A father’s release from prison strains family ties to the breaking point in MacDonald’s latest domestic thriller.
Successful physician Duncan Avery was convicted 15 years ago of stabbing his wife Marsha to death in their suburban New Jersey home, scattering what remained of his family to the winds. His oldest son Patrick’s girlfriend Lindsay Farrell is packed off to Europe to avoid the scandal, while Patrick slinks off to Rutgers in despair. Daughter Nina goes to live with her mother’s elderly Aunt Mary, and Jimmy, the youngest, is left in care of the Averys’ postman, George Connelly, and his wife Rose in hope that their religious devotion with help him overcome his drug addiction. Now that Duncan has earned his parole, only Nina seems willing to be reunited with him. She moves him into her sublet, and when the condo association balks at having a convicted felon in the building, takes him off to New Jersey to live with her at Aunt Mary’s, despite the crimp it puts in her budding New York acting career. The real damage, though, is to her relationship with her siblings, who can’t see why Nina wants to offer Duncan shelter—much less why she wants to help prove his innocence.
MacDonald (Suspicious Origin, 2003, etc.) introduces a healthy balance of introspection and interaction into her tale of deeply unhealthy family dynamics.