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The Quiet Boy

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From the bestselling author of Underground Airlines and Golden State, a sweeping legal thriller about a sixteen-year-old who suffers from a neurological condition that has frozen him in time, and the team of lawyers, doctors, and detectives who are desperate to wake him up. Wesley Keener lies in bed: not dead, not alive, not in a coma or vegetative state, but simply fro From the bestselling author of Underground Airlines and Golden State, a sweeping legal thriller about a sixteen-year-old who suffers from a neurological condition that has frozen him in time, and the team of lawyers, doctors, and detectives who are desperate to wake him up. Wesley Keener lies in bed: not dead, not alive, not in a coma or vegetative state, but simply frozen at an unchanging 16 years old, the forward course of his existence having simply stopped midway through sophomore year. His condition is the result of something called Syndrome J, an extraordinarily rare neurological event, at least according to the brilliant young neurologist Anna Pileggi. When Wes was first hospitalized, his parents Beth and David Keener hired acclaimed PI Jay Shenk to help find answers about the illness that befell their beloved son. Now, years later, when David is accused of murdering the brilliant young doctor who served as expert witness in the hospital case, Shenk and his son Ruben discover that this standard malpractice suit is part of something more sinister than anyone imagined. An alternate explanation, brought forth by a mysterious older man, suggests an inter-dimensional entity wrecking havoc on the community. The child is not a prisoner, this stranger insists, he is a prison. Told from alternating perspectives, The Quiet Boy explores the tensions between justice and compassion, in heart-pounding prose. With clever plotting, and a knack for character, Winters expertly weaves a group of misfits together in a race to save themselves, and an innocent life.


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From the bestselling author of Underground Airlines and Golden State, a sweeping legal thriller about a sixteen-year-old who suffers from a neurological condition that has frozen him in time, and the team of lawyers, doctors, and detectives who are desperate to wake him up. Wesley Keener lies in bed: not dead, not alive, not in a coma or vegetative state, but simply fro From the bestselling author of Underground Airlines and Golden State, a sweeping legal thriller about a sixteen-year-old who suffers from a neurological condition that has frozen him in time, and the team of lawyers, doctors, and detectives who are desperate to wake him up. Wesley Keener lies in bed: not dead, not alive, not in a coma or vegetative state, but simply frozen at an unchanging 16 years old, the forward course of his existence having simply stopped midway through sophomore year. His condition is the result of something called Syndrome J, an extraordinarily rare neurological event, at least according to the brilliant young neurologist Anna Pileggi. When Wes was first hospitalized, his parents Beth and David Keener hired acclaimed PI Jay Shenk to help find answers about the illness that befell their beloved son. Now, years later, when David is accused of murdering the brilliant young doctor who served as expert witness in the hospital case, Shenk and his son Ruben discover that this standard malpractice suit is part of something more sinister than anyone imagined. An alternate explanation, brought forth by a mysterious older man, suggests an inter-dimensional entity wrecking havoc on the community. The child is not a prisoner, this stranger insists, he is a prison. Told from alternating perspectives, The Quiet Boy explores the tensions between justice and compassion, in heart-pounding prose. With clever plotting, and a knack for character, Winters expertly weaves a group of misfits together in a race to save themselves, and an innocent life.

30 review for The Quiet Boy

  1. 4 out of 5

    Book

    Put down the bourbon, pick it back up, and listen to the full pod here. Some novels are greater than the sum of their parts. Others, unfortunately, have great parts but never coalesce into a great work. In my opinion, The Quiet Boy is an example of the latter. I loved many of the parts of this book. The lead, Jay Shenk, is a “Better Call Saul” variant, a loveable hustler who believes equally in money and the people he is defending. Both ways is the only way I want it, in other words. When Wesley Put down the bourbon, pick it back up, and listen to the full pod here. Some novels are greater than the sum of their parts. Others, unfortunately, have great parts but never coalesce into a great work. In my opinion, The Quiet Boy is an example of the latter. I loved many of the parts of this book. The lead, Jay Shenk, is a “Better Call Saul” variant, a loveable hustler who believes equally in money and the people he is defending. Both ways is the only way I want it, in other words. When Wesley Keener is injured in an accident and afflicted with a weird walking-coma syndrome, Jay sees a lawsuit, but he also sees a family in need of a hero. Some heroes wear cheap suits, not capes. His son, Ruben, is a compelling character in his own right who may see the most significant character change. The parents of the stricken boy are damaged and harrowing, their daughter’s relationship with Ruben is touching, and every secondary character is treated with reverence and humanity. Winters is a sterling writer who writes with verve and humor. He balances the dueling timelines well, committing to them equally and allowing them to provide insight into each other without forcing the intersections. Despite all these intriguing elements at play, the main thrust of this novel is of a courtroom drama. There is some joy in seeing Jay cajole people to talk to him or hunt down witnesses, convincing them of their sacred duty to testify, but it has diminishing returns. We learn very little surrounding the murder supposedly committed by the father during these courtroom scenes, confined as we are, and Winters’ imagination isn’t best served in such a setting. The boy at the middle of the botched surgery, Wesley, plays the role of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction. Its import comes in how little we know about it, the possibilities always greater than the explanation. He is a golden MacGuffin, which is disappointing as the description of the novel states that in his “hollow body may lie the fate of humankind.” They mystical nature of the boy is always looming in the background, and if something is looming for too long, you just sorta say screw it and stop paying attention. Worse, the ending is triggered with a simple reversal and an insertion of magical realism that I didn’t find satisfying. At times, it felt a little like Mulholland Drive, although the surrealist noir elements didn’t vibe well with the courtroom drama and domestic arguments. I would have a hard time determining whether I should recommend this novel. If you can enjoy a complex character drama, set in the courtroom, with lightning strikes of speculative fiction and mystery? Awesome, pick it up. If the lack of mystery will frustrate you, or the tonal imbalance lead you to skim past the undercooked surrealism? Probably skip it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Woodbury

