Lisa Scottoline is an author who knows her way around a suspenseful plot. She has done it in the past and she does it again with her latest novel KEEP QUIET. The first two thirds of this book are as suspenseful as anything I have read lately, but in the last two thirds everything just falls apart. There are too many coincidental happenings and a not to be believed wrap up to the story. I know she wanted to give her readers a satisfactory ending but she did it in too fanciful a way.
At the start of the novel Jake Buckman is trying to find a way to better communicate with Ryan, his 16-year-old son. He feels Ryan relates better to his mother Pam. So to build a better relationship Jake begins to act more like a friend than a parent. This leads to a tragic incident that could land both of them in jail. Jake's concern is for his son and Ryan's is for his father. So to protect the both of them Jake tells his son he can never speak of the incident. He can't even tell his mother.
These circumstances make for some of the most harrowing reading ever found in a novel. The tension is so high that any reader will dread turning to the next page, but will feel powerless to stop. As each page follows the previous one the drama just gets higher and higher. Jake and Ryan are drowning in guilt and one of them is bound to crack.
Scottoline is brilliant at telling this part of the story. She turns the screws of the situation and pounds your emotions with apprehension and fear. She makes both Jake and Ryan totally likeable and they are two people whose lives no reader will want to see ruined. But as plotted by Scottoline there seems to be no hope for a happy resolution.
This is where Scottoline stumbles. She tries to wrap it up for the readers and fails miserably. Scottoline has always been a writer who brands her stories with logic, but not here. She creates circumstances which the reader will find hard to believe and this negates all the good work she has done at the start of the book.
Lisa Scottoline will undoubtedly write good books again in the future. Her talent is that great. However the failure to carry through with a logical plot in this novel will linger with her fans for some time to come.
KEEP QUIET is published by St Martin's Press. It contains 352 pages and sells for $27.99.