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Saving Max is a thriller based on the bond between a single mother and her teenage son who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. Danielle Parkman discovers something of Max's at home which triggers a referral to a center which specializes in caring for children with special needs. Danielle admits Max into the best facility in the country for further diagnosis and possible treatment. It is during this short period of time that Max is accused of committing the gruesome murder of Jonas, another patient. Danielle attempts to cover it up, but is caught in the act. At this point the novel takes off, although we, along with Danielle, suspect something is very wrong with the whole set up.
Max drifts a little bit into the plot's background and Danielle becomes the primary focus of the novel. We learn she's an excellent lawyer, but as I followed her activities from start to finish, I wondered about her intelligence. As surprising as her actions were to me, I knew what she was doing was foolish. Yet I questioned if I would do the same. That's part of the beauty of the plot. How far would I go if I were faced with the same situation? But would I be able to without being a lawyer? That's one of the difficulties the novel has in relating to Danielle. Without possessing her specific educational background, I might be stuck if faced with the same set of circumstances. Could I find another way? And if my child were not as intelligent and creative as Max is portrayed to be, would I have a chance?
The antagonist is vile, yet believable. I got a sense of what she was doing as the story unfolded and my jaw hit the floor a number of times. The ending took me by surprise and made me squirm.
Danielle herself doesn't seem to experience any personal growth throughout the story. This was disappointing to me. She didn't take any advice. She didn't trust very many people. She was one dimensional in that way. Perhaps that was van Heugten's intention. Would I experience any personal growth, or even think clearly, if my main focus was saving my kid?
The story is written in the present tense, which was a little jolting at first, but I got used to it. Plummer reads the story well and the voices are clear and distinct.
Antoinette van Heugten has a stepson who is autistic. That experience adds realism to the novel. She's also an international lawyer, making the courtroom scenes credible.
I recommend the book.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
I am a hard-core mystery fan. I saw this book, a trade paperback, in a store and read the synopsis. I wasn't familiar with the author or the publisher, but it sounded worth a listen. I didn't read the online information very carefully. Was I ever surprised when the announcer said this was a presentation of Harlequin! So my rating is probably not what a regular Harlequin reader would have given it.
It actually started off very interesting, but I knew we had "jumped the shark" when the high-powered NYC attorney had a one-night-stand with a stranger she met in the small town where her son was undergoing treatment for mental illness.
The story got a little grizzly in the details of what happened. I've read much worse. But I didn't expect it in this particular book.
If you are a true mystery fan or you are disturbed by child abuse, my advise is to steer clear of this.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful