Review | A Philosophy of Ruin

A Philosophy of Ruin by Nicholas Mancusi


Oscar Boatwright’s life is crashing in slow motion.

He’s received news his mother died on a flight home from Hawaii.  His father arrives at his home, stunned and still numb.

To make matters worse, Oscar learns his mother’s depression had overwhelmed her and led his parents to spend tens of thousands of dollars on seminars with self-help guru Paul St. Germaine.

Now Oscar’s dad has not only lost his life savings but the wife he longed to save from deep depression …and he still owes thousands to St. Germaine.

Oscar’s extremely modest income as a philosophy professor barely covers his expenses and student loan debt so he’s hopeful his wealthy sister will be able to help their dad in his dire financial situation.  It isn’t long before his sister confides she and her husband are separating and their finances haven’t been great since the market turned.

Just when life seems it can’t possibly get any worse, Oscar has a drunken one night stand with a woman he meets in a bar … and finds her sitting in his class the next day.
Dawn isn’t just his student, she’s also a drug dealer.  While Oscar attempts to remove himself from the awkward situation, he’s drawn further into Dawn’s world, and she knows some of his story.  Enough to know Oscar won’t say no to helping with a large drug run, both out of fear she’ll blackmail him and because he can’t possibly turn down $30,000 in his current situation.

Numb from his recent loss, disillusioned by the past, and uncertain of his future, Oscar sets out with a simple plan: drive a borrowed Land Rover to a GPS programmed location several hours away, pick up a backpack, and return to campus.  That’s it.

His simple plan takes a dramatic turn when Oscar believes he’s being followed by a black truck. What follows is an abrupt and terrifying turn into chaos.

A Philosophy of Ruin begins with a man struggling to come to terms with his mother’s mental illness and sudden death and evolves into the story of a man trying to escape a dangerous drug run.
Mancusi manages to deliver this novel in a controlled way though the events are a dramatic and sudden spiral.  I could compare the plot and delivery to the television show Breaking Bad which has a similar tone and theme.
The ending was abrupt and lacking for me personally but this was still an overall fantastic novel!

Thanks to Hanover Square Press and NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for my honest review.  A Philosophy of Ruin is scheduled for release on June 18, 2019.

6 thoughts on “Review | A Philosophy of Ruin

    1. I hope you enjoy it, Jonetta; it’s an unusual book but one that really kept me on edge.
      I have The Turn of the Key coming up and am really looking forward to it. Headed to pick up The Sleep Tight Motel on my Kindle now!
      Have a great weekend!


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