    I am familiar enough with Ben H. Winters now (this is my 5th book of his) to know what to expect. There will be a mystery that will deeply wrap you up in its characters, but it'll also be a world that is not the same as ours in significant ways (like it's about to be destroyed by a meteor, for example). But this book is the closest to normal reality that Winters has gotten so far, so much so that when the speculative element showed up I was a little surprised. His reality is so real that I forgo I am familiar enough with Ben H. Winters now (this is my 5th book of his) to know what to expect. There will be a mystery that will deeply wrap you up in its characters, but it'll also be a world that is not the same as ours in significant ways (like it's about to be destroyed by a meteor, for example). But this book is the closest to normal reality that Winters has gotten so far, so much so that when the speculative element showed up I was a little surprised. His reality is so real that I forgot for a while to be ready for the unreal to make an appearance. That is very much a compliment. This is a double-timeline book (I love a double timeline!) looking at the same small group of characters 10 years apart. In 2009 teenage Wesley Keener gets a brain injury and after emergency surgery has an inexplicable condition (hello, speculative element!). Immediately on the scene is Jay Shenk, medical malpractice lawyer, and yes, ambulance chaser. Before Wesley's mother Beth has been updated after his surgery, before his father Rich has even arrived at the hospital, Jay is already there befriending her, ready to swoop in and grab the case. In 2019, Shenk finds himself once again representing the Keener family in a different matter entirely, despite the fact that we now know the 2009 case did not end well at all. Everyone in 2019 is still recovering from the way things unraveled a decade ago, including Shenk's son Ruben, who watched much of the earlier case unfold as a teenager, and now as an adult is enlisted by his father to gather evidence for the new case. This is not a courtroom drama exactly, but it should appeal to courtroom drama readers. Many scenes take place in hearings or trials and the bulk of the book is preparing for those hearings or trials. Winters clearly did his research. The legal elements of the case are so strong and well done, if I hadn't known the author already I would have assumed they were a lawyer. Not only that, Winters doesn't cut the kind of corners most legal dramas cut specifically to ramp up the tension. Winters works entirely in the lines, and I would like other authors to take note please, because this book nearly pulled me out of my own skin with anxiety in the last quarter. He's able to do that even though we already know it'll end badly, just withholding the particulars. More than that, I loved the way Winters portrayed Shenk. Not everyone can be a personal injury lawyer, it takes a certain amount of ego but this is also a man who really believes what he says to people, who is motivated from a real desire to help people, and who can get carried away by his own desire. I also just loved how much he loved Ruben, it's a very tender relationship, even if we see it soured in the later timeline. Shenk has lots of bluster and confidence, but the tenderness is what brings him to life. He's so fully formed, my only criticism is that the chapters following him shine brighter than the chapters that follow other characters. This is a long one and it can lag a little (I took a break in the middle to read another book, which was perfect, came back and finished it with renewed vigor) and it is also bleak as hell. (If you have read Winters already, that's another thing you know to expect.) It can also have a kind of noir feel to it at times, though it's not the focus. I am not sure the pacing is really a problem, because there's so much that Winters is doing here, and there are a few places that I would trim down but honestly not many. It's not really meant to be a book you speed through.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Lisa Wolf

    This legal/medical thriller kept me turning the pages, but now that I’m done, I feel like I have more questions than answers. In The Quiet Boy, we follow two timelines: In 2008, a high school boy named Wesley comes out of brain surgery in an unheard-of state: He walks endlessly around his hospital room, eyes open but unseeing, appearing to be “hollowed out”, no one home, no ability to interact or change. In 2019, Wesley’s father has just been arrested for the murder of the expert witness in the f This legal/medical thriller kept me turning the pages, but now that I’m done, I feel like I have more questions than answers. In The Quiet Boy, we follow two timelines: In 2008, a high school boy named Wesley comes out of brain surgery in an unheard-of state: He walks endlessly around his hospital room, eyes open but unseeing, appearing to be “hollowed out”, no one home, no ability to interact or change. In 2019, Wesley’s father has just been arrested for the murder of the expert witness in the family’s medical malpractice lawsuit. Linking the timelines together is Jay Shenk, an ambulance-chasing lawyer who in 2008 is at his peak of success, well-connected, perfectly attuned to the needs of his client, and able to pull off victory after victory against the deep-pockets hospital corporations who’ll always choose settlement to make their problems go away. But in 2019, we see a very different Jay, one who’s weaker, less robust physically, and clearly a man whose best years personally and professionally are behind him. To add to the confusion, we know that in 2008, his son Ruben was the center of his life and Ruben, in turn, was devoted to his father — but in 2019, the two are estranged and barely communicate or see each other. When Jay first hears about Wesley’s strange condition, he sees dollar signs. Leaving aside the fact that it’s unclear what happened or why Wesley is the way he is, Jay is certain that he can negotiate a quick payout for the distraught family. But Wesley’s situation is unprecedented, and Jay ignores the warning signs that his case may be slipping away from him. Meanwhile, in 2019, the family demands that Jay defend Wesley’s father in his murder trial, despite the fact that Jay is not a criminal lawyer. Not that it matters — Richard is determined to plead guilty and wants to move to sentencing as quickly as possible. As the two timelines weave back and forth, we learn a lot more about Wesley, Jay, Jay’s son Ruben, and the strange man who seems obsessed with Wesley’s case. There’s a mystery here: Is Wesley the victim of a never before seen medical condition, or is there something else going on, a sort of otherworldly entity waiting to break through? I was weirdly fascinated by this book, but also incredibly frustrated. By the end, there aren’t any good answers about Wesley, although we do finally understand how the first trial went so very wrong and why Ruben and Jay’s relationship fell apart. The book feels overly long, and while there’s a lot of ground to cover related to the trials, scenes of depositions and testimony and coaching the expert witness make the books feel bloated at times. I had issues with certain details, such as how Ruben was able to track the whereabouts of the witness — there seem to be some pieces missing, and certain conclusions seem jumped to rather than figured out. (view spoiler)[ Some lingering questions: - How did Ruben know to go to Alaska? - How did Ruben explain to the two men who helped him why he wanted to board up with ranger station with someone inside it? Why did they go along with it? - Why did Ruben see Dennis when his mother died? - What really happened to Wesley? Is there really a syndrome that could keep the body from needing to eat, sleep, grow? Why did he glow? - Whatever Dennis said to Theresa basically destroyed her mind... what was the riddle? - Are we meant to believe that the hollowed people could destroy the world, or is it all a case of cult personality and madness? - How did Ruben know where to go to find Evie's wings? - Why not just report the attack and self-defense to the police, instead of having Richard plead guilty? - Jay makes a stupid, prideful decision not to consider the settlement offer, dooming the Keeners and his own family to financial ruin. But is this really enough to cause a complete disintegration of his relationship with Ruben? (hide spoiler)] A minor nitpick, but one that irritated me, is that Ruben is often referred to as the Rabbi, which is a nickname given to him by a coworker after he requests a day off for a Jewish holiday. It has no relevance to the story, but in various chapters, we hear about what “the Rabbi” is doing rather than having him be referred to by his name, and it feels a little pointless. I did enjoy The Quiet Boy as a whole, but with so many open questions and a few plot holes, I wouldn’t list it as a top read for this year.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Jordan (Jordy’s Book Club)

