out of 5

    Terry

    Unique and fascinating... Unforgettable! Wow, what a book! Not an easy read due to the controversial subject matter of assisted suicide, but a well worth it one... Reader will be subject to a wide range of emotions, however, to tell this story, it seems necessary to include them. The author does a wonderful job of showing all sides of the issue and he does it expertly.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Karl Sjogren

    John Byrne Barry's book, When I Killed My Father, is certainly an unusual book! The author addresses a topic--assisted suicide--that many people have occasionally contemplated based on a news story, or as a matter of philosophy. Barry presents the subject as a work of a fiction, and from varied perspectives in a family in which an assisted suicide takes place. It's an engaging and witty exploration of difficult subject that many people have and/or will think about in the future. John Byrne Barry's book, When I Killed My Father, is certainly an unusual book! The author addresses a topic--assisted suicide--that many people have occasionally contemplated based on a news story, or as a matter of philosophy. Barry presents the subject as a work of a fiction, and from varied perspectives in a family in which an assisted suicide takes place. It's an engaging and witty exploration of difficult subject that many people have and/or will think about in the future.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Aly Warren

    Different to what I'vedread before. Enjoyed reading this one. Left me very conflicted on how I felt about it. I can understand why it was done. And to begin with I thought the sister was behaving over the top....then I thought I'd react the same as her. Different to what I'vedread before. Enjoyed reading this one. Left me very conflicted on how I felt about it. I can understand why it was done. And to begin with I thought the sister was behaving over the top....then I thought I'd react the same as her.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Susan

    Lamar, a conscientious and moral man, finds himself in a serious moral dilemma when his father, suffering from both terminal cancer and severe dementia, asks him, several times in moments of lucidity, to “help” him die, which, shortly into this wild ride, he does. Thinking he had a foolproof plan, Lamar prepares for life as usual. However, his plans are thwarted when his sister, Andrea, accuses him of murder - from the church pulpit at the funeral, no less. Without planning to become a media sen Lamar, a conscientious and moral man, finds himself in a serious moral dilemma when his father, suffering from both terminal cancer and severe dementia, asks him, several times in moments of lucidity, to “help” him die, which, shortly into this wild ride, he does. Thinking he had a foolproof plan, Lamar prepares for life as usual. However, his plans are thwarted when his sister, Andrea, accuses him of murder - from the church pulpit at the funeral, no less. Without planning to become a media sensation, Andrea does and the attacks on Lamar from the media are vicious, vitriolic, and unending. Meanwhile, his marriage is falling apart as his wife is in the throes of a deep depression, that not even Lamar, a psychologist with offices in Albuquerque (where he lives) and Santa Fe, cannot break through. He tells his wife that he’s moving out and moves to a fringe community in Santa Fe, a community of mismatched, drug using booze swilling folk who do not want anyone bothering them. While clearly the underlying message is whether assisted suicide for terminally ill or demented people is a moral issue that deserves more open discussion, and the book is definitely a serious look at the subject, there are parts that are very funny. At several points along the way of Lamar’s strange journey, I asked myself if I were reading a satire. John Byrne Barry is a terrific author. He makes every character come to life and be relatable. The only other writer that I know of who takes a serious moral or ethical issue and crafts a story around it is the prolific Jacob M. Appel. Mr. Barry has done the same in this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joel Blackwell

    A sifting and thorough examination of modern death and dying delivered in a magnetic plot that will pull you forward paragraph by paragraph. This fiction is today's reality writ large, seen through the eyes of a man torn by his father's request, actually demand, that the son help the father die. Can he do it? What is the aftermath for an act that is either heinous murder or painful expression of love, depending on the characters' POV. You will root for some characters, curse others and continue p A sifting and thorough examination of modern death and dying delivered in a magnetic plot that will pull you forward paragraph by paragraph. This fiction is today's reality writ large, seen through the eyes of a man torn by his father's request, actually demand, that the son help the father die. Can he do it? What is the aftermath for an act that is either heinous murder or painful expression of love, depending on the characters' POV. You will root for some characters, curse others and continue pondering this story long after "The End."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Janice Lombardo

    Lamar Rose's father, Robert, had terminal cancer and worsening dementia. Robert had begged and pleaded to Lamar, a psychotherapist, to end his life. Lamar's mother had passed 6 ears ago. One night, Lamar (with a tank of nitrogen gas) decides it is time to grant his father his last wish. Not without a hitch, Lamar's plan to assist his father is complete. Since his father had lived in Chicago, Lamar travelled from New Mexico frequently to visit his dad. After seeing his father die, Lamar returns to Lamar Rose's father, Robert, had terminal cancer and worsening dementia. Robert had begged and pleaded to Lamar, a psychotherapist, to end his life. Lamar's mother had passed 6 ears ago. One night, Lamar (with a tank of nitrogen gas) decides it is time to grant his father his last wish. Not without a hitch, Lamar's plan to assist his father is complete. Since his father had lived in Chicago, Lamar travelled from New Mexico frequently to visit his dad. After seeing his father die, Lamar returns to New Mexico. Meanwhile, Lamar's sister, Andrea, gets "the call" from the retirement home to let her know that her father had passed. She is angry. She had finally been communicating with her dad (so she thought) and he was not yet ready to die. An inconvenience for her? At Robert's memorial service, which is well attended, Andrea announces, from the pulpit, that Lamar killed his father. The mourners (and the press) are shocked. Things really heat up when Andrea meets Paula, an activist against any type of assisted suicide. Paula and Andrea go on TV and the press eats it up- Andrea comes across as an angry, self-serving bitch. This action demands Lamar lawyer up and start a defense. This where the story really heats up! Great character development. Superb, unique plotline, and a fast read. A Must READ! Many Thanks to IBPA and NetGalley for a super read!

  7. 5 out of 5

    Linda Hartmann

    When I Killed My Father, John Byrne Barry’s most recent novel, explores the controversial topic of “assisted suicide,” or what some would prefer to look at as “murder” from another perspective. The book’s protagonist, Lamar, is on a difficult journey with his father, who is not only clinically declining with dementia, but who also has cancer, and in his lucid moments is well aware of the dementia taking away more and more of his true self. He asks for help from his son, to end his tireless pain, When I Killed My Father, John Byrne Barry’s most recent novel, explores the controversial topic of “assisted suicide,” or what some would prefer to look at as “murder” from another perspective. The book’s protagonist, Lamar, is on a difficult journey with his father, who is not only clinically declining with dementia, but who also has cancer, and in his lucid moments is well aware of the dementia taking away more and more of his true self. He asks for help from his son, to end his tireless pain, torture, and burdensome life. If he did it, could he live with himself? If he got caught, could he handle prison time? Should he leave well-enough alone? Not wanting to give too many spoiler-alerts, I will admit that turning a serious dilemma and developing it into a page-turning, pins and needles, tension-filled chiller was surprising. Barry dealt with solemn ethical and moral issues that are worthy for all to take under more consideration. Working in healthcare I have met plenty of people who see things for others in black and white, rather than the numerous shades of gray that so many find their own lives falling into, particularly with chronic diseases as they linger and the suffering becomes more intense and unmanagable. Each chapter in Barry’s book left me wanting more. I needed to find out if there was resolution, or not, for the fascinating characters and situations they found themselves in! With terrific plot twists, and settings, there were many surprises throughout. I thought that the plot, and character development, plot twists and moral/ethical dilemmas involved were extremely well-written, thought-provoking, and current as well as controversial. I also found Barry’s use of dialogue really great. The subtleties, use of language, and expression felt true to each character – a talent developed well. The telling of essentially two stories with the main characters at different points in time, for me, made the book more interesting. I enjoyed the intertwined life of Lamar during wife-Janis, moving on from Janis, and then post-Janis. It is clear to me that a lot of thought was put into the structure of this novel and it worked. Lamar and his sister Andrea’s rocky relationship, and their relationship with their parents was also realistic, and engaging. I found the town of Madrid, Lamar’s escape, to be quite special, eccentric, and the secondary characters made the book so believable, humorous, and meaningful. Lastly, a quick word about the epilogue; some might think nine pages does a long epilogue make. Not me. It covered a period of time and brought ends together, that made for a perfect wrapping for this highly recommended book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Judy Reyes

    Three and a half-stars. I was a beta reader for an earlier draft, and the author provided me a copy of the final book. No promise of any exchange for review was made or other compensation received. So, that out of the way...I don't think this book could be more timely. Last year, when I read the draft, no one was talking about death and dying! Now with the pandemic, it is truly front and center of conversations. How to die, when, and is there a choice for people to make it happen willingly for th Three and a half-stars. I was a beta reader for an earlier draft, and the author provided me a copy of the final book. No promise of any exchange for review was made or other compensation received. So, that out of the way...I don't think this book could be more timely. Last year, when I read the draft, no one was talking about death and dying! Now with the pandemic, it is truly front and center of conversations. How to die, when, and is there a choice for people to make it happen willingly for themselves? The topic is handled with appropriate dignity for the wry, somewhat humorous tone of the book. It is an adventure of a lifetime for the son Lamar who carries out his father's wishes. Read and see how it plays out with the family, legal and ethical issues. Well done. I gave it three and a half for personal preference issues. The book bounces back and forth in time throughout the entire volume. Time periods are clearly labeled, but this might take some adjustment on the readers' parts. It is not a standard telling of a story and I had the advantage of having read an early draft. Which helped me. Others may enjoy this format. I don't think that either Lamar or his sister Andrea, the two family combatants, are sympathetic, though the book is written from Lamar's POV. However, they are interesting. Andrea comes off sometimes a bit shrewish, and thus she is not as good a foil for Lamar as she could be. Lamar always seems to have the upper hand and is calm and collected. Sometimes I felt his condescension with a sting. As a therapist, he would deny this, of course. Family drama! Read and see what you think of the family dynamic. This is just my own opinion. In summary, a rare topic treated with seriousness and humor and irony all at the same time.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Lucia

    Psychologist Lamar Rose is an educated, methodical, thoughtful man who gets pressured into killing his father, by his father. Lamar's father Robert, suffering from cancer and dementia, exerts his forceful personality on Lamar and essentially bullies him into euthanizing him. Andrea, Lamar's sister, an unhappy and somewhat needy woman, figures out that what her brother did. She then launches a full scale attack on him, beginning at the funeral, when she announces Lamar's deed to everyone there. T Psychologist Lamar Rose is an educated, methodical, thoughtful man who gets pressured into killing his father, by his father. Lamar's father Robert, suffering from cancer and dementia, exerts his forceful personality on Lamar and essentially bullies him into euthanizing him. Andrea, Lamar's sister, an unhappy and somewhat needy woman, figures out that what her brother did. She then launches a full scale attack on him, beginning at the funeral, when she announces Lamar's deed to everyone there. The story goes back in forth in time a bit, but is so well written that it is easy to follow, allowing the reader to understand Lamar better, and how his life has shaped his beliefs and actions. There are several interesting characters, and the story is not really a happy one, but it is truly an interesting one and certainly well worth reading. I strongly recommend this book. Thank you to Netgalley, the author John Byrne Barry, and the publisher Page-turners With a Conscience Press for the opportunity to read this absorbing book. This is my honest opinion.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Read Ng

    This was a GoodReads giveaway win of a Kindle ebook. I had a hard time getting up my courage to start this book. Getting older sucks. I have also recently read "When My Time Comes" as background for making some of my own end of life considerations in my very distant future. I felt this was a balanced look at both sides of the issue (leaving out any religious subplot). I also think our protagonist was depicted as a real person, not really trying to get away with anything and just trying to live one This was a GoodReads giveaway win of a Kindle ebook. I had a hard time getting up my courage to start this book. Getting older sucks. I have also recently read "When My Time Comes" as background for making some of my own end of life considerations in my very distant future. I felt this was a balanced look at both sides of the issue (leaving out any religious subplot). I also think our protagonist was depicted as a real person, not really trying to get away with anything and just trying to live one day after the next, being the best person (for himself) as he could be. I had sympathy for him, but I think I would have liked just a bit more feel for the anguish he must have felt accepting and then committing the act. Perhaps there should have been some more post reaction storyline following some of the turning points in his past. I enjoyed this book. Now go out and find your next GoodReads.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    This is a great read and a satisfying twist on the murder genre. We know from the start that Lamar is the murderer, a merciful one, we are meant to think. How does he get out of the trouble he finds himself in when his sister accuses him publicly? Barry keeps upping the ante, too, as Lamar's sister gets more and more vindictive and invasive. Good dialog keeps the plot moving. Barry presents the pros and cons of assisted suicide without being pedantic or distracting from the mystery story itself. This is a great read and a satisfying twist on the murder genre. We know from the start that Lamar is the murderer, a merciful one, we are meant to think. How does he get out of the trouble he finds himself in when his sister accuses him publicly? Barry keeps upping the ante, too, as Lamar's sister gets more and more vindictive and invasive. Good dialog keeps the plot moving. Barry presents the pros and cons of assisted suicide without being pedantic or distracting from the mystery story itself. It is remarkable how this book about death manages to be thoughtful and a lot of fun.

  12. 5 out of 5

    William McGee

    Assisted suicide is a sensitive and sometimes offensive subject. So kudos to author John Byrne Barry for tackling this controversial subject in his novel. The story was dramatic. The writing kept me turning the pages. The creative use of timeline was skillfully handled. I'm glad I read the novel as the subject is so timely and has affected - or may affect - many of us facing this emotionally-charged and terribly difficult situation. Thankfully, in recent years, several states have legalized an e Assisted suicide is a sensitive and sometimes offensive subject. So kudos to author John Byrne Barry for tackling this controversial subject in his novel. The story was dramatic. The writing kept me turning the pages. The creative use of timeline was skillfully handled. I'm glad I read the novel as the subject is so timely and has affected - or may affect - many of us facing this emotionally-charged and terribly difficult situation. Thankfully, in recent years, several states have legalized an end-of-life option for the terminally ill.

  13. 5 out of 5

    EarnedIt

    Old age issues, family disputes & assisted suicide "When I killed my father" is a thought provoking thriller that brings up an important argument about whether assisted suicide should be accepted in our society or not and how various people might react to it differently. I like how realistic the dialogues were. It's a very well written novel. Great job done with defining clear timelines since the story goes back and forth between 4 different years. Old age issues, family disputes & assisted suicide "When I killed my father" is a thought provoking thriller that brings up an important argument about whether assisted suicide should be accepted in our society or not and how various people might react to it differently. I like how realistic the dialogues were. It's a very well written novel. Great job done with defining clear timelines since the story goes back and forth between 4 different years.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Deanna

    Riveting conflict and suspense from the onset! The story reveals one family's ordeal in dealing with a terminally ill parent. How does Lamar Rose navigate such an emotionally complex experience? That is the question that drives the story. Barry's prose flows with ease and is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend his novel! Riveting conflict and suspense from the onset! The story reveals one family's ordeal in dealing with a terminally ill parent. How does Lamar Rose navigate such an emotionally complex experience? That is the question that drives the story. Barry's prose flows with ease and is a pleasure to read. I highly recommend his novel!

  15. 5 out of 5

    Signed, Iza

    Many thanks to the publisher via netgalley for the digital ARC. This indeed was a page turner. Although i really wouldn't support or approve of any assisted suicide, this was really interesting to.read about. A fast paced read with lots of self evaluation regarding issues such as these among loved ones Many thanks to the publisher via netgalley for the digital ARC. This indeed was a page turner. Although i really wouldn't support or approve of any assisted suicide, this was really interesting to.read about. A fast paced read with lots of self evaluation regarding issues such as these among loved ones

  16. 4 out of 5

    John

    A family mystery, full of surprises, focused on people's rights to euthanasia and how opposing attitudes can disrupt sibling relationships. Lamar Rose succumbs to his father's entreaties and suffers the consequences. A well scripted novel that I enjoyed reading. A family mystery, full of surprises, focused on people's rights to euthanasia and how opposing attitudes can disrupt sibling relationships. Lamar Rose succumbs to his father's entreaties and suffers the consequences. A well scripted novel that I enjoyed reading.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Diane Griffiths

    I won this book in a Goodreads giveaway.. This story brings in a lot of interesting thoughts on assisted suicide. It really makes you think about how families react to such a thing, and how people how treated. I really enjoyed this story.. and it really makes you think.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Csimplot Simplot

    Excellent book!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Billy Prendergast

    It is a necessary and provocative look into the whole end of life experience we all must go through. Boomers especially will be urged forward with humor and real life conversations by this story. Not just family members, but also friends and co-workers are all aging along with you, this story will provide some of the questions you can use to begin to talk with the people in your life about what we would like to happen or not happen as we reach the end of life. The family dynamic depicted here is t It is a necessary and provocative look into the whole end of life experience we all must go through. Boomers especially will be urged forward with humor and real life conversations by this story. Not just family members, but also friends and co-workers are all aging along with you, this story will provide some of the questions you can use to begin to talk with the people in your life about what we would like to happen or not happen as we reach the end of life. The family dynamic depicted here is truthful and humorous while being a book you'll recommend to others.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Tommie Whitener

