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Sunday, 4 April 2010
by Cammie McGovern
I was keen to read Eye Contact, which has drawn comparisons with 'The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time' but, despite both books taking the reader inside the world of autism, this is a very different story.
It opens as single mother, Cara, becomes increasingly frantic after her son’s school informs her that autistic nine-year-old, Adam, has disappeared with another student - a ten-year-old girl named Amelia. Her son is found unhurt, but Amelia has been murdered. Adam is the only witness but, traumatized, he withdraws into the unresponsive world of his early childhood and stops speaking. The community is thrown into crisis, with parents fearing for their children’s safety and teachers at the school trying to help the students cope with the tragedy.
As the investigation into the murder unfolds, Detective Matt Lincoln is sceptical about Adam’s ability to aid the investigation, but Cara refuses to give up on her son. She begins her own quest to unlock the secrets inside Adam, helped by teenager, Morgan, who has his own reasons for wanting to solve Amelia’s murder. As the mystery deepens, secrets from Cara’s own past come back to haunt her and her history of failed friendships - particularly with Suzette, her high-school friend, and her clandestine affair with Kevin, Adam’s father - threaten to destroy what little security she and Adam have.
Eye Contact is a thrilling and intricate story. Although it offers some grim realities about parenting a child with autism (the author has an autistic son), it’s first and foremost a crime story, deftly blending a sense of mystery and psychological suspense before delivering a powerful and satisfying dénouement.
Reviewed by Karen Clarke