Holt, Mar 2001, 25.00, 309 pp.
In the Boston area, Malcolm and Sarah Vaughn accompanied by their second grade son Harry were driving home from dinner when the Corvair in front of them sat at the green light, not once but twice. Malcolm went to see if the driver was okay, but was shot and killed for his Good Samaritan efforts. Harry and Sarah watch their beloved father and husband die in front of their shocked eyes.
The aftermath of the random act of violence stuns Sarah and Harry. At the hospital Sarah calls Malcolm's best friend Deckard Jones, who cannot cope any better than the two survivors. Sarah finds herself increasingly alone, as she cannot hide her grief in her work as a chemical engineering professor. Harry suffers nightmares that haunt him during the day hiding it with apathy and withdrawal while crying and wetting his bed at night. Deck returns to Nam where he seen death and suicide as the norm. The near future for this trio is at best bleak, helpless, and unrelenting, as they must cope with tragedy by themselves.
As he did with THE MUSIC ROOM, Dennis McFarland provides his audience with an angst-filled tale of what emotionally and psychologically happens to the survivors. The tragedy occurs in the first chapter with the main story line centering on how each individual copes (or in many cases, not deal with) the sudden death of a loved one. Although a bit too melodramatic at times as secondary players also suffer and react in various ways to Malcolm's murder, Mr. McFarland has written a superb psychological thriller that emphasizes the feelings not the action.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner