Narrator: George Newbern
Published by Harper Audio on February 24th 2015
Genres: Family Life, Fiction, General, Suspense, Thrillers
Length: 7 hrs. 45 mins.
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A heart-wrenching yet ultimately uplifting story of psychological suspense in which a parent is forced to confront what he does - and does not - know about his teenage son, in the vein of Reconstructing Amelia, Defending Jacob, and We Need to Talk About Kevin. While his successful wife goes off to her law office each day, Simon Connolly takes care of their kids, Jake and Laney. Now that they are in high school, the angst-ridden father should feel more relaxed, but he doesn't. He's seen the statistics, read the headlines. And now, his darkest fear is coming true. There has been a shooting at school. Simon races to the rendezvous point, where he's forced to wait. Do they know who did it? How many victims were there? Why did this happen? One by one, parents are led out of the room to reunite with their children. Their numbers dwindle, until Simon is alone. As his worst nightmare unfolds, and Jake is the only child missing, Simon begins to obsess over the past, searching for answers, for hope, for the memory of the boy he raised, for mistakes he must have made, for the reason everything came to this. Where is Jake? What happened in those final moments? Is it possible he doesn't really know his son? Or he knows him better than he thought? Brilliantly paced, Finding Jake explores these questions in a tense and emotionally wrenching narrative. Harrowing and heartbreaking, surprisingly healing and redemptive, it is a story of faith and conviction, strength, courage, and love that will leave listeners questioning their own lives, and those they think they know.
Finding Jake is a tense, topical little book that centers on the aftermath of a school shooting. In a parent’s worst nightmare scenario, stay-at-home dad Simon hears that there was a shooting at his kids’ high school. All the students are accounted for except for his son Jake. Could he be one of the shooters? The other parents, law enforcement, and media seem to think so, but Jake’s parents cling to hope and desperately try to find him and clear his name.
This is a suspenseful and relatable story. School shootings are events parents don’t want to think about, as everyone fears another Columbine. For Simon, the parent in Finding Jake, this is a personal blow. He’s cared for Jake at home while his wife was at work. Did he do a good job raising him; did he miss any warning signs? There is a lot of guilt and second-guessing in the aftermath of this devastating event.
We learn more about Jake through flashbacks as Simon is trying to figure out what happened. He examined Simon’s friendships and behavior – searching for anything he might have missed. He doesn’t think Jake could be involved, but the evidence gets to him.
I could not put this book down. It hooked me from the beginning and I had to keep listening until the mystery was solved. And I have to say I did not predict the outcome! Bryan’s Reardon’s debut is brutal, heart-wrenching and addictive.
Besides the school shooting, the book looks at the role of the stay-at-home dad and life in suburbia. Trouble brews between Simon and his lawyer wife Rachel when he shares his doubts over Jake’s innocence. The media attention, concerned neighbors, and grieving parents all combine to bring Simon to the breaking point.
I listened to the audiobook of Finding Jake, performed by George Newbern. I found him to be a convincing narrator- he conveyed Simon’s worry, stress and grief believably. The audiobook made the story even more suspenseful and it was a really fast listen for me.
I’d recommend this one to fans of suspenseful thrillers like Reconstructing Amelia. It’s a relevant and memorable read.