Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

Book description:
Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder.

Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.

Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death.

Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer?

With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.

This novel about one mother's battle to save her son starts off like a typical family drama, but quickly (and unexpectedly) spirals into a taut thriller. When Dana's son Max requires hospitalization because his depression is taking over, Dana travels across the country to get him the best help possible. What starts out as a difficult family experience rapidly becomes a nightmare as Max becomes increasingly violent and is eventually charged with murdering another patient at the mental hospital. Dana's quest to find the truth nearly destroys them both as she finds herself at odds with the legal system she has sworn to uphold.

Well-written and engaging, this book was unexpectedly enjoyable. Though I did figure out the where the book was going fairly early on, the journey to completion was still well worth the effort.