Tag Archives: Death’s Doors

I hate being right

A few years ago I published a novel based on a scenario I saw coming down the road, inevitable as the 1:00 train: The same legal theories that allowed a young girl to get an abortion without her parents’ approval would allow any child to commit suicide without the parents’ consent. The book is called Death’s Doors.

And now it’s come true.

The London Daily Mail reports that a 17-year-old girl, Noa Pothoven, has committed assisted suicide in her own living room. Her parents did not approve, but were legally powerless to prevent it.

According to the Dutch newspaper De Gelderlander, Noa’s parents had no idea she was unwell until her mother discovered a plastic envelope in her room filled with farewell letters to her parents, friends and acquaintances. 

‘I was in shock,’ Lisette told De Gelderlander. ‘We didn’t get it. Noa is sweet, beautiful, smart, social and always cheerful. How is it possible that she wants to die? 

‘We have never received a real answer. We just heard that her life was no longer meaningful. For only a year and a half have we known what secret she has carried with her over the years.’  

I weep for the girl, but I also weep for those parents. It’s a parent’s job to be adult for their child, to stand in their way when they want to make disastrous choices. These parents have been stripped of that God-given duty and right. The girl probably thought that a lot of pain would go out of the world when she left. She was wrong. She left all her pain behind, for her parents to bear.

You’ll eat it and you’ll like it!

Author Cedar Sanderson approached me a while back about contributing to a series of posts on her blog. The theme is “Eat This While You Read That.” The idea was that I would recommend a recent book of mine, along with a meal to eat with it. Then she would prepare the meal, photograph it, sample it, and report.

So (somewhat shamefacedly) I recommended Death’s Doors and the most memorable meal in my recent memory, an unusually good hot beef sandwich (also known as a commercial, or a Manhattan, apparently).

It all came out better than I deserve. You can read it here.

Veith likes ‘Death’s Doors’

Our friend Prof. Gene Edward Veith of Patrick Henry College gives my latest novel the thumbs up:

But although there are a lot of big ideas in this book and a lot of rich theologizing, Death’s Doors is just fun to read. It’s suspenseful, exciting, and wildly imaginative, both in the author’s story telling and in the way it stimulates the reader’s imagination. And I’m realizing that all good novels–including Christian novels, classics, and other works that are Good for You–need to have those qualities. And this one does.

Read it all here.

‘Death’s Doors’ reviewed at ‘I Saw Lightning Fall’

Our friend Loren Eaton, at I Saw Lightning Fall,reviews Death’s Doors:

Imagine a blender. Chuck in Atwood’s aforementioned novel, Ray Bradbury’s “A Sound of Thunder,” Neil Gaiman’s American Gods, and Walker’s own West Oversea. Add a generous pinch of profanity, a scoop of Christian church history, and several comment sections plucked at random from various Huffington Post articles. Now pulse for two or three seconds. Voila! That’s Death’s Doors. Yes, it’s just as lumpy as it sounds. But it’s also works.

‘Death’s Doors’: a snippet and an apologia


The Lifestyle Services case worker seemed friendly and genuinely interested in him. Tom Galloway wasn’t entirely pleased about that. The case workers he’d dealt with in the Twin Cities had all seemed overworked and time-pinched. The desks in their cubicles had been piled with file folders and official bulletins, and they themselves had exhaled an institutional miasma that seemed to say, “Don’t show me any red flags and we won’t ask too many questions.”

But Megan Siegenthaler seemed to have all the time in the world, and was cordially curious about everything having to do with Tom and his family. Her small office had been painted a cheery mint green, and a tasteful landscape print hung on one wall. No family pictures though. He supposed those might be stressful for some of the case subjects. Or just as likely she had no family.

She herself was a honey-haired woman who must have been very attractive once and was still comfortably good-looking. Her green eyes were especially remarkable. She smoked a long thin cigarette, as was her right in all places except for hospital ICUs ever since the passage of the Smokers’ Re-enfranchisement Act. She’d offered Tom a breathing device, in accordance with the provisions of the Act, but he’d turned it down. Tobacco smoke had never bothered him much.

“I suppose it’s pretty dull here in Epsom compared to life in the Cities,” she said.

“I like it dull,” said Tom.

“Does Christine like it dull too?”

Tom adjusted his mouth in something like a smile. “No. She’d like to move back.”

“What do you think about that?”

“I don’t care what she’d like. I’m trying to keep her alive.”

Megan picked up the Galloway file and flipped through it. She had very long fingernails, enameled in red. Tom had always wondered why anyone who had to work with paper or keyboards would bother with such a self-inflicted handicap. “I think we ought to talk about this,” she said. “Your last case worker made a note about your attitude. You realize that, in the long run, you can’t keep your daughter alive, don’t you?”

Tom kicked himself in a mental shin. He should have learned to keep his mouth shut by now. He didn’t want to have this discussion again.

“I know what the law says,” he grunted.

“Then you know that if Christine decides to end her life, you have no legal power to stop her. The Constitution’s on her side. If she complains to us that you’re interfering, she can be taken from you and escorted to the Happy Endings Clinic by a Lifestyle Services worker. The law is very explicit.”

That’s just a snippet from Death’s Doors, my newly released e-book (by the way, Orie says it’s non-DRM, which means you can convert it to your e-reader’s format using the Calibre utility, even if you don’t have a Kindle). I thought I’d just take a few moments to talk about this book, and what I think it means (I could, of course, be wrong). Continue reading ‘Death’s Doors’: a snippet and an apologia

Death’s Doors

Dateline: Minneapolis

My new novel, Death’s Doors, is now available for download for Amazon Kindle.

In the near future, suicide is a constitutional right. Tom Galloway is an ordinary single father, just trying to keep his rebellious and depressed daughter from going to the Happy Endings Clinic.

The last thing he needs is a ninth-century Viking time traveler dropping into his life.

But Tom is about to embark on the adventure of his life. One that will change the world.

Death’s Doors, Snippet 1

(As best I can figure out, we’re close to releasing my next novel, Death’s Doors. To whet your appetite, here’s a snippet. lw)


We have no use for barns anymore, but are ashamed to tear them down. So the lofted sheds stand here and there across the land on derelict farmsteads, redundant, their backs swayed like old horses’.

The woman tossed her cigarette away. It arced like comet spit in the dark. She went into the ruined barn through a dutch door, pulling open first the upper panel, then the lower. The granulated hinges screamed and the bottom scraped an arc in the earth. She was afraid the noise would wake the baby she cradled in her left arm, but it did not. Such a good baby.

The law said she could be rid of a baby up to the age of eight weeks. She would never have let this one go except for something like this – something terribly, cosmically important.

Her flashlight showed her a low-ceilinged side-shed with animal stalls along its inside wall, its dividers and wooden posts scaly with brown flakes of ancient, petrified manure.

The old woman she’d come to see sat so still that she overshot her with the flashlight beam and had to back it up. Once fixed by the beam, the old woman smiled – a smile of radiant beauty that brought to mind a Renaissance Madonna gone wrinkled and white-haired.

“You – you’re the one I was to meet?” the younger woman asked. Continue reading Death’s Doors, Snippet 1

An announcement and an appeal

I’ve been keeping a secret from you. We plan, God willing, to release a new novel of mine within the near future. This is a draft of the cover, with a lovely painting by our friend Jeremiah Humphries, and cover design by our own Phil Wade.

How is this possible, you ask, when I keep complaining of having no writing time because of graduate school? Well, this is a book that’s been pretty much finished for some time, except for a couple plot problems. I took my brief study hiatus this summer to work on those holes, and now I think she’s ready for launch.

The novel, entitled (obviously) Death’s Doors, is sort of a sequel to Wolf Time, but not what you’d call a close sequel. The location is the same, the town of Epsom, Minnesota, but a few years later, and with only a couple of the same characters showing up. In the world of Death’s Doors, assisted suicide has become a constitutional right. The main character, Tom Galloway, is trying to keep his depressed daughter from exercising that right, with no help from the authorities. On top of that pressure, a stranger drops into his life — the Viking nobleman Jarl Haakon (whom you may remember from The Year of the Warrior), who has passed through a door in time.

What we’re asking of you, at this point, is just your opinion on the cover above. Phil isn’t sure he’s satisfied, and would appreciate your input.

Thank you for your support.