Saturday, December 16, 2017

Say Nothing: A Novel by Brad Parks

Say Nothing. Brad Parks. Penguin Publishing Group. March 2017. 448 pp.  ISBN#: 9781101985595.

Judge Scott Sampson, his wife Alison and their two children, Sam and Emma, are a happy, peacefully content family.  They’ve moved out to a farmhouse in Virginia so that they can maintain that quiet lifestyle without the pressures of urban living, especially with the frenetic atmosphere of government workers in Virginia, Maryland and Washington D.C.  But the Judge’s family life is about to totally unravel with a hair-raising series of events that keeps the reader’s pulse raised to the very last page.

Judges are expected to be the epitome of neutrality, capable of examining the facts and circumstances of a case and apply the objective law to those situations.  But what does a Judge and his wife do when their children are kidnapped and they are told to await each new message, letting no one else know what is happening?  They say and do “nothing.”  For the lives of Sam and Emma are clearly at stake! 

The first case the Judge is asked to rule on is what should be a simple drug seller case.  Obeying the kidnappers means making a decision that immediately opens up Pandora’s box of the legal world.  Judge Sampson is now under the scrutiny of higher Judges and even politicians.  To keep his children alive, the Judge says “nothing.”  Alison’s family know but promise silence although they are so enraged one wonders how long that will hold true.

The second case heading for Judge Sampson’s decision concerns a patent of a drug that will be life-saving for those who get to try it.  Its very nice to see all the details of the case laid out so that one understands the intricacies of such cases and so that one can see how much complication Judge Sampson must wade through to come to a legally acceptable decision.  The plot thickens substantially at this point.  One of the children is freed but the other one is undergoing terrible acts that will probably scar her for life.

The story evolves to a mind-numbing, horrific conclusion which is very realistic and not like your standard crime novel.  This is a story you will never forget, one that will want to make you read more of any writing of Brad Parks!  Well done, Mr. Parks!

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