It wasn’t until I was reading this book that it occurred to me I’ve not read many legal thrillers of late. It seems my days of Scott Turow, Steve Martini and John Grisham are (inadvertently) a thing of the past, though I still very much adore Alafair Burke and Lisa Scottoline. Nevertheless… it’s been a while between courtroom scenes!
And I lapped up this standalone novel by Brad Parks, devouring it in one evening.Say Nothing
by Brad Parks
Published by Faber & Faber
on March 2nd 2017
Source: Allen & Unwin
Genres: Thriller / Suspense
ISBN: 0571332684, 9780571332687
Judge Scott Sampson doesn’t brag about having a perfect life, but the evidence is clear: A prestigious job. A beloved family. On an ordinary Wednesday afternoon, he is about to pick up his six-year-old twins to go swimming when his wife, Alison, texts him that she’ll get the kids from school instead.
It’s not until she gets home later that Scott realizes she doesn’t have the children. And she never sent the text. Then the phone rings, and every parent’s most chilling nightmare begins. A man has stolen Sam and Emma. A man who warns the judge to do exactly as he is told in a drug case he is about to rule on. If the judge fails to follow his instructions, the consequences for the children will be dire.
For Scott and Alison, the kidnapper’s call is only the beginning of a twisting, gut-churning ordeal of blackmail, deceit, and terror; a high-profile trial like none the judge or his wife has ever experienced. Their marriage falters. Suspicions and long-buried jealousies rise to the surface. Fractures appear. Lies are told.
Through it all, Scott and Alison will stop at nothing to get their children back, no matter the cost to themselves…or to each other.
Scott is a wonderful character. We’re in his head the whole time so privy to his every thought. And suspicion. His love for his children is palpable and he’s prepared to do whatever it takes to get them back, including offer inexplicable verdicts that will have his credibility and ethics questioned and possibly even see him impeached. (In fact I admired the fact he didn’t once feel torn about what he ‘needed’ to do.)
The book’s well-written and – though it’s longish for a book (of this genre) – it flew by. Parks introduces a lot of layers so there’s Scott’s former life working for a Senator (also his mentor) and his change in direction 5yrs earlier when his life almost ended. Although Scott and Alison are warned not to involve the police, Alison’s close to her sisters and their involvement complicates things. And then there’s Scott’s staff and of course the cases before him in his role as a Federal Judge.
No one is above suspicion in Scott’s world. Not even Alison, who – it seems – is keeping secrets from her husband.
We fairly quickly learn about the case which interests the kidnappers, but it’s complicated and involves several players, so… Scott finds himself unable to work out who may be behind it.
I very much enjoyed this fast-paced and intriguing novel from Parks, who’s perhaps best known for his Carter Ross series, and highly recommend it.
Say Nothing by Brad Parks published in Australia by Allen & Unwin and will be released in Australia on 29 March 2017.
I received a copy of this book from the publisher for review purposes.