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.
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.