Click here to read reviewer Michael Leonard's take on Eye Contact.
Deftly blending mystery with touching family drama, Cammie McGovern’s Eye Contact grabs you and doesn’t let go until the final page is turned. It opens with young mother Cara becoming increasingly frantic when her son’s school informs her that autistic nine-year-old Adam has disappeared with another student, a ten-year-old developmentally disabled girl named Amelia. Her son is soon found, unhurt, but Amelia has been killed with a knife to her chest. Adam is the only probable witness to her murder, but his time missing has had a profound effect on him. Cara finds that her son is so traumatized that he no longer even speaks.
A massive investigation begins into the murder of Amelia, and Cara begins her own quest to unlock the secrets inside Adam and to return him to his former self. She gets help from another damaged boy, a teenager named Morgan who has his own reasons for wanting to solve the murder of little Amelia. As the mystery deepens, secrets from Cara’s own past come back to haunt her and threaten to ruin what little security she and Adam have.
Cammie McGovern’s writing is engaging, thrilling and heartrending. She writes authoritatively and sensitively about autism, probably because she is raising her own son with the affliction. She paints a completely believable picture of what a family touched by autism is like and how they would deal with a situation as horrible as the murder of another child. McGovern also manages to carry on a thrilling mystery without losing any of the character depth or family drama.
The only drawback to Eye Contact is that McGovern never shows us that Cara has a job or any way to support herself and her young son. Because the struggle of a single parent, especially one with a special-needs son, should be central (or at least a part of) a story like this, it seems like a glaring omission.
On the whole, however, Eye Contact is a beautifully written, page-turning novel that will appeal to both mystery lovers and those who favor family dramas.