Finished November 17
Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline, read by Ron Livingston
In this novel we have the point of view of Jake Buckman. Jake is a financial planner, and has his own business, one he developed a few years back when he lost his job. He's doing well, but he's spent a lot of time focusing on his work and no longer has a close relationship with his son Ryan. Ryan is on his high school basketball team, and also a good academic student. Jake's wife Pam is a judge, a self-described good girl, and the one who keeps her family on track. She has been encouraging Jake to make efforts to get closer to Ryan and so Jake is picking Ryan up at the local movie theatre where he has seen a movie with his friends.
Ryan has had his learner's permit for some time and begs Jake to let him drive the car when they get to a quiet road in an industrial area. Jake is reluctant as he knows the time of night means it is outside the rules for Ryan to drive, but gives in hoping to make a connection to his son.
But, distracted by their animated conversation, Ryan looks away from the road for seconds on a blind curve and all of their lives are changed forever. At first, although horrified, Jake tries to do the right thing in the circumstances, but then Ryan reveals another piece of information that causes Jake to make a terrible decision that he thinks will protect his son.
As Ryan and Jake try to cover up what happened that night and deal with their emotions around this terrible incident, their secret widens.
This is a story of well-meaning parents, trying to do the best by their kids, but reacting with emotions rather than thought. A story of the nature of guilt. A story of family dynamics and the dangers of the modern world.
I found the resolution to be a bit too nicely worked out and thus felt manipulated. Not one of her better reads for me. Not a bad read by any means, but just not one of her best.
I have seldom discussed the reader in audiobooks, a failing I will be trying to address more going forward. Here I found Livingston's reading too lacking in emotion for me, a bit flat. He read clearly and matter-of-factly, but his reading didn't add to the story in any way. It was right that it was a male reader given the point of view, but felt too controlled.
The cover art also leaves something to be desired, not reflecting the relationships between the family as described in the book at all. Even the height of the woman, presumably meant to be Pam, in relation to the man, presumably Jake, isn't right. Minor points perhaps, but I like to see a cover that gives an accurate feel for the book I'm reading.