WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING by Joseph Hayes

WHEN NO ONE IS WATCHING

KIRKUS REVIEW

Hayes' debut is a blend of suspense novel and morality play.

After a night celebrating a high-profile victory, law partners and best friends Danny Moran and Blair Van Howe are both drunk—Danny on beer, Blair on his success and promising future. Blair, driving Danny’s brand-new Porsche as his friend lies passed out in the passenger seat, careens around a corner, causing a fatal accident. In the other car are Terry McGrath and his daughter Ashley, who has Down syndrome, on their way to pick up a puppy for Mrs. McGrath’s 40th birthday. Panicking and fearful of the accident’s potential to ruin his planned congressional run, Blair moves Danny to the driver’s seat, calls 911 and flees the scene. Rather than condemning his actions, Blair’s conniving wife Kimberly and corrupt father-in-law Sam McIntire take his complicity several steps further with their willingness to bribe, murder or do whatever it takes to keep Blair looking lily white. As Blair’s star shines brightly, Danny suffers the fallout from an accident he can’t remember—jail time, divorce, disbarment and overwhelming guilt. Yet it is Danny who ultimately leads the richer life, as his involvement in Alcoholics Anonymous reveals his deep capacity for giving and caring. Tenacious detective Victor Slazak refuses to give up on his investigation, despite threats to his life and a decade-long exile in Las Vegas. But the story revolves mainly around Danny, a profoundly sympathetic character. His heartwarming story of rehabilitation and redemption doesn’t detract from the page-turning suspense. Nor is this a black-and-white story of good versus evil, as Blair is able to help thousands of people through his political achievements and also emerges as a victim of the circumstances he created. Introspective readers may find themselves questioning some of the characters’ judgments, but others can read the story for pure entertainment. The novel’s only and minor flaw is the one-dimensionality of some of the secondary characters.

Appealing to readers of multiple genres, this book is not to be missed.

Pub Date: Aug. 31st, 2010
ISBN: 978-0984387946
Page count: 275pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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