A father hears about a shooting incident at his son’s high school—and then finds his son is one of the suspected killers.
Simon Connolly is the anguished father and narrator in this psychological thriller by Reardon. Through chapters that more or less alternate between the present (the three-week period following the shooting) and the past (his son's childhood), we get a dual perspective and wonder along with Simon whether Jake is indeed capable of such an atrocity. Simon’s anguish is particularly acute because he was a stay-at-home dad, taking care of both Jake and his younger sister, Laney, while Rachel, their mom, supported the family as a lawyer. When the news about the shooting breaks, parents rush to a local church to be reunited with their children, but Jake doesn’t turn up. Instead, it becomes clear from both the police and the media that Jake might have been involved along with his friend, a loner named Doug Martin-Klein, who was found at the school, dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. As names of the shooting victims become known, Simon quickly becomes a pariah for agonized parents convinced Jake was responsible for killing their children. A rift opens between Simon and Rachel as well because he’s not sure whether he can believe in Jake’s innocence. He reviews incidents from Jake’s past—encounters with a school guidance counselor, play dates with Doug—that might (or might not) be significant.
A compelling read; disturbingly relevant in contemporary America.