The Fragile World
Paula Treick DeBoard
Harlequin MIRA, Oct 28 2014, $14.95
The call from Ohio devastated the Kaufman family of Sacramento. The oldest child, Oberlin College freshman Daniel the musical prodigy, died in a hit and run. Over the next few years, Daniel’s parents and his then tweener younger sister Olivia cannot get past their grief. Daniel’s father Curtis, a high school teacher, wants revenge on his son’s killer. His furniture restorer wife Kathleen initially tried to save her family with counseling, but finally conceded it as a lost cause when they refused to go; and eventually abandoned her husband and other child by moving to Omaha. Having lost her innocence Olivia has become obsessive compulsive with a need to list in her Fear Journal every crazy frightening thought that nukes her brain.
Curtis leans that Daniel’s killer Saenz is free. Irate, he takes Olivia on a drive through Omaha to Ohio that the teen thought was an effort to begin resuscitating their relationship that died with Daniel’s death. Instead Curtis has a secret agenda to make things right for his hurting family and himself.
Mostly rotating viewpoint between father and daughter, this is a tense family drama that has readers anticipating the hostile confrontation while the miles shrink between California and Ohio. The on the road support cast is stereotyped though also enables readers to better understand the grief; while the debilitating hit and run impact on two families keeps the audience absorbed with expectations as to what will happen in Ohio.