Summer 2018: I’ve recently finished Son, my début mystery novel, with a page-turning plot that concerns every parent’s worst nightmare. Set in present-day, small-town Washington State, Son explores what happens when John Tremaine, a recently widowed lawyer, finds out that Kyle, his troubled stepson, harbors a secret crush on his best friend’s girl, which may implicate him in her murder.
The local chief of police, Hank Garber, who rarely deals with anything more serious than a DUI, faces the toughest challenge of his career when the body of a popular high school student, Jennifer Swain, is found up on the mountain. Kyle responds with terrible grief, and his disturbing outburst at Jennifer’s memorial, witnessed by hundreds, calls into question his mental state, and perhaps, his culpability. Enter Dr Franklin Drury, a headline-seeking psychologist who appears out of nowhere in the grief-stricken town, to offer his services.
When Kyle’s mental state deteriorates under Drury’s care, Tremaine’s suspicions heighten, and he gets help from an ex-con, private eye, Paul Smith. Meanwhile, the cops think they have their perp: Bouchard, a permanently stoned vagrant whom they can place near the murder scene.
As Paul and Tremaine work to solve the puzzle of who killed Jennifer, they consider all possible suspects: Was it Chad, Jennifer’s too-cocky boyfriend? Is Bouchard the killer? And what about Drury, whose background, they discover, raises suspicions, but whose motivation remains elusive. When police find a second victim on the mountain, along with information from the dubious Dr Drury, they close in on whom they now consider their primary suspect: Kyle. Tremaine and Paul race against time to prove Kyle’s innocence.