Title: Saving Max
Author: Antoinette Van Heugten
First Published: 28th September 2010
Max Parkman – autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive – is perfect in his mother’s eyes. Until he’s accused of murder.
Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max’s behavior has been getting worseusing drugs and lashing out. But she can’t accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.
Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death.
Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer?
With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She’ll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that’s all too eager to convict him.
I really enjoyed ‘Saving Max’ much more than I thought I would. This was a book I came about by accident really, hadn’t heard anything about, had not read any reviews, and had not seen anyone talking about it. I had never heard of the author, or any of her other books, books that I will now be checking out!
The primary aspect which attracted me to ‘Saving Max’ was that it was a book about a boy with Autism. I find Autism a fascinating disorder, and mixed with murder, well that is not something you come across so often. If you are worried that this is a book that reflects negatively on people with Autism and associates their behaviour with violence please don’t. The author has dealt with this issue in a sensitive yet realistic way. People with Autism can be violent, but more often can be violent to themselves, rather than others and this is captured well.
Max is a teenager who is struggling with life and when his mother finds out he is planning to commit suicide their psychiatrist sends them to a specialist hospital. Here Max’s behaviour begins to dramatically change and the son Danielle once knew is gone. When Max is found next to another patient, both covered in blood and Max the only one still alive, we witness the frantic love of a mother attempting to save her son and prove his innocence. But has her son changed so far beyond the boy she once knew?
Once we get to the murder trial we are thrown about in all directions, and completely gripped. The novel becomes so bizarrely dramatic that it is just hard to believe but so fascinating! I absolutely loved it. It just had so many twists and turns and moments where you really don’t know what has happened.
If you are wanting a light read, do not read this. If you are wanting a gripping, hard hitting, drama filled, crime novel with a mental health aspect this is perfect!
Antoinette van Heugten is a skilled writer and story teller. An author everyone must add to their collection!
5 out of 5