Ex-Army stay-at-home dad David Sparrow taps into his inner warrior when his family is threatened by a crime lord. Men everywhere give a sigh of relief as he reclaims his masculinity.
On a break from his stressful, secret Army job after he begins to lose his edge, David takes charge of his kids, Brent and Anna, so his wife, Amy, can focus on her high-profile promotion in the district attorney’s office. Her first big case is prosecuting Dante Payne, a sartorially enthusiastic sociopath who, it quickly turns out, has his foot soldiers everywhere, even on the police force and in the DA’s office itself. After a professional breaks into the Sparrows’ house to steal a zip drive from Amy’s store of evidence, David realizes two things: he will do anything to protect his family, and there is a larger conspiracy at work. From this point on, most of the novel consists of car chases, shootings, boat crashes, and beatings, quick cuts in action movie–like scenes. Apparently Gischler (The Deputy, 2010, etc.) has already sold TV rights to the novel, and it clearly strives to be translated into a more visual medium; Gischler is also a writer of graphic novels. Without the depth of illustration, however, the action scenes begin to feel repetitive and easily skimmable. The novel also exposes that cultural stereotypes of men and women have not changed as much as we may think they have. On a basic level, Gischler argues, no man can be sustained by being “Mr. Mom,” and David is clearly more intellectually and physically engaged in his life and his marriage when he's “acting like a man” and protecting his family.
Wait for the TV series. Or the graphic novel?