Title of Book
In this novel, The Husband, Mitchell Rafferty, a landscape contractor, receives a phone call telling him that his wife Holly has been kidnapped, and unless he can come up with two million dollars in a very short time, she will be killed. To prove that they are serious, the kidnappers direct Mitch to look at the dog walker across the street. As he watches, the man is shot in the head. When he returns home, having been told to tell no one about the kidnapping, his kitchen looks as if a bloody struggle has taken place, and he realizes that it has been arranged like a stage set so that he will appear to be Holly’s murderer if the police should investigate.
Mitch and his brother and three sisters have had an unusual upbringing. His parents, both tenured professors of psychology at UCI, have used them as an experiment, subjecting them to such atrocities as “the learning room,” in which Mitch, as an eight-year-old, once spent twenty days of sensory deprivation in dark silence, the only breaks in the monotony taking place with the arrival of his food. Home-schooled, the children have been brought up to be self-sufficient, dependent on no deity and having no prescribed moral code, their values shaped by the lives they have had with their parents and the personal decisions they have made on their own.
In adulthood, all of them dislike, if not hate, their parents—the three sisters living as far from them as possible and having no contact, Mitch working in landscaping and having little to do with them, and his brother Anson living in Newport Beach, where he is a multimillionaire. As Mitch discusses his parents with Anson, Anson comments, “They broke me, Mitch. I have no shame, no capacity for guilt.” His parents have successfully instilled the idea that “Shame has no social usefulness. It is a signature of the superstitious mind,” and Anson has grown up pragmatic, definitely not “superstitious.”
Great book, finished easily in 2 sittings. Easy flowing, keeps you interested. Characters are ‘real’ people, that you can relate too.