In all my years of reading, I have never, ever jumped to the final chapter to find out what happens – until this thriller by Lisa Scottoline. Her latest novel, Keep Quiet, is the best yet.
Jake Buckman is picking up his 16-year-old son from the movies. Jake has spent the last few years building his own financial planning business after being made redundant during the global financial crisis. The long hours needed to get the business up and running means father and son have drifted apart and, at the urging of Jake’s wife, Jake is trying to bridge the distance between them before Ryan heads off to college.
Ryan is a gifted scholar and is already being recruited by college basketball programmes. The one passion that father and son share is a love of cars and when Ryan asks if he can drive his dad’s new Audi the last few kilometres home, Jake agrees. Ryan’s on a learner’s licence and, technically, isn’t supposed to drive after 11pm, but there’s nobody around on the roads midway through the week. But then, as they round a blind curve, there’s a sickening thump.
Jake realises they’ve hit something and is devastated to realise it is a young female jogger. She’s dead but before they can ring for the police and ambulance, Ryan reveals that he smoked a joint with his team-mates and that the drug will still be in his system when the police, inevitably, test him.
His father tells him that he’ll tell the police he was driving, but he realises his son is too distraught to maintain the lie. And so, in a split second, a good man does a bad thing. He ushers Ryan into the car and they drive away leaving the jogger dead on the road. Jake reasons that they can’t bring her back to life, so why should Ryan’s life be ruined as well?
The two of them try to keep the accident a secret, but a man shows up at Jake’s office with a video on his cellphone showing Jake giving CPR to the girl, Jake and Ryan switching seats and driving off leaving the woman dead on the road. The man wants $250,000 or he’s going to the press.
At this point, I had to skip to the end. I was desperate to see if Jake and Ryan would get out of this dreadful situation, which they do (sort of) in a plot twist that should leave you guessing.
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