    A real page-turner with a message. Yes, it's accurately billed as a "thriller," but it's also a novel with an exploration to set you thinking about end of life issues. If you haven't already faced these issues with a loved one, or are perhaps facing them yourself now, or know from first-hand experience how soul-wrenching they can be, the protagonist's struggles will shed much-needed light on what we should be thinking about as the end of life inexorably approaches. A real page-turner with a message. Yes, it's accurately billed as a "thriller," but it's also a novel with an exploration to set you thinking about end of life issues. If you haven't already faced these issues with a loved one, or are perhaps facing them yourself now, or know from first-hand experience how soul-wrenching they can be, the protagonist's struggles will shed much-needed light on what we should be thinking about as the end of life inexorably approaches.

  21. 5 out of 5

    D.

    This book is an amazing look at assisted suicide. Compelling, charged and interesting, there's a lot to unpack both morally and emotionally. This book is an amazing look at assisted suicide. Compelling, charged and interesting, there's a lot to unpack both morally and emotionally.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Tee Graham

    Another good read by JBB Another thoroughly enjoyable read by JBB. This book flowed very well, with an interesting, unusual story line and believable characters whose interactions were interesting, unpredictable,and engaging. As the book was coming to an end, I thought what a great movie it would make and hope that happens!

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chris Hurwitz

    What a well written and engrossing novel! It has the perfect blend of well nuanced characters, plot developments that keep readers guessing and family psychology that feels both true and humorous. Hard to put this book down!

  24. 4 out of 5

    C.L.

    I received this book as a giveaway on Goodreads. It is incredibly thought-provoking and such a beautiful story. I know it says "thriller" in the title and it definitely has that component. But this book is so much more than a thriller. There's a story here about the end of life from every angle and character perspective that's moving and will stay with you long after you reach the end. I found the characters to be so real and well-developed. The writing is honest. It's a book you just can't put I received this book as a giveaway on Goodreads. It is incredibly thought-provoking and such a beautiful story. I know it says "thriller" in the title and it definitely has that component. But this book is so much more than a thriller. There's a story here about the end of life from every angle and character perspective that's moving and will stay with you long after you reach the end. I found the characters to be so real and well-developed. The writing is honest. It's a book you just can't put down! I'm glad I won it as it goes down as one of my favorites. Would make such a great book club discussion pick. Thank you to John Byrne Barry for writing this novel.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Jessica Santagato

    Unfortunately this one was just not for me. While the topic is very interesting and unique and really does a great job of showing sides and making you think, i would not consider this a riveting read and it is definitely not a thriller. There was no mystery, no tension, just a This is what happened and now we will follow along with the characters as we see what happens next. Again, it’s a very thought provoking book and i can see why some might enjoy it but the writing style and pace was just no Unfortunately this one was just not for me. While the topic is very interesting and unique and really does a great job of showing sides and making you think, i would not consider this a riveting read and it is definitely not a thriller. There was no mystery, no tension, just a This is what happened and now we will follow along with the characters as we see what happens next. Again, it’s a very thought provoking book and i can see why some might enjoy it but the writing style and pace was just not up to my speed.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Patricia

    I won a copy of the kindle version of this book through Goodreads. The entire book moves between past and present. These time periods are clearly marked at the beginning of each chapter, so it's not confusing. Unfortunately, I didn't find a single character in the book who had any depth. And, every last one of them (maybe not Diana) was very unlikable. There was a controversial topic here, but it was never really mined. Too flat for me. I won a copy of the kindle version of this book through Goodreads. The entire book moves between past and present. These time periods are clearly marked at the beginning of each chapter, so it's not confusing. Unfortunately, I didn't find a single character in the book who had any depth. And, every last one of them (maybe not Diana) was very unlikable. There was a controversial topic here, but it was never really mined. Too flat for me.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia

    Just didn't grab me. Not what I'd classify as a thriller. Just didn't grab me. Not what I'd classify as a thriller.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Faith

    While a novel, it still gives lots of insights onto the subject of assisted suicide. This is many people's stories. A lot to think about. While a novel, it still gives lots of insights onto the subject of assisted suicide. This is many people's stories. A lot to think about.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    Held my interest from the first page to the last

  30. 5 out of 5

    Szkeller

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