Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline:  Book Review

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline: Book Review

Keep Quiet by Lisa Scottoline is a psychological suspense thriller novel about how far a family will go to protect the people they love. As in Lisa’s other books, there is a twist at the end, which makes it exciting to read, trying to figure out who did it. I enjoy reading her books. Keep Quiet is the second book by this author that I have read so far. I picked up this book, and as soon as I saw the author, I knew I would like the book. It did not disappoint me.

The story takes place in Pennsylvania. The main character’s wife, Pam, is a Judge on the Pennsylvania Supreme Court and is trying to get a position as a federal judge. Since I live in Pennsylvania, I was more interested in that detail. Furthermore, some of Pennsylvania’s criminal laws about hit and run homicide were interjected into the story because many of Jake and Ryan’s decisions are based on the probable outcomes of these laws.

Keep Quiet Synopsis

At the very beginning of Keep Quiet, Lisa Scottoline gives us details about the accident and the decision Jake made immediately afterward that will be the basis for the rest of the book. Jake Buckman picks up his 16-year-old son, Ryan, from the movie theater. Ryan asks his father if he can drive partway home. Jake does not think it is a good idea because it is 11:15 p.m., and Ryan only has a learner’s permit and is not allowed to operate a motor vehicle after 11:00 p.m. That is the law. However, Ryan pleaded with his father and furthered his argument, saying that he already has been driving for five months with the learner’s permit and only needs one more month before he can take the test to get his license. Jake caves in and allow his son to drive.

The Tragic Accident

A devastating accident happens. While Ryan is driving and at a moment when he is looking over at his father, he runs over a female runner. Jake checks on the victim and finds that she is dead. He yells to Ryan to call the police. However, after Jake learns that Ryan had been smoking marijuana, Jake decides to leave the scene of the accident, without calling the police. He felt that he needed to protect his son. He has his whole life ahead of him. Ryan may go to jail, and this would ruin his life. Jake tells Ryan to Keep Quiet.

“They would convict him of driving under the influence and vehicular homicide. He would go to jail. There would be no college, no future, no nothing. Ryan’s entire life would be ruined – and all because Jake had let him drive.” (p. 16)

Ryan never wanted to lie. He was driving and felt awful that he had killed a lady. He implored his dad to call the police, but his father did not allow him. How both Jake and Ryan deal with this lie is the basis for the rest of the book. Neither of them goes to the police because they want to protect each other.

Protecting His Son

The next day they found out the victim was Kathleen Lindstrom, a 16-year-old girl who was in Ryan’s class in high school. Ryan really wanted to go to the police and confess that he killed her, but his father wouldn’t let him. He wanted him to Keep Quiet and not tell anyone.

Jake caused Ryan so much anguish. Jake did what he thought was the best decision for his son, but it turned out to be very bad. Not long after, Ryan came to the same conclusion. He kept silent to protect his father.

“He felt a creeping dread that it had only increased the pressure on all of them, tying their family together in a corrupt bargain, each one tethered to the other in a way that doomed them not to survive, but to sink.” (p. 209)

Jake told one lie, and then he kept on having to tell more lies to cover his tracks. Moreover, he breaks more laws to make sure he is not found out. When is it going to stop? Each time he could have stopped it and confessed to the police. The continuous lying and breaking the law is just getting him deeper into trouble.

My Analysis of Keep Quiet

My first thought is it was idiotic to hide a horrible crime. If Jake would have just done the right thing and called the police, everything would have been fine. The rest of the book is the consequences of his decision. I also thought that the woman might have been dead before they ran over her because I don’t think a person would die instantly after being run over by a car. I kept thinking that Jake would figure that out, but he never did.

From the very beginning of Keep Quiet, after reading about the accident, I thought I knew how the story would end. The story was mediocre to me until I got to the middle of the book, where the exciting turn of events happened. One fact that was revealed in the end, I had guessed when I first read about the details of the accident. But everything else kept me in suspense throughout the book, and I was surprised at the conclusion.

I thought is was a good book. If you like psychological suspense novels, you will enjoy Keep Quiet. Another book that I read by Lisa Scottoline was After Anna.

You may want to check out another author, Lisa Jackson, who writes the same type of stories. I wrote a book review of Tell Me by Lisa Jackson who also writes similar novels like this one.

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris:  Book Review

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris: Book Review

Bring Me Back by B.S. Paris is a good psychological suspense novel. This is the first book I have read by this author. After seeing the book displayed in the new books section at Barnes and Noble, I ordered it from the library. It looked interesting. I enjoy suspense novels once in a while so I wanted to read it.

Set up and Introduction

The story takes place in London. Twelve years earlier a woman, Layla Gray, had gone missing in France. Finn was Layla’s boyfriend at the time of her disappearance and he is telling us the story. Finn says that he lied to the police from the beginning. He knows that Layla is not dead.

“I had no idea what to do. I knew I’d have to report you missing but that I’d have to have a story, otherwise they’d see my history and if you didn’t turn up, I’d be arrested for your murder. ” (p. 92)

Bring Me Back keeps going back to the beginning of their relationship and then coming to the present. One chapter says “before” and the next “after”, and it keeps going like that. In the “before” chapters, Finn is retelling the story to Layla. He often says, “Do you remember? ” However, it is a monologue because Layla never responds. It’s like when you talk to someone in a coma. You are talking but don’t expect a response. It is unusual the way it is written.

