Suspicion by Joseph Finder is an intriguing novel about family and being entrapped in a bad situation. This stand-alone book explores the father/daughter relationship, how technology has changed the dynamics between people, the villainess of the drug cartels, and big government at its worst. These issues are intertwined within the theme, how one small decision can change someone’s life.
The plot begins with a single dad, Danny, having financial troubles and unable to pay for his daughter’s tuition at an elite private school. In a desperate situation, he makes a decision that anyone would make, and it turns out to have some terrifying consequences. Thomas Galvin, the father of his daughter’s new best friend, is also one of the wealthiest men in Boston. Galvin is aware of Danny’s situation and out of the blue offers a $50,000 loan to help Danny cover his daughter’s tuition. Uncomfortable but desperate, Danny takes the money, promising to pay Galvin back. Everything unravels from here because the DEA informs Danny he has accepted money from a drug cartel. Danny has to make an impossible choice: an indictment for accepting drug money that he can’t afford to fight in court, or an unthinkably dangerous undercover assignment, helping the government get close to his new family friend.
Finder brilliantly shows how a single individual has no control over their life once a big conglomerate, such as the US government, the drug cartels, or even a large corporation, decides to go after them. How can someone fight and win these powerful entities with unlimited resources? Danny is portrayed in the beginning of the book as a down on his luck ordinary guy, who behaves in a “wus-like manner.” However, as the story progresses so does Danny’s backbone.
Finder commented to blackfive.net, “I ran these scenarios by lawyers and those in the DEA. This is big government at its worst, where they force you to spend money on lawyers. I know of people who have gone through the mill being sued by the government. You are put in a terrible situation where some government lawyer wants to get you. They just don’t care. I showed how my character Danny was pinned down like a butterfly in a specimen kit. Then there are the drug cartels that are one of the worst villains possible. They are not constrained by laws, perception, and morals. They are ruthless and an uncapped villain. I hoped I showed how Danny and Tom were both entrapped in a situation they could not get out of. They both are victims and had to make necessary moral decisions that changed their lives.”
A powerful quote in the book, to “understand the intoxicating sensation of defying death, of facing down our hardwired instinct for self-preservation.” Anyone from the thrill seeker to the average person can appreciate being in that kind of situation. Even someone that avoided an accident can appreciate this quote, remembering that deep breath taken after realizing possible death was avoided.
Parents will enjoy the other major theme, father/daughter relationships. The way this generation uses technology with the use of Googling, tweeting, texting and other techno-marvels lend a modern flavor to the storyline. The teenage daughter, Abby, is seen as a typical adolescent. She is at times self-centered, melodramatic, and puts more importance to her desires than concerns for her dad’s financial struggles. For example, she never wants to bring her rich best friend Jenna to her house because of the embarrassment factor.
Finder, a father himself, noted to blackfive.net, “I went through raising a teenage daughter. I have a great relationship with my daughter who is now twenty. But those teenage years were insane and difficult. I wanted to show in Suspicion that being a parent of a teenager is the hardest job of all. The way a teenager disappears into their cell phones, their texting, and putting on earphones as they listen to their music. This all partitions them off from their parent. I remember as a teenager when I wanted to call a friend there was only one phone in our house. There was never ever any privacy since the phone would only go as far as the cord. Yet, now they have a world of communications including cell phones, Facebook and Twitter. That is why I put the quote in, ‘just a phone call away.’”
Suspicion is an engrossing tale of relationships, being put in unthinkable situations, and losing complete control over one’s life. It is a very believable, intriguing, fast paced and interesting story.