Fresh Meat: Come Home by Lisa Scottoline

Come Home by Lisa ScottolineCome Home by Lisa Scottoline is a compelling combination of thriller and women’s fiction (available April 10, 2012).

Lisa Scottoline’s Come Home, a valentine to mothers everywhere, is a thriller cum philosophical exploration of the definition of motherhood, asking the questions: Do you ever stop being a mother? Can you ever have an ex-child? What are the limits to love of family? 

The story revolves around Jill Farrow, pediatrician, mom to 13-year-old Megan, former stepmom to Abby and Victoria and future stepmom to fiancé Sam’s son. Jill is about to marry for the third time when, after three years of no contact, the troubled 19-year-old Abby reenters her life distraught over the mysterious death of her father and Jill’s ex-husband William. The police think it was a suicide, but Abby believes her father was murdered and implores Jill to help her prove it. Sam is totally against Jill getting involved in her ex’s family problems. But what’s a mother to do? “You’re a doctor, and Sherlock Holmes was a doctor,” Jill says to herself on her decision to help. Though she is factually incorrect (Watson was the doctor), a reader can empathize with Jill’s Holmes-like determination and obsession, especially after Abby disappears.

The pediatrician becomes an amateur sleuth, letting no one get in her way. She looks into William’s activities, badgering Victoria for information and help with finding Abby. Victoria, though, feels that Jill abandoned them after the divorce and stonewalls her at every turn even siccing her lawyer boyfriend onto Jill.

 “Let me break it down for you, Dr. Farrow. Victoria’s been through hell since her Dad’s death. It’s hard enough for her to deal with that and her sister, while she’s in law school. I don’t know what your agenda is, but you need to step off.”

Jill felt taken aback. “I don’t have an agenda, except helping Abby.”

“Nevertheless, you don’t belong. I am an attorney, and if you keep this up, calling Victoria at odd hours and taking property that is part of her father’s estate, I’ll file for a restraining order against you.”

[Jill] wasn’t afraid of restraining orders anymore. She was afraid that something had happened to Abby. Not even a lawyer could stop a mother.

That’s the key here. A mother will go to any lengths to help her child, even to the point of jeopardizing her relationship with her fiancé.

It remained to be seen if they could agree on how to make a new family. If they couldn’t, there wasn’t going to be a wedding. Jill had come to understand that love didn’t answer the question of whether they should marry, but merely asked it. Love wasn’t the end, but the beginning.

I have read nearly all of Scottoline’s novels, and while Come Home lacks the depth and intrigue of her legal thrillers, the mother angle works. Jill dreams the dream of mothers everywhere.

In her mind’s eye, [Jill] could see Abby, younger and grinning until her rubber bands showed, then Abby morphed into Megan, who morphed into [her patient] Rahul, and all of the children became one, and they were all happy and whole and healthy, living, without danger, disease, or death, rocked in her loving arms, back and forth, forever and ever.

Do you ever stop being a mother? Can you ever have an ex-child? What are the limits to love of family? Answers: no, no, and none.

Read an excerpt of Come Home at our sister site, Heroes and Hearbreakers!

Susan Amper, author of How to Write About Edgar Allan Poe, still mourns the loss of her Nancy Drew collection.

Read all Susan Amper’s posts on Criminal Element.

See coverage of more new releases in our Fresh Meat series.


  1. Deborah Lacy

    I love Lisa Scottoline’s books! This looks great. Thanks for posting.

  2. Terrie Farley Moran

    Fabulous concept.

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