DEATH WILL GET YOU SOBER by Elizabeth Zelvin


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Dead drunk. Again.

When hard-drinking Bruce Kohler wakes up in a Bowery detox center, the first person he sees is God—that is, Godfrey Brandon Kettleworth the Third, the black sheep of the Park Avenue Kettleworths who’s also recovering from his umpteenth bender. Later, on a day pass, Bruce drops in on his former drinking buddy Jimmy, now sober and married to chronic fixer-upper Barbara, while God goes off to harass his family. That night, God is dead. Dead drunk, say staffer Sister Angel and the cops. But Bruce is convinced that his pal was on the wagon and someone has done him in. As Barbara and Jimmy cheer him on, Bruce unravels the Kettleworth history, though he can’t prevent more deaths from coming. Is there a tie-in to Russian émigré Boris and purloined Russian icons? Is the Kettleworth fortune being siphoned off? Or is some unsaintly soul helping drunks off this earthly plane? With white-knuckle sobriety, Bruce figures it out and prepares to enjoy his recovery, one day at a time, with his best friends Jimmy and Barbara.

First-timer Zelvin, a psychotherapist, knows more about dependency and codependents than about storytelling. Jimmy fills in technical plot holes; Barbara is endearing. Bruce has yet to hit his stride, but his recovery is in its early days.

Pub Date: April 15th, 2008
ISBN: 978-0-312-37589-8
Page count: 272pp
Publisher: Dunne/Minotaur
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15th, 2008


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