Review: The Reconstructionist
The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin
Publisher: Harper Perennial
From the cover:
One instant can change an entire lifetime.
As a boy, Ellis Barstow heard the sound of the collision that killed Christopher, his older half brother—an accident that would haunt him for years. A decade later, searching for purpose after college, Ellis takes a job as a forensic reconstructionist, investigating and re-creating the details of fatal car accidents—under the guidance of the irascible John Boggs, who married Christopher’s girlfriend. Ellis takes naturally to the work, fascinated by the task of trying to find reason, and justice, within the seemingly random chaos of smashed glass and broken lives. But Ellis is harboring secrets of his own—not only his memory of the car crash that killed his brother but also his feelings for Boggs’s wife, Heather, which soon lead to a full-blown affair. And when Boggs inexplicably disappears, Ellis sets out to find him . . . and to try to make sense of the crash site his own life has become.
The Reconstructionist by Nick Arvin was a truly fascinating book that will leave you thinking about fate, coincidences, and accidents. I’ve always been interested in forensic sciences and I’ve even played around with the idea of being a forensic dentist so I was attracted to the idea of Ellis and Boggs reconstructing accidents to determine what caused the accident.
Ellis’s life has revolved around accidents and chance occurrences. His half brother died in a car accident and he got his present job after accidentally running into his half brother’s girlfriend, Heather, at the airport. I’ll admit I thought it was a little strange and morbid that he wanted to have a job that would constantly remind him of his half brother’s death, but to each their own.
The first half of the book focused more on their job as reconstructionist and it was very informative to see what is involved in reconstructing an accident and the various steps they needed to take to determine the sequences that led up to the accident. The second half of the book has our characters going on a cross country road trip in which they visit the various accident sites that they previously worked on. During the road trip, much of their past is revealed and we slowly see how the different events in their lives have led them to the places they are in now.
Overall, the character development in this book was amazing. The characters were truly fleshed out and it was easy to empathize with Ellis, Boggs, and Heather as they went on their wild goose chase as I like to call it. There were so many different topics that were touched upon in this book and as the book ends, it leaves you behind thinking about so much.
The Reconstructionist was an interesting book that will leave you questioning many things and it would be a great book for a book club because it brings up so many questions for discussion. I would definitely recommend it to those who are looking for something different to read.