cover image Saving Max

Saving Max

Antoinette van Heugten, Mira, $14.95 paper (384p) ISBN 978-0-7783-2963-3

Parents of children with serious behavior problems will find their worst nightmares come alive in Texas attorney van Heugten's debut, a murder thriller. The worries of single mother and Manhattan attorney Danielle Parkman about her son, Max, a high-functioning 16-year-old with Asperger's, escalate when she discovers he's using drugs and keeps a journal filled with violent suicidal writings and drawings. Max's outbursts have also left Danielle with more than a few bruises and scrapes. When the boy's doctor recommends Maitland Psychiatric Asylum in Plano, Iowa, Danielle reluctantly agrees. Danielle soon has her doubts about Maitland, especially after staff members diagnose Max with "an extreme form of psychosis" and refuse to let her be a part of her son's care. Her misgivings intensify after Max is accused of killing a fellow patient and she's arrested as an accessory. More than one harrowing twist toward the end compensate for the "stiffened spines" and "horrified glances." (Oct.)