While Dr. Mike Scanlon is deployed to Afghanistan, he gets some terrible news: his wife, Chloe, has died in a fall in their kitchen. Mike comes back to make arrangements for both the burial and for the care of their infant daughter, Emily. Fortunately, his sister-in-law and her husband love the baby, and Mike agrees to give them temporary custody while he’s deployed.
But something about his wife’s death isn’t quite right. First of all, he learns that Chloe was an alcoholic, stashing bottles of vodka all around the house and even drinking in the car. More shocking still: she was pregnant when she died.
So what does this father of the year opt to do? He signs on for another tour. By the time he gets back, he’s lost an arm, several friends, and his toddler child is scared of him. Each time he tries to connect with the kid, his sister-in-law tells him he’s doing it wrong—and he stops trying. Not surprisingly, the sister-in-law and her husband fight for permanent custody of the kid, and it’s hard not to root for their side.
Mike does, however, try to figure out who got his wife pregnant—and misses a clue so obvious that it was laughable.
I won’t ruin the little suspense there is by telling you how it turns out. But rest assured, it’s the most unrealistic ending ever.
Scottoline, who has written close to 20 mysteries and writes a humor column for the Philadelphia Inquirer normally does better than this. There is nothing to recommend about this book.