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Finding Jake
by Bryan Reardon


Overview -

A heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting story of psychological suspense in which a parent is forced to confront what he does--and does not--know about his teenage son, in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia, Defending Jacob, and We Need to Talk about Kevin.  Read more...


 
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Overview

A heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting story of psychological suspense in which a parent is forced to confront what he does--and does not--know about his teenage son, in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia, Defending Jacob, and We Need to Talk about Kevin.

While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn't. He's seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school.

Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he's forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn't really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought?

Brilliantly paced, Finding Jake explores these questions in a tense and emotionally wrenching narrative. Harrowing and heartbreaking, surprisingly healing and redemptive, it is a story of faith and conviction, strength, courage, and love that will leave readers questioning their own lives, and those they think they know.


 
Details
  • ISBN-13: 9780062339485
  • ISBN-10: 0062339486
  • Publisher: William Morrow & Company
  • Publish Date: February 2015
  • Page Count: 272
  • Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.2 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.9 pounds


Related Categories

Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Suspense
Books > Fiction > Thrillers - Psychological
Books > Fiction > Family Life

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
  • Review Date: 2014-12-08
  • Reviewer: Staff

Early in Reardon’s moving, if at times maudlin first novel, Simon Connolly receives word of a shooting at the suburban Delaware high school attended by his two children. But worse news awaits: the police suspect his missing 17-year-old son, Jake, of being one of the gunmen. As Simon and wife Rachel, a workaholic corporate attorney, try to push aside the strains in their marriage to confront the unimaginable as a family, he can’t help revisiting key moments in his son’s life. Simon obsesses over what role his social awkwardness and his decision to be a stay-at-home dad might have played in the tragedy. Could he really have been so grievously wrong about what kind of boy he was raising? Although some of Simon’s memories turn teary, Reardon (Ready, Set, Play!, a sports book with retired NFL player Mark Schlereth) deftly builds suspense by setting his dual story lines on a collision course toward a shattering—and surprising—conclusion. Agent: Stephanie Rostan, Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Feb.)

 
BookPage Reviews

Whodunit: To the depths of a parent's worst nightmare

Bryan Reardon’s fiction debut, Finding Jake, pushes all the right buttons: a timely, ripped-from-the-headlines premise; grab-you-by-the-collar pacing; and a cast of troubled, finely drawn and sympathetic characters. We have all watched raw news footage of horrifying events like this too many times in recent years: a mass murder at a Pennsylvania high school, with one alleged gunman dead by his own hand and the other, Jake Connolly, missing. Stay-at-home dad Simon Connolly cannot believe his son capable of the acts attributed to him by the media and the parents of the slain students, but the evidence is damning: Jake’s “loner” demeanor; violent texts found in his cell phone archive; and worst of all, his blood spatter found at the scene of the carnage. The police appear not the slightest bit interested in finding a “missing teenager”—they want to “apprehend the suspect”—so Simon launches his own search for Jake, hoping against hope that his knowledge of his son will lead him to the boy before the police can run him to ground. Simon recounts this story in the first person, cutting from Jake’s infancy to the modern day, ratcheting up the tension with each successive chapter. This is an uncommon retelling of an all-too-common contemporary American story.

GRAB A QUICK BITE
The year 1950 marked the release of a film noir classic, D.O.A., the strange tale told in flashback of a man investigating his own soon-to-be-fatal poisoning by a “luminous toxin” for which there is no antidote. Olen Steinhauer’s modern-day espionage novel, All the Old Knives, offers an equally noir story set almost entirely at a trendy bistro in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California, where two ex-spies/ex-lovers play a lethal game of cat-and-mouse over hors d’oeuvres and Chardonnay. At issue is the botched handling of an airliner hijacking six years before—and a few loose ends that could expose the truth behind the narrative that has been tacitly accepted over the years. At least one of the dining pair has some guilty knowledge—perhaps complicity—of the fallout of the hijacking, which resulted in the deaths of 120-odd passengers and crewmembers. Steinhauer displays an affinity for espionage, closed-room suspense and plot twists, placing him definitively in the first rank of modern mystery writers.

WALK THE LINE
The latest installment of James Carlos Blake’s acclaimed Wolfe Family saga, The House of Wolfe, finds narrator Rudy Wolfe and several members of his outlaw family headed south of the border to rescue a kidnapped cousin, held for ransom along with 10 members of a Mexican high-society wedding party. There are no “good guys” here, although there are some that the reader will root for over others. The bad guys, on the other hand, are truly bad, including an unscrupulous financier with his hand in every illegal pie to be found in Mexico City, and a truly poisonous interrogator whose fiendish imagination is matched only by his sociopathic tendencies (this fellow, it should be mentioned, is in the employ of the protagonists). Blake’s literary suspense novels are firmly rooted in the hard-edged, morally ambiguous tradition established by Elmore Leonard, James Crumley and James Ellroy. Fast-paced, atmospheric, violent and relentlessly cinematic, The House of Wolfe is not to be missed.

TOP PICK IN MYSTERY
A handful of contemporary espionage writers can be counted on to deliver complex and unerringly atmospheric historical suspense novels each time they put pen to paper. Philip Kerr, David Downing and Alan Furst jump to mind, but no such list would be complete without Joseph Kanon, whose Leaving Berlin weaves together a pair of seemingly unconnected but pivotal events of the early post-WWII era: the Berlin airlift of 1948-1949 and the Communist witch hunts of the McCarthy era. The glue that binds these events is Jewish writer Alex Meier, who escaped from the Nazis to find asylum in the U.S., only to have the rug pulled out from under him thanks to his Communist leanings in his youth. He manages to broker an eleventh-hour deal to go back to his native Berlin in the employ of the U.S. intelligence service. If he is successful in his espionage efforts, his past will be conveniently expunged, and he will be allowed to remain in the States. As you might imagine with a first-rate spy novel, that will turn out to be a big if, and there is a fair bit of double-crossing (with the inevitable bloodshed in its wake). Interestingly, Kanon introduces real-life characters in the book, such as poet/playwright Bertolt “Bert” Brecht, although Kanon offers the disclaimer that these characters “appear only as I imagine them to have been.” If one were to ask fans today which book Kanon is best known for, the answer would have to be 2001’s The Good German. Pose that same question a year from now, and the answer will be Leaving Berlin.

 

This article was originally published in the March 2015 issue of BookPage. Download the entire issue for the Kindle or Nook.

 
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