    QUICK TAKE: I freakin' love Ben Winters. THE LAST POLICEMAN and GOLDEN STATE are two of my favorite recent scifi reads, so I've been so excited for THE QUIET BOY. That being said, I was ultimately very underwhelmed by this one. Buyer beware, this is much more a family legal mystery than it is a scifi story, so just know that going in. Had I know that, I think I would have enjoyed this more. I didn't and I found this one to be a tedious read as I waited for something to happen. It's really slow s QUICK TAKE: I freakin' love Ben Winters. THE LAST POLICEMAN and GOLDEN STATE are two of my favorite recent scifi reads, so I've been so excited for THE QUIET BOY. That being said, I was ultimately very underwhelmed by this one. Buyer beware, this is much more a family legal mystery than it is a scifi story, so just know that going in. Had I know that, I think I would have enjoyed this more. I didn't and I found this one to be a tedious read as I waited for something to happen. It's really slow storytelling without many twists and turns and the ending left me annoyed and with a bunch of unanswered questions. might be one of the bigger disappointments for me this year.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jaksen

    Fascinating, complex story from a superb writer. Yeah, I don't call many writers 'superb.' But Mr. Winters is. This is a mystery, a horror tale, crime fiction, law fiction, or combination of all, plus written in an intense, frenetic, yet thoughtful and emphatic way. (Yeah, it's all of that, too.) I have no doubt Mr. Winters could write a 'high-brow' literary masterpiece, if he were so inclined. His writing is absolutely exemplary. Narration, transition, dialogue, character development, storyline Fascinating, complex story from a superb writer. Yeah, I don't call many writers 'superb.' But Mr. Winters is. This is a mystery, a horror tale, crime fiction, law fiction, or combination of all, plus written in an intense, frenetic, yet thoughtful and emphatic way. (Yeah, it's all of that, too.) I have no doubt Mr. Winters could write a 'high-brow' literary masterpiece, if he were so inclined. His writing is absolutely exemplary. Narration, transition, dialogue, character development, storyline, description, it's all perfect. (He also wrote The Last Policeman, which was just as good.) The story: set in two timelines, about a sort of 'shysterish-lawyer' who's looking for the big case, the one where he can sock an insurance company for millions. But despite this, the guy has morals, things he will and will not do; he's also mourning his late wife and has one child, a son, adopted. The story moves from Reuben, the son, back and forth to Jay, the lawyer. The chapters are marked so you always know which timeline you're on. In 2008, 2009, etc., when Jay comes across a case of an injured teenager who, who after brain surgery, is walking endlessly in circles. This is the BIG CASE he's been waiting for and anxiously works toward getting either a huge monetary settlement, or winning a case of medical malpractice on behalf of the boy's parents. Reuben is a sort of reclusive teenager who wants to help/support his father all he can. Move to 2019, where the case has been settled - but I won't say how - and another one has been dropped into Jay's lap which involves the injured boy's father. This is a complex book. Lots of uniquely-drawn characters, incidents, events, scenarios. (Never a dull moment here.) Mr. Winters has a talent, similar to what I've seen in another writer, Stephen King. This is that they can create, with a few lines or short description, an entirely new personality or character that you will NOT forget for the rest of the book. (In some books if the MC is a cynical guy, or a wisecracker, suddenly everyone is a cynic or making jokes. If you've got a bland, colorless bartender, suddenly every other guy is also bland and colorless. NOT HERE.) This is absolutely one of the most entertaining reads of the year - for me - so far. A unique story with hardly any of the 'tropes' I find over and over. (Cuz I read so many similar books, I guess, mostly in the thriller/mystery genre.) The characters in this book think and reason, and have moments of striking, startling clarity. (Referring to children and grandchildren as 'our emissaries' into the future? I wish I'd copied the quote for this review! Unfortunately, returned the book to the library this morning.) One of those books I wish I could give more than 5 stars. Five stars.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I always enjoy Ben Winters' writing style. This one reminded me of sort of a cross between Stephen King and John Irving. I found both of the lead characters, Jay and Ruben, to be lovable in their own ways. There's a sense of dread throughout, as you find out right away that things went horribly wrong 10 years ago, and then it's a question of finding out how that happened, as well as what's going on in the present. Personally, though, it wrapped up in a way that made it bearable for me. I always enjoy Ben Winters' writing style. This one reminded me of sort of a cross between Stephen King and John Irving. I found both of the lead characters, Jay and Ruben, to be lovable in their own ways. There's a sense of dread throughout, as you find out right away that things went horribly wrong 10 years ago, and then it's a question of finding out how that happened, as well as what's going on in the present. Personally, though, it wrapped up in a way that made it bearable for me.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jeanette

    This despite loving the Last Policeman series by Winters is a DNF for me. The plot twists are so confusing and the court scenes just too obtuse for me to slog through any longer. I got past all that but still can't find the thread of where these characters continue. The premise is excellent, quizzical and it's me and this style that clash. Half the time I don't know what Shenk the pronoun refers to or about a fourth of the time who is even talking. They are all so glib and after returning to the b This despite loving the Last Policeman series by Winters is a DNF for me. The plot twists are so confusing and the court scenes just too obtuse for me to slog through any longer. I got past all that but still can't find the thread of where these characters continue. The premise is excellent, quizzical and it's me and this style that clash. Half the time I don't know what Shenk the pronoun refers to or about a fourth of the time who is even talking. They are all so glib and after returning to the book to try again too many times, I just give up. This is the second of his books I have DNF as a result. I don't think I can embed into his snark think language or something. Also his continuity is such that I can't follow it. Others seem to be able to do this. So on to another. I have thrown in the towel. Truthfully though, I don't believe any of these main characters would make it within any decent serve and protect police system or law courts. Bureaucracy doesn't have the patience either- nor does it wait for your context understanding.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bookreporter.com Mystery & Thriller

