Published November 2014 by Headline
One decision. One family’s future in ruins.
When Jake Buckman decides to let Ryan, his sixteen-year-old son practice driving home along a deserted street, he has no idea of the deadly consequences.
But in the darkness of night, a runner comes from nowhere and the hit is fatal.
Now Jake and Ryan have two options: admit Ryan’s responsibility … or drive home as though nothing happened. What follows is not a clear-cut hit and run, but a split-second decision by a father who will do anything to protect his son.
How much should a parent sacrifice for their child?
And could any family survive the burden of such a terrible secret?
This is a very average story about a perfect family, that makes a terrible mistake and has to live with the consequences. Jake Buckman lets his son drive his car and this leads to an accident and a dead girl. Thrown into this mix is the rather dubious moral decision to just leave the scene, taken by Jake and then to lie and cover up. There is also a bit of blackmail and Jake discovering his perfect family isn’t so perfect.
At the heart of the novel is the moral dilemma. What would you do if you were in Jake and Ryan’s situation? A road traffic accident with a victim lying dead in the road. Would you leave someone dead? Would you stop and get help? Would you do the right thing?
I had multiple issues, when reading this. Firstly none of the characters were likeable or that interesting. Jake overly analysed everything and then behaved like he was hard done by, when he wasn’t getting away with it. Jake and his wife Pam treated their sixteen year old son like he was a small child. He is old enough to drive after all, yet he is followed around by his parents like he is under ten. I couldn’t believe in the relationship and the way they were happily letting him get away with murder, so he could go to university. The son, Ryan, was rather one dimensional and reverted to small child behaviour, as the guilt settled in. It was pretty obvious he would not cope with multiple lies. I lost all sympathy for him. And Pam, the mother, why was she forever checking up on everyone and moaning at them? She was just so controlling.
This was a little too ‘perfect American family has a little setback’. As a thriller, it is pretty weak and the characters just seemed a little one dimensional for me. We saw progression in the relationship between Jake and Ryan, but I could not believe in them. This is a book I am glad to put down.
Thanks to Bookbridgr and the publishers for my review copy.