Saturday, March 19, 2022

What Happened to the Bennetts

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline
3/29/22; 400 pages
Penguin Random House

What Happened to the Bennetts by Lisa Scottoline is a very highly recommended heart-stopping thriller.

Jason and Lucinda Bennett along with their daughter Allison, son Ethan, and dog Moonie are driving home from Allison's lacrosse game when an annoying truck tailgating them turns into a car jacking and ends in shocking violence. Allison is shot, as is one of the carjackers. The Bennetts are then visited by the FBI and told that they must immediately go into the witness protection program. The carjacker who was shot is the son of George Veria, the head of a notorious dangerous drug-trafficking organization. The surviving carjacker, John Milo, is blaming Jason for the shooting. Now they will be targeting the Bennetts. 

They agree to enter the witness protection program while still deeply mourning Allison. They later learn soon after they left their home, someone set fire to their home and John's business. Lucinda's business was trashed. Friends and neighbors know nothing of the events that have them hiding, which results in the spread of disparaging rumors and speculation. All the Bennetts can do is follow the FBI's rules and view this without responding - until Jason begins to suspect that they aren't be entirely truthful with him and decides to take things into his own hands.

What Happened to the Bennetts is an un-put-downable novel that held my rapt attention throughout. It is both a complicated mystery/crime drama as well as the depiction of a family tragedy. There are definitely two parts to this compelling novel. There are the surviving family members trying to understand why this is happening to them and then there is Jason suspecting something else is afoot and taking matters into his own hands. Under the heavy burden of mourning without any support from friends and away from the comfort of their own home and routines, the family is crumbling. Anyone who has experienced the loss of a family member will understand the deep sadness and the seven stages of grief the Bennetts are trying to work through and how repetition of stories and memories helps. The second part of the novel is a tense action-packed thriller.

The narrative is told through Jason's point-of-view and he is a credible, believable, character. He is a court reporter who was cleared to work at Gitmo for a time, so he has some skills. He is a loving father and husband who is trying to protect his family while working through some heartbreaking personal information. The lengths he goes to in order to uncover the complicated schemes, the antagonists, expose the truth, and protect his family is astounding. What Happened to the Bennetts is a gripping, very highly recommended heart-stopping thriller.

Disclosure: My review copy was courtesy of Penguin Random House via NetGalley.

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