    THE QUIET BOY is a haunting work that sinks its hook into readers from the first page and never lets go, even after the story has ended. Author Ben H. Winters is primarily known for his works of speculative fiction, particularly his Last Policeman trilogy. He stretches his considerable talent even further in this atmospheric, genre-blurring tale that is by turns mysterious, puzzling and ultimately frightening. The book ping-pongs back and forth between 2008 and 2019. It is told in a third-person THE QUIET BOY is a haunting work that sinks its hook into readers from the first page and never lets go, even after the story has ended. Author Ben H. Winters is primarily known for his works of speculative fiction, particularly his Last Policeman trilogy. He stretches his considerable talent even further in this atmospheric, genre-blurring tale that is by turns mysterious, puzzling and ultimately frightening. The book ping-pongs back and forth between 2008 and 2019. It is told in a third-person narrative style that befits the professional demeanor of Jay Albert Shenk, one of its primary protagonists. Jay is a Los Angeles attorney who specializes in personal injury and malpractice cases. Winters takes us through Jay's method of locating and acquiring clients through a combination of stringer referrals, legal acumen and Las Vegas schmooze. He is assisted in this endeavor by his adopted son Ruben, who is being groomed to follow in his father’s footsteps. Jay in 2008 believes he has a winning case when he persuades the parents of 14-year-old Wesley Keener to retain him for a medical malpractice action. Wesley had sustained a head injury while engaged in otherwise innocent horseplay at school and underwent emergency brain surgery. In the procedure’s aftermath, he displays bizarre symptoms that include the apparent inability to communicate, eat or sleep, among other things. Wesley simply walks. It is like nothing anyone has ever seen. That singular fact is actually a problem for the case, but Jay is sure that he can overcome it with the right witness. As the trial approaches, he thinks he has found just that. However, in the 2019 sections, it is clear that things have not worked out as planned for either the Shenks or the Keeners. Ruben, whose nickname is “Rabbi,” is working as a food prepper in a restaurant and is all but estranged from Jay, who he worshipped as a teenager and is struggling to keep his law practice afloat. The Keeners are in even worse shape, trying to make ends meet to provide Wesley, who is still walking, with the care he needs. They are all brought back together when Wesley’s father, Richard, is accused of murdering one of the expert witnesses in the malpractice trial that occurred 10 years ago. Wesley’s mother, Beth, asks Jay to represent Richard. He reluctantly agrees, even though he has absolutely no experience in criminal defense. It would be an uphill slog even under the best circumstances, given that Richard --- who was found with the victim while holding the literal smoking gun in his hand --- readily admits his guilt, does not want legal representation and is prepared to accept the death penalty. Jay enlists an equally reluctant Ruben as a private investigator. As a result of a combination of plausible happenstance and dogged persistence, Ruben uncovers what actually happened, both in the present and in the past. Some light also is ultimately shed on the “why” and “what” of poor Wesley. While THE QUIET BOY is indeed a courtroom thriller, it is also a mystery and, in some very special ways, a hair-raising supernatural tale. The revelations concerning Wesley are chilling, to say the least, and literally turn the entire story on its head. Let’s just say that my inclination when finishing the book was to round up my children, all of whom are well into their adulthood, and hide them away. That happens when you read a novel with powerful plotting and characterization, and this one has it by the truckload. Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub

  9. 4 out of 5

    Janis Bobrin

    Three stars. I kept reading to find out what happens, and because Winters is a good writer. Story was a bit too strange for me. Sections were really very good, but for me, did not come together to make a wonderful book.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Contrarius

    I tried this because I really liked his recent book, Underground Airlines. This one is just barely science fiction -- it jumps back and forth between 2009 and 2019, and it's the story of a family, their lawyer, and the lawyer's son as they all deal with the aftermath of an emergency brain surgery on the family's son that went wrong. Winters is an intelligent, sharp writer who creates vivid characters, which is a pleasure to listen to. OTOH, this book has a reaaaaaaaaaaaally sloooooooooow burn, w I tried this because I really liked his recent book, Underground Airlines. This one is just barely science fiction -- it jumps back and forth between 2009 and 2019, and it's the story of a family, their lawyer, and the lawyer's son as they all deal with the aftermath of an emergency brain surgery on the family's son that went wrong. Winters is an intelligent, sharp writer who creates vivid characters, which is a pleasure to listen to. OTOH, this book has a reaaaaaaaaaaaally sloooooooooow burn, which made me keep wishing they would get to the point. Also, there were four major points that I couldn't suspend my disbelief for: first, (view spoiler)[here's this boy who walks nonstop, never eats or drinks, never pees or poops -- yet we are expected to believe that the entire scientific community ISN'T all over him every second of every day? seriously?? (hide spoiler)] ; second (view spoiler)[never eating, never drinking, never peeing or pooping, always walking -- perpetual motion machine, anyone? I would be willing to consider buying this if given a good excuse, but Winters doesn't really try. (hide spoiler)] ; third (view spoiler)[when Dennis, the Bad Guy, finally reaches the same state as Wesley, we are never told how he "caught" it -- if this is the prion disease, where did he get the prions? if not, how else did he get it? (hide spoiler)] ; and fourth (view spoiler)[after Reuben realizes that they really can't let this escape into the world, he first boards up the cabin with Dennis in it -- but why not burn him? seems much more permanent -- and then they leave Wesley where he is, which seems very insecure. All sorts of things could happen in the future that could let this loose on the world. (hide spoiler)] . Now, as I mentioned before, Winters is a sharp guy, so I'm sure he thought of these things -- which means that he handled them this way intentionally. But it's annoying. OTOH, I liked one of the twists at the end -- speaking of vivid characters, the choice made by one of the main characters made me smile. And there's more to the book than might be immediately obvious if you stop and think about it, which I always enjoy. Good narration by William DeMerritt.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Judith

    What do you say about a story that asks you to suspend disbelief to this extent? A teen-age boy hits his head and sustains critical brain injury, which results in his simply walking around in a big circle with a vacant stare-----for over ten years. He doesn't speak or react to anything or anyone. He neither eats, nor drinks, nor defecates, nor urinates. The main story follows the medical malpractice case against the hospital, which is as unrealistic as the rest of the book. Then there's a subplo What do you say about a story that asks you to suspend disbelief to this extent? A teen-age boy hits his head and sustains critical brain injury, which results in his simply walking around in a big circle with a vacant stare-----for over ten years. He doesn't speak or react to anything or anyone. He neither eats, nor drinks, nor defecates, nor urinates. The main story follows the medical malpractice case against the hospital, which is as unrealistic as the rest of the book. Then there's a subplot which is almost impossible to follow about a small group of people who want to locate the boy in order to "crack him open" to solve all of mankind's distress and an opposing group who think that cracking him open will be akin to opening Pandora's box. Somewhere, someone really appreciated this book and never looked too closely at the plot.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Barbara

    I never really “got” the magical premise of Wesley’s disease, what Dennis was so afraid of.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Leah

    Good I love a double timeline book. This one follows the same characters 10 years apart. Courtroom drama with a little fantastical element. I read this one pretty fast and I’d recommend as a summer page turner. I think some questions weren’t answered for me in the end.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Bill Silva

    3.5 stars. This is an entertaining legal thriller/mystery with a supernatural vibe (John Grisham meets Stephen King). As long as you don’t mind a few loose ends (maybe more than a few), it’s an enjoyable, easy read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Khris Sellin

