“He saw her force a smile, causing her eyes to crinkle at the sides, just like Gabe’s mum’s did. Except Gabe’s mum’s eyes were warm and blue, offset by laughter lines and friendly freckles, whereas Jack’s mum’s eyes were still, like amber-colored glass. They sat in skin as white and smooth as Nana’s china, except for two dark shadows beneath them. He knew his mum’s extra-crinkly smile was supposed to reassure him that there was nothing to worry about. He was only ten-and-three-quarters old, after all. She was the grown-up. She was in charge, and everything was fine.”
Accidents Happen, by Louise Millar
Unfortunately everything is not fine in the small family’s world. Kate Parker lost her parents in a traffic accident on her wedding day, and years later her husband, Hugo is murdered in a home invasion. Now she is sure that someone is breaking into their home. Kate is determined to keep herself and her child safe but the measures she will go are affecting everyone around them.
Kate is obsessed with avoiding danger from traffic accidents to bike accidents, flights and just about everything. In her world any thing can have a negative reaction but Jack’s grandparents are concerned about Kate’s over-protective nature and are ready to issue some ultimatums.
On some level Kate knows she has to get help but her one attempt at therapy leaves her feeling more vulnerable but a chance encounter with a statistician might just give her hope that no matter the chances of accident or injury, you must still live your life. Jago Martin tells Kate that he’d like to help her overcome her problem.
He challenges her to try a sort of therapy that will leave her feeling more in charge of her life. Like the life she used to have and Kate accepts the challenge. She finds glimmers of hope even when the challenges Jago presents are very unconventional. As Kate seems to be getting better, her son is still wary and scared of some things that are still happening around them.
I found the beginning of the novel to set the tone right for a psychological thriller with some great suspense. Kate’s anxiety is over-the-top but totally believable. It is about half-way through the novel that as Kate seems to be picking up the pieces of her life, I wanted to scream at her. Her complete trust in Jago bothered me because I couldn’t believe that she really would accept his methods. Finally, the ending seemed a bit far-fetched and didn’t live up to the expectations the author had set up at the beginning of the story.
Source: Advance Review Copy