The Survivors by Robert Palmer

I have to confess, I had high hopes for this book. The premise is fascinating: a mother shoots two of her three children, a visiting friend of her children, her husband and then herself. One child survives untouched physically but emotionally scarred. The visiting friend survives the shooting.

Fast forward twenty five years. The visiting friend, Scottie, shows up at Cal (the surviving child’s) office. Cal is now a successful psychologist in Washington D.C. Scottie is odd – a result of surviving the serious shooting, incurring severe physical, mental and emotional damage but with a burning desire to understand more fully what happened the night he was shot.

From here on out, the flaws made themselves known. Cal, who went through this tragedy, is oddly emotionally vacant. At most, he starts having these weird little blackouts. He’s a psychologist and he hasn’t gone through serious psychotherapy? Well, he does have a counselor/friend who he calls on informally to talk him off the proverbial ledge from time to time.

Scottie? Too weird to stay at home. Too weird to stay with Cal. But not too weird to dump at his counselor/friends house with barely and introduction. And so it goes as they try to unravel the mystery of what happened.

At some point, about ¾ of the way through the book, the whole thing turns into a sloppy mess. Quick wind ups of some things, lots left unexplained and this is the first book in what is going to be a series of mysteries? Thrillers? All involving Cal and….his counselor? Scottie? I stuck with it but after a pretty solid run on some good books, I was left wanting.


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