Max Parkman - autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive - is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder. Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse - using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.
Until, that is, she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death. Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer? With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
©2010 Antoinette Van Heugten (P)2010 Audible, Inc.
Saving Max is a thriller based on the bond between a single mother and her teenage son who suffers from Asperger's syndrome. Danielle Parkman discovers something of Max's at home which triggers a referral to a center which specializes in caring for children with special needs. Danielle admits Max into the best facility in the country for further diagnosis and possible treatment. It is during this short period of time that Max is accused of committing the gruesome murder of Jonas, another patient. Danielle attempts to cover it up, but is caught in the act. At this point the novel takes off, although we, along with Danielle, suspect something is very wrong with the whole set up.
Max drifts a little bit into the plot's background and Danielle becomes the primary focus of the novel. We learn she's an excellent lawyer, but as I followed her activities from start to finish, I wondered about her intelligence. As surprising as her actions were to me, I knew what she was doing was foolish. Yet I questioned if I would do the same. That's part of the beauty of the plot. How far would I go if I were faced with the same situation? But would I be able to without being a lawyer? That's one of the difficulties the novel has in relating to Danielle. Without possessing her specific educational background, I might be stuck if faced with the same set of circumstances. Could I find another way? And if my child were not as intelligent and creative as Max is portrayed to be, would I have a chance?
The antagonist is vile, yet believable. I got a sense of what she was doing as the story unfolded and my jaw hit the floor a number of times. The ending took me by surprise and made me squirm.
Danielle herself doesn't seem to experience any personal growth throughout the story. This was disappointing to me. She didn't take any advice. She didn't trust very many people. She was one dimensional in that way. Perhaps that was van Heugten's intention. Would I experience any personal growth, or even think clearly, if my main focus was saving my kid?
The story is written in the present tense, which was a little jolting at first, but I got used to it. Plummer reads the story well and the voices are clear and distinct.
Antoinette van Heugten has a stepson who is autistic. That experience adds realism to the novel. She's also an international lawyer, making the courtroom scenes credible.
I recommend the book.
I am a hard-core mystery fan. I saw this book, a trade paperback, in a store and read the synopsis. I wasn't familiar with the author or the publisher, but it sounded worth a listen. I didn't read the online information very carefully. Was I ever surprised when the announcer said this was a presentation of Harlequin! So my rating is probably not what a regular Harlequin reader would have given it.
It actually started off very interesting, but I knew we had "jumped the shark" when the high-powered NYC attorney had a one-night-stand with a stranger she met in the small town where her son was undergoing treatment for mental illness.
The story got a little grizzly in the details of what happened. I've read much worse. But I didn't expect it in this particular book.
If you are a true mystery fan or you are disturbed by child abuse, my advise is to steer clear of this.
I think I was hoping for a story like House Rules from Jodi Picoult. However, this book is just silly. The author decided to write about a boy with high functioning autism (which is not Asperger's) although she calls them the same thing. One of the boy's diagnoses is Receptive and Expressive Language disorder, not a criteria for Asperger's and when you listen to the boys' conversations, there is no expressive or receptive language disorder. I have to wonder if Ms. van Heugten decided that Autism was the current flavor of the month and if she put it in her book, she'd sell more copies.
Ms. van Heugten then leads Max's mother on a ridiculous chase (even though she is on house arrest with an ankle bracelet, she fools the police into coming over and putting a new one on a prosthetic which can easily be removed - and they don't even notice!!) breaking her restraining order, bond, and every law imaginable in order to save her son. It's so silly and unbelievable, it's not very enjoyable.
Ever changing storyline. Left me on the edge.
Therese Plummer is one of my most favorite narrators - Love her!!
I struggled through an hour of this, then couldn't take it anymore. If there is a plot, and there promised to be one, it is lost in the midst of the excessive adjective use usually associated with dime store romance novels. I finally gave up after the mother of a suicidal, mentally challenged teen who is waiting for the psychiatrist's pronouncement of her son's condition finds herself unable to resist the "stranger with the obsidian eyes" who bought a her a drink...oh really. This is the first time I've ever been disappointed with a purchase from Audible. There should be a separate category for novels like this.
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