Friday, June 10, 2011

Review: Saving Max


I didn't realize when I selected this book that it was more of a legal thriller than straight literary fiction. As such, it was much more violent than I was anticipating. That said, this book offers a compelling story, one I stayed up half the night reading because I had to find out what would happen at the end.

Max Parkman finds himself accused of murdering a fellow patient at the psychiatric hospital where he is being treated. Max is autistic, and appears to have violent tendencies. His mother, Danielle, is convinced that her son is innocent, and wages a full-scale effort to prove his innocence. Danielle's legal battle is a desperate one, and she is committed to saving her son at all costs. The costs will be high. Unable to keep up with work at her Manhattan law firm, Danielle falls off the track to partner. More seriously, her unorthodox efforts to prove Max's innocence land Danielle in jail and out on bail.

This is a fast-paced and suspenseful book. Over the course of the book I warmed to Max's character, but I was never able to warm to Danielle. I found Danielle to be quite disturbing. As an officer of the court, Danielle is more than willing to flout the law and the conditions of her bail. Even more troubling to me was the fact that she was willing to pin the crime on any sacrificial lamb in her path. Danielle quite candidly admits that she is willing to place the blame on a known innocent if it will lead to her son's exoneration.

Several weeks after having finished this book I'm still left with an unsettled feeling. I'll likely be thinking about this one for quite some time.

Antoinette van Heugten, Saving Max (Mira, 2010) ISBN: 9780778329633

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