"No one can be lonely who has a book for company." ~ Nelle Reagan

Friday, May 8, 2015

Finding Jake by Bryan Reardon (TLC book review)

Finding Jake
Author:  Bryan Reardon
Published: February 2015
Publisher:  William Morrow
Pages: 272
Genre:  psychological suspense
Source:  A copy was provided by the publisher in coordination with TLC Book Tours in exchange for an honest and unbiased review.

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.

For sixteen years, Simon Connelly's successful wife has gone to her law office each day, while he has stayed home to raise their children. Though Simon has loved taking care of Jake and Laney, it has cost him a part of himself, and has made him an anomaly in his pretty, suburban neighborhood—the only stay-at-home dad among a tight circle of mothers.

Shepherding them through childhood, the angst-ridden father has tried to do the best for the kids, even if he often second-guesses his choices. For sunny, outgoing Laney, it's been easy. But quiet Jakehas always preferred the company of his books or his sister to playdates and organized sports. Now that they are in high school, Simon should feel more relaxed, but he doesn't. He's seen the statistics, read the headlines.

Then, on a warm November day, he receives a text: There has been a shooting at the high school.

Racing to the rendezvous point, Simon is forced to wait with scores of other anxious fathers and tearful mothers, overwhelmed by the disturbing questions running through his head. How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are reunited with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone. Laney has gone home with her mom. Jake is the only child missing.

As his worst nightmare unfolds, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for the 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? Jake could not have done this—or could he?

As rumors begin to ricochet, amplified by an invasive media, Simon must find answers. But there is only one way to understand what has happened . . . he must find Jake.

A story of faith and conviction, strength and courage, love and doubt that is harrowing and heartbreaking, surprisingly healing and redemptive, Finding Jake asks us to consider how well we know ourselves . . . and those we love.

My Thoughts:

"Shots have been fired at the high school.  Calmly report to St. Michael's across Route 5."

This is the text every parent received.  Even more horrific, was word that Jake, Simon and Rachel's son, was not among the students accounted for.  Could he have been involved or had he been killed?

The author slips back in time, recounting Simon's memories of the birth and childhood of his son.  His mind searching, probing, questioning... was there any hint that Jake could have done something like this?  As Simon recounts memories of the often quiet and shy child, he begins to wonder what went wrong.  He began to question the innocence he hoped for.  

As a parent I could feel Simon's pain, his questions were the same I know I would ask myself.  What went wrong?  Was Jake capable of murder?  Did his friendship with the boy who shot himself also mean he was involved?  Did he try to stop him?  Did he run away and was in hiding?

As the details begin to unfold, the truth becomes clear. Finding Jake's plot is a psychological suspense that begs the reader to question how well do we really know our children, our spouse, our neighbours?  Can you trust your own instincts?

I will not soon forget Finding Jake.  Reardon makes you think, feel and question.  It's an amazing and emotional read which I highly recommend!

Meet the author:

Bryan Reardon is a freelance writer specializing in medical communications. He co-wrote Ready, Set, Play with retired NFL player and ESPN analyst Mark Schlereth and Cruel Harvest. Prior to becoming a full-time writer, Bryan worked for the State of Delaware for over a decade, starting in the Office of the Governor. He holds a BA in psychology from the University of Notre Dame and lives in West Chester, Pennsylvania, with his wife, kids, and rescue dog, Simon.
Connect with Bryan on Facebook.

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1 comment:

  1. As a parent the thought of experiencing this story myself is gut-wrenching. I'm sure I'd be flipping pages maniacally trying to find out what happens next.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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