Simon & Schuster, 6/25/2013
Trade Paperback, 385 pages
Kate Parker has weathered unimaginable horrors—her parents died in a traffic accident on her wedding night, and her husband, Hugo, was murdered in a tragic break-in gone wrong. All she has left is her young son, Jack, and determined to make a better future for him, she attempts to pull her life back together. But are she and her son safe?
In Accidents Happen by Louise Millar, Kate Parker is a woman under siege. After her parents were killed in a freak accident on her wedding night and her husband was brutally murdered five years later, Kate, understandably, is concerned about accidents happening. She just wants to keep herself and her 10 year old son safe. As she also battles depression, Kate obsessively has the statistics concerning the frequency and circumstances of various accidents happening running through her head. But not only is Kate suffering from her constant worrying, so is her son, Jack. It appears that her in-laws are concerned enough about her actions that they might soon try to take her son from her.
Then Kate meets Jago Martin, a mathematics professor who has written a book about the odds of everything. Kate is immediately drawn to the handsome statistician, who challenges her to stop thinking about the odds and just enjoy life. He begins to set up a series of challenges aimed at helping her do just that. In the meantime, unknown to Kate, there is some real cause for alarm with the creepy neighbor next door who is watching her every move.
Set in Oxford, England, Accidents Happen is a psychological thriller with an original premise. Kate's obsession with the odds of various accidents happening is believable. As the story unfolds, Millar slowly provides additional information and widens the picture to reveal more and more of what is really happening. The beginning did start out slow for me, but the suspense continued to slowly build with each chapter until the nail-biting end when the plot twist is revealed.
I thoroughly enjoyed Accidents Happen, but it did require accepting some improbabilities and just going with the story. Specifically, I had to accept that Kate's immediate attraction to Jago would be strong enough that she would disregard common sense and go along with his suggestions and schemes. It just didn't seem plausible that a woman filled with such overwhelming anxiety could suddenly dismiss it along with common sense after a few words with a stranger.
Setting Kate's immediate acceptance of Jago aside, though, the ending came as a total surprise and made reading Accidents Happen an exciting, worthwhile summer suspense read.
Disclosure: My Kindle edition was courtesy of Simon and Shuster via Edelweiss for review purposes.