When a dentist dies in a car accident, he leaves behind a rattled and questioning wife who must try to come to terms with his death—and what she suspects may be his murder.
Nick Solberg practices dentistry in the Chicago suburbs, where he lives with his wife, Clara, daughter, Maisie, and newborn son, Felix. But when Felix is 4 days old, Nick is killed while driving Maisie home from ballet class. Although the girl is unharmed, she keeps telling her mother that a “bad man” was after them. Convinced that Nick’s death wasn’t an accident—despite official police findings—Clara digs through her husband’s life and finds a man of many contradictions. Told from alternating viewpoints—we hear from Nick before the accident and Clara both immediately before and then after the crash—the story weaves in and out of Nick’s impending ruin. As Clara skirts telling Maisie her father is dead, Nick skirts telling Clara they’re facing impending financial doom, hiding it any way he can. Clara’s bizarre reaction to her husband’s death snowballs into total denial that he could have engineered it himself; she continues to lie to her daughter, latching on to clues she’s convinced will prove he was murdered. While Nick's narrative fills in many of the blanks Clara’s finding, Clara remains in the dark about his activities and keeps dipping into her growing belief that Nick was murdered to point the finger at everyone—even family members—who comes into her line of sight. When all is said and done, Clara, who should be sympathetic, is not only a questionable mother, but also a not-very-reliable narrator who won’t earn many points with readers. And after a big buildup, the ending falls flat and is forgettable.
Overwritten and sloppy with an oddly polarizing protagonist.