Some time back a commenter on this blog recommended that I read Suspicion, by Joseph Finder. The suggestion fell through the cracks (in my head), but I’ve read it now. It is indeed a powerful, compelling thriller. Maybe too compelling for my delicate nerves.
The set-up is a classic Hitchcockian dilemma, in which a regular, decent guy gets caught up in criminal matters way beyond his experience. Danny Goodman, the hero, is a writer, not outstandingly successful. He’s missed a book deadline, but for good reason. His ex-wife died and left him with the care of his teenage daughter, Abby. Abby loves the private school she’s been attending, but it’s way beyond Danny’s means. He dreads taking her out of it, after the trauma of losing her mother.
And then he gets thrown a life preserver. Abby’s best friend is the daughter of a fabulously wealthy money manager, Tom Galvin. Tom considers Abby a much-needed good influence, so he offers Danny a large loan. After struggling with his pride, Danny accepts. It helps that he genuinely likes Galvin as a friend.
And then the hammer falls. Danny gets pulled in by a couple DEA agents. They tell him Galvin is working for a drug cartel, and Danny’s acceptance of his money makes him a co-conspirator under the law. He has a choice – work with them to build a case against Galvin, or go to prison himself.
Danny now has to be a spy and an informer, balancing his love for his daughter against his conscience and his friendship with Galvin. Gradually he will learn that there are wheels within wheels, and that the situation is more complicated – and dangerous – than he had suspected in his greatest fears. He will also learn that he’s capable of things he never dreamed of.
Suspicion is a well-written thriller, one that pulls you in like a shirt wrapped around a washing machine agitator. I found the perils and dangers genuinely distressing, and I empathized deeply with Danny Goodman. In fact, I’m not sure I’ll read another from this very accomplished author, just because I’m not sure I can handle the tension.
But if you’re looking for a really compelling thriller, Suspicion delivers big time. The usual cautions for adult themes apply.