    This was a gripping and fascinating read, a real page-turner, that ended up falling flat for me. Disappointing, but still a fun ride while it lasted. Wesley Keener is a 16-year-old high school kid -- musician, athlete, all-around good guy, fun to be around. After a freak accident, he's left with a bizarre neurological malady that leaves him frozen at 16 forever, walking in circles, 24/7. No eating, no sleeping, no responsiveness. There are a few mysteries here -- what is this condition? How did i This was a gripping and fascinating read, a real page-turner, that ended up falling flat for me. Disappointing, but still a fun ride while it lasted. Wesley Keener is a 16-year-old high school kid -- musician, athlete, all-around good guy, fun to be around. After a freak accident, he's left with a bizarre neurological malady that leaves him frozen at 16 forever, walking in circles, 24/7. No eating, no sleeping, no responsiveness. There are a few mysteries here -- what is this condition? How did it happen? Was it the accident itself or the surgery the doctors performed on his brain? Or something else? His family and their lawyer get caught in a weird web of cult extremists that lead to horrifying circumstances.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Kim Lockhart

    Thank you to Mulholland Press for an ARC for this book, in exchange for an honest review At first, this appears to be a straightforward courtroom drama. That is, until the ground shifts, and the esoteric elements of the story suddenly arise, in a haze of mystery. At the heart of the novel, is the tender care Winters takes with his characters. They may not always know who they are, or what their purpose is in this life, but they know how they feel. Emotional connection is the touchstone in an uns Thank you to Mulholland Press for an ARC for this book, in exchange for an honest review At first, this appears to be a straightforward courtroom drama. That is, until the ground shifts, and the esoteric elements of the story suddenly arise, in a haze of mystery. At the heart of the novel, is the tender care Winters takes with his characters. They may not always know who they are, or what their purpose is in this life, but they know how they feel. Emotional connection is the touchstone in an unsteady world.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Dan Trefethen

    You might think that the central concern of this book is the mysterious brain ailment that affects Wesley, causing him to pace around relentlessly. The ailment seems supernatural, as he never tires, never sleeps, never eats, but never loses weight. And while it leads an interesting idea about the nature of reality, that's not the main concern. The main concern is family. It's about Wesley's family, the mother who struggles to find answers and care for her son, the father who clams up with furious You might think that the central concern of this book is the mysterious brain ailment that affects Wesley, causing him to pace around relentlessly. The ailment seems supernatural, as he never tires, never sleeps, never eats, but never loses weight. And while it leads an interesting idea about the nature of reality, that's not the main concern. The main concern is family. It's about Wesley's family, the mother who struggles to find answers and care for her son, the father who clams up with furious anger, the younger sister who eventually gains the musical career that Wesley might have had. It's also about the father and son relationship of Jay Shenk and adopted son Ruben, Shenk being the lawyer who files a malpractice case against the hospital, despite the fact that nobody has ever seen anything like Wesley's ailment before. Ruben, who lives in the shadow of his boisterous father for a long time, and is dragooned into helping solve a murder case ten years after Wesley's ailment first occurs. It's Ruben who puts the pieces together. So who's the quiet boy of the title? Ostensibly it's Wesley, but as the book progresses it becomes clear that the book is really more about Ruben, and in his quietness comes realization about the murder, his father, and the possible nature of reality.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Emily

    This novel parcels out its story in two interwoven timeframes. In 2008, a teenage boy suffers a traumatic brain injury and enters a weird state with no metabolic activity or ability to interact with others. His family engages a lawyer for a medical malpractice suit. In 2019, the lawyer's son tries to figure out why the boy's father subsequently committed a crime. The book reminded me of one of those restaurants that serves a meal in the form of many small dishes. Even if you like the flavor of t This novel parcels out its story in two interwoven timeframes. In 2008, a teenage boy suffers a traumatic brain injury and enters a weird state with no metabolic activity or ability to interact with others. His family engages a lawyer for a medical malpractice suit. In 2019, the lawyer's son tries to figure out why the boy's father subsequently committed a crime. The book reminded me of one of those restaurants that serves a meal in the form of many small dishes. Even if you like the flavor of the first few, you don't know whether it's going to add up to a satisfying meal until you get to the end. I didn't find this one a satisfying meal. (view spoiler)[Everything about the world of the novel is like our own, except for the presence of a malign force trying to break some metaphysical barrier between us and it. We don't know why some people can see it or learn about it and others can't. We don't learn why it uses people to break through or how the boy can prevent it from breaking in. I didn't find the intimations about this mysterious force to be metaphorically suggestive about any aspect of real life or otherwise thought-provoking. (hide spoiler)] Ultimately this felt like a noir-style legal novel built around a twist, but the twist is more like "huh?" There's good writing here, built on a cloud of vapor. I liked Winters's first few books, but set aside Golden State without finishing. This might not be the author for me. And in the case of this book, it's hard for me to imagine someone who likes speculative fiction putting up with so much courtroom stuff, or someone who likes legal thrillers accepting the premise as it's finally revealed.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Virginia

    I usually don't read legal thrillers, but I think I'm going to make an exception from now on for Ben H. Winters. This was a fantastic read. From the seemingly sleazy lawyer to his stubborn clients to his quiet son, the characters really set the pace. The premise itself seems pretty straightforward -- a lawyer decides to represent a family whose son winds up a walking corpse after emergency surgery. However, it's not the simple. The story then splits off into two timelines: the timeline of the ca I usually don't read legal thrillers, but I think I'm going to make an exception from now on for Ben H. Winters. This was a fantastic read. From the seemingly sleazy lawyer to his stubborn clients to his quiet son, the characters really set the pace. The premise itself seems pretty straightforward -- a lawyer decides to represent a family whose son winds up a walking corpse after emergency surgery. However, it's not the simple. The story then splits off into two timelines: the timeline of the case and the timeline 10 years later. Our characters go through the ringer in both timelines and Winters moves between them so well that you'll be dying to know what happens next. Without spoiling anything, I have to say that the ending was brilliant and asks a fun question that will sit with you well after you shut the book. I recommend this book for anyone who likes legal thrillers, family stories, and tales with a potentially paranormal twist. **Read thanks to an ARC from Mulholland Books**

  20. 4 out of 5

    Mark Richardson

    The Quiet Boy is a satisfying blend on genres: mystery, legal drama, detective story, and sci-fi. At its core, the book is a magical realism family drama, a story that brought to mind something you might see penned by an author like Aimee Bender (think The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake). I’m a sucker for left-of-center speculative fiction, and this story was right up my alley. But what really kept me engaged sentence-to-sentence was the writing. The prose positively sparkled, and the descript The Quiet Boy is a satisfying blend on genres: mystery, legal drama, detective story, and sci-fi. At its core, the book is a magical realism family drama, a story that brought to mind something you might see penned by an author like Aimee Bender (think The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake). I’m a sucker for left-of-center speculative fiction, and this story was right up my alley. But what really kept me engaged sentence-to-sentence was the writing. The prose positively sparkled, and the descriptions were so vivid and interesting. I discovered Winters recently when I read his short story, “Peak TV Culver City.” I have bought his novel The Last Policeman, and I am really eager to sink my teeth into that book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Paul

    Ben Winters' books are always so odd, set in world's where something very different has happened in the world (pending asteroid strike, everyone in California must tell the truth at all times...). This one was different - only one small change, and the effect is has on two different families. Ben Winters' books are always so odd, set in world's where something very different has happened in the world (pending asteroid strike, everyone in California must tell the truth at all times...). This one was different - only one small change, and the effect is has on two different families.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ahlgren

    I thought the story was way too long and although I finished it it was a bit of a slog. I've really liked Winters' other books so was disappointed. I thought the story was way too long and although I finished it it was a bit of a slog. I've really liked Winters' other books so was disappointed.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Crimson Sparrow

    Ben H. Winters is a phenomenal writer. Phenomenal. And I still want to scream at him over his endings: The loose ends, the broken world-building, the unanswered questions, the abandonment of the plot for the sake of some philosophical point... Yet you'd think that this kind of failure would drive me away, would force me to adjust my assessment of Winters' skill. But he's. So. Good. He's just so good. I can't not read his stories, misfit endings pending, frustrated promises and all. Ben H. Winters is a phenomenal writer. Phenomenal. And I still want to scream at him over his endings: The loose ends, the broken world-building, the unanswered questions, the abandonment of the plot for the sake of some philosophical point... Yet you'd think that this kind of failure would drive me away, would force me to adjust my assessment of Winters' skill. But he's. So. Good. He's just so good. I can't not read his stories, misfit endings pending, frustrated promises and all.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Least Torque

    Good writing, interesting story and characters, compassionate. But a few things bothered me along the way and it didn’t quite work for me in the end.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Simms

    Part legal thriller, part medical thriller, part murder mystery, with just a little soupçon of the fantastical, all adding up to a little less than the sum of its parts. We have two parallel stories: one in 2008-2010 revolving around a malpractice suit after a brain surgery leaves a boy in a bizarre condition (constantly walking in circles, never sleeping, never eating, never changing), and one in 2019 after the boy's father is arrested for (and confesses to) the murder of one of the key figures Part legal thriller, part medical thriller, part murder mystery, with just a little soupçon of the fantastical, all adding up to a little less than the sum of its parts. We have two parallel stories: one in 2008-2010 revolving around a malpractice suit after a brain surgery leaves a boy in a bizarre condition (constantly walking in circles, never sleeping, never eating, never changing), and one in 2019 after the boy's father is arrested for (and confesses to) the murder of one of the key figures in the preceding trial. Both plotlines lose steam at a certain point -- the first because, well, we know that the lawsuit fails, and there's only so much Winters can hold our interest through an excess of coaching witnesses, settlement discussions, and other legal foofaraw. At some point I no longer cared so much about exactly why the case failed, and wanted to see more of the modern-day plotline. Unfortunately, that one kind of loses the plot as well. A lot of things aren't adequately explained, and then (view spoiler)[ we learn that the murder may have been in self-defense, and then that it was in fact committed by a different character in defense of the man who has confessed to it. (hide spoiler)] All of which makes the guilty plea not really make any sense, especially when (view spoiler)[the coda of the book is them all launching an appeal precisely to argue a self-defense case (hide spoiler)] . A promising first half that fails to pull it all together.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hulttio

    “The nice thing about something that can never be known is that you, yourself, get to decide. There is no such thing as what we know for sure—there are only manifestations, impressions, and the meanings we choose to assign to them.” Disclaimer: Thank you to Mulholland Books and Goodreads for the book giveaway and providing a free copy of the book. This review contains my honest thoughts and reflects only my reading experience. Despite my legal interests, I rarely read legal thrillers, so it was wi “The nice thing about something that can never be known is that you, yourself, get to decide. There is no such thing as what we know for sure—there are only manifestations, impressions, and the meanings we choose to assign to them.” Disclaimer: Thank you to Mulholland Books and Goodreads for the book giveaway and providing a free copy of the book. This review contains my honest thoughts and reflects only my reading experience. Despite my legal interests, I rarely read legal thrillers, so it was with slight hesitation that I initially decided to read this one. I’m not sure why it is—maybe I just doubt that they will hit the mark? The author, Ben H. Winters, has a brother who is a lawyer, and used several types of consultants and beta readers for this work, so I am blindly trusting his interpretation of the law (though there were some weird bits where I had to look things up to double check). But don’t let this talk of legal thrillers excite you or bore you away just yet—this book is really a lot more than that, with the legal and medical thriller aspect being a mere hook that reels you in. (Also I’m trying to keep this review spoiler-free, so apologies in advance for the vague hand-waving of plot points/themes/etc. that will occur.) As other reviews have said, this book sort of transcends genres. A lot of involves courtroom scenes and legal preparation or discovery/investigative work, so you wouldn’t be wrong to say this is primarily a legal thriller. Another element is the young high school boy, Wesley Keener, and his mysterious illness—so in a way, this is a medical mystery story as well. Then there are the cultists, the supernatural hints, and deeply personal introspection on various themes (more on that later). Since it’s hard to pin this book down, I’m not sure I could holistically examine it as a legal thriller alone. If I did, I would leave the book a bit disappointed, since the legal backdrop ends up being just that as other parts of the story come to the forefront. The plot of this book is split into two different timelines, 2008–2010 and 2019. The first part of the narrative deals with the accident itself, where high schooler Wesley Keener hits his head, requires emergency brain surgery, and suddenly becomes ‘frozen in time’—which in this story means that he paces around a room and does not show any signs of awareness nor aging (growing, eating, pooping, etc.). The first protagonist we meet is Jay Shenk, a somewhat rogue-like attorney who tries to help the Keeners sue the hospital for performing the surgery. The second part focuses on Ruben Shenk, Jay’s son, as the protagonist, who tries to do some detective work to discover why the boy’s father, Richard, has killed Theresa Pileggi, a neuroscientist expert who had testified in the first case. While at first the dual timelines kept the suspense going, as the book went on, it made the plot feel contrived and difficult to hold onto. Despite that, I ended up growing to enjoy both Jay and Ruben’s perspectives as I kept reading. But you never get to stay with one perspective too long, and the shifty nature of the narrative left me wanting a bit more in terms of both plot and character development. Speaking of characters, though the characters in the book were memorable, again, I was really hoping for a bit more on the development or even backstory aspect. We do get snatches of background and snatches of what may be development, but most of the characters are pretty indistinguishable between timelines. The book immediately starts off in 2019 with Ruben’s perspective, where you learn that he is estranged from his father; this has potential to be an interesting character dynamic, but it is never given room to properly breathe in the context of the story. Oh, and did you know Ruben is both Asian and Jewish? Sure, this is an uncommon pairing of identities, but the author deigned this fact important enough to mention several times in quick succession—it was weird. The side characters were decent enough but mostly forgetful outside of their minor roles. Dr. Pileggi was an interesting character, but much of her motivation and actions happen off-page, so as the reader I felt no strong sentiments about her. And this is not a super relevant point, but I also found the name ‘Shenk’ to be a little off-putting every time I read it. I am not sure why, it just felt like an uncanny valley type of name. According to the author, this book is about being a parent. Family, found and biological, and the nature of loving (or hating) family all is a driving theme for much of the book’s characters. For instance, we get the really sweet relationship between young Ruben (who is adopted) who wants to be just like his father, and then we get the growing tenderness between father and daughter in the Keener family after suffering a great tragedy. Of course, Wesley’s mother is the archetypal concerned mother character, never once turning her mind away from helping Wesley. There are also some attempts at deeper, philosophical themes as hinted at by the cultists and supernatural subplot, but overall its significance in the overarching story ended up being less than I had expected. Still, the nature of the relationships between family members and the characters’ motivations serve the plot well. There are some odd moments in the book and even outside of it. For instance, the publisher’s blurb calls Jay Shenk an ‘acclaimed PI’ even though he is supposed to be a small time personal injury lawyer; and the blurb also calls Wesley’s father ‘David’, even though in the copy I got, his name is ‘Richard’. I can only assume that this is a pre-publication blurb that somehow found its way onto the Goodreads page. There are also weird instances of male-perspective where Jay and Ruben comment on women’s appearances that felt unnecessary in the story, but perhaps that is just how this author writes. (I have not read a Ben H. Winters novel before this.) At one point Ruben misremembers something that happened in high school as happening in middle school, and even more egregiously, at one point a character named Paolo is referred to as ‘Paola’ in the text! Now I’m no editor, but if I could spot this many errors in a published book, please just give me your job already, thanks. You know where to reach me. In spite of the issues, or perhaps because of them, this was a fairly quick and easy read to get through. The mystery and resolution of the legal aspects were my main interests in the book, but I felt that the legal elements were subsumed by the author’s attempt to drive forward the supernatural and suspense aspects a bit more towards the end. A better balance of genres would have kept the story balanced and equally weighted from beginning to end. And it’s not that I didn’t like the supernatural or other genraic attempts—they just felt a little out of place. There is a somewhat satisfying ending that I did not anticipate and the characters were endearing enough for me, so this ended up being a solidly decent read. While I am not racing to read another Ben. H. Winters book, I won’t discount it either.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Allen Adams

