The premise to this book is really interesting, Jake lets his sixteen year old son drive the car home as part of an attempt to bond with him and during momentary lapse of concentration Ryan hits what they think is a deer, closer inspection reveals the victim to be a teenage girl. In the heat of the moment Jake decides that as his son was driving after 11:00pm that he would take the blame, he doesn’t want Ryan’s promising scholarship at Basketball college ruined by a criminal record but then Ryan falls apart and Jake decides the best course of action is to continue the journey home and leave the dead girl by the side of the road. I like books where there is the possibility of asking ‘What would I do?’ and the first section was a realistic scenario to allow me to do so.
Unfortunately Lisa Scottoline has a tendency to over-egg the situation, there were endless paragraphs where both Ryan and Jake ruminated over what had happened in fairly banal language which didn’t appear to reflect any true emotion partly due to the style of the writing. I’m not a fan of endless dialogue in books partly because unless carefully handled there is strong likelihood that it will sound false and in Keep Quiet none of what I read reflected any conversation that I’ve heard between a father and his son:
On the way home, Jake had laid down the law to his son.
Ryan, don’t tell Mom. Never, ever.
Dad, I never would. Are you insane?
I mean it. No matter what. You know what she’d do. She’d have to.
Dad, I swear, I won’t tell. Mom. I won’t tell anybody.
The reason why Ryan couldn’t tell his mother, Pam was because she’s a judge and a top-ranking one at that so not only had the accident killed a girl, would ruin Ryan’s life with a potential prison sentence it also would kill Pam’s career, like the author, I’m just making sure you’re keeping up. It soon becomes apparent that Pam and Jake were already locked into a who’s the better parent competition even before the accident, with Pam taking the lead position of course, and this intensifies as Jake lies appallingly and Ryan goes rapidly off the rails as the news of the girl’s death is absorbed by the community.
As a moral tale of the old adage ‘What a tangled web we weave when first we practise to deceive’ as predictably more lies are required to cover the first one until it looks like there is no hiding place for the family and Lisa Scottoline provides many twists and turns before arriving at her rather unrealistic finale.
Lisa Scottoline’s books have been likened to Jodi Picoult’s and I can see the basic similarities are there in that this is an issue led book with a moral dilemma at its heart but Keep Quiet doesn’t have that level of sophistication caused mainly by the endless reinforcement of points the author doesn’t want the reader to miss, a technique that I frankly find annoying, I like authors who trust their readers to make up their own minds, especially about their characters which in this case lacked any real substance.
I’d like to thank Amazon Vine for giving me the opportunity to read this book in return for this honest review. Keep Quiet is due to be published on 20 November 2014.