Top critical review
4 people found this helpful
No unreserved endorsement
on 26 April 2012
Reservation Road is billed as a thriller and if this is what you are looking for, don't get it, because that is not what it is. I kept waiting for the killer to go on the prowl, for terrible night scenes to emerge, for a cliff-hanger of a multi-sided chase. There is nothing of the sort. John Burnham Schwartz is being short-changed by his reviews and book cover, which bring up the wrong expectations in his reader. For this reason, I am giving the book three, not just two stars.
This is actually a book about parenting, broken families, and the tragedy of losing a child. Dwight, at the beginning of the novel, kills the ten-year-old son of Ethan and Grace in a hit-and-run accident. While the bereaved parents do try to find out who committed the crime, the rest of the book really describes their attempt to cope. Meanwhile, Dwight is divorced and has a son of about the same age, who was also in the car. And the difficulty is that they all live in the same small-town community. What saves the book is that it is written earnestly and without pomposity, if without polish either. This works for what it is, though it is hardly a page turner.