Things You Won't Say

Washington Square: Atria. May 2015. 388p. ISBN 9781451673555. pap. $15; ebk. ISBN 9781451673562. F
Pekkanen, with previous works such as The Opposite of Me and These Girls, is often compared to Jennifer Weiner and Emily Giffin. With her sixth novel, we can also add Jodi Picoult to that read-alike list. This title tells the story, from the perspectives of his wife and ex-girlfriend, of a DC-area cop (a white man) who shoots a Hispanic teenage boy. Mike Anderson is a seasoned beat officer who recently witnessed his partner get shot and seriously injured. When he fires at young Jose in the course of breaking up a gang fight, his wife, Jamie, assumes that PTSD played a big part. However, ex-girlfriend (and mother to his oldest child) Christie never questions Mike's assertion that he saw Jose pull a gun and threaten Mike's new partner. Pekkanen's choice to never tell the story from Mike's point of view makes this a compelling narrative, while her focus on Mike's family(ies) is a fresh approach. Perhaps the only wrong note is a distracting subplot involving Jamie's sister and a pregnant elephant.
VERDICT Recommended for fans of Pekkanen's previous works and "ripped from the headlines" stories.
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