Antoinette Van Heugten
Mira, Oct 2010, $
Sixteen years old Max Parkmans suffers from Asperger’s Syndrome though he is rather high functioning. His single mom, Manhattan attorney Danielle, worries 24/7 about her son. However, her concern goes viral when he turns violent towards her and she learns he is using drugs; her fears go stratospheric when she reads his journal as his writings and musings are violent and suicidal while the accompanying art is fiercely worse. He has turned increasingly aggressive even hitting and bruising his mom.
Max’s doctor suggests Danielle enroll her teen in the Maitland Psychiatric Asylum in Plano, Iowa. She has doubts, but her qualms for her son overrides all else. However, after he is welcomed, the staff informs her Max suffers from horrific schizophrenic psychosis and that to help him she must stay away. Soon afterward, Max is arrested and treated as a competent adult standing trial in the murder of another patient, and his mom also arrested as an accessory to the homicide.
Saving Max will hook readers, especially the parents of a child on the Autism Spectrum. The story line is fast-paced from the moment the mother and her son arrive in Iowa and never slows down with several incredible realistic twists until the final courtroom denouement. Readers will understand how far Danielle will go to protect Max, but Antoinette Van Heugten’s medical-legal thriller is his story as he struggles with his relationships with others.