In the middle of the book, the chapters change. Finn is still telling his side of the story, but Layla is telling her side as well in every other chapter. She tells what is happening presently and what she is thinking. It goes back and forth now between Finn and Layla telling the story.

Bring Me Back Synopsis

An announcement goes out in the newspaper that Finn and Layla’s sister, Ellen, are getting married. Soon after the announcement, Russian dolls start showing up at Finn and Ellen’s house. Finn is trying to find out who is leaving the dolls. This specific Russian doll is significant to both Finn and Ellen. Finn figures it is someone who does not want them to get married.

When the announcement in the newspaper about the upcoming marriage of Finn and Ellen, Layla was furious that he was going to marry her sister. She then devised a plan to let Finn know that she was still alive. Layla started leaving Russian dolls where Finn will find them.

The summary on the inside flap of the book implies that the book is about finding out if Layla is alive. Although very early in the book Finn knows that she is alive. The question is what does she want? He is not certain it is Layla, but someone is trying to provoke him and maybe pretending to be Layla.

Finn begins receiving emails from this mysterious person. The sender is trying to give clues as to who they are, but it takes Finn a while to figure it out.

My Analysis

Bring Me Back was an enjoyable book to read. I couldn’t put the book down. I wanted to know what Finn was going to do. Was he going to stay with Ellen or go back with Layla? Also, how crazy was Layla? Would she do something to hurt Ellen? The book is an easy read. I finished it within three days.

This is a detective story but it does not include the police or detectives. It is about Finn trying to figure everything out on his own. It is suspenseful. I thought that since the book talked about a murder in the beginning that it would be the regular detective story where the police are trying to find the murderer. It is not at all like that. It is all about what Finn is thinking and what he is trying to figure out who is behind the Russian dolls.

Characters

Finn is not a likable character. I don’t like him too much because he lies and keeps things from his girlfriends. He has lots of money hidden from Ellen. However, he wants to be with these women because they are totally honest. He is allowed to lie and keep secrets, but his partners cannot do anything wrong. Ellen would never go through his stuff. He hides money from both Layla and Ellen. A lot of money.

He loses his temper quite often. If someone gets him really upset he punches them until they are almost dead, even women. This is a continuous pattern with him throughout his life.

“My temper led me into two more scrapes, one of which led to me being charged with assault after I beat up a colleague who called me Paddy one time too many. After that, I managed to more or less stay out of trouble, until the night I attacked Harry.” (p. 81)

I didn’t hate Finn throughout the story, but I did not feel sorry for him either. The ending of Bring Me Back was good. It has some things to ponder. If Finn did not have a temper, he could have had a happy life with Layla.

Another great psychological suspense novel I recommend is Room by Emma Donoghue. Here is my review of the book. I loved this book, and a movie came out based on this Room.

Room by Emma Donoghue:  Book Review

Room by Emma Donoghue: Book Review

Five-Year-Old Boy Braves Great Escape from Room

FIVE-YEAR-OLD BOY BRAVES GREAT ESCAPE FROM ROOM

Room, authored by Emma Donoghue, is a story that captured my heart.  A Five-Year-Old Boy Braves Great Escape from Room.  What makes it unique is told from a five-year-old boy’s perspective.  If it had been told from the mother’s perspective, it would have been a sad story and one that has been written many times before based on actual events.  The story is sad because we know the circumstances, but the boy does not see it that way.  We see how a little boy looks at the world and what he is thinking.

GREAT ESCAPE FROM ROOM SYNOPSIS

The story starts with Jack’s birthday when he turns five years old.  It’s only him and his mother living in an 11 sq ft room, which Jack just calls Room. They are being held captive by a man that kidnapped his mother seven years ago when she was nineteen years old. His mother tries to make life as normal as possible by creating routines.  Jack learned what time they ate dinner, took a bath, and went to bed.  He could read a digital clock.   

Since he could never leave the Room and has only a small skylight to look out, Jack had never seen the outside world.  They do have a small TV to pass the time.  He thinks that everything in the TV is not real.

Jack is an intelligent boy.  Although he doesn’t have many books, he loves to read.  Often his mother will read him the books. Watching TV taught him a lot of things too.  His mother taught him to write his name and sentences.  

 

MY REVIEW

Room is an adorable and heart-wrenching story.  I didn’t want it to end. Coming to the end of the book, I wondered how it was going to finish.  It doesn’t wrap up like in a crime or a romance book.  Nonetheless, the ending is touching and perfect.  I don’t give five stars to many books, but this one deserves it.  It captured my attention from beginning to end.  

I like how Jack says that his Ma unlies to him when she told him lies but now she is telling him the truth.  There are so many words in the book that reflects how young children speak.  

“When I was four I thought everything in TV was just TV, then I was five and Ma unlied about lots of it being pitures of real and Outside being totally real.  Now I’m in Outside but it turns out lots of it isn’t real at all.” (p. 277)

Another aspect of the book that I enjoyed was the made up words  Jack and his mother would create.  They used ‘scave‘ to mean both scared and brave. Jack came up with a lot of word sandwiches, as they called them, throughout the book.  The reader is glimpsing into a young child’s mind.  

Room

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