Gray Matter

Fiction - Thriller - General
400 Pages
Reviewed on 08/22/2011
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Anne Boling for Readers' Favorite

We all want what is best for our children. We want them to be happy, successful, intelligent and well liked. So how far would you go if your child was picked on by the other kids because he had a low IQ? That’s the question Gray Matter by Greg Braver left me asking myself. Does the result justify the means?

In this story we meet Rachel and Martin Whitman, the parents of Dylon, an adorable, lovable six year old with a low IQ. The Whitman’s are an upper middle class family. Watching Dylon being picked on by school mates, infuriates, Rachel. When someone mentions a “fix” Rachel’s hopes are raised.

A detective searches for answers to a case that has haunted him for years, a child’s skull. He seeks to give that child a name and to find the child’s killer. More skulls show up with a strange pattern of holes precisely drilled into each one.

Braver takes two seemingly unrelated plots and weaves them together into a tapestry of suspense played out on the pages of Gray Matter. I could feel the guilt oozing from Rachel. She felt responsible for Dylon’s handicap. I sometimes wondered if Martin was there in body only and his mind was elsewhere. Most readers will have an idea of what is going to happen next. Or at least they think they know, but the twists may throw them off the trail. This book has a brilliant theme and yet I felt the author fell short. He has the plot, the characters, etc. but it took half the book to set up the plot.

The plot is ingenious and unique. The plot will leave readers with an unsettled feeling. The things done to the children will sicken most readers. Braver’s plot has a message, each child is created uniquely. We are all different and yet sometimes we push our children into being like everyone else. We celebrate the conformity and mourn the individualism. Braver’s writing reminds me of Koontz. I will be watching for more books by this author.