What Happened To The Bennetts is a novel that gets straight into the action. It is an emotional thriller that I can really visualise on the big screen. I am imagining Matt Damon in the lead role playing Jason Bennett, the protagonist of this novel.
In his late 40s, Jason is a happy, easy going guy who lives for his family; his wife Lucinda and their children, 16 year-old Allison and 13 year-old Ethan. Yet when a pickup truck begins to tailgate Jason one evening on a dark stretch of road as he drives his family home, the lives of Jason and those he holds most dear are tragically changed forever.
The opening, fast-paced chapter is scary and alarming. What follows is also extremely scary and alarming as just a few hours after the tragic incident, the FBI arrive at the Bennett’s family home to inform them that they have been caught in the crossfire of a dangerous drug trafficking gang. The FBI agents strongly advise the family to enter the witness protection programme. Thankfully as my only experience of witness protection is watching drama and films, call me naive, but I didn’t realise until reading this novel that essentially witness protection is designed to protect criminal informants. It is emotionally shocking what the family is expected to sacrifice in return for their safety. I shudder when I think about it!
Reluctantly Jason and his family agree to enter witness protection, but the sacrifices they have to bear begin to tear them apart. Furthermore Jason and Lucinda struggle with what they perceive is the FBI’s lack of action and neglect, yet they both have opposing views on how to deal with the issue.
Following the initial horrific but exciting chapters, I felt the novel slowed in pace as the plot portrayed the emotional pain and turmoil of the characters. At this point I would call What Happened To The Bennetts a slow burner, but then Jason stumbles across shocking truth upon shocking truth! He realises that the only hope he has to save his family is to take matters into his own hands. Knowing that defying the law is the only way he will be able to give him and his family the chance of justice, Jason sheds his easy going nature to seek the truth. Yet as more and more dark, ugly twists are revealed, Jason soon learns that murderous power is at the core.
The second half of the novel is action packed. It is very detailed too, and I have to be honest, sometimes I lost the thread a bit. But I still really enjoyed it, especially as the novel is made up of short chapters, which often end on a cliff hanger. If you follow this blog, you’ll know I’m a massive fan of short, succinct chapters! Also in my view, the ultimate, bigger twist in this novel is sheer genius. Although Lisa Scottoline, bestselling and award winning author of What Happened To The Bennetts subtly throws us clues throughout the narrative, I seriously doubt you will work it out.
And then there is the ending of this action thriller, which had me in tears!
What Happened To The Bennetts was released in paperback on 18 January 2024. Prior to this, it has been available in hardback for some time.
Thank you to Anne Cater from Random Things Tours for inviting me to the blog tour of the paperback release. To follow the blog tour, please see below.