After his wife's death, 75-year-old Felix is waiting for his own exit from this world. In the meantime, he volunteers with a clandestine group called the Exiteers, whose members show up to witness--not assist--people who want to take their own lives because of terminal illness. And so, Belinda Bauer's moving Exit begins, with Felix arriving at Skipper Cann's house and staying by the man's bedside until the fellow finally expires from a self-administered lethal dosage of nitrous oxide.
But as Felix and his volunteer partner, Amanda, leave the house, he hears a loud bang and encounters an old man in another bedroom. Turns out Felix and Amanda just witnessed the wrong man dying, and realize they might have been set up as accessories to murder.
Exit contains Bauer's (Snap) trademark blend of poignancy, dark humor and vivid characters. The right to die is a controversial notion--and illegal in many places--but Bauer shines a humane light on it and the story is more uplifting and funny than the subject matter implies. Though Felix starts out as a lonely septuagenarian who believes his life is mostly over, he finds new purpose by befriending the old man who originally hired the Exiteers and poking into who might have set up the wrong person to die. The story's other viewpoints include that of a police officer named Calvin, who's determined not to make detective; Felix's partner, Amanda; and Skipper Cann's nephew, Reggie. Bauer keeps readers in the dark about her characters' motivations and level of guilt all the way up to an ending that's sublimely bittersweet. --Elyse Dinh-McCrillis, blogger at Pop Culture Nerd