From Publishers Weekly
Goodwin's first novel in over two decades (after Blood of Paradise, 1979) is psychologically acute, if somewhat overplotted. Tucker Jones is a 44-year-old divorced father of two living in Washington, D.C. His life is settled in a comfortable routine until the night he receives an enigmatic phone call informing him that his 14-year-old daughter, Kat, has been involved in sexual games at a party. Blinded by worry and rage, Tucker finds the party and confronts a group of boys while looking for Kat; before the night is over, a high school junior loses his eye, and Tucker becomes embroiled in criminal proceedings that threaten to destroy his career (he owns a landscape business), family and financial stability. Goodwin tackles many subplots, including Tucker's relationship with Kat and her younger brother, Will; the ongoing litigation; and an affair that Tucker has with the mother of Kat's best friend. Tucker's reflections ramble from his son's fishing exploits to his ex-wife to the garage band he has formed with several other parents in the neighborhood. The plot becomes so busy that Goodwin loses control of the narrative at points. Still, the author's emotional compass is unfailing; he offers a memorable exploration of familial love and penance, with a likably bewildered-and articulate-protagonist: "I groaned with lust and remorse and an awareness of the disorder that seemed ready to swallow me up."
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.
*Starred Review* In this emotionally charged novel, Goodwin (The Blood of Paradise, 1979) homes in on parents' deepest fears and their all-too-flawed attempts to keep their children safe. Single-father Tucker Jones receives a late-night phone call informing him that his 14-year-old daughter, Kat, is in trouble. She was spotted at a party drinking vodka shooters and engaging in sex games with some older boys. Tucker, overcome with a deep, burning fury, goes to the scene of the party and within a few short minutes becomes involved in a melee in which high-school senior Jed Vandenberg is seriously injured. Jed's wealthy and influential father has Tucker arrested and served with a lawsuit that could ruin him. Suddenly, Tucker finds the list of house rules posted on their refrigerator ("Show up on time") woefully inadequate. Goodwin gets so many things right here--the halting, painful conversations between father and daughter; the fact that the grievously injured Jed was not one of the boys who took advantage of Kat; the way Tucker has shut himself down to avoid further pain after his bitter divorce; and, especially, the tenacity of a father's love for his children. Reminiscent of the work of Robert Boswell, this is a layered, compassionate, extraordinarily graceful novel. Joanne Wilkinson
See all Editorial Reviews
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved