For many authors, even New York Times bestselling authors, there is such a thing as a “swing and a miss.” Sometimes you swing and hit the ball right out of the ballpark, and sometimes you swing and, well, miss. In the case of her latest novel, Keep Quiet, author Lisa Scottoline missed. Epically.
First, let me say that I have read this author’s other books and I have enjoyed them. That’s why I selected this book for review. But, unfortunately, it was not as awesome of a story as I hoped it would be. I wanted to like this book so much, but there was just too much about it that I didn’t like. And the ending was a HUGE disappointment!
Story starts off with Jake, a happily married and self-employed father of a teenaged son, making the mistake of letting his son drive on a lonely road at night when he’s not really supposed to. Fine. What parent hasn’t done this? This I allow. But what happens afterward just throws the whole story over a cliff. I mean, I was like, Seriously, Jake?? Granted, he wants to be Fun Dad in order to win his son back, but no parent would have EVER allowed their kid to commit a crime and just walk away. That is TOTALLY irresponsible! That’s teaching the kid it’s okay to break the law as long as no one’s watching! (When, in point of fact, there is ALWAYS someone watching.) Nice example, Dad!
Then there is Pam, Jake’s wife. I really didn’t like her and every scene with her had me tensing up. She makes Mommie Dearest look like Carolyn Ingalls! She’s way over-the-top Type A and she’s constantly nagging for conversation even when the other person is not up for it. She is bossy and confrontational. Clearly, as a mom for 16 years, she has not learned that if you push someone too far, you will drive them over the edge. They will crumble. They will break. I was amazed Ryan didn’t pull out a gun and blow his brains out during one of her interrogations in the car. Pam acts like she is Miss Perfect and has all of her ducks in a row but even she has a secret. So it’s okay for Jake to be the bad guy in the relationship because he kept a horrible secret but not her? She’s a hypocrite! She also wants her family to be spotless so that she can achieve her occupational goals, but because of this terrible thing that Ryan has done, they have “ruined everything” and she throws a temper tantrum, acting like they did this to hurt her. Ugh.
On top of this, the character Jake is too emotional. There were many times I wanted to scream at him, “Man up, dude!” I know he and his wife had been through a lot but it’s like he is Mr. Too Sensitive throughout most of the book. No wonder Ryan gets to trample all over him! He’s so fragile throughout the story. It was really irritating. Never mind that, at age 46, he’s still carrying around emotional baggage from his past because he had such a lousy father.
As to the family as a whole, everybody’s throwing around a bunch of lies. It’s just one lie that grew into more lies. Wow, another dandy lesson this dad was teaching his son, how it’s okay to lie just to keep everything perfect and everybody happy.
And finally, I did find one inconsistency in this story. In Chapter 32, I thought something had been cancelled, but now all of a sudden it wasn’t? When did THAT happen? I hate these little surprises. So pretty much the rest of the stuff that happened because of that didn’t really get my attention because I was so mad at the author for taking me on a fake roller coaster ride of tension and emotions. I pretty much glossed over all that emotional stuff.
Keep Quiet should have been a better story with more likable, realistic (read: MATURE) characters who struggle to deal with a real-world conflict but unfortunately it fell flat because of poor characterization and unrealistic plot twists. This particular novel just didn’t make the cut for me.
New York Times bestselling and Edgar Award-winning author Lisa Scottoline is loved by millions of readers for her suspenseful novels about family and justice. Scottoline delivers once again with Keep Quiet, an emotionally gripping and complex story about one man's split-second decision to protect his son -and the devastating consequences that follow.
Jake Buckman's relationship with his sixteen-year-old son Ryan is not an easy one, so at the urging of his loving wife, Pam, Jake goes alone to pick up Ryan at their suburban movie theater. On the way home, Ryan asks to drive on a deserted road, and Jake sees it as a chance to make a connection. However, what starts as a father-son bonding opportunity instantly turns into a nightmare. Tragedy strikes, and with Ryan's entire future hanging in the balance, Jake is forced to make a split-second decision that plunges them both into a world of guilt and lies. Without ever meaning to, Jake and Ryan find themselves living under the crushing weight of their secret, which threatens to tear their family to shreds and ruin them all.
Powerful and dramatic, Keep Quiet will have readers and book clubs debating what it means to be a parent and how far you can, and should, go to protect those you love.