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review 2019-07-08 02:37
The Perfect Plan
The Perfect Plan - Bryan Reardon

The cover for The Perfect Plan is what caught my eye, and the blurb sounded interesting, familiar but still interesting. In reality, the story wasn't quite what I was hoping for. I had a hard time connecting with the characters, which could be because none of them are likable. Granted, I don't think they were really meant to be likable, and that's not necessarily a deal breaker, especially in a thriller setting. However, I wouldn't consider this one a thriller. It's certainly family drama, there's more family drama than you can shake a stick at. There are a few scenes that hint and even almost touch on thriller elements, but this one just doesn't quite get there. My biggest issue with The Perfect Plan was its complete predictability. There are twists, but not a single one surprised me. The story does have a decent mystery aspect with the disappearance of Liam and Drew's father, but it wasn't too hard to guess at least the gist of that too. No two people read the same book, so take my thoughts for what they're worth. If it sounds good, give it a shot. For me, there were just more cons than pros with this one. 

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text 2016-04-17 17:58
I wanted to like this one
Finding Jake - Bryan P. Reardon

Finding Jake is the story of a stay-at-home dad whose teenage son is involved in a school shooting. The chapters alternate between flashbacks showing Jake as he grows up, and chapters in the present as the dad learns what happened at the school and searches for his son. 

 

I really wanted (and expected) to like this one, but unfortunately, it never landed for me. The description on Amazon said it had a surprise ending, which is why I kept reading it, but to my deep disappointment the ending was neither good nor surprising. It also dragged on way too long (spoiler alert: the dad adopts a puppy at the end). 

 

The writing is overwrought and full of misused words and clumsy metaphors that made me doubt the talents of both the writer and his editor (who surely saw $$ over a hot-topic plot and didn't do much work on the manuscript). The dad complains about the mailman looking at him "askew" (did he mean askance?) when he mows the lawn in the middle of the day and there are sentences like this gem: 

 

It was as if the cloying progress of time had no effect.

 

...Cloying? I'd honestly be interested in hearing what the author had in mind there.  

 

This was another bizarre and overly dramatic moment: 

 

The man in the golf shirt appears within a foot of the moving car. The brightness of the fabric grasps me like a monster's claws, pulling my soul away.

 

The book is crammed full of writing like this. A Kindle search tells me the narrator blathers on about things happening to his soul 16 times, which in my opinion is 14 or 15 times too many for a secular novel. 

 

The narrator of this story is none too bright, and the details of the crime and the cops' behavior didn't ring true at all. I get that this isn't a police procedural, but the book badly needed to be grounded in reality to offset its copious amounts of purple prose. The main plot hole is that people suspect Jake of being involved in the school shooting because he's seen running away from the school before the shooting happens. Can someone please explain the logic in that? 

 

Later, the cops haul the narrator into the station and question him because they spot a creepy-looking doll in the back of his car. How does this make sense? The doll, which the main character finds hanging in an abandoned church, is treated by everyone like a smoking gun. I guess by that logic I should have been given a psych evaluation when I cut my Barbie's hair as a kid. 

 

Anyway. There's something terribly earnest about this novel, which leads me to believe that the author is a nice person. I feel bad for not liking his book more, but I think his editor did him a disservice by publishing his story in its current state. The publicity machine around Finding Jake is fairly ridiculous--it's a story that simply cannot support its weighty subject matter. 

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review 2015-05-03 23:28
Finding Jake
Finding Jake - Bryan P. Reardon

Told in alternating chapters, I was more inquisitive about what was going to transpire in this novel than the suspense that I originally thought this novel would hold. I think it had something to do with the chapters being broken up with the current events being told and then in the next chapter, we flashed back to Jake’s childhood.   There has been a shooting at the high school where Jake and his sister attend; all the parents have been notified via text. Jake’s father, being a stay-at-home father, immediately heads to the high school where he is diverted to an adjacent church to await further instructions. He immediately feels outnumbered as all the other mothers gather and the flashbacks to Jake’s childhood begin. These flashbacks are important to the novel, as they paint a portrait of Jake and his family. The high school students slowly trickle into the church where they are united with their parents, including Jake’s sister where she is ushered home with her mother. Jake’s father is the only one remaining. Jake is missing and the rumors start flying. The gunman is down but an accomplice was seen fleeing the scene of the crime. They say it was Jake. Is there evidence to back this up? Is this just heresy? The guilt is eating at Jake’s father as he wonders, where did he go wrong, as he replays Jake’s childhood in his mind. His father is troubled, the guilt is eating at him, there is no writing on the wall as I read the words the author left for us, yet I am searching for the answer. I need to know.

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review 2015-02-23 21:39
Finding Jake
Finding Jake - Bryan P. Reardon

By Bryan Reardon
ISBN: 0062339486
Publisher: William & Morrow
Publication Date: 2/24/2015
Format: Other
My Rating: 4 Stars

 

FINDING JAKE by Bryan Reardon is a compelling and heartfelt parent’s tragedy; a psychological intense suspense, keeping you page-turning to learn the fate of a teenage son.

 

Simon Connelly is a freelance writer, and a devoted upper middle class suburban stay at home dad to his son, Jake and his daughter Laney, while his wife, Rachel is busy with her legal career.

 

Presently, the kids are teens, Laney is more outgoing and Jake more introverted. They have weathered the storms of typical teenagers, until one day a text comes – A school shooting, which changes this family’s entire world.

 

A high school shooting, leaving thirteen people dead, and a gunman, Doug taking his own life, and a second student, Jake who happened to be friends with the gunman. Jake has disappeared so the question is where is, Jake; did he have anything to do with the shooting?

 

Flashing back and forth from the present, the six days aftermath of the shooting, and the past bringing insights into the raw emotions and intimate feelings of this frantic family. Do we really know our children and their friends and can a parent control their every move?

 

Typical after a school shooting or tragedy, the media and community begins pointing blame, the victims – they must find Jake. A nightmare, and a parent second guessing his abilities as a parent. What really happened the day of the shooting and what led up to this event?

 

Told from an insecure and second guessing father Simon, he continues to agonize and search for answers; he fears for his son and his choice of friends. His wife is more of a colder personality and somewhat removed and not a likable character. The daughter on the other hand was a softer personality, and Jake more removed and introverted.

 

FINDING JAKE a short, thought-provoking and absorbing book about parenting and a nice book club choice to explore different perspectives. An intense and suspenseful read; an up close and personal look into the world of parenting—of love, fear, pain, courage, and healing. A surprising shattering conclusion.  

 

For me, the best part was in the storytelling about the child rearing and the earlier days, a time when there is innocence before our children are subjected to the peer pressure and evils of this world. Of course, and the most pressing issues facing parents today.

 

Look forward to reading more from this author.

 

Huffington Post Article 

 

Finding Jake:  A Talk with Bryan Reardon 

 

 

 

Source: www.goodreads.com/review/show/1088840131
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review 1970-01-01 01:00
Finding Jake
Finding Jake - Bryan P. Reardon
Life is kind of like that, picking the memories you want to frame. We all have an idea of how it should be, all smiles and swing sets. There are the more unsavory moments that we leave in the box stashed up in the darker parts of our psyche. We know they exist but we don
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