The Perfect Son

Lauren North. Berkley, $16 trade paper (368p) ISBN 978-1-9848-0384-9
Tess Clarke, the confused narrator of British author North’s emotionally harrowing debut, is in the hospital on the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday and less than two months after her husband Mark’s death in a plane crash. She has a stab wound in her stomach, and no one is listening to her requests to find her son. The main narrative covers the time between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday from the point of view of medication-avoidant Tess, who carries on imaginary dialogue with her late husband. Meanwhile, she begins to mistrust her two primary visitors: Mark’s brother Ian, who claims Mark owed him money, and Shelley Lange, a grief counselor turned overpossessive friend, who lost a son of about Jamie’s age. Present-day interludes depict interviews between Tess and a professional she identifies as a member of the police, and statements by Ian and Shelley that provide subtle clues to what’s really going one. North offers an intimate, unbalancing mix of grief, paranoia, gaslighting, maternal protectiveness, and profound compassion. Agent: Tanera Simons, Darley Anderson Literary (U.K.). (Aug.)
Reviewed on : 05/30/2019
Release date: 08/13/2019
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Audio book sample courtesy of Penguin Random House Audio
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