    When the inexplicable occurs, who bears the blame? That’s one of the central questions in “The Quiet Boy,” the new novel from Ben H. Winters. It’s a bifurcated story – on one side, a medical mystery, on the other, a capital murder case – where both tales are connected through time by a tragic event that ultimately proves damaging to two different families. Winters has never been one to be bound by genre constraints, so it’s no surprise to see the author venturing in a different direction. Here, he When the inexplicable occurs, who bears the blame? That’s one of the central questions in “The Quiet Boy,” the new novel from Ben H. Winters. It’s a bifurcated story – on one side, a medical mystery, on the other, a capital murder case – where both tales are connected through time by a tragic event that ultimately proves damaging to two different families. Winters has never been one to be bound by genre constraints, so it’s no surprise to see the author venturing in a different direction. Here, he’s tackling the courtroom drama with the same genre fluidity and narrative inventiveness that he brings to all of his work. Sad and surprising, “The Quiet Boy” crosses all manner of literary borders to capture these myriad lives. In 2008, a lawyer named Jay Shenk, deemed by some to be an “ambulance chaser” (though he finds that descriptor distasteful) finds himself involved with the Keener family. One day, young Wesley Keener – a teenager – is rushed to the hospital with an injury requiring surgery. Unfortunately, not all of Wesley wakes up. What remains is a dead-eyed automaton, endlessly walking in circles around his hospital room – a phenomenon that no one can explain. When Jay meets Beth, Wesley’s mother, outside the hospital and learns about what happened to her son, he encourages her to sue the facility for malpractice. She decides to sign on with the reluctant agreement of her husband Richard. In 2019, Jay Shenk is a shell of himself, far removed from the glory days of his profitable practice. His grown son Ruben – once a vital part of both his life and his work – is estranged from him, working at a salad restaurant. And yet, when Beth Keener approaches him for legal help – this time, for a murder case involving another member of her family – Jay takes the case, despite the multitude of issues surrounding the situation, including many connections to that previous lawsuit a decade prior. Back and forth we move between these two timelines, watching as each narrative plays out in a manner that seems inevitable … right until it isn’t. There’s plenty more bubbling beneath the surface of this situation than any of these players understand. The path we follow is littered with cultists and rock stars, even as we make our way toward the hope of resolution, even if there’s little chance of finding one that truly satisfies those who are suffering. I’m on record for being a big fan of genre flexibility; there’s a lot of value in harnessing the tropes of one genre for use under the auspices of another. It’s one of the things that Winters is particularly good at, bringing together seemingly disparate elements with engaging seamlessness. It’s certainly the case here, with Winters taking the framework of the courtroom drama and introducing an assortment of differing flavors and ideas to create something different. And as the narratives progress, those new flavors ebb and flow – sometimes, everything seems rather straightforward, while at other points, things get … weird – subtly and not-so-subtly altering the landscape with abject smoothness, taking the reader along for the ride. There’s something scary about emptiness, about the idea that whatever spark it is that makes us us can be extinguished. And if that fundamental spark can go out, who’s to say it was ever truly alight in the first place? Wesley is a ghost made flesh, a wandering golem moving through the world with metronomic absence. He haunts every page of this book, his presence shuffling through every action and interaction undertaken. The loss that he represents – and how it irrevocably alters the worlds and worldviews of those close to him – is frightening in both its reality and its unknowableness. “The Quiet Boy” is quietly propulsive, if that makes sense – there’s no flashiness, even with the assorted reveals and surprises sprinkled liberally throughout. Too often, one can FEEL the effort of a writer to push the pace, but that’s not the case here. Winters sweeps us up without us even knowing we’ve been swept – it’s the kind of book you fall into, only to reemerge pages later wondering where the time went. Part of that immersion is born of the people we meet. Jay Shenk is a fascinating figure, a man who seemingly embodies all that is wrong with the legal profession. Yet he is ALSO a crusader of sorts, in his own way. Yes, he is motivated by the money, but it is not his sole motivation. He believes (or at least believes he believes) in justice. He seeks to do right by his clients even as he (hopefully) profits from their relationship. He is charming in a too-shiny sort of way and brims over with love for his son Ruben. Overall, he seems to be a good guy … but it’s complicated. Ruben, for his part, offers an engaging dichotomy as well. The teenaged boy we meet in 2008 is full of hope, a smart young man who idolizes his father to the detriment of other parts of his life. The twentysomething Ruben of 2019 is a much sadder, more cynical person – someone continuously dealing with the emotional aftermath of seeing an idol fall. The adventures of that latter Ruben in particular tie in beautifully with the complexity of that particular father-son relationship. And through it all walks Wesley Keener, pulling his family (and others) along in the wake of his ceaseless circling. “The Quiet Boy” delights in its own mysteries, answering questions with other questions and endowing the proceedings with an entertaining opacity. It is a story of legal exploits, to be sure, but it also a story of fathers and sons, of the dual prices of pride and obsession and of the abstract nature of the self. We all contain multitudes … until we don’t.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    The kind of book that makes you burst into tears at the end. This is the third Ben Winters novel I've read, and although every book is marked with the author's deep care for his characters, The Quiet Boy, more than the rest, is suffused with love. Not only the author's love for his characters, but the characters' love for each other, and a kind of meta-love and kindness and generosity for people in their everyday weakness and strength. Oh, and there's a mystery. And spooky supernatural stuff. Bu The kind of book that makes you burst into tears at the end. This is the third Ben Winters novel I've read, and although every book is marked with the author's deep care for his characters, The Quiet Boy, more than the rest, is suffused with love. Not only the author's love for his characters, but the characters' love for each other, and a kind of meta-love and kindness and generosity for people in their everyday weakness and strength. Oh, and there's a mystery. And spooky supernatural stuff. But mostly love and kindness, which is exactly what I needed this year.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    The overall experience of reading this book was no doubt a thrilling and captivating one. It had me anxious to finish both because I was invested in the story but also because I just wanted to find out what would happen in the end. The latter is one that I find in books that aren't anything special but just set up a mystery or suspense throughout the novel so you're mainly reading to get to the ending; this feeling wasn't as predominate with this book as I really did enjoy it all the way through The overall experience of reading this book was no doubt a thrilling and captivating one. It had me anxious to finish both because I was invested in the story but also because I just wanted to find out what would happen in the end. The latter is one that I find in books that aren't anything special but just set up a mystery or suspense throughout the novel so you're mainly reading to get to the ending; this feeling wasn't as predominate with this book as I really did enjoy it all the way through, but towards the second half of the novel, the plot began to feel like it was starting to drag a little bit without giving the reader enough information to hang onto. What contributed to this feeling was the fact that the reader was in the dark about both time periods (2009 and 2019), and both were progressing at roughly the same rate to resolve at the end of the novel, so while I never really lost interest in the book, it was hard to maintain the same enthusiasm because the rate at which breakthroughs were being made for both the characters and the readers began to feel a little slow. Another qualm I had early on with this book and was only partially resolved was the fact that we didn't get enough time to see Jay as the hero. I loved the early pages that painted Jay as the untouchable hero-lawyer, because this builds momentum that makes it easier to root for him later in the story when things go downhill. While this may have been a conscious choice on Winters' part to portray Jay as a less-than-perfect person, I think there would have been a little more connection to his character if we had had more time to get to know him in his peak. My final issue with this novel is just the number of different directions or relatively unexplained developments that the story takes. There were little things like the nickname of a character that never quite gets explained to big things like a huge chunk of the plotline that seemingly comes from left field. While the plot eventually smoothes out and comes together, the length that Winters went through to leave the big reveal for the end I feel really came at the cost of overlooking a number of small details that, looking back, either felt rushed or just leave questions in my mind. But after all these complaints, this is still a GOOD book. The writing is engaging and the characters voices really came out of the pages. The plotline is thrilling, and there is the aspect of having characters that we can root for. While the above issues are present in the story, they didn't vastly take away from the reading experience or how much I enjoyed the novel as a whole.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Liz

    I received a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaway. The Quiet Boy is a double timeline page turner that will leave you with more questions then answers. The Quiet Boy follows two timelines of the Keener family. In 2009, Wesley Keener, a 16 year old lovable jock, has a terrible accident that resulted in needing brain surgery. Wesley comes out of the surgery in an unheard of state: he continuously walks, eyes open but unseeing, never eating or drinking, never growing. Wesley Keener will forev I received a copy of this book through Goodreads Giveaway. The Quiet Boy is a double timeline page turner that will leave you with more questions then answers. The Quiet Boy follows two timelines of the Keener family. In 2009, Wesley Keener, a 16 year old lovable jock, has a terrible accident that resulted in needing brain surgery. Wesley comes out of the surgery in an unheard of state: he continuously walks, eyes open but unseeing, never eating or drinking, never growing. Wesley Keener will forever remain a 16 year old boy. The second timeline is in 2019. Wesley's father, Richard, is arrested for the murder of the expert witness from the medical malpractice lawsuit from Wesley's surgery. Mixed in these two timelines is the medical malpractice lawyer, Jay Shenk and his son Reuben. In 2009, Jay Shenk heard about the Wesley Keener's medical condition and convinces Wesley's parents to sue. Jay is certain that he can get them a quick payout. Jay ignores the warning signs as the case starts to unravel. In 2019, Jay Shenk takes on Richard's criminal case even though he's not a criminal lawyer. Richard pleads guilty, even though it's against his lawyer's advice. The two timelines weave an engrossing tale that shows light on the many characters and has you questioning whether Wesley's condition was medical or was a supernatural being waiting to burst through. I enjoyed this story, but have many questions at the end. You never find out what is truly wrong with Wesley. The author gives you two ideas, but doesn't specify. I could see every scene that Ben H. Winters had written. It played out like a reel in my head. I never fully understood why the Nightman and his two followers were so heavily involved. To me, they just seem like characters created to move the plot along, especially since they don't have that great of an ending either. As someone had mentioned in another review, Reuben having the nickname the Rabbi seemed strange. It wasn't used consistently and there was no real reason for it. Trigger Warning-murder, indicated childhood abuse (wasn't a main focus but is assumed)

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