When No One is Watching by Joseph Hayes. Synergy Books. October 2010. 320 pages. ISBN No. 9780984387943.
This is the story of an all-too often true accident that devastates the lives of everyone involved for far too long. Celebrating their legal victory in a lawsuit for a big business company in Chicago, they drink their way far into the night. Only Danny Moran has been having trouble with his drinking for a while, awakening many a morning with no memory of the previous evening. On this night, his best buddy Blair Van Howe, after announcing he is leaving the legal work to campaign for a Congressional seat, hauls Dan into his Porsche. Blair is thrilled to be driving this magnificent machine of power and prestige. Deciding to give it one more burst of energetic speed, he starts to tear around a corner and fails to see an oncoming car which veers to avoid him and winds up crashing into a tree. Blair sees the very injured man and a little girl in the back seat hugging a toy. Realizing this could mean the end of a career of a lifetime, he makes some changes which will put the blame on Dan and leaves.
The results are obviously devastating as the man soon dies and Dan is torn with self-hatred and guilt. Blair meanwhile protects himself as only a campaigner controlled by his capable father-in-law could do and proceeds to a successful political career. Seduced by his own success, he quickly leaves behind his guilt, that is until a very savvy detective who was shunted out of his career when the accident happened decides to take action before Blair can climb politically higher to the ultimate government job, that of President!
Can there be a redemptive end for anyone within such a tragic and horrifying account? In a sense, all the wrong people grow from this event and all the right people lose in the end. Justice is shown in all of its skewed faces, leaving a dramatic effect on the reader as well as characters.
Joseph Hayes has written what would be a tremendous thriller were it not for the all-too familiar scenario within its pages. These are pages for all to read and ponder. This is what drinking and driving do.
A very important and well-written novel, Joseph Hayes!
Buy it and never forget it, readers!