How much do you trust your children, and what would you do if your efforts to keep tabs on them pushed them even further away?
Adam Baye is a good kid, but ever since he gave up hockey, the sport that seemed destined to finance his college education, his parents, a New Jersey transplant surgeon and a Manhattan lawyer, have been worried. So Mike and Tia install spyware on their son’s computer. Once they can follow his every keystroke, visit every site he has logged onto and read every e-mail he has sent and received, they quickly realize that Adam is keeping dangerous secrets from them—so dangerous, in fact, that when he goes AWOL one night and refuses to answer his cell phone, Mike snoops further, using a GPS tracking service to follow Adam to Club Jaguar, way on the other side of the tracks. For his pains, Mike gets beaten up, then pulled in by the FBI, who tell him that the club, which ostensibly provides a haven where teens can safely act out, is a cover for some major felonies. What do the Bayes’ problems have to do with the thoughtless remark with which schoolteacher Joe Lewiston ruined the life of Adam’s sister Jill’s best friend, Yasmin Novak? Or the revelation that desperately ill Lucas Loriman’s father can’t donate a kidney to his son because he’s not the boy’s father? Or the murdered Jane Doe whom Essex County Chief Investigator Loren Muse (The Woods, 2007, etc.) is trying to identify?
There are surprises aplenty, but this time the ambitious scope—the anatomy of suburban vice—works against suspense; there are just too many cutaways to other embattled characters you want to root for but can’t remember why.