Reviews

Red Leaves – Thomas H Cook

The babysitter was the last person to see 8-year-old Amy before she disappeared. The babysitter is your 15-year-old son. He says he doesn’t know what happened. Do you absolutely trust him?

Eric Moore has a prosperous business, a comfortable home, a stable family life in a quiet town. Then, on an ordinary night, his teenage son Keith babysits Amy Giordano, the eight-year-old daughter of a neighboring family. The next morning Amy is missing, and Eric isn’t sure his son is innocent.

In his desperate attempt to hold his family together by proving his – and the community’s – suspicions wrong, Eric finds himself in a vortex of doubt and broken trust. What should he make of Keith’s strange behavior? Of his wife’s furtive phone calls to a colleague? Of his brother’s hints that he knows things he’s afraid to say?

In a “heart-wrenching and gut-wrenching” (New York Daily News) race against time and mistrust, Eric must discover what has happened to Amy Giordano and face the long-buried family secrets he has so carefully ignored.

My Review:  This is a powerful and uneasy book about a family surrounded by suspicion and lies.  Eric Moore is our narrator and his honest and painfully raw account of a terrible event that occurs when his teenage son Kevin babysits Amy, an eight year old neighbour, and the following morning she is discovered missing.

Living with a secretive, mono-syllabic teenager isn’t easy at the best of times, but when your teenager is then accused of unspeakable things and does very little to persuade you of his innocence, the tension in the story really heats up.  It’s a page turner which an ending which caught me out.

About the Author: Thomas H. Cook has been praised by critics for his attention to psychology and the lyrical nature of his prose. He is the author of more than 30 critically-acclaimed fiction books, including works of true crime. Cook published his first novel, Blood Innocents, in 1980. Cook published steadily through the 1980s, penning such works as the Frank Clemons trilogy, a series of mysteries starring a jaded cop.

He found breakout success with The Chatham School Affair (1996), which won an Edgar Award for best novel. Besides mysteries, Cook has written two true-crime books including the Edgar-nominated Blood Echoes (1993). He lives and works in New York City.

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