Every family has its secrets…
by Harlan Coben
“We’re losing him.”
With those words, Mike and Tia Baye decided to spy on their sixteen-year-old son, Adam, who has become increasingly moody and withdrawn since the suicide of his best friend. The software they install on his computer shows them every Web site visited, every e-mail sent or received, every instant message. Within days, a cryptic message – “Just stay quiet and all safe” – draws them into a maze of mayhem and violence that could destroy them all….
Review: Hold tight to what? (enter sarcasm here)
Tia and Mike Baye are worried. Since the death of their son’s best friend, Spencer, Adam has become withdrawn. Something’s wrong, and Tia convinces Mike to have software installed on Adam’s computer so that they can try to figure out what’s wrong. Mike is uneasy with this decision, for they are invading their son’s privacy. Would the lack of trust tear their family apart?
Tia prints out the report from Adam’s computer and goes through it. The cryptic message – “just stay quiet an all safe” – is alarming to both, Tia and Mike. Stay quiet? Why? What’s going on? They decide they have to do something. One e-mail on Adam’s computer is talking about a party, a party that Mike and Tia do not want Adam attending. With the idea of stopping him, Mike tells Adam that they’re going to a hockey game with, but Adam doesn’t show up. He’s taken off, and his parents are desperate to find him.
Tia and Mike’s daughter, Jill, is friends with Yasmin Novak. Yasmin has become an angry and hurt little girl; her teacher, Joe Lewiston, made the mistake of singling her out in class, and now she is incessantly being made fun of.
Joe Lewiston is sorry for what he’s done, no one understands how sorry. And now he’s become jumpy, going so far as to change the password on his wife’s e-mail account so that she doesn’t see what’s being sent to her.
Yasmin’s father, Guy, has taken to driving by the Lewiston’s home, slowing down as he goes by.
They Bayes neighbors are having a rough time. Their ten-year-old son is sick and needs a kidney transplant. Now, usually the father is the perfect match, but after tests are run, not only is he not a match, he isn’t the biological father. What secret is Susan Loriman hiding?
Meanwhile, there’s a killer out there who murdered two women; he’s looking looking for answers.
**Where do I begin? The story started out strong. You learn who the characters are, what they do, their worries, their frustrations. You get that something’s wrong. There’s a mystery and suspense, and you’re right with the parents as they search for their son.
All these story lines are connected, but it’s the coincidences that I had a very hard time with. How everything’s connected, by the smallest things, had me shaking my head. Unbelievable is what they were. Just when you think there’s a grander scale, everything is put to small individual things being linked together and it was ridiculous! (and here I am repeating myself!) And the reader is made to believe it! That just made it all that much more absurd!
I have to admit, though, the main point was brought up as parents point of view and beliefs. How far would you go to protect your child? Would you spy on them? Would you do what they Bayes did? And what of the consequences should your child find out you invaded their privacy? At what point do you let them go? And should your child find out, how would you go about repairing the damage? I liked that part – it had me thinking of what I would do once my kids hit that age.
The mystery, as far as the Baye family was concerned, was excellent. The rest, to me, was filler. I wished that Mr. Coben had concentrated on that alone, the rest was distracting. Not a bad book, but not high on my list of recommendations.