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Finding Jake    by Bryan Reardon Amazon.com order for
Finding Jake
by Bryan Reardon
Order:  USA  Can
William Morrow, 2015 (2015)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Simon Connolly is a stay-at-home Dad. He arranged play dates for Jake and Laney while his wife went off to her law office. Took some getting used to, but he finally got the hang of it. Now that the kids are older, it's a little easier. They can occupy themselves more.

Then the thing Simon feared the most, a school shooting, takes place at his children's school. Noooo! It can't be. He arrives quickly at the school, only to be told that Jake has not been found. Some kids are being carried in stretchers to ambulances. Others are taken away, their faces covered, in funeral home hearses!

Simon hears someone say the worst thing he could possibly imagine. Jake is believed to be involved in the shootings! But no one knows where he is now. A shooter has been identified and it's believed that he was not alone in the incident. But it can't be Jake. It simply cannot be.

We live through every emotion that Simon goes through as he reviews his performance as a father. Should he have seen this coming? What could have been lacking in his upbringing of his wonderful son? A young teen with compassion and a good head on his shoulders.

Was Jake capable of taking another life? How had he hidden the rage that must have been lurking in his head for him to have shot at his fellow students? No, they are all wrong. Jake could not have done this.

I tried to put myself in Simon's place. I couldn't. I could not imagine such a scenario implicating one of my children. Bryon Reardon, in Finding Jake, writes as though he has first-hand knowledge of a school shooting. I sincerely hope not. He seems to know just how Simon was working through every emotion known to man. Disbelief. Confusion. Fear for his son. Compassion for the parents who lost their children. Desperation to find his Jake. Despair. Horror. Every possible emotion races through Simon's mind as tears streak his cheeks. He deals with this in the only way he can. By continuing to look for Jake.

He runs over in his mind where Jake could be. Who would know? He simply cannot believe his Jake was implicated in this despicable happening. Think! Where could he be? How could he help him? Agony in the thought of what the future could bring washes over him. To spend the years left to him without his son. He must find his boy. He must have faith in Jake.

Finding Jake is a heartrending story. But, at the same time, an uplifting one. Pull out your hankie or, better yet, a box of tissues to mop your own tears. This is a sad story but certainly up-to-date. And it is brilliantly written. Kudos to Bryan Reardon.

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