Last Things
by E.J. Myers
Montemayor Press

"The unpredictability of human experience offered the greatest options for surprise."

Frank Ochoa, an aging, out-of-shape priest, comes across a fatal accident where he feels compelled to help a victim with last rites. He meets young EMT workers Laurie Anders and Tyler “Dyne-o-Mite” van Dyne. Frank resumes his life and work at Rocky Mountain University but is deeply affected by the accident. A surprise visit from Laurie sparks a kind of impromptu counseling session where they each admit their weariness of their professions. Frank reluctantly accepts an offer to join Laurie and the Foothills EMT Squad as an adjunct volunteer.

Facing mortality in a startling and unforeseen way, Frank is tested and challenged. The grueling hours and nature of “the EMT thing” affects his mental and physical health. Enthralled but intimidated by it, his once comfortable university job appears as “drab and tedious.” He makes professional mistakes and clashes with his fellow priests while growing envious of the brash Tyler and acknowledging his deepening affections towards Laurie. Frank’s relationship with both of them is made complicated by truths that emerge in their time together and as the EMT squad events become more personal. Then unexpected developments and tragedy give a Frank an altogether new perspective of his life, and he sets out to achieve a lifelong dream.

With religion and healthcare at the forefront of our attention today, Last Things is a timely, dramatic, and poignant account of a man’s self-discovery. Myers touches on our desires to find meaning and connection in a complex and fragmented world. Though Frank’s experiences are visceral, Myers is careful to avoid a gratuitous violence that might otherwise have ruined the novel. Through Frank, an uncomplicated, ordinary man facing pressures most people will never experience, we learn by its end a little more about ourselves and of finding what makes us happy.

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