133. Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten (Canada) - (USA)

Pages: 375 pages
Ages: 18+
Finished: July 12, 2010
First Published: Sept. 28, 2010
Publisher: Mira Books
Genre: psychological suspense
Rating: 5/5

First sentence:

She walks down a deserted hallway of the psychiatric hospital, her heels tapping a short staccato on the disinfected floor.

Acquired: Received a review copy from the book's publicist.

Reason for Reading: One of the book's main characters is described as having Asperger's and since I, myself have Asperger's I was immediately interested. But the book's plot and setting of a psychiatric hospital also had me eager to read the book.

The book opens with Danielle, the mother of Max, entering a patient's room and finding him brutally murdered while huddled on the floor nearby, unconscious, is her son, Max, with the murder weapon in his hand. Danielle is a lawyer and her son, Max, has Asperger's. Max is about 16 and has become very moody and suddenly started to show violent tendencies. His doctor recommends that it is time Max go to a psychiatric hospital for a full evaluation. When he enters, Danielle is advised to go home but she is determined to stay until he is ready to come home but the doctor will only allow her short visits in the morning and afternoon. Max's behaviour reportedly deteriorates and he becomes extremely violent, has to be sedated and restrained. After the murder occurs Max is arrested as is Danielle as an accessory. Danielle does everything in her power to prove her son's innocence and this takes her along two very different paths, both with a deviant and horrifying end.

This was a fantastic mystery! A page-turner book that I couldn't put down until I'd finished it. The supposed Asperger's theme is not very prevalent. At the beginning we meet a teenage boy with AS and learn some small details of the condition but the story soon morphs into a whole different set of circumstances where the Asperger's can no longer be recognized. At the end, it is addressed again and Max's original problem is dealt with nicely. But this is not a book to read to find out about Asperger's. It simply contains a character who has AS in the same way one would read a book where a character was blind but one would not read it to find out all about blindness.

The story is superb. I love reading books that take place is psychiatric institutions; it is such a private, secluded world that the potential for evil to be taking place with in its walls is perfectly plausible in one's imagination, and of course with the deplorable history of asylums and loony bins not *that* far away in the past it doesn't take a great leap of imagination.

Max is a wonderful character and though he is hard to get to know for most of the book because he's often sedated there does come a time when his true person comes through. It is at this point that some of the benefits of his Asperger's personality come into play (his intelligence and obsessiveness)and he helps vitally with his case. The mystery leaves a wonderful trail of suspense as it unravels. I admit I figured out whodunit quite early and why but the details were still disturbing as they were unearthed.

A totally engrossing psychological suspense. The author's website states that she is working on another book that will once again feature a character with a psychiatric disorder and I am most emphatically looking forward to its release.


  1. I'm looking forward to reading this one, Nicola. Especially now that you have such high praise for it. It sounds like a real page-turner.

  2. Would really like to read this book. Sounds very good.


Post a Comment

Popular Posts