The Perfect Son: A Novel. Lauren North. Penguin Publishing Group. August 2019; pb, 368 pp.; ISBN #: 9781984803849.
How far will grief take over the mind and heart of its victim? Tessa Clarke has just lost her husband in a tragic airplane accident. Now at the beginning of this story, she wakes up in the hospital with a knife wound in her stomach and the realization that her son Jamie is missing. The plot goes back to months before Jamie’s birthday and his disappearance. Many have reached out to Tess in her grief but she remains totally incommunicado. The only person to approach her is her late husband’s brother, Ian, who claims that he loaned Mark a huge amount of money that he needs repaid now. Tessa is the Executrix of her husband’s will but hasn’t given any thought to a will or the future.
All of a sudden, Tessa finds some temporary relief in a visit from Shelly, a grief counselor, who herself lost a child and has been through this grief process. She knows exactly what Tessa is thinking and feeling, and that is some small comfort as Tessa struggles to keep her head together for her son. Jamie however has reverted to his former shy nature and fear of anything out of the normal occurrences of everyday. He, however, also enjoys Sherry’s visits.
The story plays out and the reader discovers a mystery lurking that she cannot handle even though once it does play out forces her to wake up to how her grief is destroying her life and perhaps even forcing the loss of her son. But that truth takes a while to evolve as it does.
Lauren North is a psychologist who knows the mind and hearts of her characters. Thing tie up a bit pat by the end but it’s satisfactory to the reader who has been taking sides with the characters since this nightmare began. Nicely crafted, Lauren North – a mysterious, touching and sincere read!