The Perfect Son by Lauren North
Published: August 2019 – Berkley Trade Paperback Original
Book courtesy of the publisher
Description: When Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital the day after her son Jamie’s eighth birthday, she’s sure of these things: She’s been stabbed, her son is missing, her brother-in-law and her grief counselor are involved. But no one is listening to her.
After her husband, Mark, died suddenly in a terrible accident a few months earlier, the only thing keeping Tess together is Jamie. As they struggle to make sense of their new life without Mark, they find joy in brief moments of normalcy like walking to school and watching television together. Life is hard without Mark, but Tess has Jamie, and that’s what matters.
But there in the hospital, confused and surrounded by people who won’t listen, Tess’s world falls apart. To save her son, she must piece together what happened between Mark’s death and Jamie’s birthday, but the truth might just be too much for her to bear. (publisher)
My take: Tess Clarke’s husband died recently and she’s grateful to have their 8 year old son Jamie as she deals with grief and the accompanying depression. She makes a new friend in the grief counselor who soon takes on the role of running interference for Tess from people who don’t seem to have her best interest in mind. And then mysterious phone calls and people begin to make Tess wonder if she can trust anyone. I felt the same way and read with my jaw clenched most of the time. Despite my sore jaw I found the story addictive in a ‘just one more chapter’ way. I liked The Perfect Son but was looking for a little more from the ending. I realize that’s just personal preference so check out other reviews. Still, I’m glad I read it and would definitely read the author’s next book. The Perfect Son is Lauren North’s debut novel.
About the author:
Lauren North studied psychology before moving to London, where she lived and worked for many years. She now lives with her family in the Suffolk countryside. The Perfect Son is her first novel, and she’s working on her second.
Praise for The Perfect Son:
“North offers an intimate, unbalancing mix of grief, paranoia, gaslighting, maternal protectiveness, and profound compassion.” – STARRED review from Publishers Weekly
“A powerful, unpredictable debut thriller about a mother’s attempt to reassemble her life from the shards of tragedy. Lauren North’s skillful narrative casts everyone as a suspect and keeps the reader guessing until the final, emotion-packed pages.” – David Bell, USA Today bestselling author of Layover
“A heart-rending evocation of grief that packs a devious punch. It left me reeling.” – Lesley Kara, author of the international bestseller The Rumor
“As satisfyingly intriguing and page-turning as you could possibly want. An emotional read – the end is a shocker!” – Emma Curtis, author of When I Find You
“Beautifully written psychological suspense about the power of love after a life-changing loss. A sense of impending doom and foreboding gripped me from the first page….The ending is stunning and powerful.” – Mary Torjussen, author of The Girl I Used to Be
“A captivating, suspenseful thriller that draws you in – with a twist that will take your breath away.” – T.M. Logan, author of Lies