Parker Redman (and other familiar characters from 2010’s Daddy By Default) must deal with the positive and negative aftermath of his legal battle over paternity issues and father’s rights.
Five years after a devastating legal battle that turned his life upside down, Parker Redman has started a nonprofit organization that advocates for father’s rights. However, his struggles aren’t over. Someone holds a grudge and has some pretty powerful leverage over him; information that will upend his life once again and threaten his good name, his new career and his family’s hard-won equilibrium. In the midst of fighting for his own reputation, Parker must also guide a young, famous basketball player in dealing with complicated past and present relationships and the financial obligations he has to children he’s likely fathered. Meanwhile, Lachez—the woman who went to jail for fraud in Parker’s case—is out and learning to navigate life as a convicted felon while trying to save her 17-year-old son from his cougar girlfriend. Tucker’s sequel to Daddy By Default continues her sharp-eyed look at a legal and social system that leaves men vulnerable in paternity issues but also spotlights a mercenary, vengeful facet to some of the women involved. With smooth writing, strong, effective characterization and a plot that is generally credible—if occasionally jaw-dropping and at times irritating as we watch characters make really bad, yet believable, choices—Tucker does a good job of using story to examine problematic true-to-life circumstances. Certain character choices are questionable, like Lachez’s 17-year-old son preparing to marry a much older woman—statutory rape issues? This likely wouldn’t make it in if the minor were a girl—or the sheer self-centered vindictiveness of the main protagonist. But while these aspects make the book difficult to endure at times, it’s not clear that they detract from the work as a whole, particularly when viewed from the perspective of a gritty realism. An abrupt ending may be a segue to another sequel, but it does leave an unfinished air to the work.
Despite some flaws, this book offers a well-executed, dramatic storyline that highlights problematic issues in our social and legal systems, balanced by an honorable main character dedicated to doing the right thing.