Published March 6, 2018 by Dutton Books
This was my first Brad Parks read and I REALLY enjoyed it! When I first read the description for this novel, I was thoroughly intrigued. I couldn’t wait to start reading.
The book opens with a well-dressed affluent couple walking into Shenandoah Valley Social Services. As they are about to enter the man turns to his wife and says “Remember, we’re perfect” and the wife replies “The perfect couple”. The Family Services specialist agrees with them. Families like theirs usually adopted privately or traveled abroad. But they want to foster and adopt locally. They are reminded that it could be months or years before a baby is available. But the couple seem unconcerned. They completed all of the necessary steps and now they are receiving their certificate. As they are leaving the woman wonders if this could have all been for nothing. The man tells her not to worry…
“We’ll have a baby in no time”
Melanie Barrick knows firsthand what social services or “the system” is like. She grew up in it. But she survived her childhood and now has a great job, a wonderful husband, and best of all…she has Alex, her perfect son. But Melanie’s life turns into a nightmare when she attempts to pick up her son from daycare only to be told that he’s been taken away by social services. Melanie doesn’t understand how this could happen. But she gets no help from the babysitter. The only thing the woman will say to her…
“They told me all about you. I hope they get that child as far away from you as possible”
Melanie knows that occasionally horrible people will call in fake anonymous tips to social services. But who would do this to her family? Melanie is terrified because she knows that once a family is in the system, it is “guilty until proven innocent”. As Melanie pulls into her driveway at home, she tries to calm down. She reassures herself that they will sort this out, that everything will be okay…
THEN she sees that there is police tape stretched across her front door. And unfortunately, the hits just keep coming. Melanie learned a lot of things from her time as a ward of the state, but the one thing she’s always remembered…
“Disaster is always closer than you know”
WOW! You sure know how to tell a great story, Mr. Parks!!!
Fast-paced and gripping, this was an awesome read. After a really intense and intriguing start, it was impossible for me to put this novel down. I didn’t want to stop reading. I was anxious one minute and terrified the next… I could NOT wait to see how it all was going to play out.
This was a fast-paced psychological suspense with great characters and a story-line that didn’t disappoint. There was a lot going on and it all came together to what I thought was an excellent ending.
I can easily see just how much research the author put into this novel. Although it is a fictional story, there are still many things that can be learned here. It was really interesting reading how this story came about. I am really looking forward to reading more from Brad Parks.
I’d like to thank Dutton for giving me the opportunity to read this book in exchange for my honest review.